Borderline Personality Traits

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association 2000) is the manual used by the health professionals that list characteristics for particular psychological and emotional problems.  The book list two main types of psychiatric symptoms: clinical disorders and personality.  According to this manual Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is the psychiatric disorder that fits within a larger category of personality disorders.  BPD was added to this manual in 1980.

Man with Borderline Personality Disorder

source Borderline Personality Treatment
source Borderline Personality Treatment

Symptoms of Borderline Personality

We each have typical ways of acting, feeling, thinking and relating to the world. A personality disorder is simply a long-lasting pattern of relating to the world that doesn't work very well for the individual. It affects their relationships with people and they have difficulty reaching their life goals. Adults with this disorder admit they have struggled with the patterns for a long time which indicate they probably began when they were children.

There is a lot of evidence that suggests environment, such as stress, trauma, abuse, and other factors during childhood play a strong role in many psychological problems, including personality disorders. The BPD symptoms cause the individual to make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. The perception of abandonment or rejection can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior. They experience such intense abandonment fears they may become extremely angry even when there is a realistic reason for a change of plans, or they may experience panic or fury when someone important to them is just a few minutes late or must cancel an appointment. They simply do not tolerate being alone and need other people with them. They may become so distraught over abandonment that they use impulsive actions, such as self mutilation or suicidal behaviors.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder? (Mental Health Guru)

No Available Medications to BPD

There our no medications proven by FDA to treat BDP. Some medications are used to treat depression, but there is no medication to treat the other symptoms. Treatment must come in the form of therapy.

Unstable Relationships

These individuals typically have a pattern of unstable and intense relationships. They are also prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others. As an example, they may see the person alternately as a beneficial supporter or cruelly punitive. Individuals with BDP act impulsively in at least two areas: excessive gambling, spending money irresponsibly, binge eating, alcohol and/or drug abuse, engaging in unsafe sex or driving recklessly. I believe my first husband might have had BDP, but that was so long ago BPD was just being recognized as a personality disorder. However, I saw most of these precise symptoms. He grew up in a very unhealthy environment which possibly caused this problem.

People with BPD also may display an affective instability usually due to a marked reactivity of mood, which includes intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety lasting from a few hours but rarely more than a few days. This basic dysphoric mood is often described by periods of anger, panic, despair which may reflect the person is extremely reactivity to interpersonal stresses. They often are troubled by chronic feelings of emptiness. Boredom is often a problem as they want something to do constantly. Unfortunately they frequently express inappropriate, intense anger or have difficulty controlling their anger, leading to expressions of extreme sarcasm, enduring bitterness, will outburst. This anger often occurs when they believe a caregiver or loved one is being neglectful or uncaring. These expressions of anger often by shame, guilt and contribute to feeling of being evil.

Frank Yeomans: Understanding the BPD Mind

Stop Walking on Eggshells

There is an excellent new book out called, “Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder," written by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger. This is a book that's divided into three sections and it's one of the few books that are sympathetic toward people affected with this condition.

Part One is Understanding BDP Behavior which provides much-needed validation to children of parents with BDP. It uses many real-life scenarios which enhance your understanding.

Part Two is labeled Taking Back Control of Your Life and explains how to make necessary changes for you. It makes the statement," If you find yourself involved with an individual with BDP, you can bet that you have unfinished business with a parent". The book explains that remark in detail.

Part Three is titled Resolving Special Issues, which would include coping with a borderline child. Many times people are diagnosed incorrectly and are treated for bipolar condition when in fact they have BDP and bipolar medication does not work for them

BPD Therapy

Therapy is absolutely necessary for an individual to overcome BPD. Dr. Marshak Linehan is and American psychologist and author who has developed a therapy called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. This method is based on completing skill modules that she developed through spiritual sources, particularly ZEN. There are literally thousands of practitioners around the world using Dr. Linehan's therapy successfully. There are other types of therapy available as well.

Domestic Violence

source Bing images .
source Bing images .

Living with Abuse

It is very difficult to live with a person who has BPD. What I saw was an individual that through the years started drinking more, spending more money recklessly, started gambling and become violent. He also had started job hopping. I had to watch every word I said to avoid his angry outburst. I blamed his actions on alcohol and drugs, as I thought that was the problem. At the same time he worked hard, made a good income and seemed to love me and our boys, until the last couple of years when his symptoms became worse.

