Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a very commonly recognized personality disorder. Someone who has BPD will be a lot different from an average person in terms of what they feel, what they relate, what they perceive and what they think. The cause of this disorder is still not clear but in most of the cases it happens either due to the genetic factor, problem with the brain chemicals or brain development and the environmental factors.

Many studies have also shown that if a child has experienced some sort of traumatic event during their childhood like sexual abuse, emotional abuse, loss of a loved one, parental neglect etc., could end up developing the traits of BPD. The basic and the main symptoms of BPD includes impulsive behavior, intense but unstable relationship with others, disturbed patterns of thinking, distorted perception, and emotional instability. These symptoms may range from mild to severe and usually emerge in adolescence, persisting into adulthood. BPD often co-exists with bipolar disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse etc.

People with BPD can seek psychological or medical treatment. These treatments may involve a wide range of individual and group psychological therapies (psychotherapy) which are conducted by trained professionals. This therapy may last for more than a year depending upon the severity. Along with this, certain kinds of psychiatric medicines are also given which works as the mood stabilizers. These mood stabilizers help the person with BPD with their depressive and manic moods.

People with BPD struggle to understand how their siblings, parents, wives, husbands, friends, family members experience their intense reactions, mood swings and risky behaviors. The wild mood swings, anger outbursts, chronic fear of abandonment, impulsive and irrational behaviors, that can leave loved ones feeling helpless, abused and off balance. People with BPD work on a different frequency when it comes to channelizing their emotions. They are unable to detect when it is getting too much for the other person to take in, as for them it is just a normal way of expressing any emotion. For example: if someone wants to express their love towards you then they would do everything possible in their power to express it to you and make you feel special because according to them their world revolves around you. Now, if you are reading this you must be wondering that it is a good thing, right? A person loving you so much that they try their best to keep you happy! Well, it is definitely a good thing but it gets exhausting after a point because they expect the equal amount of love in return. If they are making you their center of everything, they expect the same from you in return. Sometimes, this can be really tiring and scary. Tiring because, there will be days where you won’t be able to keep up with the amount of energy, dedication and passion that they have for you. Scary, because all of this might get too overwhelming.

You might feel like you are being held hostage and worrying about them constantly because they might injure themselves if you do not pacify them. Partner and the family members of the people with BPD have often confessed that it feels like being on an emotional roller coaster with an uncertain end.

In the beginning, the honeymoon period can be very exciting for the new partner, as they feel really nice to have someone who feels so strongly and compassionately about you. But, the problem start to arise when the reality sets in. When a person with BPD realizes that their new partner is all faultless, that image of the perfect soulmate can come crashing down because people with BPD struggle with dichotomous thinking, or seeing things in only black and white, they can have trouble recognizing the fact that most people make mistakes even when they mean well. As, a result, they may quickly go from idealization to devaluation (or thinking that their partner is a horrible person).

The fact is that all of the family members and the partners have the power to deal with the way they react. One can change the relationship by managing their own reactions, by improving communication between the two. Many psychologists have agreed that with the right amount of medicine, treatment and support, many people with BPD end up doing a lot better and their relationships becomes more stable and rewarding. In fact, the patients who got more love, care and support from their families and the loved ones ended up getting much better in a short time rather than those whose social and environmental conditions were tensed.

If your family member/loved one has BPD then it is very important to acknowledge the fact that along with us they are suffering too. Just like we might find everything so exhausting or hard to cope with does not means that they would have a smooth life. If they have destructive or the hurtful behavior then that means that it is a reaction to a deep emotional pain. It is not compulsory that it could be because of you. When they say something hurtful to you, do understand that the behavior is motivate by the desire to stop the pain he or she is experiencing. People with BPD are furthermore hypersensitive to every emotional nuance, usually in a negative way. BPD can also cause extreme mood swings. One minute the person may idealize their partner and feel very close to them and the very next they might get angry or aggressive towards you.

Having the right knowledge about Borderline Personality Disorder will help you deal and handle some of the difficulties in your relationship. However, do not try to take matters in your hands if you even at one point of time feel that it is getting too much to handle, get them to a professional. Clinical Psychologists are well trained at helping people with BPD and can give them the right treatment.


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Guntass Kaur Sandhu


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