Category: Borderline Personality Disorder

Relationships & BPD

A study was conducted to compare relationships with control subjects to individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

55 participants with BPD and 38 healthy controls were told to interact between computers with investors and trustees. Investors started every 10-round game with $20 and could invest anywhere in between 0-20. If investors clicked a button it would send the investment offer and would automatically triple the amount, at which point the trustee decided how much to return. If the amount returned was less than the amount invested, the investor was likely to offer smaller amounts in future rounds, which signaled a breakdown in trust and cooperation in the relationship. Trustees could try to “coax” their investor partner by returning a large portion of the tripled investment, even when the offer was low.
Results found that trust and cooperation faltered over time in pairs that included a person with borderline personality disorder. Subjects with BPD behaved in ways that caused a breakdown in cooperation with their healthy partners. Were half as likely as healthy trustees to try to repair the relationship through coaxing. Findings suggest that people with borderline personality disorder are not persuaded by rewards of money in the same ways as healthy people, or that they do not regard low investment offers as a violation of social norms. Also, people with BPD reported lower levels of trust in general, compared with healthy participants. This study offers a new way of studying and understanding interpersonal relationships and mental illnesses that impair social interactions.



Poll on health of BPD relationships

Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines

As mentioned, psychotherapy is a useful way to help patients with BPD. Gunderson is a psychoanalyst who gives a criteria of diagnosis for BPD:

(In order of importance)
– Intense unstable relationships in which the borderline always ends up getting hurt. Gunderson admits that this symptom is somewhat general, but considers it so central to BPD that he says he would hesitate to diagnose a patient as BPD without its presence.
– Repetitive self-destructive behavior, often designed to prompt rescue.
–  Chronic fear of abandonment and panic when forced to be alone.
– Distorted thoughts/perceptions, particularly in terms of relationships and interactions with others.
– Hypersensitivity, meaning an unusual sensitivity to nonverbal communication. Gunderson notes that this can be confused with distortion if practitioners are not careful (somewhat similar to Herman’s statement that, while survivors of intense long-term trauma may have unrealistic notions of the power realities of the situation they were in, their notions are likely to be closer to reality than the therapist might think).
– Impulsive behaviors that often embarrass the borderline later.
– Poor social adaptation: in a way, borderlines tend not to know or understand the rules regarding performance in job and academic settings.

The Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines, Revised
Diagnosis used in clinical interviews (Revised in 1989)

Affect chronic/major depression
anger (including frequent expressions of anger)

Cognition odd thinking
unusual perceptions
nondelusional paranoia

Impulse action patterns substance abuse/dependence
sexual deviance
manipulative suicide gestures
other impulsive behaviors

Interpersonal relationships intolerance of aloneness
abandonment, engulfment, annihilation fears
stormy relationships

The DIB-R is the most influential and best-known “test” for diagnosing BPD. Use of it has led researchers to identify four behavior patterns they consider peculiar to BPD: abandonment, engulfment, annihilation fears; demandingness and entitlement; treatment regressions; and ability to arouse inappropriately close or hostile treatment relationships.

Psychotherapy and BPD

Although medication can decrease symptoms in BPD, sometimes it is not enough to control emotions. Psychotherapy is a good option for patients with BPD because it can teach them coping mechanisms which will be useful in everyday life and relationships. The most important reasoning for psychotherapy is keeping the patient from suicidal thoughts and the action of commiting suicide and is carefully examined throughout the sessions. Since borderline is a personality disorder, the person cannot fully change and they use their emotions and behaviors as coping mechanisms for handeling with everyday issues in their life. A psychotherapist can teach the patient to find new healthy ways to handle their stress and emotions, so they are not hurting themselves or their relationships. Because of this, treatment is a long process and the new ways could be difficult for the patient to take hold of and continue. Treatment for BPD may be difficult for the therapist since patients tend to hide their emotions by lying. Often times the patient will “test the therapist”, so it is necessary that boundaries are set before beginning therapy.

Controlling the Extreme Emotions of BPD

This is a video explaining how to control emotions that BPD may produce. This is made by the same person as the video “The 5 Faces of Borderline Personality Disorder”. This video is made to help people who have BPD, or people who know someone that has BPD and how to have stable relationships with someone that has BPD.

Borderline is a DSM-IV axis II, which means it is a personality disorder. Being a personality disorder signifies that the disorder is chronic and have longer lasting symptoms which may interfer with quality of life. Although borderline personality is on the axis II, mental disorders could also develop, as well as other personality disorders. Some of the common mental disorders include, eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, panic disorder, attention deficient hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and conduct disorder. Other personality disorders that may be present are, antisocial personality disorder, narcisstic personality disorder, and obsessive compusive personality disorder (OCPD).
It is common for women with BPD to experience eating disorders, while men can experience substance-use. Adolescents with BPD may appear to be more anxious and have other personality disorders such as passive aggressive personality disorder, or shizotypal. Along with many other disorders depression may be an issue with people who have BPD.

People with bpd often experience what is called “psychosis”, which is defined as an impaired reality and chaotic thinking. Psychosis is caused by stress and can last for a few days at a time. When people with bpd are in a state of psychosis they are unable to seperate reality from their inner mental state and can confuse the external from their emotions, thoughts, and fears. It is common for individuals to take something of the past and change it to fit their own reality and viewpoint of the situation.

Read more at Suite101: Psychosis and Delusions: Psychosis, Delusions, and Personality Disorders |

Many people often confuse borderline personality with bipolar disorder because the symptoms can be somewhat similar in certain situations, often dealing with relationships. This article explains the differences between bipolar disorder and borderline personality.

Borderline VS Bipolar

Check out this video which explains and displays a typical conversation with someone with BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)affects people whom are fearful of abandonment which causes the individual to be dependent on others and have unstable relationships.  People with BPD have low self-esteem and engage in impulsive behaviors which begins in early adulthood.

Symptoms of BPD include:

  • Make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  • Have a pattern of difficult relationships caused by alternating between extremes of intense admiration and hatred of others.
  • Have an unstable self-image or be unsure of his or her own identity.
  • Act impulsively in ways that are self-damaging, such as extravagant spending, frequent and unprotected sex with many partners, substance abuse, binge eating, or reckless driving.
  • Have recurring suicidal thoughts, make repeated suicide attempts, or cause self-injury through mutilation, such as cutting or burning himself or herself.
  • Have frequent emotional overreactions or intense mood swings, including feeling depressed, irritable, or anxious. These mood swings usually only last a few hours at a time. In rare cases, they may last a day or two.
  • Have long-term feelings of emptiness.
  • Have inappropriate, fierce anger or problems controlling anger. The person may often display temper tantrums or get into physical fights.
  • Have temporary episodes of feeling suspicious of others without reason (paranoia) or losing a sense of reality.

In order to be diagnosed with a personality disorder the individual must present 5 or more symptoms which are very severe and causes issues with daily life and relationships.

BPD may cause psychosis which is defined as paranoia and a loss of reality which usually appear through a crisis. If the psychosis lasts very long than the condition may be schizophrenia.


If you know or are someone diagnosed with BPD it is wise to pay close attention to their behavior for the fact that BPD will cause suicidal thoughts and 1 in 10 individuals completing suicide.