Do you suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is more prevalent in females. Psychologist Inchara Shivaraam tells you the warning signs to look out for

By: Inchara Shivaraam

It’s a true struggle for people with personality disorders. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms overlap with other mental illnesses such as depressionbipolar, and narcissistic personality disorder. Plus, borderline happens along a spectrum. According to Wendy Behary, a New Jersey-based licensed clinical social worker and founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, “At one end there’s a very low-functioning individual, who can barely manage day-to-day life, and at the other is someone who’s very high functioning. Sometimes personality disorders symptoms or characteristics are misunderstood of being normal pattern of teen.

People may spend their entire lives not being aware if they have a mental illness, and never seek resources to ease some of their struggles.

Signs to look out for of BPD

Low self-esteem
We all have an internal critic, but people with BPD struggle constantly with overwhelming self-doubt. These individuals have an incredibly unstable self-esteem, so they rely heavily on external praise and approval to help define their identity. There’s a sense of inferiority and incompleteness. People with BPD may even copy others’ actions and behaviors, because “their ability to be independent and autonomous is very impaired.”

Difficulty in empathizing
People with BPD struggle with both self-awareness and empathy. “There’s a lack of understanding about how your own behavior impacts people, so when their emotions are out of control, it doesn’t register that this causes stress and affect  others, This lack of awareness is one reason people with borderline tend to have trouble maintaining healthy long-term relationships.

Difficult and unstable relationships
BPD sufferers frequently find themselves in physically or emotionally abusive relationships, says Behary. In many cases, they’ll chose partners who they hope can fill the needs that weren’t met in their childhoods, which often leads to staying in toxic relationships. With BPD, people tend to be excessively needy, intense, and mistrusting in relationships. Another major characteristic of BPD people are that there is such an elevated anxiety you’ll lose the person that’s close to you, that you actually drive the other person away by constantly pushing the boundaries. Romantic relationships aren’t the only strained ones, but people with BPD tend to swing from extreme closeness to extreme dislike with friends and family as well.

Anxiety and depression
Anxiety commonly occurs in our day today functioning from time to time, but for those with BPD, anxiety is all consuming, characterized by intense feelings of nervousness or panic. These emotions often arise as a hypersensitive response to other people’s actions. People with BPD have an extreme desire to be needed and liked, and it can be debilitating. As a result of this extreme anxiety, people with borderline may express their emotions in explosive, inappropriate ways.

BPD is frequently misdiagnosed as chronic depression. Though depression is common in people who have BPD, their symptoms tend to manifest a little differently. “It’s a very heavy, profound depression,” says Behary. “It’s loaded with this chronic feeling they have no value and a pervasive sense that nothing matters.”

Constant fear of abandonment
The fear of being a loner, rejected, or abandoned is a prominent sign of BPD. These insecurities breed irrational reactions and jealous, paranoid behaviors, such as checking a partner's email for clues, and making allegations. This insecurity can even lead to more extreme and manipulative behaviors, such as telling a partner, “If you don’t call me when you say you will, I’m going to kill myself.” For the person with BPD, it all folds into their desperate desire to avoid abandonment.

People with borderline are impulsive in decisions like blowing huge money without understanding the consequences, have unprotected sex with multiple partners, or engage in other risky behavior. At times, risk taking tendencies can even lead to cutting or other extreme self-harm. This generally happens when people with BPD feel extremely dissociated, detached, or numb for too long.So they might really see suicide as the only logical solution to stop the pain.

So, do you have BPD?
To be diagnosed with BPD, you need to identify with two of these characteristics:

  • Low self esteem
  • Avoiding thinking about the future
  • Trouble empathizing
  • Chaotic relationships
And four of these symptoms, with at least one being uncontrollable anger, impulsivity, or risk-taking:
  • Overwhelming anxiety
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Depression
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Impulsivity
  • Risk taking
Because personality disorders describe long-standing and enduring patterns of behavior, they are most often diagnosed in adulthood. It is uncommon for them to be diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, because a child or teen is under constant development, personality changes, and maturation. However, if it is diagnosed in a child or teen, the features must have been present for at least 1 year.

Borderline personality disorder is more prevalent in females (75 percent of diagnoses made are in females). It is thought that this disorder affects between 1.6 and 5.9 percent of the general population.

If you see yourself having these signs that’s affecting your daily life, relationships and your emotional health, it’s never too late to seek a professional help from psychologists and psychotherapists. Dialectical behavior therapy can help you cope with the symptoms and help improve interpersonal relationships and other such therapies like CBT also a play a key role in improving overall mental health.

If you’re still not sure, talk to your doctor or make an appointment with a psychologist. If you think you need help with understanding or dealing with BPD, get in touch with our inhouse counsellors on

Login to post a comment.

Related Content