The Emotional Turmoil of Borderline Personality Disorder

What do you think of when I say “borderline personality?” Someone who is changeable? Someone who is moody? If so, you are right. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often one of the most difficult disorders for families, caregivers, friends, and associates to deal with on a daily basis. The ups and downs can take such an emotional and psychological toll on families and friends that most individual with BPD end up alone, divorced, separated, or hospitalized. As a result, BPD is often misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder.

The most problematic feature of the illness is the black/white, off/on emotions. I once worked with a young girl with BPD and every session she was a different person, with different problems every time. One session she came in upbeat, happy, and quite enamored with me as her therapist. She was having problems with her boyfriend who threatened suicide. His emotional chaos prompted her emotional chaos. Relationships involving an individual with BPD often include:

  • Irritability; pervasive mood change(s)
  • emotional chaos
  • disconnectedness
  • paranoia
  • rage and anger, often unnecessary
  • hyperactivity or nervousness
  • fear of abandonment
  • clingy one moment, distancing another moment
  • easily angered or frustrated
  • outbursts or impulsivity

The list is exhaustive! For more information and a very good video on BPD, visit my sister-site PsychCentral.

Take good care of yourself.