If you have BPD, everything feels unstable: your relationships, moods, thinking, behavior—even your identity. But there is hope and this guide to symptoms, treatment, and recovery can help.
What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?
If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you probably feel like you're on a rollercoaster—and not just because of your unstable emotions or relationships, but also the wavering sense of who you are. Your self-image, goals, and even your likes and dislikes may change frequently in ways that feel confusing and unclear.
People with BPD tend to be extremely sensitive. Some describe it as like having an exposed nerve ending. Small things can trigger intense reactions. And once upset, you have trouble calming down. It's easy to understand how this emotional volatility and inability to self-soothe leads to relationship turmoil and impulsive—even reckless—behavior.
When you're in the throes of overwhelming emotions, you're unable to think straight or stay grounded. You may say hurtful things or act out in dangerous or inappropriate ways that make you feel guilty or ashamed afterwards. It's a painful cycle that can feel impossible to escape. But it's not. There are effective BPD treatments and coping skills that can help you feel better and back in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
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BPD is treatable
In the past, many mental health professionals found it difficult to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), so they came to the conclusion that there was little to be done. But we now know that BPD is treatable. In fact, the long-term prognosis for BPD is better than those for depression and bipolar disorder. However, it requires a specialized approach. The bottom line is that most people with BPD can and do get better—and they do so fairly rapidly with the right treatments and support.
[Read: Helping Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder]
Healing is a matter of breaking the dysfunctional patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are causing you distress. It's not easy to change lifelong habits. Choosing to pause, reflect, and then act in new ways will feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first. But with time you'll form new habits that help you maintain your emotional balance and stay in control.
Recognizing borderline personality disorder
Do you identify with the following statements?
- I often feel “empty.”
- My emotions shift very quickly, and I often experience extreme sadness, anger, and anxiety.
- I'm constantly afraid that the people I care about will abandon me or leave me.
- I would describe most of my romantic relationships as intense, but unstable.
- The way I feel about the people in my life can dramatically change from one moment to the next—and I don't always understand why.
- I often do things that I know are dangerous or unhealthy, such as driving recklessly, having unsafe sex, binge drinking, using drugs, or going on spending sprees.
- I've attempted to hurt myself, engaged in self-harm behaviors such as cutting, or threatened suicide.
- When I'm feeling insecure in a relationship, I tend to lash out or make impulsive gestures to keep the other person close.
If you identify with several of the statements, you may suffer from borderline personality disorder. Of course, you need a mental health professional to make an official diagnosis, as BPD can be easily confused with other issues. But even without a diagnosis, you may find the self-help tips in this article helpful for calming your inner emotional storm and learning to control self-damaging impulses.
Signs and symptoms
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) manifests in many different ways, but for the purposes of diagnosis, mental health professionals group the symptoms into nine major categories. In order to be diagnosed with BPD, you must show signs of at least five of these symptoms. Furthermore, the symptoms must be long-standing (usually beginning in adolescence) and impact many areas of your life.
The 9 symptoms of BPD
- Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one arriving home late from work or going away for the weekend may trigger intense fear. This can prompt frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, track your loved one's movements, or even physically block the person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
- Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing that each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, without any middle ground. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash as a result of your rapid swings from idealization to devaluation, anger, and hate.
- Unclear or shifting self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don't have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, or even sexual identity.
- Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when you're upset. You may impulsively spend money you can't afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviors may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.
- Self-harm. Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm encompasses all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
- Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there's a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you're “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the void with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
- Explosive anger. If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It's important to note that this anger isn't always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time feeling angry at yourself.
- Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others' motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you're outside your own body.
Common co-occurring disorders
Borderline personality disorder is rarely diagnosed on its own. Common co-occurring disorders include:
- depression or bipolar disorder
- substance abuse
- eating disorders
- anxiety disorders
When BPD is successfully treated, the other disorders often get improve, too. But the reverse isn't always true. For example, you may successfully treat symptoms of depression and still struggle with BPD.
Most mental health professionals believe that borderline personality disorder (BPD) is caused by a combination of inherited or internal biological factors and external environmental factors, such as traumatic experiences in childhood.
There are many complex things happening in the BPD brain, and researchers are still untangling what it all means. But in essence, if you have BPD, your brain is on high alert. Things feel more scary and stressful to you than they do to other people. Your fight-or-flight switch is easily tripped, and once it's on, it hijacks your rational brain, triggering primitive survival instincts that aren't always appropriate to the situation at hand.
