Ever been a victim of sexual or physical abuse when you were younger? Or suffered from emotional abuse and the lack of parental acceptance during your childhood? If so and you are experiencing a difficult adulthood, then borderline personality disorder could be the solution to those hard times. With borderline personality disorder, which is also known as BPD, people can label one’s personality and behavior to become broken and unstable. Borderline personality creates an unstable life that is mostly found in adults, more women than men. Although BPD is not as well-known as Schizophrenia or depression, borderline personality disorder is more common than known. There are a lot of adults that experience the strange behavior that can end up ruining relationships that had been evolved throughout many years. In order to develop a full understanding of BPD, there is a need to find out what exactly this disorder is, the causes, the symptoms, the impact on those around them, and if there is any way to help those who suffer from this disorder.
According to the third edition of “Psychology in Your Life” by Sarah Grison and Michael S. Gazzaniga, borderline personality disorder is “a personality disorder characterized by disturbances in identity, in moods, and in impulse control” (Grison & Gazzaniga, 2019, p.576). In simple terms, BPD is a disorder that can challenge ones self imprint of their identity and can create obstacles in one’s relationships with everyone around them. A person who does have borderline personality disorder can also experiences mood swings (Grison & Gazzaniga, 2019, p.576). When this disorder become triggered, the person’s mental state becomes weak and unstable to where they are considered to need some serious help.
Way before BPD was even diagnosed, which was not until 1980, borderline was used to describe those who were in between the stages of being normal and psychotic (Grison & Gazzaniga, 2019, p.576). When looking at the statistics of how common this disorder is in the United States of America, 1.6% of the adults in the U.S has been diagnosed but there is a change that up to 6% of the adult population in the United States has BPD but it has not been diagnosed (Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d.). Even though these are just the adult numbers, there are some teens who do meet the standard of those who have borderline personality disorder. But some might start to question why the numbers of teens and adults are high in the United States and this all has to do with their childhood.
Some may be lucky enough to have the “perfect” childhood that was consumed with parents that were at every soccer game or there during the annual grade graduations we all had as a young child. But, those who do have borderline personality disorder are most likely to blame their lack of a stable childhood for their way of thinking. Due to a negative environment growing up, some of the causes of the disorder helped develop an easier trigger for a person with BPD. If they have been through any type of abuse, emotionally or physical, or anytype of neglect from their parents growing up, then the chances of them developing BPD is higher (Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d.). Even if men and women both experience these causes, women have always been more common to develop BPD. This has a lot to do with the abuse. Yes, men and women both can experience anytype of abuse but women are at a higher risk; therefore their future becomes in jeopardy more than men. With all the different types of causes, one could imagine the symptoms to be as elaborate the fear of a stable relationship, but it can create a deeper meaning to a person.
Not everyone that has BPD have the same symptoms as the next person with the same disorder, but there are a lot of overlaps. Do to the lack of parental abandonment, some may develop a fear of abandonment all throughout their lives. Having unstable relationships with friends and family, looking at oneself with self-pity, and emotional mood swings are common effects of BPD (Segal and Smith, 2019). And another effect can be suicide. This can consist of the thought of killing oneself but not going through with the action or thinking about the act and going through with it. As devastating as it is, it happens daily due to people not liking their way of living and believing there is no hope to save them from the toxic thoughts consuming them. “Commons forms of self-harm include cutting and burning” (Segal and Smith, 2019). In the society and the time we live in today, we see a lot of people on social media posting about the good and the positive relationships they have with those around them, this can also cause those who have BPD to conduct in self-harm or negative thinking towards themselves because that isn’t what their life looks like. According to Segal and Smith (2019) those who have BPD, their brain has been formed differently from those who are considered more on the “normal” side. BPD brains have become on “high alert” and the “fight-or-flight” switch has been effected to where it is easily triggered. But, with the different actions and the change in their brain, is there any way to help?
Many people believe that there is no way to help a person who has borderline personality disorder, which is false. In fact, there are different ways one person can help a close family member or friend that has this disorder. One way is to help them learn how to cope with their disorder and find a way to make amends with any outbursts they may face. Another way is to help control the breathing. When a person starts to feel as if everything is caving in on themselves and there is no way out, help them find a quiet place and have them feel at one with their body and mind and get their breathing to slow down. If these aren’t helping, there is always a therapist that can help establish what the start of the problems came from and help diagnose the best way to become one with themselves and start to live a better life. Not every way is going to work for everyone with BPD but it is always good to feel like there are people around when something just doesn’t feel right in the mind (Segal and Smith, 2019).
There isn’t a way to help stop every child from having a traumatic experience in their childhood, but there are ways in which we can help those who will suffer from their past. Even though we don’t get to pick how we will be able to live in the future, there are always ways that we can become at terms with the heightened brain alerts and responses. With those who suffer with self-harm, emotional outbursts, or the fear of abandonment, being able to recognize what is going on from within, will allow them to become at peace or on more calmer terms then when BPD was first triggered. It is always hard to ask for help when we need it the most, yet a person with BPD will start to create a better understanding of their day-to-day life. Borderline personality disorder is a serious disorder that many may suffer from and bringing acknowledgement may help more people to share their own stories.
- Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/borderline-personality-disorder/causes-of-borderline-personality-disorder/.
- Grison S., & Gazzaniga, M. (2019). Psychology in Your Life. (3rd Ed.) Norton, W.W. & Company, Inc
- Segal, J., & Smith, M. (2019, November 19). Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm