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What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental condition defined by extremes in behavior. The name itself is derived from the alleged borderline between neurosis and psychosis, although modern psychologists have backed away from that definition. In essence, a patient with this disorder is always teetering on the edge between manageable anxiety and uncontrollable psychotic behavior. A patient may cut himself with a knife, for example, but only to the point of self-mutilation, not necessarily suicide.

Although borderline personality disorder can manifest itself in males or females, the majority of diagnosed cases tend to be young women just entering adulthood. It is believed that childhood trauma or sexual abuse is directly linked to the later formation of this condition. Sufferers often enter into risky sexual relationships or develop intense but unstable friendships. Those with true a borderline personality may become so emotionally dependent on others that steady relationships become impossible to maintain.

One major aspect of borderline personality disorder is the "black or white" worldview. Those with BPD tend to evaluate their friends, co-workers and family members with a hypercritical eye. A sibling may be seen as an idealized role model one day, only to be treated as untrustworthy or useless the next. The only person a BPD sufferer hates more than an unfaithful friend is his or herself. Self-mutilations and extremely low self-esteem are classic symptoms of the disorder.

There are some critics who suggest that borderline personality disorder is more of a generic diagnosis used to categorize those who don't fit other mental disorder definitions neatly. BPD may be similar to the muscular condition of fibromyalgia — more of a catch-all diagnosis for a number of unrelated symptoms. In fact, many young women in the 1960s and 1970s were routinely diagnosed with this disorder, leading to controversial confinement in psychiatric hospitals. Winona Ryder's character in the film Girl, Interrupted is diagnosed with it, although she does not manifest the more extreme symptoms.

Treatment for this disorder is typically long-term psychotherapy and the use of mood stabilizing drugs. Psychotherapy is not always an easy process, because sufferers often treat their doctors with the same disdain and animosity they show to others. The main objective of psychotherapy is to get past the patient's defense mechanisms and discover the initial trauma which triggered the condition. Borderline personality disorder can be equally devastating for close friends and family members, who feel the need to 'clean up' after the sufferer and may become enablers.

Borderline personality disorder can accompany other mental conditions, which often makes a proper diagnosis difficult. While someone with a bipolar disorder may be depressed for weeks, a BPD sufferer may be depressed for a few hours and then become almost manic for a short time. Binge eating, promiscuity, gambling and excessive shopping are also indicators of an active disorder.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon943259 — On Apr 01, 2014

My ex girlfriend has bpd, but she has a very kind nature. She can't understand her behavior. Is it her fault? She has no control over herself. Is it her fault?

Everybody criticizes bpd persons. My bpd girl friend left me, then came back with shame. Bpd persons also have dreams and want to live good life, but no one understands their problems. We must fight against this disorder.

By Shasta13 — On Nov 05, 2013

I believe I've been dating a man with bpd for the past year. We have broken up on and off and each time it gets worse. Every time we fight he thinks or says we're broken up and immediately talks to other women. After we have resolved our issues I will later find out about this and he says, "We were broken up. I never thought we were getting back together". I get so frustrated because I want him to come after me and work on our issues, but instead he always runs to other women. He says he only texts them because it’s an addiction because he's insecure.

Somehow, he always turns it around and says he's insecure about us or that if I had never left, or did what I did he wouldn't have gone to other women. I feel like I'm crazy. I'm reading all of the traits of a bpd, like mood changes, manipulative, projection, alcoholism, lies, jealousy, insecurities and abandonment issues, he fits it all. I see it and I realize he has deep rooted issues but then I see some traits of bpd in me, or so I think. I don't know if it’s normal or because I have issues, too.

All I want is to be loved. I want someone to always be there for me. I'm insecure and I want someone to adore me. I break up because I get frustrated and then always give in, because I love deeply and for me that just doesn't go away so easily.

I know I'm in a bad situation. I know that I have to think about my self and the verbal abuse and how his demeaning me is taking a toll on me. But on the flip side, I do see a good side, and see that they cannot regulate their emotions and they are afraid of abandonment. Then, I feel bad and I want to be there for him because if abandonment is what he fears the most (which is my fear as well) then I don't want to be the one who makes it worse.