This may make it sound as if there's nothing you can do. After all, what can you do if your brain is different? But the truth is that you can change your brain. Every time you practice a new coping response or self-soothing technique you are creating new neural pathways. Some treatments, such as mindfulness meditation, can even grow your brain matter. And the more you practice, the stronger and more automatic these pathways will become. So don't give up! With time and dedication, you can change the way you think, feel, and act.
Personality disorders and stigma
When psychologists talk about “personality,” they're referring to the patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that make each of us unique. No one acts exactly the same all the time, but we do tend to interact and engage with the world in fairly consistent ways. This is why people are often described as “shy,” “outgoing,” “meticulous,” “fun-loving,” and so on. These are elements of personality.
Because personality is so intrinsically connected to identity, the term “personality disorder” might leave you feeling like there's something fundamentally wrong with who you are. But a personality disorder is not a character judgment. In clinical terms, “personality disorder” means that your pattern of relating to the world is significantly different from the norm. (In other words, you don't act in ways that most people expect). This causes consistent problems for you in many areas of your life, such as your relationships, career, and your feelings about yourself and others. But most importantly, these patterns can be changed!
Self-help tips: 3 keys to coping with BPD
- Calm the emotional storm
- Learn to control impulsivity and tolerate distress
- Improve your interpersonal skills
Self-help tip 1: Calm the emotional storm
As someone with BPD, you've probably spent a lot of time fighting your impulses and emotions, so acceptance can be a tough thing to wrap your mind around. But accepting your emotions doesn't mean approving of them or resigning yourself to suffering. All it means is that you stop trying to fight, avoid, suppress, or deny what you're feeling. Giving yourself permission to have these feelings can take away a lot of their power.
Try to simply experience your feelings without judgment or criticism. Let go of the past and the future and focus exclusively on the present moment. Mindfulness techniques can be very effective in this regard.
- Start by observing your emotions, as if from the outside.
- Watch as they come and go (it may help to think of them as waves).
- Focus on the physical sensations that accompany your emotions.
- Tell yourself that you accept what you're feeling right now.
- Remind yourself that just because you're feeling something doesn't mean it's reality.
[Listen: Eye of the Storm Meditation]
Do something that stimulates one or more of your senses
Engaging your sense is one of the quickest and easiest ways to quickly self-soothe. You will need to experiment to find out which sensory-based stimulation works best for you. You'll also need different strategies for different moods. What may help when you're angry or agitated is very different from what may help when you're numb or depressed. Here are some ideas to get started:
Touch. If you're not feeling enough, try running cold or hot (but not scalding hot) water over your hands; hold a piece of ice; or grip an object or the edge of a piece of furniture as tightly as you can. If you're feeling too much, and need to calm down, try taking a hot bath or shower; snuggling under the bed covers, or cuddling with a pet.
Taste. If you're feeling empty and numb, try sucking on strong-flavored mints or candies, or slowly eat something with an intense flavor, such as salt-and-vinegar chips. If you want to calm down, try something soothing such as hot tea or soup.
Smell. Light a candle, smell the flowers, try aromatherapy, spritz your favorite perfume, or whip up something in the kitchen that smells good. You may find that you respond best to strong smells, such as citrus, spices, and incense.
Sight. Focus on an image that captures your attention. This can be something in your immediate environment (a great view, a beautiful flower arrangement, a favorite painting or photo) or something in your imagination that you visualize.
Sound. Try listening to loud music, ringing a buzzer, or blowing a whistle when you need a jolt. To calm down, turn on soothing music or listen to the soothing sounds of nature, such as wind, birds, or the ocean. A sound machine works well if you can't hear the real thing.
Reduce your emotional vulnerability
You're more likely to experience negative emotions when you're run down and under stress. That's why it's very important to take care of your physical and mental well-being.
Take care of yourself by:
- Avoid mood-altering drugs
- Eating a balanced, nutritious diet
- Getting plenty of quality sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Minimizing stress
- Practicing relaxation techniques
Tip 2: Learn to control impulsivity and tolerate distress
The calming techniques discussed above can help you relax when you're starting to become derailed by stress. But what do you do when you're feeling overwhelmed by difficult feelings? This is where the impulsivity of borderline personality disorder (BPD) comes in. In the heat of the moment, you're so desperate for relief that you'll do anything, including things you know you shouldn't—such as cutting, reckless sex, dangerous driving, and binge drinking. It may even feel like you don't have a choice.
