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Rage in Borderline Personality Disorder

Updated on July 15, 2009

Borderline Personality Disorder is a personality disorder that affects how a person copes with emotions and often affects interpersonal relationships and lead to self harming behavior.

It is a psycho social disorder believed to be caused by the combination of an invalidating environment with a highly sensitive personality.

Borderline sufferers often cope with the world using a sense of rage against society. This rage can be unpredictable and uncontrollable on the part of the person who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.

Rage in Borderline Personality Disorder

Rage is anger that is out of control. People use anger to express a feeling related to a situation. When this escalates to rage, the expression of the anger becomes counterproductive and dangerous. Rage can become uncontrollable, violent and at times even deadly.

The Borderline Sufferer will often regret deeply the results of rage, but will be unable to make the repair necessary to heal the damaged relationship.

Anger in Borderline Personality Disorder

The anger experienced by the borderline patient often becomes self directed. This anger can lead to self injurious behavior such as self cutting or burning. This is seen many times in the case of women who turn their rage inward, internalizing the feeling and acting on it against their own bodies.

Men often act out, exhibiting anti-social behaviors like fighting and reckless driving when their anger escalates into rage. Either way the results can be very dangerous.

Splitting in Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline patients also often exhibit a phenomena called splitting. In splitting, the person perceives others as being either all good or all bad. This perception can change daily and can often lead to rage. This can result in physical and emotional outbursts against a subject by the borderline person, depending on their perceptions.

A borderline person can be very abusive and disruptive and then suddenly change her opinions and be ready to apologize. This inconsistency and unpredictability is one of the ways that rage can interfere with interpersonal relationships.

Suicide in Borderline Patients

Ultimately, some borderline patients will internalize their rage to such an extent that they may attempt suicide. This internalization of the anger is common among borderline patients.

Each year, about ten percent of borderline persons attempt suicide. Of those who survive the attempt, many report an uncontrollable rage against themselves for a real or imagined transgression. Often the rage prompting the self harming behavior is not intended to cause death, but can by accident.

Warnings Associated with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline patients characteristically act impulsively. Sometimes the impulse to anger escalates to violent behavior and must be taken seriously as a threat.

If psychosis presents as part of the rage, there can be no telling what a borderline patient will do. At that time, it may become necessary to bring in professional intervention to insure the safety of all involved.


Symptoms of BPD
Symptoms of BPD


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      Joe 20 months ago

      BPD is a spectrum and as I am learning, sufferers can be anywhere on that scale. Unfortunately my ex became violent with weapons and and that's when I had to call it quits. Before it got to that point, I would still have stayed with her...

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      Fifi 2 years ago

      BPDs are unknown territory. I loved my ex to bits, even got him into counselling to try and help. The end was like nothing you could imagine, he had a pyschosis and destroyed the top floor of my property with a blowtorch. He is now in prison. His total fear of abandonment created this, and it couldn't have been more extreme. He has destroyed my life. So yes, they can be violent, dangerous and you would never be sure where it would end!

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      Matt 3 years ago

      Listen my gf whom has BDP punched me in the face 25 times last night. So all of you that think you CANT be violent should learn that yes a person with BDP can be violent. It just might not be the norm. These are humans and not everyone is the same.

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      bradley 3 years ago

      I want to say to Julie that what she says is wrong. You don't even know what BPD is so don't say things u have no idea what it is abt ok. Its not inherited at all. It's something one developes so I hope someone with BPD kills u for ur false accusations

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      Lillith 4 years ago

      Rhonda sounds like a bitter asshat. Hope she gets hit by a car driven by someone with BPD.

    • profile image

      n/a 4 years ago

      bdp male cheated on me constantly after leep procedure and getting his kid full time he went buck wild on line with un protected sex broke up with me gave me a std and put my life in danger having to get every test done under the sun i know finally figured out he had BPD to late know he moved in with new girlfriend smelling like a rose go figure

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      stephanie mutek 4 years ago

      I was diagnosed with borderline personality traits last year after a suicide attempt (triggered by a relationship argument) landed me in the hospital.

      For me, there is this intense fear that someone is trying to control or manipulate me. I get so afraid that i analyze everything someone does as a threat, and those fears become very real to me.

      My situation is extremely complex. With chronic homelessness, past abuse and trauma, and a hormonal condition to boot.

      What i can say is this, i have raged at people. Usually in the form of screaming at them or in their face. If it gets physical, i typicallg beat myself up or slice on my arms...or try to kill myself.

      Its true that i experience immense guilt remorse, lasting year after year of my life. There are things ive been holding onto since my pre teens even.

      But, i do not want to hide behind this disorder. It is my belief that if we tell ourselves we have no control, we wont have control.