I love this man who acts like a boy. I don't want to end it but I know it's toxic. It's only been a few weeks and I know it takes time. I'm in therapy but I know if he called me I would be there in a second. So really, who is worse?

By anon354145 — On Nov 05, 2013

I believe I've been dating a man with bpd for the past year. We have broken up on and off and each time it gets worse. Every time we fight he thinks or says we're broken up and immediately talks to other woman. After we have resolved our issues I will later find out about this and he says "we were broken up, I never thought we were getting back together". I get so frustrated because I want him to come after me and work on our issues, instead he always runs to other woman. He says he only texts them because its an addiction because he's insecure somehow he always turns it around and says he's insecure about us or that if I had never of left or did what I did he wouldn't have gone to other woman.. I feel like I'm crazy.. I'm reading all of the traits of a bpd, mood changes, manipulative, projection, alcoholic, lies, jealousy, insecurities and abandoment issues,he fits it all I see it and I realize he has deep rooted issues but then I see some traits of bpd in me or so i think.... I don't know if its normal or,auberge I have an issue to... All I want is to be loved, I want someone to always be there for me, I'm insecure, I want someone to adore me, I break up because I get frustrated and then always give in, because I love deeply and for me that just doesn't go away so easily. I know I'm in a bad situation, I know that I have to think about my self and the verbal abuse, demeaning way is taking a toll on me... But on the flip side I do see a good side... And see that they cannot regulate their emotion and they are afraid of abandonment and then I feel bad and I want to be there for him because if abandonment is what he fears the most ( which is my fear as well) than I don't want to be the one that makes it worse. I love this man who acts like a boy .. I don't want to end it but I know it's toxic... It's only been a few weeks and I know it takes time, I'm in therapy but I know if he called me I would be there in a second... So really who is worse??????

By anon344074 — On Aug 05, 2013

I was born with this chemical imbalance in my brain. I did not ask for this and the road has been awful. I was told I was bipolar, then years later was told I had BPD, and PTSD. I had a crappy childhood with narcissistic parents.

The BPD studies show that the BPD improves and dissipates around the mid forties to early fifties. I'm single, never married due to the fact that I did not want to put anyone through my ups and downs. My family and what friends I had basically shunned me when I told them what I had.

It has been hard, but it has made me stronger and more focused on getting better. The journey to a safe balance is not easy. Meds do not work, so I practice hot yoga three hours a day with meditation, take vitamins, eat healthy and keep a log on my cycles so I know how to handle them. At times, it has been very lonely and discouraging.

Prior to my diagnosis, I was under the impression that I would be accepted into society and fit in with a career and the American dream, but I obviously got a different deal. If this had been diagnosed sooner, I'm not sure if it would have made a difference. I have screwed up a lot of my life during my down times.

I'm 41 now and sick of fixing my messes and picking up the pieces. So I'm hoping that perhaps with the way I have been living my life I may work my way out of the BPD. Hope is a good thing. If not, I have accepted that this is me and I have to love myself. Society is so clueless about this condition and we are shunned for something we did not ask for, and were just born with.

For those who have shunned me, normal is a setting on a washing machine, so get over the fact. We’re not monsters. We’re human beings with a lot to offer if we take responsibility for our illness and do everything we can to keep our lives in control and balanced.

To all the BPD out there, it stinks and lack of support bites, but you can get through it. I'm 41 and a survivor of many things so take it one day at a time. Godspeed.

By anon327464 — On Mar 28, 2013

Please don't judge the wife. Her marriage has been a nightmare. She has shown compassion and empathy for the Bpd. But has received emotional abuse which has overflowed on to her two young children. Alcohol abuse and total denial of any abusive behavior from the Bpd. She must disconnect from the Bdp but where is the man she loved?

The effects on everyone around the Bpd are huge, but he sits in his dark hole waiting for someone to care and attend to him, but has no compassion or empathy for those who do.

By anon261654 — On Apr 16, 2012

I have been in a relationship for six months with a man who, I have decided after much research, is BPD. Things can be great, and I may say something that is just conversational, and before I know it, I am being screamed at, called all kinds of names, told I am cheating on him, and he ends the relationship. After several hours he calms down and calls me and acts as if nothing ever happened.

He has become physically abusive, and now there is no longer an option of staying. He lies, he cheats, and accuses me of the same. I feel totally betrayed, because this is not the way he was when I met him. I asked him about three months ago to go to counseling with me, because I loved the man I first met, not this abusive monster that has come out of nowhere.

I was told by the ex-girlfriend that he cheated on to be with me (who I didn't know about) that he is bipolar too. I feel like I am the crazy person, and feel so traumatized. What did I miss?

By anon258354 — On Mar 31, 2012

Anon571054: To all of those asking, I wish I knew how to help. My daughter is in a facility for the first time for treatment, and of course they're not keeping her long enough, she is allowed to call out anytime which I thought wasn't supposed to happen, and is leaning on a boyfriend. They both recently got into legal troubles. She is like one of yours: I'm supposed to be all of the problem.

She moved out shortly after she turned 18, then came back, then we made her leave, then she got into trouble and came back. She was abused badly by a boyfriend a couple of years ago and has gone down since. She is extremely smart and had great opportunities ahead of her and I'm afraid she's thrown it all away, but of course the main thing is for her to get better.

From what all of you are saying, I see a very hard road ahead and I do not want to enable her. Everything about her sounds like all of your comments and since she has been diagnosed, all of this doesn't sound very encouraging. I've already seen my Mom and family go through this with my brother who is schizophrenic. I am at a loss, so if anyone has any insight into successful treatment let me know. She is coming home soon and will face some legal action.

By anon248865 — On Feb 18, 2012

For all who write information here.

There is one truth in life, and you cannot reach it if you put yourself off balance. You all know what this means, as all can feel, borderlines and nons, when this is happening.

If being with a borderline, spouse, partner, son, daughter, etc., puts you off balance, you cannot help anyone, because you are not helping yourself.

To truly help another, for any reason, that help must be offered from a power base of inner balance. Find that first, then look to others in need, all the while keeping that balance in check.

Sometimes, to help another, you must leave to help yourself first. It may take 10 months or 10 years. Only life knows when. After that, help radiates from you as empathy, guarded with truth.

Ask yourself this, "Am I really in balance being where I am, and who I am with?" If not, your truth says you must go, and find it then.

By anon242951 — On Jan 25, 2012

I'm a mental health nurse, and I work on a specialised personality disorder female unit. I have been working there three years now and must admit I don't fully understand BPD and it is a very challenging illness.

What I find with my allocated patients is that self harm is not always a bad thing, as there are complications that comes with cutting and serious injury, we tend to promote 'safer' self harm, e.g., placing an elastic band on the wrist and flicking it. Some BPD hear inaudible stimuli in the form of voices. These, however, do tend to be of a pseudo nature, and the anti-psychotic medications don't always work. The voices tend to be of an unidentified nature and when you get to the bottom of them are about what the BPD patient feels. For instance, they may say, “They're telling me to die.” I find the best thing to do is challenge them, because solution-focused therapy does work well. I find the “grave side question” my favorite. But everyone has a different way of working.

BPD patients are very manipulative and sensitive to rejection, but firm boundaries do need to be put in place; wrapping them in cotton wool doesn't work. A lot of people with BPD have been abused, sexually, physically or mentally, or experienced being abandoned at a young age, and I believe their behavior is a coping mechanism.

What I always put across to my patients is they are responsible for their own actions and I give them the responsibility. Reflection is very good. If an incident happens, when they appear more settled, I always address this with a firm, but calm approach.

By anon230948 — On Nov 22, 2011

I have recently met a new friend who has told me from day one that she has bipolar. I didn't realize what symptoms they have until I looked it up on the net. She shops nonstop and has been in the priory. She has invited me to her house for a girls' night in and to have a drink. After reading that sufferers should avoid alcohol, I'm concerned.

