What is borderline personality disorder?
People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) deal with instability in almost every area of their lives – their relationships, their identity and their actions. They have a hard time holding back their emotions, which means positivity can quickly turn to outrage. BPD can be confused with bipolar disorder, which affects mood rather than personality, says Professor Jill Weber, clinical psychologist and author of Building Self-Esteem 5 Steps: How To Feel “Good Enough” About Yourself. “Personality is a habitual way of being in the world, the way you interact with people in life most of the time,” she says. “It’s disordered because it’s self-defeating and constantly causing problems.”
They have love-hate relationships
One tell-tale sign of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a pattern of idealising and then devaluing other people. For instance, a person with BPD might gush about how perfect another person is when they first meet. But as soon as the other person says one wrong thing or a conflict comes up, the feelings will flip, says Dr Ben Michaelis, psychologist and author of Your Next Big Thing: Ten Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy. “Let’s say that person says something rude or they have a bad date together. Suddenly that person would think he’s evil, intolerable, draws you in only to abuse you,” he says. “They’re really extreme attributes.”
They always have the same relationship problems
That flip between idealising and devaluing can make it tough to maintain a relationship. People with BPD will probably experience a pattern develop in their love lives as they deal with the rollercoaster of emotions. “It’s not just an isolated incident with one person,” says Dr Michaelis. “The same types of relationships over and over again tend to be common.”
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