      Everyone, not just someone with bpd should pay attention to thought patterns *what are you telling yourself?*

      But, thats a huge step. The borderline has difficulty reaching that realization on their own (obviously, or we wouldn't act out)

      It took me over a decade to realize that in order to handle my rage, i have to tell myself that i can control it.

      It takes work, and it will not change overnight.

      For those who have been hurt by a borderline, i sympathize. I believe i was raised by one as a matter of fact. Its scary as hell. You never know what that person is going to take personally, or how they will lash out at you as a result. The term "walking on eggshells" depicts how i lived my teenage years. I believe i already had hormonal issues and a sensitive soul, but being around my parents almost crushed me. Im not sure they will ever admit to this.

      Anyway, no matter who you are... you have to be responsible for your actions. As painful as it is to look back on the mistakes we have made in a fit of rage, we should not bury them in denial.

      I believe the first step to recovering from those mistakes is to take absolute responsibility for them. Denial will only perpetuate the issue further.

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      freddyjs 4 years ago

      Calling this article a one-dimensional farce would be too generous. I encourage the author to take time to do some actual research in order to more effectively contribute to the breaking down of the stigma associated with mental illness. I do thank the author for at least starting the conversation.

      As for those commenting on how people with BPD should be avoided and what not, you all have some serious growing up to do. There are those of us with BPD who are very caring and decent people who never asked to be ill and work very hard at not letting that illness affect others. I'm one of those people, not a monster. This painting us with the same brush attitude is childish and akin to saying all Muslims are terrorists or all Americans are stupid. Education and patience, folks. It goes a long way.

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      ian 4 years ago

      im 4 months on from getting out of what started of as the best think that has happened to me to become the worse. the first 6 months were amazing when for no reason everything changed. She constantly accused me of having affairs with everyone i can into contact with I was isolated from my friends and family and became very depressed which ended in my last year trying to take my own life. (this was not a cry for help) it was only by chance that 2 people out walking there dog found me. (Im now so glad they did.) She attached me several time and even tried to strange and stab me, and it was her having the affairs. And two weeks after we broke up she moved here new boy friend who she had only known for two weeks. But I still miss her but there no going back only forward now.

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      dbintenn 4 years ago

      BPD is one of the worst illnesses. i wish to hell that my stepmom had to pay for every day of my despair she has caused me. the loneliness and stigma and anger is intolerable.

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      JACK88 4 years ago

      No, Abbey, that's entirely wrong as one who was dating a BPD for 2 1/2 years they not only hurt themselves they hurt anyone they are close too. It's a know fact, and yes, they don't want to but they do and cause problems that could range from emotional, to mental to physical, trying to care and be there from them. So what you say is so untrue. Yes, it takes understanding to help them but in the end, they have to seek help and be honest, unfortunately, a majority don't, and that also is the sad truth.

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      Jaybeecee 4 years ago

      Sadly, I was on the receiving end of my wife's physical violence this weekend which led to me calling law enforcement and ultimately her arrest. She damaged severely my truck and physically hit me. This was the fourth physical incidence, and the final one at that since I have now filed for divorce. I had tried so very hard to endure the rants, blind rages, hitting, belittling, jealousy of imagined affairs, lack of any empathy or concern for my hurts, controlling and domination of all things, wreckless spending, and the list goes on. It was the saddest day of my life viewing my wife, the ultra-professional career woman and post graduate student (and licensed pilot on top of it all) sitting in court amongst inmates dressed in jail clothes, listening to the DV and criminal mischief charges, along with an issued non-contact order. It was all too surreal, but so likely too at the same time. She is now banned from our home (court ordered) and living in a hotel. I feel for her so much, but I simply have reached my end with her. To inflict yet another dose of her anger, while at the home after release (accompanied by a law enforcement escort) to retrieve her vehicle and clothing, she maliciously smacked her truck doors into my meticulous classic car, causing thousands in damage. I am in such pain knowing I have to end this marriage of abuse, but it cannot go on another day. My therapist is extremely concerned for my safety. I wish there was hope.

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      Gordon 4 years ago

      This is misinformation I believe intended to generate hate towards a minority group and alienate people towards those with a mental illness and is motivated by bias. People like you should be prosecuted under the category of hate crime.

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      Barb 4 years ago

      I am the victim of a BPD woman who came up behind me in a bar, October 2nd 2013, grabbed my hair and slammed my head into the table in front of me three times. She has been arrested.

      She did this to me in front of dozens of witnesses, apparently unable to rationalize the fact that most of them would and did give written or verbal statements, ALL in my defense. She is guilty without question.

      I've only ever seen this woman around, have never had a conversation with her and every time I glanced her way, she was giving me a look of pure Hatred. I heard she has 4 kids. I fear for them. I also fear for myself. As this article clearly states, their violent behaviour must be taken seriously as a threat.