I know we all have our cross to bear, but I am concerned that she may become aggressive towards me. I do not understand totally how this disease affects people, but have read they can become a threat when drinking. I have only recently become friends with this person and am now not sure if it would be a good idea going to her house. I feel awful asking this, but if anyone could give advice I would be grateful.

By anon225776 — On Oct 28, 2011

I am one also but only got diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. I know I am one because I am nearly 50 and it only happened in 2007 and I can feel the other personalities and tell their voices and I know it came from child abuse and no doctors give me any time. I am a too hard basket case and refuse medication out of fear and refuse to involve or expect a partner to love me or help me while my mind is like this.

I do not cut, but I can rhyme, and they will all laugh at that. Why would I want to create a big fuss? And what is it anyway that we need to discuss? The way the humans tried to take my life or the way they tried to take me as their wife? Oh for the joy of a human who cares and oh for the joy of a human who shares. "Call the doctor" but the doctor ain't around. "call the doctor". but no doctor makes no sound!

By anon212600 — On Sep 07, 2011

I'm a gay woman who became involved with a straight woman who was in process of coming out. My best friend and I were trying to help help her get her life back on track. All was going very well until she had a biopsy on her thyroid to see if it was cancer. We were supposed to meet with her back in June to help her get ready for surgery.

That particular day when we arrived at her apartment she came out at us in a rage. She called us all sorts of names and accused us of stalking her. We have not heard from her since July 2. We did not abandon her! She pushed us away and we can't do anything to help her. We have been greatly damaged and now we are in therapy. We still love and miss her very much. But we're lost. What do we do?

By anon168694 — On Apr 18, 2011

My sister dated a man with BPD. During the course of the relationship he drove her insane. She tried to get him to see a psychiatrist to no avail. Well it ended when he told her he was going to slit the throat of her dogs and find me when I'm alone running and snap my neck. Just as I imagine it is difficult to be a person with BPD it is also difficult to be the spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend of someone with this disorder.

We ended up having to move and change our phone number and delete our social network account because of his constant stalking (the restraining order did nothing to deter him) and threats.

For anyone who thinks they are in a relationship with someone with BPD get them to get help, if they don't, get out! It's not a prejudice. You have a right to feel safe and happy.

By anon161525 — On Mar 20, 2011

I was 'semi' diagnosed with BPD a while back ago in 2008 and never thought about it again because of my ignorant thoughts that it had to do with Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder (my friend has it and she is a mess for months at a time. I was not like this at all). The only thing I could accept was the fact I have PTSD.

So I kept continuing to have issues. I had anxiety, panic attacks, which I was treated for and got taken care of, but they would every now and then pop back up.

I am in a relationship that went from loving to an abusive, on the rocks relationship and it's ending and I am panicking about losing my fiance forever.

He has been patient, but now he is abusive, because my fear of him leaving results in me getting in his way and fighting him to the death so he won't leave. He then gets physical and puts me down, making things worse. Our friendship and years of love are now coming to an end.

I am in constant turmoil and fear. And doing some research has led me to find out what BPD really is. I could have slapped myself years ago for not doing this research and taking my psychiatrist seriously.

I need help for recovery to save my relationship, but most importantly to save myself. I need help and don't know how to approach appropriate therapy. I have been on antidepressants and anti-anxiety and am done with those drugs. They do help, but only for a while. I am in a better stage in my life. I am just fed up with constantly cleaning up what my past has given me. I want to be free, not controlled by my emotions formed at childhood abuse.


By anon152345 — On Feb 13, 2011

I am disgusted by the person who said it is devastating to end up married to someone like this. People like you do not help people like me. Do you think it is any easier for us? Do you think we are unaware that there is something wrong with us? Do you think we are unaware of how we are treating the people who mean the world to us?

We need understanding and compassion, and help. Not condemnation. I don't go around saying that it must be devastating to be married to a gambler, an alcoholic or a drug addict. BPD is a problem. I can't speak for all borderlines, but most of us deal with it the best that we can.

