Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Individuals who show the behaviors associate with Borderline Personality Disorder are severely impaired. Their behavior is marked by frantic efforts to avoid abandonment (real or imagined) by loved ones. Their personal identity and feelings of worth are impaired by frequent negative evaluations of themselves.

The likelihood of abandonment is frequently imagined, though real abandonment is more likely because of their own exceedingly unstable behavior and emotions and their inability to maintain lasting relationships with others. Major mood swings normally lasting a few hours to a few days involve strong anxiety, depression, anger, hostility and even aggression against others and/or themselves. Self-mutilation and suicide attempts are common part of this behavior pattern and so are drug abuse and addiction, hyper-sexuality, law breaking, as are reckless driving and irresponsible money management.

Relationships with borderline disordered individuals are fraught with the person’s normally angry states, temper displays, and frequent verbal or physical fights. Short-lived episodes of confused reality can occur under stressful conditions. Such episodes often involve extreme forms of paranoid thinking. As you might imagine, this marked instability can produce short but very intense relationships with others.

A Representative Example
A lady sought personal therapy for relationship problems that she was having with her live in boyfriend. She also complained of not being able to separate herself from her grandfather’s ashes, which she had carried with her through several moves over the past several years. Grandpa resided in an urn on top a coffee table in front of her couch.

But sessions mostly focused upon her relationships with her live-in boyfriend and they vacilated between her idealizing this man and angrily condeming him for his neglect of her and his possible autoerrotic masterbatory activities. She was obsessed with feeling loved by him. She described how when they made love that she had to have direct and intense eye-contact with him at all times during sex. She said that this helped their souls to more deeply merge and that she could more accurately detect his pashion and love for her that way. However, she and her boyfriend had frequent fights in which she would push and hit him until he would also become aggressive with her.

The boyfriend moved out shortly thereafter and the lady became greatly agitated and self-mutilated by superficially cutting her wrists as she had done several times before.

Suspected Causes
Borderline personality disordered individuals have frequently suffered extremely damaging treatment at the hands of their parents, caretakers or others. Such maltreatment often includes incest or sexual abuse, often over prolonged periods of time. Sexual victimization is more often found in woman. These individuals have often had numerous caretaker parental substitutes necessitated by abandonment, death, or the breakup of their parents.

It is possible that the basis for borderline personality disorder can be inherited. Close relatives of afflicted individuals are five times more likely to show borderline symptoms than is the general population. Also, certain biological abnormalities have been found among borderline individuals including low

levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (associated with angry depression and suicide) and abnormal dopamine activity (associated with transient psychotic states).

It is thought that growing reports of this disorder may be partially caused by the rapid changes that our culture have experienced within the last thirty years. Chief among these disruptions are increased rates of divorce and unmarried cohabitation both of which pose various hardships and even dangers to children.

Sadly, the lady described in the Borderline personality disorder case was born out of wedlock, sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend, physically abused in one foster family, sexually abused in a second foster family, and disliked and rejected by the children in a third foster family.

Protect your children from such  harm no matter what it takes. Vote for representatives that will also work to protect America’s children from abuse and neglect.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.,  3/27/10

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