      I told my shrink about this and his only thought was that she's jealous of me. She's not exactly what you'd call attractive and maybe in her twisted mind sees me as a threat. We are not competitors in any way that I'm aware of.

      Do I feel sorry for this violent screwed up woman? Not even the least bit.

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      Julie 4 years ago

      Hi Sharon - get away from this person and it doesn't matter how much you care about her child - the child will grow up like the parent and you will have wasted your time.

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      Sharon 4 years ago

      I am currently at risk... My friend has bi polar and split personality... I have tried to help.... In doing so I have had to protect her and her ex partner and child from her threats to kill him... Her child is on the at risk register and his father has to go for custody otherwise the child will be put in care. She has attacked him biting a chunk out of his arm...has told me repeatedly that she is going to stab him to the point I can't sleep. She has been prosecuted and I was a witness. I am now living with personal attack alarm and a panic button in my home. I have had additional locks and security lights. All because the police say I am at risk of harm. She has isolated me from my friends as her lies are believed and she plays the poor me card. She is not interested in her child expects her ex to take care of him but wants the child benefit money and does not want to pay bedroom tax. She is affecting my health and emotional well being. After all this she has now sent me av text saying I am beautiful inside and out. I feel guilty that I want to end the friendship...I guess that what she wants and I have no doubt she will not leave me alone when she leaves hospital.....

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      cassia1234 4 years ago

      I have BPD, and I can honestly tell you that everyone is different. Some fit the whole criteria and some don't. I have read many books on BPD where I've been like, 'wow, that is totally not me' and other books where I've been like, 'this is exactly me'. Some people with BPD are not prone to violence, where others are. That's why people who deal with people who have BPD have different experiences and opinions on the matter. There are different cases for different people, and that is that.

      Violence is definitely a part of my experiences with BPD. Everything written above is accurate for someone like me. It's getting worse as I age, whereas I am more insecure about myself as a woman. I don't intentionally want to hurt the people around me, it just happens through some complex series of emotions triggered by god only knows what. It is uncontrollable, like two personalities. Most days I am the sweetest and most caring person, and to me that is my true self. Then there are times when I am not so well in the head, I eventually rage, and whoever is standing in front of me gets the brunt of it, unfortunately.

      I have spent most of my life (from my teen years) dealing with this. I've tried every method -- including reading everything I can about BPD, CBT, medication, religion, spiritualism and even magic and the occult -- to deal with this, and nothing has worked. It has only just made things more complicated for me. DBT is my last resort. It's a new program in our city, and I start next week. I hope things work out well.

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      Anon 4 years ago

      Like others have mentioned, we do not lash out at others as a goal. It is an instinct that we are unable to control, as every emotion--even boredom, which manifests itself as an unbearable emptiness and inability to enjoy anyone or anything--seems amplified. Yes, we are much more likely to hurt ourselves than others because we internalize the pain we have felt through our lives (many speculate that the illness is caused by emotional and/or physical abuse throughout childhood). When we feel anger, it is absolute rage. When we feel love, it is absolute and intense. We do not want to hurt others but it occurs because we feel threatened--we cannot even escape ourselves.

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      Guest 5 years ago

      This is an illness, not a choice. I assure you, if it were optional, it would not be a choice any of us would select. In treating the illness, we have to learn what the symptoms are. Those who have this illness have a lot to contend with as a result of it. For many, it is more than they can handle, to say nothing of the consequences they have to contend with after the fact.

      There is no conscious effort or determination by those with BPD to do harm to anyone. It simply happens. The overwhelming remorse felt once we see the aftermath of our actions simply serves to compound the problem, and perpetuate further similar behavior. It is the support of family, friends and professionals that allows many with BPD to continue in life, and find peace & well-being.

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      BPDgirl 5 years ago

      It hurts my feelings to see people saying, "run for the hills" in regards to BPD sufferers and their love life. We do not choose this illness.

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      BPDsDad 5 years ago

      I think that since the purpose of the article was to specifically address the rage inBDP, I am greatfull for it. I'm also encourged by those that suffer from BDP leaving comments on this site. You level of professionalism and soundness gives me hope for my daughter.

      However, I realise that she is a very severe BPD since it's with pshchosis. Her two illness makes her very dangerous. She almost killed me durring a rage in which she was also halucianting.

      I love her and don't blame here at all. It was the illness. She is in residential right now. I am going to9 work hard to find the best help I can for her. I know that she is tormented by this too.

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      nayomee77 5 years ago

      This is a load of crap.

      There may be exceptions to this.. but there always are aren't there?

      The majority of BPD patients are not dangerous. They're so much more likely to be dangerous to themselves than to another person.

