Dr Jozelle Miller
February 16, 2021
Recognizing a Borderline Personality – part 1

Have you ever met someone who displayed unusual and unstable relationships, intense moods, and tendency towards self harm; manipulative? Could this person be considered a borderline personality? Let us examine this disorder in some detail. Initially, the term ‘borderline’ in Borderline Personality Disorder is an early name given to the disorder as it was understood when it was first described in 1938. People with borderline personalities were thought to be on the borderline of a treatable neurosis and the psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.

As a personality disorder, it must be understood that all the traits and behaviors that accompany BPD are rooted in the personality. Someone with a personality disorder has problems with their self-concept and trouble relating to other people in healthy ways. Anyone might have thoughts or behaviors that typify a personality disorder. If these behaviors only happen once or rarely, they are not a part of a disorder, but might instead be a reaction to a situation. This is because the personality is fixed even when circumstances change. Successful treatment of personality disorders is possible. It doesn’t cure the disorder but can dramatically reduce its symptoms.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of 9 types of personality disorders. To fully define borderline personality disorder, the specific thoughts and behaviors that go along with this personality disorder must be included in the discussion. The two basic types of problems associated with BPD are an unstable sense of self and dysfunctional interpersonal relationships. Both components of the disorder show up in thoughts and behaviors.

Unstable Sense of Self

Poor Self-Image – People with BPD don’t see themselves as others do. Their self-concept may be extremely distorted and is usually negative. They usually have periods of high self-confidence followed by periods of low self-esteem

Trouble Directing Yourself – If you have borderline personality disorder, you probably have trouble making concrete plans and following through with them. Your career path may be a jumble of false starts and lengthy detours. You may tend to let others or circumstances determine your course in life, because you don’t stick with one goal to its completion.

Impulsive and Self-Damaging Behaviors – Dangerous behaviors are common with BPD. The person with this disorder might drive recklessly, go on wild spending sprees, have unprotected sex, abuse drugs and/or alcohol, binge eat, or impulsively take part in any other dangerous behavior. They may also threaten, attempt suicide, or engage in self-harm.

Intense and Quickly-Changing Moods – Unlike familiar mood disorders such as bipolar or schizoaffective, borderline personality disorder features intense moods that nearly always change in a few days or even hours. Many people with BPD also suffer from anxiety, depression, or both.

Feeling Empty or Angry – A pervasive feeling of emptiness often goes along with BPD. Anger can also boil up quickly, and the person with borderline personality disorder usually has a tough time controlling it. The thing the person becomes angry about may be quite trivial to anyone else, but to him or her it’s enough reason to become angry and hostile.

Paranoid Thoughts When Stressed – Paranoia can be a problem. It typically comes up only when stressed. However, because of poor self-esteem and interpersonal problems, stress may occur more often.

Dissociating When Stressed – One of the most extreme manifestations of BPD,is the dissociative state that can happen when the person is under stress. They can lose touch with reality and even see themselves as if from the outside.

Continued next week