Borderline personality disorder (BPD) will leave you feeling emotionally unstable and terrified of being abandoned. Understanding the signs and symptoms to watch out for can help you, or a loved one, find the help that you need. Those who suffer from borderline personality disorders may find that they struggle in relationships, have an intense fear of abandonment, have a poor self-image, and act impulsively. The symptoms of borderline personality disorder typically begin to show in young adulthood and can last for years after. Borderline personality disorder can look different in different people, but there are a few common signs and symptoms one can watch out for in themselves or a family member.
Signs and Symptoms
Whether you believe that you are suffering from borderline personality disorder or a loved one is, understanding the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder is essential to getting the help needed to begin the path to recovery. While the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder can look different in everyone, there are a few common one you can watch out for. They include:
An Intense Fear of Abandonment
Those who are suffering from BPD may find themselves becoming so afraid of being abandoned that they constantly fear that their loved ones are abandoning them. This can begin to negatively impact the person's relationships as the person with BPD may constantly call, constantly seek reassurance, or do things that can come across as "clinging" to the person they love. Unfortunately, this constant need to feel as though they are loved and will not be abandoned may actually end up pushing loved ones away.
Patterns of Unstable Relationships
A person suffering from BPD may find that their relationships always seem to feel somewhat like a roller coaster. The relationships the person are in may appear to be intense and unstable, whether it be a relationship with friends, lovers, or family. The person with borderline personality disorder will often go through two phases that cause this relationship roller coaster. The first of these phases is idealisation, a phase in which the person will feel immense love and closeness to the person they are in a relationship with. As the phases swing, the person with BPD will begin to find themselves in the phase of devaluation, a phase in which the person feels extreme resentment or even anger toward the person they are in a relationship with.
An Unstable Sense of Self
When someone suffers from borderline personality disorder, they will find that their self-image has become distorted and often unstable. They may find that the goals they set are constantly changing, they have constantly shifting values and morals, or may feel as though they are "bad" or don't even exist at all. Ultimately, someone with BPD may have no idea who they are, what they believe in, or what they like because they have no stable self-image.
Someone suffering from BPD may exhibit impulsive, and often reckless behaviours. They may participate in risky acts like reckless driving, gambling, substance abuse, self-sabotage, or spending sprees. These impulsive behaviours may create may problems for the person, like relationship, legal, health, and financial issues.
Self-Harming or Suicidal Behaviours
A person experiencing a borderline personality disorder may find ways to hurt themselves, like cutting, or even act suicidal, by threatening suicide or having thoughts of suicide. This may be likely to occur when the person feels as though they are being abandoned or have just dealt with rejection.
NOTE: If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts about suicide, contact the suicide hotline at 13 11 14. If you or a loved one are experiencing immediate danger of suicide, contact your country's emergency hotline immediately at 000.
Those suffering from BPD may find that their moods are intense and seem to constantly change, lasting anywhere from a few hours to days. They may get very aggressive and intensely angry or extremely happy. They may also struggle to control their moods.
Whether you believe that you are suffering from borderline personality disorder or a loved one is, understanding the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder is essential to getting the help needed to begin the path to recovery”
How to Seek Help for BPD
Borderline personality disorder is hard and will negatively impact your overall quality of life. If you believe that you are suffering from a borderline personality disorder, reaching out to a mental health professional will be very helpful to you. A mental health professional may be able to help you diagnose your borderline personality disorder, understand what is happening to cause it, and help you find the best treatment for your specific case.
There are also a lot of resources on the web that can be a great source of comfort and help you explore ways to control and ultimately live with BPD, the Beyond the Borderline podcast is a well worth a listen!
If a Loved One May be Suffering From BPD
If a loved one may be suffering from BPD and you are searching for a way to help, know that there are possibilities for help out there. Supporting their individual therapy or attending family therapy if requested can be a great way to show them that you care and are there for them.
Healthy and effective communication may prove to be helpful for both the person suffering from BPD and your relationship. Listening to what they have to say and making sure that they feel heard can be a great step to reaching an understanding.
Understand that it is imperative that you take care of yourself when trying to help a loved one through a borderline personality disorder. Care for your health, take a break when needed, set healthy boundaries, maintain your other relationships, nd do not feel bad for living your life.
Borderline personality disorder is tough to deal with. Know that you are not alone. If you or a loved one are suffering from borderline personality disorder, there is help out there. Seeking the help of a mental health professional may help you understand why you are feeling this way, help you find a diagnosis, and find the treatment that works best with your situation.