      Soooooo sick of this misconception and other misconceptions on BPD. Whoever wrote this needs to state that they're not a medical professional and not every person that has BPD is the same as another. You can't shove us all into the same box.

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      guest 5 years ago

      The people who have BPD need to be free not get attached to anyone and when the nons try and latch on to you - nip it in the bud and run for your life!

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      Star 5 years ago

      Growing up with a sister that has her 'EPISODES' as you call them is very difficult. My sister would always do something and put the blame on me she always had a way of manipulating our parents and till this day at age 40 goes in and out of her phases and still manages to manipulate everyone around us. She is capable of ruining someones life just because she isn't happy. She has also tried to hurt herself more than once and attacked me as well as others. I don't know if everyone with BPD is dangerous but this information and other information I have read sure does sound like her. She is either so sorry and shows willingness to help everyone in anyway or she is hating you and looking for ways to destroy you. I understand that it is a disorder and that she can't help it but why should anyone have to live there life with so much drama! I have tried to help her and be by her side but I just can't handle it and can't keep exposing my children to so many ups and downs in our life.

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      Pat 6 years ago

      I just experienced my husband going into one of his rage episodes hadn't happen in a while. He is an alcoholic and drinks every day. Starts drinking around 1 pm.

      We went out for lunch about 11:30 am and he seem OK although he said in a Hitler voice get my doggie bag,

      you carry it! I waited for him to go pay bill and he came back saying why haven't you done it and I said you can do it. When we got out into the car HE WENT INTO A RAGE I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO GET INTO AN ACCIDENT.

      I don't know if I can bear this any longer. He started

      calling me every name in the book and said he wasn't going to pay for my birthday party that he had planned.

      We are both retired.

    • profile image

      Guest 6 years ago

      Rhonda - I was saddened by your comment that "Those with BPD are horrible ...their one goal in life is to cause as much misery and suffering as possible."

      Having a sister with this illness I know you can FEEL that this is the case. You must be feeling hurt and exhausted. If it's not too late, please try to remember that the person with BPD is in pain, too. The outward hostility and rage may be the only way this person can express terrifying loneliness and despair. Sometimes I just need to validate how much pain my sister is in, and let her rant until she calms down and tells me what's really going on.

      I hope it's not too late for you. In any case, you're not alone. Peace.

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      Rhonda 6 years ago

      Those with BPD are horrible disgusting people. Their one goal in life is to cause as much misery and suffering as possible.

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      Alex 6 years ago

      You can explode from time to time but sometimes if your conscious you can swallow the rage. I once nearly attacked someone because he was coughing, I am a pascifist living with BPD and have never physically hurt someone (I have spewed insults) and from the outside my life is perfect, good grades, positive future but no friends mainly because I don't want to hurt more people. So now when I feel a slip of emotion or just plain, inexplicable rage I tell the person I need to be excused or I just go right out and say "I have this feeling of hurting you greatly." One person challenged me "why?" he asked and I blinked, taken aback by the question but still angry "i don't know. I just want to hurt you. Please stop doing that." He was just coughing! I should of moved but I didn't I stayed until I was shaking and then when it dissipated I felt elated but worried that next time it would be worse. I am a borderline who can manipulate specialists into thinking im fine, it doesn't help me but I can't help myself from lying. This is a rut.

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      mart 6 years ago

      another article written from knowledge without compassion, technology without wisdom.

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      Scotty 7 years ago

      It's like riding a roller coaster 24 hours 7 days a week. For sure medication helps, but it could take years and a great psychopharmachologist to find the right combo. I guess some people act out but are not really dangerous (and by the way, I have BPD).

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      7 years ago

      Hi Abbey, You are not a criminal. You are a person with an "illness" like a lot of others. Whether that illness is physical, psychological or a combination, it is an illness. I am the step-father of a 24 year old professionally dignosed BPD daughter. She can be a wonderful person. She is violent at times. She has attacked people. Put second and third degree burns on her sister. Beat her boyfriend to the point the police had to be called and her baker acted. Locked her toddler son in the bedroom in the afternoon so she could take a nap. (He is in our care right now.)

      It is sad and unfortunate. I also know, people can function and live good lives with BPD. It sounds like you are one of those. I imagine it isn't easy at times. I commend you.

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      Abbey 7 years ago

      You do make us sound like criminals, as a matter of fact, a person suffering from BPD is very intelligent and HIGHLY unlikely to hurt anyone apart from themselves. I am fed up with seeing this kind of information on the internet-

      "Living with a borderline is horrible and impossible and never gets better"

      "Borderlines are very violent and dangerous"

      Until you have worn the shoes don't you dare tell anyone what its like to wear them.

    • profile image

      Someone 8 years ago

      OMG!!! You make these people sound like criminals. This is horrible.


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