By anon148219 — On Jan 31, 2011

mywolves9999: i am the mother of a son exactly like yours. for my own survival purposes, i could not let him live with me and abuse me. His unpredictable rollercoaster behavior made me physically ill. I was unable to function or care for his siblings. I was the worst mother or the best- black or white.

I haven't spoken to him and I won't because, until *he* realizes that something is not right and he can own up to his behavior, and he realizes his life sucks and he wants help to make it better, there is nothing i can do. Enabling just prevents the inevitable. Tough love! Don't let him steal your life away too. That won't help your boy! -fundaze14

By Rasclin — On Nov 24, 2010

I was, until recently, dating a woman who almost certainly had BPD. She was 22, I'm 31. It only lasted three months, during which time she continuously berated me for being a "carpet."

She excused her constant childish behavior as her "water personality," which I was supposed to make up for in some way. Two days after breaking it off, she immediately began to see a man who is a registered sex offender (and has been abusive to his many girlfriends). The depressed part of me says that the rebound will last. I should note also that she told me she'd been off of depression medication for a year.

If I'd taken a stand, would a healthy relationship have resulted? I don't know. She's trying to be nicer to me now (and failing). I'm beginning to think the only thing to do is either get these people on medication or cull them from your life.

By anon126264 — On Nov 12, 2010

I am a BPD sufferer who has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness and my rage knows no bounds. Never have I harmed another, but if anyone distresses me I harm myself badly. Now all I do is sit in isolation at home as it is the only way I can protect myself from myself.

By anon118789 — On Oct 15, 2010

I'm gay and in an interracial relationship. My boyfriend has BPD but I don't think he knows this. The one day he'll be very loving and kind the next he is quarrelsome and eventually goes into a rage, verbally abusing in the vilest of ways. Most weekends he wants to booze because he feels bored but after a few drinks he starts his hostile behavior. The next day he'll feel bad and be very sweet.

A day or two later the pattern repeats. He has been physically violent. He goes and visits his friends from time to time which is OK since it gives me breathing room but whenever I want to go and visit people he insists on coming with. Then he'll start his aggressive behavior in front of people with no regard for the consequences. I really love him though. Please help!

By anon110602 — On Sep 12, 2010

I've been dating someone off and on for the last year now. I believe she has BPD, she seems to show all the, well except for the cutting. It seems to be a continuous cycle. She'll break off with me, then anywhere from a week to two weeks later, she'll call me, saying how she misses me. We'll get back together, and just when everything is going great, she'll break off again. I love this woman like I've never loved anyone before.

She's let me experience highs that i never dreamed possible, unfortunately, not long after the highs, she'll put me through the lows. If anyone else would be telling me this, I would say just leave her, but it is very different when your living it. She also has two kids that I've love like they are my own. I've read about the signs to look for, and they seem to be the story of my life for the past year. When we first met, she made me feel like I was the perfect guy for her, it was amazing. But then the other signs would follow as well. Like the constant talking about her ex husband, and how he ruined there marriage, and every bad thing she could possibly say about him. How she would talk great about her parents one minute, and the next minute, she hated them.

She seems to get stressed out over the smallest things and make it seem like it's bigger than it really is. In the beginning she would cry, saying she was worried that I would would leave her, because of how she gets. I reassured her that I wasn't going anywhere, then almost right after, she would break off with me.. very confusing. She always seems to need saving. After I come in and save the day, she's great! But then not long after she needs more saving. Her emotional ups and downs can be draining on me, sometimes I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around her.

I've been in relationships before, and was married for eight years once, and never experienced such a rollercoaster ride. If anything ever goes wrong in her life, she's very quick to pass the blame onto someone else. I think I've been holding on, always hoping that things are going to change. Do people with BPD know before getting into a relationship, what they are doing. All the signs seem to show that they never planned on it working out in the first place.

By anon110086 — On Sep 10, 2010

@Mywolves999: Phone the medical professionals who prescribed these medicines and tell them exactly what is going on with your son, his behavior, the cutting, the whole lot!

