Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts your emotions, thoughts, and relationships in a way that can seriously disrupt one's quality of life. Borderline personality disorder is often associated with poor self-image, out of control emotions and behaviors, and patterns of roller coaster relationships, and an intense feat of abandonment.
Those who suffer from a borderline personality disorder often have intense anxieties about abandonment, rejection, being left alone. These anxieties and fears may cause many issues in relationships, whether they be romantic, platonic, or familial, because someone suffering from borderline personality disorder may seek constant reassurance and experience frequent mood swings. When one is suffering from BPD, they may excessively call their loved one, often seek reassurance, and lash out when they think they are being abandoned.
While borderline personality disorder is a tough mental health disorder to deal with, it is often treatable through therapy meaning that those who suffer from BPD can work their way to living normal lives with proper treatment.
Signs and Symptoms
Borderline personality disorder can affect your relationships, mood, emotions, and behavior. Understanding the signs and symptoms of a borderline personality disorder can allow you to seek the help that you or a loved one may need. While it can look different in different people, there are a few signs and symptoms one can watch out for:
Fear of abandonment, rejection, or being alone. Those who suffer from BPD may find themselves doing all they can to prevent being left alone or may do anything to avoid rejection. Fears of abandonment that are associated with BPD can often negatively impact relationships due to imagined rejections or feelings of abandonment.
Unstable relationship patterns. Somebody who is suffering from BPD may find themselves switching between two phases in a relationship constantly: the first being the idealization phase, in which the person imagines their partner as being perfect; and the second being the devaluation phase, in which the person imagines their partner as cruel and unloving.
Unstable sense of self. Those suffering from BPD often are inconsistent in their likes, dislikes, morals, values, goals, and identity.
Impulsivity. People who suffer from a BPD will likely act recklessly, exhibiting behaviors like unsafe sex, reckless driving, substance abuse, binge eating, gambling, spending more money than they have, or getting in trouble with the law. ( NOTE: While these impulsive behaviors may be symptoms of borderline personality disorder, they can also be symptoms of a manic phase in a mood disorder.)
Self-harm or suicidal behaviors. Some people who are suffering from BPD may exhibit self-harm behaviors like cutting or hurting themselves in some other way. Someone suffering with BPD may also threaten or even attempt suicide. Threats and attempts of suicide should always be taken seriously.
If you or someone you know are in danger of suicide, contact your emergency number at 000. If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14”
Uncontrollable mood swings. People who suffer from BPD may often experience mood swings in which their mood feels uncontrollable and can last anywhere from a few hours to days.
Feeling numb. Those suffering from borderline personality disorder may find themselves feeling empty or numb to the outside world.
Having a short temper. Those suffering from borderline personality disorder may find it hard to control their anger, sometimes losing their temper, getting into physical fights, or lashing out at loved ones.
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is a difficult disorder to deal with. It can take a toll on your mental and emotional well being, as well as on your relationships. There are treatments for BPD that have been proven to significantly decrease the symptoms of the mental health disorder, including:
Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, has been shown to be effective at decreasing the symptoms of borderline personality disorder. There are a few different approaches a psychotherapist may take when attempting to address BPD. The first of which is called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This form of psychotherapy focuses on teaching mindfulness tools such as paying attention to present emotions, reduce behaviours that can be considered destructive, and accepting and changing inappropriate behaviours. The second is mentalisation-based therapy (MBT), a form of psychotherapy that focuses on teaching one to identify and understand other people's feelings. The third is Transference-focused therapy, a psychotherapy intended to help patients understand their own emotions and internal issues.
Medications. While medications are not specifically used to treat borderline personality disorder, they can be used to treat certain symptoms that occur in BPD such as depression and anxiety. Medications are not typically used to treat borderline personality disorder alone. They often do best in assisting the positive effects of psychotherapy.
Seeking Help for Yourself
If you have read through the signs and symptoms and believe that you are suffering from borderline personality disorder, our experienced, non-judgmental therapists are here to help you. Finding a good therapist is the first step in your path to recovery. In therapy, you can learn to recognise negative thought patterns, better understand what is really happening inside of your mind, learn health coping mechanisms, and find your triggers.
Helping Someone You Care About
If you believe that a loved one is suffering from borderline personality disorder, there is help out there for them. Although you cannot force them to seek the help they may need, offering them support and gently encouraging them to seek treatment may be helpful to them. However, as mentioned before, people who suffer from BPD often go through phases of idealisation and devaluation within their relationships. Knowing how to cope in the case of your friend "devaluing" you may be beneficial in preparing you.
How We Can Help
Borderline personality disorder can really take a toll on your mental health, emotional wellbeing, and relationships. It's difficult to understand the root causes and knowing whether it's something that can be changed or not. The good news is, you can change and improve your responses, but it takes time and work.
A good therapist who specialises in BPD will work with you to better understand where your emotions are coming from, how they affect those around you and how to better control them.
Take that first step and talk to a therapist.