by E.F. HART
Essay on Borderline Personality Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder a Personality Disorder that is often characterised by extreme mood swings, impulsive and destructive behaviour, intense yet unstable relationships and a perceived or real fear of abandonment.
It is probably the most stigmatised and misunderstood personality disorder to date this could be due to the fact that it is commonly misdiagnosed for Bipolar Disorder.
What is the difference between Bipolar and Borderline?
Bipolar Disorder falls under the category of a Mood Disorder, other mood disorders include Depression and Anxiety. Mood disorders tend to fluctuate on a weekly basis, e.g. someone with Bipolar can be on top of the world one week and then they hit an all time low the next. With personality Disorders such as BPD it is 24/7 fluctuation, there is no break for us that suffer with BPD.
Why the term 'Borderline'?
The term Borderline came from when this Disorder was characterised by being on the Borderline of neurosis and psychosis. The neurotic side being the mood swings happening on a 24/7 basis and the psychosis being that under a great amount of stress, the sufferer can literally become psychotic. They can become delusional and believe that everybody hates them, they become paranoid that the world is out to get them. They can even have auditory or visionary hallucinations or even seem like they are a completely different person.
Is there a difference between Dissociative Identity Disorder and Borderline
Yes, people with Dissociative identity Disorder. i.e Multiple Personality Disorder have multiple Identities. You will find that most people with this disorder are often not afraid to have this disorder unless one of their identities is violent. They often have no control as to when these identities come out and this happens on a daily basis and the identity that comes out depends on the situation that the "host" is in.
People with Borderline can dissociate and one or more identities can take over, however this only happens during times of extreme stress. The dissociation in a Borderline usually happens during a psychotic episode but it is not uncommon though for a Borderline to also have DID.
The other difference is BPD is a disruptive sense of identity. You will often find that someone with BPD is constantly changing their look, their beliefs, their sexuality on a regular basis.
Why does BPD come across as manipulative?
One thing that has to be understood about BPD is they have suffered extreme trauma from an early age.
For example, a young woman beaten and verbally abused by every member of her immediate family. Her parents were constantly disowning other family members so she had no other family to fall back on. Her achievements were invalidated whilst her brother's were praised. Her parents told her to commit suicide when she came out as Bisexual, she was sexually assaulted twice and groomed at the age of 14 and to this day not one of her family members knows of this because they never listened to her or did what they could to protect her, she chose to keep that silent, because to her parents she was just a troublemaker who made up stories for attention. She grew up in a family where because her brother was a soldier, his achievements were celebrated, the fact that she had passed her exams did not matter. Her brother's pictures and certificates were hung on the wall and not one single certificate or picture of her.
So they have also grown up in not just abusive but invalidating environments so their cognitive development was interrupted. They had no compass or guidance, so they never were able to form their own identity. So when a sufferer meets someone, a friend, a new partner, they become attached and that relationship becomes intense and that relationship literally defines that person, so they would have an identity suited to who their partner is.
To a BPD sufferer there is no identity without a partner, spouse or best friend and one thing that is a common misconception is when people say "well we all feel horrible when a partner or spouse leaves." That is true but most people have a strong sense of who they are that they know eventually they'll be fine. the sufferer they literally feel as if they are going to die. The sufferer's biggest fear is abandonment.
This is why to the outside world someone with BPD will come across as an "attention seeker" or "Manipulative", to them they are not being either of those things. When they are abandoned or feel as if they are about to abandoned, they feel as if their is no point in carrying on, they are losing or have lost their sense of who they were, when that person leaves. So they will inflict extreme harm with intent to die. Ultimately, no, it is not fair on the partner or friend but people need to understand it is not the intent of the sufferer to manipulate, they are literally begging for that person to stay because everybody else has left them.
alternatively to fill the emptiness, the sufferer will engage in impulsive behaviour such as over spending or they will engage in unprotected sex with several different partners and most of the time, this is because that sexual partner has shown them an interest and they become attached very quickly, but are soon quickly abandoned.
Is BPD curable?
No, BPD is not curable. Most personality disorders are not curable, sufferers have to learn to live with their disorder. The death rate of BPD is 1 in 10. this is widely again due to stigma, people being misdiagnosed and down to the fact that very little to nobody wants to help the sufferer, again because they are believed to attention seekers who just throw temper tantrums who cannot get their own way.
When someone is diagnosed with BPD they will need to have extensive treatment and therapy and their progress has to be monitored on a daily basis as with most personality disorders.