If your son's moods have become a lot worse than before, it could have something to do with the medication cocktail he is on. Could be side effects (sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, especially on mood stabilisers/anti depressants).

I have borderline personality with bipolar traits and have been on a number of medications. Some of them did make me into a crazy woman, smashing things and verbally abusing the people I loved. I was full of rage! I was dangerous so I locked myself in my bedroom and didn't come out until I was stable!

I have self awareness though, and this saves me a lot of the time. The people I loved understood it was not me but the medication/illness so they stood by me and believe me for this I am very grateful. I also lost a lot of friends. In fact, I only have one now. It's my family who stood by me.

I think you should have him sectioned for a short while, until he is at least stable or he could end up in trouble for abusing the wrong person one day. People who self harm or are a threat to others should be sectioned until they are stable. It is a tough thing to deal with and please do not throw him out of the house! You may as well stab him yourself!

I suggest you read up every single thing on bpd and try your hardest to understand it from a bpd persons point of view! There are so many websites and support groups offering advice and help. Look it up! He is not smashing the house because he is not getting his own way; there is a lot more to it.

1. Phone the doctors/hospital/ambulance if he is seriously self harming!

2. Educate yourself on the illness.

3. Sectioned.

4. Stick to therapy and medication when released.

By anon90476 — On Jun 16, 2010

@Anon89958: Your thoughts and feelings are probably very different from those of the persons around you.

That is why it can be very difficult for you to understand others and vice versa. If you accept this difference, you can learn to overcome it. You are letting yourself be controlled by your fear of rejection.

You can turn that fear into a hunger for approval. If you do this you will find it much easier to act and become confident again.

Wish you the best of luck!

By anon90326 — On Jun 15, 2010

Dear mother: The key to helping your son is by gaining his trust. If he is hostile to you nothing you say or do will reach his mind.

If you cannot gain his trust, I believe it is better to have others look after him instead. I think drugs are usually not the answer to depression. Please use them only if you feel good about it.

By anon89958 — On Jun 13, 2010

I don't know what to do. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and subsequently discovered I also have Borderline personality disorder.

I lost my job, even though i had been in the same steady job for 14 years, and since I started treatment, my moods have gone wildly out of control.

I don't cut but I abuse medication. I am meant to go back onto Zyprexa but I can't trust myself with the tablets as I will just abuse them. I am now heavily in debt, no job, afraid of the treatment and very alone as my friends have had to leave. Oddly though, I have no fear of abandonment and crave being on my own!

By anon70382 — On Mar 14, 2010

I was diagnosed with BPD almost seven years ago. I still struggle. My BPD did not manifest itself until I was preparing to leave home for college. I felt like I was going crazy, like my mind was splitting into pieces.

My family has been amazingly supportive. They even moved me back home from the university because they were worried. It was actually then that I downed a bottle of pills. I kept saying that I wasn't trying to kill myself, I just wanted attention.

A big turnaround was when after one really bad day, my mom was on a bit of a mission to find me help. I was finally diagnosed and have been on various medications and in intensive Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and psychotherapy.

I feel a heavy guilt often for what I put my family and friends through. I know it's something I didn't ask for, but I am the only one who can control or change this. It is not easy. You feel alone, abandoned, outcast - even when people are right there with you.

I have tried to remember that I just need to take it 24 hours at a time.

By anon66042 — On Feb 17, 2010

My wife was diagnosed two weeks ago with BPD after a suicide attempt (taking lots of pills and running away from home). Similar cases happened before. She hides from me the diagnosis.

She went once to the doctor and says that the doctor is not good so no need to come again. Nothing new for her because she is a doctor herself and she understands herself better. She now insists on having children, I mean she wants it now! I am saying that we should fix our difficult relations by consulting with psychologists.

She wants to kill herself again because she feels that I am leaving her and do not want children from my own wife. I just do not want my children to lose a mother one day, or them seeing a mom hurting herself and shouting with a non-human voice all over the home we live in.

Please advise. What would you tell her to prevent these conversations about having children now? Thank you!