Moving from being out of control of your behavior to being in control
It's important to recognize that these impulsive behaviors serve a purpose. They're coping mechanisms for dealing with distress. They make you feel better, even if just for a brief moment. But the long-term costs are extremely high.
Regaining control of your behavior starts with learning to tolerate distress. It's the key to changing the destructive patterns of BPD. The ability to tolerate distress will help you press pause when you have the urge to act out. Instead of reacting to difficult emotions with self-destructive behaviors, you will learn to ride them out while remaining in control of the experience.
For a step-by-step, self-guided program that will teach you how to ride the “wild horse” of overwhelming feelings, check out our free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit. The toolkit teaches you how to:
- get in touch with your emotions
- live with emotional intensity
- manage unpleasant or threatening feelings
- stay calm and focused even in upsetting situations
The toolkit will teach you how to tolerate distress, but it doesn't stop there. It will also teach you how to move from being emotionally shut down to experiencing your emotions fully. This allows you to experience the full range of positive emotions such as joy, peace, and fulfillment that are also cut off when you attempt to avoid negative feelings.
A grounding exercise to help you pause and regain control
Once the fight-or-flight response is triggered, there is no way to “think yourself” calm. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on what you're feeling in your body. The following grounding exercise is a simple, quick way to put the brakes on impulsivity, calm down, and regain control. It can make a big difference in just a few short minutes.
Find a quiet spot and sit in a comfortable position.
Focus on what you're experiencing in your body. Feel the surface you're sitting on. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your hands in your lap.
Concentrate on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Then slowly breathe out, once more pausing for a count of three. Continue to do this for several minutes.
In case of emergency, distract yourself
If your attempts to calm down aren't working and you're starting to feel overwhelmed by destructive urges, distracting yourself may help. All you need is something to capture your focus long enough for the negative impulse to go away. Anything that draws your attention can work, but distraction is most effective when the activity is also soothing. In addition to the sensory-based strategies mentioned previously, here are some things you might try:
Watch TV. Choose something that's the opposite of what you're feeling: a comedy, if you're feeling sad, or something relaxing if you're angry or agitated.
Do something you enjoy that keeps you busy. This could be anything: gardening, painting, playing an instrument, knitting, reading a book, playing a computer game, or doing a Sudoku or word puzzle.
Throw yourself into work. You can also distract yourself with chores and errands: cleaning your house, doing yard work, going grocery shopping, grooming your pet, or doing the laundry.
Get active. Vigorous exercise is a healthy way to get your adrenaline pumping and let off steam. If you're feeling stressed, you may want to try more relaxing activities such as yoga or a walk around your neighborhood.
Call a friend. Talking to someone you trust can be a quick and highly effective way to distract yourself, feel better, and gain some perspective.
Tip 3: Improve your interpersonal skills
If you have borderline personality disorder, you've probably struggled with maintaining stable, satisfying relationships with lovers, co-workers, and friends. This is because you have trouble stepping back and seeing things from other people's perspective. You tend to misread the thoughts and feelings of others, misunderstand how others see you, and overlook how they're affected by your behavior. It's not that you don't care, but when it comes to other people, you have a big blind spot. Recognizing your interpersonal blind spot is the first step. When you stop blaming others, you can start taking steps to improve your relationships and your social skills.
Check your assumptions
When you're derailed by stress and negativity, as people with BPD often are, it's easy to misread the intentions of others. If you're aware of this tendency, check your assumptions. Remember, you're not a mind reader! Instead of jumping to (usually negative) conclusions, consider alternative motivations. As an example, let's say that your partner was abrupt with you on the phone and now you're feeling insecure and afraid they've lost interest in you. Before you act on those feelings:
Stop to consider the different possibilities. Maybe your partner is under pressure at work. Maybe he's having a stressful day. Maybe he hasn't had his coffee yet. There are many alternative explanations for his behavior.
Ask the person to clarify their intentions. One of the simplest ways to check your assumptions is to ask the other person what they're thinking or feeling. Double check what they meant by their words or actions. Instead of asking in an accusatory manner, try a softer approach: “I could be wrong, but it feels like…” or “Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but I get the sense that…“
Put a stop to projection
Do you have a tendency to take your negative feelings and project them on to other people? Do you lash out at others when you're feeling bad about yourself? Does feedback or constructive criticism feel like a personal attack? If so, you may have a problem with projection.
