9 Symptoms of BPD
If you're thinking you may have #BPD or know someone who might. Here are the 9 symptoms that are used to diagnose #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder. A person with 5 or more would qualify for the diagnosis.
1. Fear Of Abandonment:
A borderline has an extreme fear of abandonment, which can be real or perceived. This could be someone leaving their life for good, or something as simple as emotional dismissal. Leading them to believe the person doesn't truly care for them and will inevitably leave sooner or later.
They will constantly try to prepare for the abandonment, oftentimes triggering it with their irrational behavior.
Fear of abandonment usually stems from severe trauma or loss. There are other theories behind why it occurs, like cognitive and emotional development issues (See: BPD and Memory Loss), past relationships (See: BPD & C-PTSD), and childhood trauma.
2. Unstable & Intense Interpersonal Relationships:
This can be an intimate relationship, immediate family, close friends, co-workers, etc.
New relationships start out passionately but then start to roller coaster from one extreme to another. A person with #BPD generally sees things as either "all good" or "all bad," with no middle ground. They often swing from extreme love and idealization to extreme dislike or devaluation. This can be with a new lover, friend, or even job. This is known as #Splitting. (See: What is Splitting in BPD)
Borderlines often dive headfirst into new relationships without much thought, and even less reservation. However, more often than not, something will happen (ex. an argument with a partner, criticism from a co-worker or boss, plans falling through, etc.) that causes them to switch their view on the person or situation from good to bad.
This is a defense. A person with #BPD will subconsciously develop ways to protect themself from future trauma. It's basically, "you showed me that you're capable of hurting me, so I'm going to go ahead and just hate you now, so you can't do that to me again."
That being said, #Borderlines crave relationships. So, they will continue to jump into them, whatever the form, causing a vicious cycle that ends up fueling their fear of abandonment.
People who suffer from BPD are extremely sensitive to rejection and tend to "overreact" when faced with it, Real or perceived, the emotion hurts the same. It can become so overwhelming that many give up on whatever they are doing at the moment. Sometimes they even destroy relationships or quit their jobs. It's extremely debilitating and holds significant consequences.
Being self-aware, they often know the consequences beforehand and still can't do anything to stop it.
My Personal Favorite on the Subject! Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship
3. Identity Disturbance:
This is a distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self. Things like goals, behavior, and beliefs can change frequently. It's a constant, often subconscious feeling of not knowing who you are. There's a general discontentment of not knowing how to live because they don't really know what they even like. Someone with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder will often times #mirror the traits of people around them. However, some will go so far as to change their name and identify as someone else entirely with defining traits of their own.
In a recent study, 4 identity disturbance factors were identified in BPD.
Painful Incoherence - The most distinguished in BPD, is a subjective sense of lack of coherence.
To explain, a Sense of Coherence or #SOC is "an adaptive dispositional orientation with the personality, that enables coping with adverse experiences." Meaning, their ability to understand the situation. The greater your understanding, the greater your ability to cope, and vice versa.
Inconsistency - This is an objective incoherence in thought, feeling, and behavior. Inconsistent, meaning, not staying the same throughout.
Lack of Commitment - Displayed in things such as jobs, morals, or goals.
Identity Disturbance, more so than many other symptoms, sets #BPD patients apart from those with other disorders. It's also prevalent in BPD patients that don't have a history of abuse.
Psychologically, #inpulsivity (or impulsiveness) is the tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the possible consequences.
Some examples could be substance abuse, binge eating, spending sprees, reckless driving, unprotected sex, etc.
A person with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder has a tendency to act this way as a way to relieve whatever the emotion is that's overwhelming them at the time. It only serves as a bandaid though, and they are left picking up the pieces of their impulsive behavior after each episode. All the while, it's just about impossible for them to stop themselves from the act in the first place, and knowing it will inevitably happen again. We just see that it feels better "right now."
Not only does their impulsive behavior negatively affect them, but the fallout also tends to land on those around them. This is yet another reason they struggle with relationships, of any kind.
Note: If these behaviors are primarily associated with a good mood or high energy level, it could be a sign of a mood disorder, rather than #BPD.
5. Recurrent Suicidal Behavior or Thoughts / Self Harm:
#SelfHarm is often shown through behaviors like cutting. This generally isn't a suicide attempt, but more an attempt to physically "let out" their internal pain.
#Suicide attempts can sometimes be a cry for help but can be extremely dangerous as many have actually died not intending to. However, often it's not a cry for help, but that they don't actually see that there's any other option to cure the constant pain they are in.
If you or someone you know is struggling with this, there are resources to help!
People with #BPD and those around them often think they are a lost cause, or nothing could ever "fix them" enough to live a normal life. This is simply NOT true!
There are lots of success stories out there if you're needing a little inspiration!
Give it a Google.. or feel free to check these out!
6. Affective Instability:
Defined as the tendency to experience rapid and intense mood swings that are difficult to control.
Moods fluctuate intensely over a short period of time, and go from one extreme to another, triggered by things around them, or moments in a conversation. It's very hard to tell what the next trigger will be, as the person with #BPD often doesn't even realize what their triggers are.
Emptional instability is a defining characteristic of #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder however it's not to be confused with #BiPolar Disorder. Someone with Bi-Polar will have mood shifts in a matter of days. A person with #BPD will have mood shifts in a matter of hours, sometimes minutes.
7. Cronic Feeling of Emptiness:
This is experienced as a feeling of numbness and "nothingness" so to speak. It's a feeling of disconnection from both self and others. It's also associated with feelings of purposelessness and unfulfillment. Like, "there's nothing inside me, I'm a hollow shell." A person with #BPD will try to fill the empty space with other things, such as another person, purchases, etc. They have a need to feel whole and look to the world to complete them.
Some examples of things that could cause this are, not having very many meaningful relationships, living or working in an invalidating environment, not having a clear sense of self. A majority of the time they feel unworthy or undeserving and don't believe they are important at all.
8. Innaproprate and Intense Shows of Anger:
This usually involves screaming and yelling, but it can sometimes even get physical. It can be sudden and very intense, and it leaves those close to them on edge, "walking on eggshells" all the time.
The person with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder doesn't enjoy acting this way anymore that the people around them enjoy being around it. They are self-aware, though it may not seem like it. They will feel instant regret and fear that they may have triggered abandonment by whoever they got angry with. Then they will turn the anger on themselves for "being so stupid." All within a short period of time, hours, maybe even less.
You never really know what can be a trigger. A good way to put it would be that #Borderlines have really thin skin.
9. Transient Stress-Induced Paranoid Ideation:
This is a feeling of extreme paranoia that everyone, even those they think they are close to, are out to get them, or conspiring against them in some way. They have difficulty trusting due to fear of people's intentions, hear negative voices, and can even be seen as psychotic and delusional. It's dissociation, not to be confused with Dissociation Identity Disorder. It can be like a spell of amnesia. Where they have a very blurred sense of reality for a period of time; if they remember much of it at all. Feeling cut off from themselves, or even seeing themself from "outside their own body."
It can also be an overwhelming feeling that something very bad is about to happen.
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I hope you have a WONDERFUL day!