By anon62163 — On Jan 25, 2010

its very important to educate the public about this disorder, as it is very devastating to end up marrying someone with this.

By doctorharvey — On Nov 18, 2009

It seems to me that borderline personalities have a strong need for affection.

If they feel confident and satisfied in general, many of their traits won't be that much of a problem.

However, when their needs are not met they tend to explode in anger and destructive behavior.

I would advise being very cautious when handling your son.

Try to say things as clearly and unambiguously as you can, and try to acknowledge and respect his feelings as much as you can, even though you may not agree or sympathize with them (try to be clear about that as well).

It will probably cost you a load of energy, and will often make you feel like crap, but in the end (so they say) it will all be worth it.

I have a girl friend who has BPD who makes my life a living hell sometimes, but I just keep going, since it is either that or abandoning her completely.

I hope this helps you.

By anon40259 — On Aug 07, 2009

Dear my wolves and Kathy,

I have a 17 year-old son who fits the BPD characteristics. He gets out of control emotionally when he feels stressed, verbally and physically abuses me, and runs away. His girlfriend has come to get him in the middle of the night and lies to me when I try to find out where he is and if he is OK. (He has attempted suicide four times.) Most recently she came up to get him when we were on route to a family camping weekend. He'd hit me because I woke him that we needed to get on the road - he was tired and feeling upset at being away from her for two days. Of course, this all came up in crisis form, when we were halfway to our destination. It took me several hours to find my car keys which he'd left under a tire, and to know where he'd gone. He hasn't been home or answering texts, etc. (except with short rude replies). I know something is wrong and am worried for him - what makes him overwhelmed and abusive. I feel like I am abandoning him because I am not helping. If I convince him to come home, it will happen again. If I don't go after him, he will not get better - just blame me as he does (He has convinced most people I am the problem.)

I don't hear a solution from Kathy - It seems she says being weak or being strong both enable/enhance the problem. That has also been my experience.

I love my son and I want to help him. How do I do that? --KMD

By sokaluv — On May 01, 2009

If he is not treating you right. You cannot be weak. When you are weak we take take advantage. When you act strong, it makes us feel powerless, and out of control. That is when the full range of our symptoms comes out. Do not take anything that he says to heart, he cannot control his feelings.

My sister and my boyfriend both together stopped enabling me, and even kicked me out of the house, and I had to learn how to control my feelings. I am much happier because of it.

When a borderline personality feels out of control they don't care about the consequences, they only care about what they are feeling and they can't see past that. So stop feeling sorry for yourself. Your son needs you to be strong so that he can get better. Be the mother that you are supposed to be. Stop worrying about your sleepless nights, and start worrying about your son. Your son needs you. More than anything. And in the future, he will appreciate you more than you can imagine.

Hope this finds you well and strong.


By anon25479 — On Jan 29, 2009

In 2006, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder after I overdosed on Tylenol. Before then, I thought everything in my life was fine. I did cut, engage in sexual acts, shopped frequently, and had violent mood swings. The overdose set my head somewhat straight. I realized that I did indeed have a problem and my life was not all right. No normal person would have taken as much pills of Tylenol as i took. Sometimes people need to hit the extreme, the rock bottom, to realize that he/she has a problem. Also, if the people surrounding them are enabling their behavior and not trying to stop them, their behavior will never change.

By mywolves9999 — On Aug 29, 2008

I am a mother of a 24 year old man who has been diagnosed with BPD and Bi-Polar. It took months of finding a program and now that we did he has been attending for 3 weeks. They put him on zoloft, calatapin, and abilify. His moods have worsened he is verbally abusing me telling me it is all my fault. He abuses his medications by either not taking them or over taking them. He is a cutter. I really don't know how much more I can take of this. I love my son however he says he is an adult and can do what he wants I say he has to follow the rules of our house if he wants to continue live at home. He has no job; lost it because he cut himself on the job. He destroys the house when he does not get his way. Is there help out there for the families? People tell me to kick him out. Then what? He will be on the street. I won't get any more sleep then either. Is anyone else in this position who can send some advice. He really believes his life is just fine.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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