To fight projection, you'll need to learn to apply the brakes—just like you did to curb your impulsive behaviors. Tune in to your emotions and the physical sensations in your body. Take note of signs of stress, such as rapid heart rate, muscle tension, sweating, nausea, or light-headedness. When you're feeling this way, you're likely to go on the attack and say something you'll regret later. Pause and take a few slow deep breaths. Then ask yourself the following three questions:
- Am I upset with myself?
- Am I feeling ashamed or afraid?
- Am I worried about being abandoned?
If the answer is yes, take a conversation break. Tell the other person that you're feeling emotional and would like some time to think before discussing things further.
Take responsibility for your role
Finally, it's important to take responsibility for the role you play in your relationships. Ask yourself how your actions might contribute to problems. How do your words and behaviors make your loved ones feel? Are you falling into the trap of seeing the other person as either all good or all bad? As you make an effort to put yourself in other people's shoes, give them the benefit of the doubt, and reduce your defensiveness, you'll start to notice a difference in the quality of your relationships.
Diagnosis and treatment
It's important to remember that you can't diagnose borderline personality disorder on your own. So if you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from BPD, it's best to seek professional help. BPD is often confused or overlaps with other conditions, so you need a mental health professional to evaluate you and make an accurate diagnosis. Try to find someone with experience diagnosing and treating BPD.
The importance of finding the right therapist
The support and guidance of a qualified therapist can make a huge difference in BPD treatment and recovery. Therapy may serve as a safe space where you can start working through your relationship and trust issues and “try on” new coping techniques.
An experienced professional will be familiar with BPD therapies such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and schema-focused therapy. But while these therapies have proven to be helpful, it's not always necessary to follow a specific treatment approach. Many experts believe that weekly therapy involving education about the disorder, family support, and social and emotional skills training can treat most BPD cases.
It's important to take the time to find a therapist you feel safe with—someone who seems to get you and makes you feel accepted and understood. Take your time finding the right person. But once you do, make a commitment to therapy. You may start out thinking that your therapist is going to be your savior, only to become disillusioned and feel like they have nothing to offer. Remember that these swings from idealization to demonization are a symptom of BPD. Try to stick it out with your therapist and allow the relationship to grow. And keep in mind that change, by its very nature, is uncomfortable. If you don't ever feel uncomfortable in therapy, you're probably not progressing.
Don't count on a medication cure
Although many people with BPD take medication, the fact is that there is very little research showing that it is helpful. What's more, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medications for the treatment of BPD. This doesn't mean that medication is never helpful—especially if you suffer from co-occurring problems such as depression or anxiety—but it is not a cure for BPD itself.
When it comes to BPD, therapy is much more effective. You just have to give it time. However, your doctor may consider medication if:
- You have been diagnosed with both BPD and depression or bipolar disorder.
- You suffer from panic attacks or severe anxiety.
- You begin hallucinating or having bizarre, paranoid thoughts.
- You are feeling suicidal or at risk of hurting yourself or others.
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
Last updated: October 2021
Personality Disorders. (2013). In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787.x18_Personality_Disorders
Choi-Kain, Lois W., Ellen F. Finch, Sara R. Masland, James A. Jenkins, and Brandon T. Unruh. “What Works in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.” Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports 4, no. 1 (March 1, 2017): 21–30. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40473-017-0103-z
Stoffers-Winterling, Jutta M., Birgit A. Völlm, Gerta Rücker, Antje Timmer, Nick Huband, and Klaus Lieb. “Psychological Therapies for People with Borderline Personality Disorder.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, no. 8 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD005652.pub2
Kulacaoglu, Filiz, and Samet Kose. “Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): In the Midst of Vulnerability, Chaos, and Awe.” Brain Sciences 8, no. 11 (November 18, 2018): 201. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8110201
Bozzatello, Paola, Silvio Bellino, Marco Bosia, and Paola Rocca. “Early Detection and Outcome in Borderline Personality Disorder.” Frontiers in Psychiatry 10 (2019): 710. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00710
Ripoll, Luis H. “Psychopharmacologic Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 15, no. 2 (June 2013): 213–24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3811092/
Angstman, Kurt, and Norman H. Rasmussen. “Personality Disorders: Review and Clinical Application in Daily Practice.” American Family Physician 84, no. 11 (December 1, 2011): 1253–60. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1201/p1253.html
Get more help
Borderline Personality Disorder– Overview of symptoms, causes, and treatment. (National Institute of Mental Health)
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)–Explains borderline personality disorder (BPD) including possible causes, how you can access treatment and support, and tips for helping yourself. (Mind)
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? – A comprehensive article with ten short videos. (Behavioral Tech)
Helplines and support
In the U.S.: Call the NAMI HelpLine at1-800-950-6264
UK: Call the the Mind infoline at 0300 123 3393
Australia: Call the Sane Helpline at 1800 187 263
Canada: Find Your CMHA for a helpline near you
India:Call the Vandrevala FoundationHelplineat 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330
Around the web
Last updated: October 21, 2022
What are the 3 C's in BPD? ›
Remember the 3 C's: I didn't cause it, I can't control it, I can't cure it. If you are experiencing abuse it is important that you seek extra support.What is the biggest symptom of BPD? ›
With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.Do borderlines regret the loss of a quality partner? ›
When they break up, they often forget the positive things about their partner, until the partner has gone. Relationships fall apart as splitting causes the borderline to say things in the heat of the moment and regret saying them afterward. Often, the feelings are disproportionate to the actual situation.What triggers a person with borderline personality disorder? ›
Separations, disagreements, and rejections—real or perceived—are the most common triggers for symptoms. A person with BPD is highly sensitive to abandonment and being alone, which brings about intense feelings of anger, fear, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, and very impulsive decisions.What is BPD favorite person? ›
What Is a BPD Favorite Person? For someone with BPD, the favorite person is deemed the most important person in their life. This person can be anyone, but it's often a romantic partner, family member, good friend, or another supportive person (like a coach, therapist, or teacher).What does BPD look like in females? ›
What are the symptoms of BPD? A person with BPD may experience intense times of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last only hours or, at most, a day. A person with BPD may also be aggressive, hurt themself, and abuse drugs or alcohol.How do doctors test for BPD? ›
There's no specific test for BPD, but a healthcare provider can determine a diagnosis with a comprehensive psychiatric interview and medical exam. After that, you can get appropriate treatment and begin to manage your symptoms better and move forward in your life.Who does BPD affect most? ›
Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women. Recent research suggests that men may be equally affected by BPD, but are commonly misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression.What does a BPD episode look like? ›
Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving and binge eating. Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting. Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days.What does BPD look like in a relationship? ›
Some relationship traits of a person with BPD include: difficulty trusting others. irrationally fearing others' intentions. quickly cutting off communication with someone they think might end up abandoning them.
How do borderlines think? ›
People with BPD also have a tendency to think in extremes, a phenomenon called "dichotomous" or “black-or-white” thinking. 2 People with BPD often struggle to see the complexity in people and situations and are unable to recognize that things are often not either perfect or horrible, but are something in between.How long does an average BPD relationship last? ›
Results found in a 2014 study found the average length of a BPD relationship between those who either married or living together as partners was 7.3 years. However, there are cases where couples can stay together for 20+ years.How do you make someone with BPD feel loved? ›
- Acknowledge the Realness of BPD. ...
- Make Room for Yourself. ...
- Stop Rescuing. ...
- Encourage High-Quality Treatment. ...
- Treatment at Bridges to Recovery.
Previous research has demonstrated that patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are more sensitive to negative emotions and often show poor cognitive empathy, yet preserved or even superior emotional empathy.Is borderline personality disorder a severe mental illness? ›
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental disorder affecting around 1% of the population. It is associated with significant psychiatric comorbidity,2 impairment in social function3 and a high rate of service utilisation.What should people with BPD not do? ›
Try to make the person with BPD feel heard.
Don't point out how you feel that they're wrong, try to win the argument, or invalidate their feelings, even when what they're saying is totally irrational.
Emotional Dysregulation & Poor Impulse Control
Individuals living with BPD tend to experience a great deal of emotional instability. They typically endure frequent intense negative emotions and are unable to manage these strong feelings. This emotional rollercoaster can distort how they interpret the world around them.
Often it seems as though there is no remorse or regret when someone with borderline intentionally, or unintentionally, hurt someone they love. They say cruel things, act in cruel ways, and can cause real harm to themselves or to others. When called on it, they will act with little remorse or regret.Can people with BPD be abusive? ›
Those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or those with BPD who may not even know they have it, are more likely than the general population to be verbally, emotionally/psychologically, physically abusive.Can borderlines have friends? ›
People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often have a difficult time maintaining friendships because of their tumultuous personalities. But these friendships can offer a source of stability in the midst of emotional turmoil.