The very nature of a volatile personality does cause you to walk on egg shells because you know if you say the wrong thing you may become the victim of their volatile anger and possibly of physical abuse. If the individual will not seek help it is important for you to decide if you want to continue to live in this unhealthy environment. It is even more important to consider leaving if you have children, as they are surely affected in a very negative way. Verbal, physical or sexual abuse is a reason to leave a relationship as an abuser does not get better without help. It might be helpful for you to see a therapist also as your self-esteem can become damaged if you have been abused.

In Conclusion

BPD is a personality disorder that causes instability in a person's life as they struggle with their emotions, identity, relationships, behavior in thinking. Not all BPD patients are alike and it doesn't mean that they're sick, unlikable, flawed or bad people. They need help through therapy and treatment from a trained professional, but of course, if they are not motivated to seek help, they will not improve on their own. It is imperative they want to get well.

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

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Comments 44 comments

fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

very interesting and informative Hub. I remember the movie "Girl, Interrupted ": very touching. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

fusia, I think that movie is a good example. Thanks for your comment.

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 5 years ago from trailer in the country

Very informative. Thanks for writing it. I liked it when you applied real life experience to the hub. Sorry you had to live with it, but it gives you credibility. Some people can't be healed...I hope that others can be helped.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Very enlightening Hub Pamela, and very useful to those who deal with it on a daily basis.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Enlydia Listener, I haven't shared my dislike experience before but felt that the article would be more helpful if I was able to do that. Thank you so much for your comments.

WillStar, I certainly hope it will be useful to anyone that is living with a person with these traits and maybe they won't recognize what caused this and seek help. Thanks so much for your comments.

Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 5 years ago from Bismarck, ND

Great hub that explains BPD very well. Voted up!

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

This is a fantastic hub Pamela, I love it. And it sounds like so many of us...we all have a touch of something, if you are a too okay person then they call you a This is a fantastic hub Pamela, I love it. And it sounds like so many of us...we all have a touch of something, if you are a too okay person then they call you a nassiset person, then when we are sad, the say oh you must be bipolar. Many of us have had bad on unhealtlhy childhoods yet we are affected in different ways, rate this up, love & peace darski, and I am back on hubpages...

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Cari, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Darsky, you can be confusing is I think the mix borderline personality and bipolar up sometimes as the characteristics are similar so I tried to make this a very specific hub. I'm glad you're back on hub pages. Thank you so much for your comments. Love and peace to you.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

So sorry to hear that you had to endure these symptoms with your first husband. Couldn't have been easy. Walking on eggshells is probably a good and useful book for people who wish to understand the reasons behind this kind of behavior. Thanks!

The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Now this one got me doing a bit of self-analysis but I came up clean. At least I think I did.

Good work and up and awesome.

The Frog

mdlawyer profile image

mdlawyer 5 years ago

Superb writing, Pamela. Thanks for the share

rpalulis profile image

rpalulis 5 years ago from NY

Another great hub Pamela, Voted up and useful!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, I think part of the book also addresses the person living with the borderline personality individual. Certainly walking on eggshells it's tough and I'm glad it was a couple decades ago. Thanks so much for your comments.

Frog Prince, I think if he didn't come clean there would be those around you letting you that there's a problem. Thank you so much for your comments.

mdlawyer, I appreciate the compliment and I'm glad you like the hub.

Rob, I very much appreciate your comments.

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

"Girl Inturrupted" is an excellent example of BPD. It seems like there are more and more people out there with this disorder. I do agree, if there is no reason for them to get help or change, they won't.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

KKGals, Someone else mentioned that to me and I think I will try to watch that movie again as I saw it a long time ago. Your assumption is right. Thanks for your comments.

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Great informative hub Pamela. I think I need to see if I can find the movie Girl Interrupted as I do not recall ever seeing it. I learn so much from your hubs. Thanks so much!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Susan, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments very much.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

So many people struggle with BPT and thanks be to you for shedding some light on this delicate issue. I learned a lot of helpful information that will better me in my future relationships and interactions with others. Thanks so much it was a wonderful and informative read. :) Katie

lindatymensky profile image

lindatymensky 5 years ago

I know a lot of people where aspects of this disorder are manifest. Spooky.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Katie, There are a lot of people with this personality disorder and its often mixed up with her with individuals with bipolar disease. I think they are learning more about BPD all the time as it's a new were diagnosis. I'm glad you like the hub and I appreciate your comments.


lindatymensky, Hopefully some of them just have a couple aspects of the disease as they would show up with alcoholism for instance. Thanks so much for your comment.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

BPD is a definite entity in so many people and it is so hard to cope with - for the person and for the people who love them. Great information and that's the main thing....if people understand it, they can get help and live a great life!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Audrey, I agree in the main thing is to have to get help if they have BPD because they don't get well on their own. Thank you so much for your comments.

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Bethany Culpepper 5 years ago

As always - excellent Hub. Full of information and resources. Thanks for helping to spread the word about this serious subject.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Bethany, I agree that this is a serious subject and I am glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments.

sarclair profile image

sarclair 5 years ago

This is a very interesting hub. I know a couple of people like this.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Sarclair, I'm glad you liked the hub and recognized the symptoms in some other people since they are not prone to get help without encouragement. Thanks for your comment.

jolie 5 years ago

My psych teacher said the girl in girl interrupted did not have borderline.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

jolie, I didn't write that in my hub but I think the girl exhibited some symptoms is why she is mentioned in the comments. Thanks for your comments.

adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 5 years ago from Atlanta

A very informational article Pamela. Really helped me to understand individuals who suffer with this disorder. Thank you so much for sharing.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

adrienne, I appreciate your comments.

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting hub Pamela99 and great information on BPD. Although things are more open now, mental health issues are still more difficult to talk about and confront than physical health issues, so the more information available for sufferers and the people who care about them the better.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

CMHypno, I agree with your comments. I think mental health issues aren't always treated because of this attitude. I appreciate your comments.

Jl 4 years ago

My wife told me i have bpd i did not think so but can see that some of the traits are within my personality. Especially abandonment. Its hard to deal with and i live in a foreign coubtry help is scarce. I hace read many books and really do over react. Soon i may lose my wife we have not been married long too. I feel so insecure when she goes out! My family in the uk dont care either. So i guess i have to do what my wife says before its too late!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

JI, It is important for you to understand yourself if you are going to find happiness. If you can't get help from a counselor or even a clergyman, try to read more literature about this disorder. There is a lot of information on line. If you had a difficult childhood it is important to try to understand what happened and forgive for your own sake.

Try to keep the lines of communication open with your life and remember trust is the basis of a good relationship. When you talk to each other be sure to listen carefully to each other and try to resolve your differences to save your marriage. I wish you the best of luck to move forward in a positive direction in your life.

tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Great presentation and information. I was raised by a parent with this disorder and it is a difficult thing to deal with. I am sure you will help many with this hub!

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

I learnt something new, Pamela.

Having emotional instability is very risky for that individual and also the person living with him.

Thanks for a useful hub. voted up as useful/interesting

sharing it across

jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA

This is a good article with great points. However, one thing that I'd like to mention is that although BPD is typically thought to be attributed to frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, abandonment is not necessarily a feature of the illness. It is one of the nine traits. A person can have BPD with marked instability without it being related to a fear of enmeshment/abandonment.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Tammy, Since you have personal knowledge of this disorder, I really appreciate your comments very much. I hope this hub does help many people.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Ruchira, I am glad you learned something new from this hub and I appreciate your comments.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

jellygator, Many of the articles I read talked about fear of abandonment as being an important issue of this disorder. I know not all disorders appear the same for each individual and I appreciate your comments.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Pam....This a powerful teaching hub. I am always grateful when a writer offers interesting and useful information on mental health issues. You've done an expert job, due to your superb writing skills and talent. I especially liked the videos you chose to insert. Thank you, Pam.....I found this a wonderful guide for those in need of understanding BPD.......UP+++

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Paula, Thank you so much for your generous remarks. I appreciate your views very much.

Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

Fiona Jean Mckay 3 years ago from South Africa

Thanks Pamela, this article seems to describe my soon to be ex-sister-in-law perfectly. My brother was constantly walking on eggshells with her because of her mood swings and now that they have split up, she is a lot worse. She completely turned on my brother - even though she asked for the divorce and even my mother and I were in her firing line - for sticking up for him. We couldn't understand her behaviour at all but will definitely look into BPD now to try to understand how to deal with her for the kid's sake. Her behaviour makes a lot more sense after reading this - thank you for the research you put into this and for sharing.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Fiona Jean, I am glad this hub was helpful to you and wish you some good luck dealing with her in the future. I have been in your shoes and they did not produce happy memories. Thank you so much for your comments.

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