Borderline Personality Disorder

We know that a personality disorder is a way of relating to the world at large that constantly leaves us and the people around us feeling uncomfortable, shortchanged or downright unsafe.

Borderline personality disorder is what results from a way of interacting with our primary caregivers when we are not confident that they truly love us. As a result, people with BPD go through life trying to get other people to give them the unconditional love or parenting that they did not receive as children.

As per Dr. Elinor Greenberg, the primary preoccupation of a person with a borderline personality is therefore love and care. This means that you probably have BPD if the motivation behind the things you find yourself doing is to get someone to care for you, regardless of your age and social stature.

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To give you an example

A person with BPD is likely to repeatedly put themselves in situations where they need rescuing, or defer to anybody elses’ judgment over their own. This sounds harmless enough, except in serious cases, they may get themselves into dangerous situations only to have you swoop in and save them, giving them temporary relief, and enabling them to continue with this bid for reparenting.

Black and white thinking, or splitting is another fundamental issue with this disorder. This leads a person with BPD to get enraged with someone that has hurt them and cut ties instead of being able to appreciate that the same person can love them and still be frustrated with them and vice versa.

How I can help

In therapy, we will work to make you aware of what we call your defenses – or your ways of being in the world that used to keep you safe, but now are keeping you stuck. One of them is this black and white thinking, or splitting. Through your relationship with me, you will slowly learn to recognize and tolerate your rage without dropping me from your mind or cutting me out of your life. You will learn object constancy, which means that you will be able to love and keep someone in mind even if they are temporarily absent from your life. This will help you keep people in your life, like you desperately need to, without feeling like you have to erase yourself or keep running away and back again to do so.

Personality disorders

Want to learn about personality disorders and my approach to them? Dr. Elinor Greenberg calls them personality adaptations, and I think she's the coolest cat.

Narcissistic personality disorder

If you have BPD, you probably are a magnet for people with NPD. Learn more to better understand your infuriating best friend/partner.

Schizoid personality disorder

Feel like you'd be perfectly at home when the world ends and you're all alone on the planet? Feel like that's a little bit strange? Read on.