Are people with BPD smart? ›
Many individuals with BPD are highly intelligent and are aware that their reactions may seem strong. These individuals often report feeling that emotions control their lives or even that they feel things more intensely than other people.How can you tell if someone has borderline personality disorder? ›
- Pervasive Fear of Abandonment. ...
- Intense Emotions. ...
- Overwhelming Self-Doubt. ...
- Unstable Relationships. ...
- Disproportional Anger and Irritability. ...
- Risky Behavior or Self-Harm. ...
- Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts.
These mood swings may also happen frequently. Someone with BPD can have many mood swings in the course of a day, whereas most people will only experience one or two major emotional shifts in the course of a week.What is the best medication for BPD? ›
- Abilify (aripiprazole)
- Carbatrol (carbamazepine ER)
- Fluvoxamine maleate.
- Lamictal (lamotrigine)
- Zyprexa (olanzapine)
- Topamax (topiramate)
- Depakote (valproate)
- Lamictal (lamotrigine)
- Lithobid (lithium)
- Tegretol or Carbatrol (carbamazepine)
Antipsychotics are widely used in BPD, as they are believed to be effective in improving impulsivity, aggression, anxiety and psychotic symptoms [Nose et al. 2006; American Psychiatric Association, 2001].What do people with BPD do in relationships? ›
People with BPD often have patterns of intense or unstable relationships. This may involve a shift from extreme adoration to extreme dislike, known as a shift from idealization to devaluation. Relationships may be marked by attempts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.How do you stop a borderline episode? ›
- Take a warm shower or bath.
- Play music that relaxes you.
- Engage in a physical activity.
- Do brain teasers or problem-solving activities.
- Talk to a sympathetic loved one.
Studies have shown that BPD affects around 1 in 100 people. To put this in perspective, at the time of writing this, 1% of the UK population is 681,054 thousand.How do I calm down my BPD? ›
- Try to improve your sleep. Sleep can help give you the energy to cope with difficult feelings and experiences. ...
- Think about what you eat. ...
- Try to do some physical activity. ...
- Spend time outside. ...
- Be careful with alcohol or drug use.
Can borderlines be alone? ›
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by loneliness, social isolation, a fear of abandonment, poor social and communication skills, and unstable, difficult interpersonal relationships. The loneliness of living with this condition can be extremely painful, but treatments can be effective.What is splitting in BPD? ›
BPD splitting is an unconscious or unintentional reaction to uncomfortable or uncertain situations. This reaction involves the person with borderline personality disorder concluding that something is entirely good or bad with no middle ground. Essentially, it is an all-or-nothing scenario.Why do BPD push and pull? ›
A common theory about why you might use this behavior if you have BPD is because you desperately crave closeness in your relationships but, fearing abandonment, you choose to reject this person before they can reject you.
People with BPD are often terrified that others will leave them. However, they can also shift suddenly to feeling smothered and fearful of intimacy, which leads them to withdraw from relationships. The result is a constant back-and-forth between demands for love or attention and sudden withdrawal or isolation.How do BPD react to rejection? ›
Participants with BPD had more frequent, intense, and sudden experiences of aversive tension than did control participants; moreover, rejection, being alone, and failure were identified as triggering events for nearly 40% of the BPD group's increases in aversive tension.Does BPD show up on a brain scan? ›
MRI studies have demonstrated that people with BPD have reduced volume in the frontal lobe, bilateral hippocampus, bilateral amygdala (a reduced volume that has not always been replicated in MRI studies), left orbitofrontal cortex, right anterior cingulate cortex, and right parietal cortex and increased putamen volume.Do people with BPD Gaslight? ›
Certain personality types tend to be more manipulative than others. People with borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and sociopaths are more likely to gaslight those around them.Are BPD people controlling? ›
Those with borderline personality disorder tend to exhibit control over their environment by creating and exacerbating disruptive circumstances; thereby influencing others to behave in a certain manner to decrease the affected individual's reactions.Do BPD exes come back? ›
Sometimes BPD exes come back because they miss you. Other times, they return because they've worked hard to improve themselves. Either way, if you've discarded your ex and blocked him/her, don't worry! The person you rejected will eventually stop reaching out to you.Are BPD relationships toxic? ›
Codependency in a relationship usually occurs when one of the partners has a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). If your partner has either one of these personality disorders, you might find yourself stuck in a toxic codependent relationship.
Why do BPD relationships not work? ›
Borderline personality disorder can impact relationships.
These relationships end because the person's behaviors become too much for the other person to handle. “Relationships with an untreated BPD individual can feel exhausting, a never-ending process of putting out fires,” says Gilbert.
Your experience of living with BPD is unique to you, but this page describes some common experiences that you might recognise: Difficult feelings and behaviour towards yourself. Difficult feelings and behaviour towards others. Problems with drugs or alcohol.When should you leave someone with BPD? ›
- Physical Violence. Any form of physical violence is toxic in a relationship. ...
- Emotional or Verbal Abuse. Verbal and emotional abuse may not leave physical marks, but it can be just as damaging as physical abuse in relationships. ...
- Controlling Behavior. ...
- Manipulation. ...
However, can BPD turn into schizophrenia? While the two mental disorders share many similarities, borderline personality disorder cannot develop into schizophrenia. The prevalence of BPD is similar to that of schizophrenia.What triggers a borderline? ›
Separations, disagreements, and rejections—real or perceived—are the most common triggers for symptoms. A person with BPD is highly sensitive to abandonment and being alone, which brings about intense feelings of anger, fear, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, and very impulsive decisions.Do borderlines have narcissistic traits? ›
Narcissism is not a symptom of BPD listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, as many as 40% of people with BPD may also have narcissistic personality disorder,4 so people with BPD may also show signs of narcissism.Is BPD trauma based? ›
Studies show that anywhere between 30 and 80 percent of people with BPD meet the criteria for a trauma-based disorder or report past trauma-related experiences.Can you have all 4 types of BPD? ›
There are four widely accepted types of borderline personality disorder (BPD): impulsive, discouraged, self-destructive, and petulant BPD. It is possible to have more than one type of BPD at the same time or at different times. It's also possible to not fit any one of these borderline personality categories.What are cluster B and C traits? ›
There are four cluster B disorders: antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. Cluster C: A person with this type behaves in anxious or avoidant ways. There are three cluster C disorders: avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.What are the 4 subtypes of BPD? ›
- Discouraged borderline personality disorder.
- Impulsive borderline personality disorder.
- Petulant borderline.
- Self-destructive borderline.
What are the 5 types of BPD? ›
In response to this problem, Oldham proposed five types of BPD: affective, impulsive, aggressive, dependent and empty.How can doctors tell if you have BPD? ›
There is no borderline personality disorder test, but your doctor may ask you to answer mental health questionnaires or take psychological tests and assessments to learn more about you. To diagnose the condition, mental health professionals gather information about your symptoms, life experience, and family history.How serious is borderline personality disorder? ›
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious personality disorder that causes intense mood swings, severe problems with self-worth, and impulsive behaviors. The main feature of this disorder is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotions.What is high functioning BPD? ›
Having quiet borderline personality disorder (BPD) — aka “high-functioning” BPD — means that you often direct thoughts and feelings inward rather than outward. As a result, you may experience the intense, turbulent thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that characterize BPD, but you try to hide them from others.Is compulsive lying a symptom of borderline personality disorder? ›
Pathological lying is a possible symptom of certain personality disorders, including: borderline personality disorder (BPD) narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)What is cluster A? ›
Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior. They include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.What cluster is narcissistic personality? ›
The four types of cluster B personality disorders are borderline personality disorder (BPD), histrionic personality disorder (HPD), narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).Are borderlines psychopaths? ›
BPD features are highly represented in subjects with psychopathy as well as psychopathic traits are highly prevalent in patients with BPD.How do you stop a borderline episode? ›
- Take a warm shower or bath.
- Play music that relaxes you.
- Engage in a physical activity.
- Do brain teasers or problem-solving activities.
- Talk to a sympathetic loved one.
Researchers have proposed three core deficits of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): emotion dysregulation, interpersonal problems, and self-identity disturbance.
Does BPD go away? ›
Most of the time, BPD symptoms gradually decrease with age. Some people's symptoms disappear in their 40s. With the right treatment, many people with BPD learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.Are borderlines needy? ›
People with BPD can act overly needy. If you take them out of their comfort zone, or when they feel “abandoned” they can become a burden.What is splitting in BPD? ›
Splitting is a psychological mechanism which allows the person to tolerate difficult and overwhelming emotions by seeing someone as either good or bad, idealised or devalued. This makes it easier to manage the emotions that they are feeling, which on the surface seem to be contradictory.