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15 Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

A variety of factors determine the development of Borderline personality disorder (BPD). If you have a family member who already suffers from the condition, genetics may be the cause. BPD can also occur if you experienced a traumatic event such as being a victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or being exposed to long-term distress as a child. Being neglected by one or both parents or being raised by someone who had a mental health condition can also develop BPD.

Early adulthood is when an individual begins to show signs of BPD. The younger you are diagnosed with BPD, the easier it is to get treated. In this article, we'll discuss the signs of Borderline personality disorder. This article is not to self-diagnose, only for informative purposes. See a mental health professional if you think you might have BPD.

According to studies, about one out of every 100 individuals suffers from BPD. Men and women appear to be affected equally, but women are more likely to be diagnosed. This might be because males are less likely to ask for help.

Here are 15 symptoms of Borderline personality disorder (BPD).

The 15 Symptoms of BPD

1. Difficulty controlling and regulating emotions.

Do you experience emotions that are too strong for the event that generated them? It is also known as emotional dysregulation. You can experience intense emotions such as emptiness, sadness, anger, and anxiety. When emotional dysregulation is present as part of a diagnosed mental disorder, it typically manifests as increased sensitivity to emotional responses and an inability to return to a normal emotional state in a reasonable amount of time. It might include being unable to relax, avoiding painful feelings, or dwelling on the negative.

2. Unstable self-image.

Do you often experience the feeling of having no idea who you are? Someone with BPD has an unstable sense of self. You may feel good about yourself at times, but you may dislike or even hate yourself at other times. As a result, you may find yourself changing jobs, friends, relationships, beliefs, goals, and even sexual identity. Sometimes someone with BPD compares themselves to a chameleon in terms of identity. Claiming that they change who they are, based on their surroundings and what they believe others expect of them.

3. Having unsustaining relationships.

People with BPD have intense and unstable friendships, family bonds, or romantic relationships. Idealizing an individual and then strongly disliking them moments later. Your relationships appear to be either wonderful or terrible, with no in-between. People with BPD tend to have intense but short-lived relationships. You may fall in love quickly, believing that each new person would complete you, only to be heartbroken soon after.

4. Fear of abandonment.

Do you go to the extreme to not be abandoned by someone? Someone with BPD often feels the need to protect oneself from being abandoned by others, even if being abandoned is only imagined. Regardless of the facts, small changes in behavior are interpreted as a sign that their relationship is falling apart. Someone with BPD can become manipulative to hold their partner emotionally hostage.

5. A chronic feeling of emptiness.

Have you ever felt as though your life had no purpose? Most people, at some point in their lives, feel this way as a result of suffering. People with BPD, on the other hand, may feel empty all the time. They believe they are stuck in a dark tunnel of emotional numbness or depression. You may feel as though you're nothing or a nobody at times. Since this experience is uncomfortable, you may try to fill it with things like drugs, food, or sex. However, nothing truly feels satisfying.

6. Impulsive and risky behavior.

Do people criticize your impulsiveness? BPD can cause a person to feel extremely happy, leading them to participate in a variety of impulsive behaviors. With this, BPD is similar to bipolar disorder, and it is frequently misdiagnosed as such. Substance abuse, spending or gambling, overeating, skipping work or appointments, unsafe sex, food addiction, and reckless driving are all examples of impulsive actions made by people with BPD.

7. Mood swings.

Are you experiencing mood swings that are both persistent and wide? Those who suffer from the disorder experience extreme mood swings that can last for hours or days. Extreme happiness, sadness, and anger are all possible moods. Because people with BPD are sensitive, these emotional states can be easily triggered. Individuals with BPD tend to internalize their emotions, resulting in their mood fluctuations unlikely to be noticed by others. Intense mood fluctuations can be a sign of mood disorders like bipolar disorder, which is why it is essential to get the correct diagnosis by a mental health professional.

8. Paranoid thinking.

Are you often suspicious of other people their intentions? BPD may make a person paranoid and cause them to lose touch with reality for a brief period. They believe that others are plotting against them. To protect themselves, they may act on their intuitions and shut off communication with others. When someone is under a lot of stress, they may lose touch with themselves. In more serious situations, it can lead to a psychotic episode.

9. Splitting.

Are you familiar with the concept of black and white thinking? The behavior of just thinking about the extremes and ignoring the middle area. Black and white thinking is referred to as splitting. If you place someone with BPD in a room with two other individuals, they tend to admire one and dislike the other. Also, someone may experience strong love and admiration for someone at one time, but if they believe that person has mistreated them, those emotions can quickly transform into hatred and resentment. As a result, the relationships are fragile. Even minor irritations and misunderstandings might trigger such strong feelings.

10. Trust issues.

Do you overanalyze situations and create scenarios in your mind even though they are entirely unreasonable? People with BPD find it difficult to trust individuals since they are trying to predict what others are thinking and often are incorrect. It makes them believe that someone is being cruel on purpose to them because of a minor inconvenience.

11. Change in interest and values.

Do your interests and values shift regularly? A person suffering from BPD may have conflicting views about themselves and others. They may have big differences on various topics, especially those relating to themselves. For example, a person may believe that they are of no importance to anyone one minute and then believe the exact opposite the next minute. Their passions, values, and relationships are all unpredictable and inconsistent.

12. Self-hatred and self-harm.

Do you have low self-esteem or self-hatred? People with BPD have frequent internal conflicts like self-criticism, a negative self-image, and the sense of being a horrible person. Suicidal conduct and self-harm are more common among those with BPD. Suicidal conduct can range from having suicidal thoughts, making suicidal gestures, and threats, to attempting suicide. All other attempts to damage yourself without suicidal intent are labeled as self-harm. Two common self-harming methods are cutting and burning.

13. Internalized anger.

Are you dealing with extreme anger and a short temper? You may have difficulties controlling yourself. When somebody with BPD gets overtaken by rage they can start yelling and throwing objects out of control. It's worth mentioning that this anger isn't always focused on others. It can be directed internally towards oneself, manifesting as self-hatred, which is much more harmful.

14. Fear of rejection.

Do you feel the need to please everyone around you to avoid rejection? Fear of rejection is another sign for those with BPD. The fact that people with BPD frequently struggle to keep relationships together further adds to their anxiety.

15. Disassociation.

Do you often feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside of your own body? When ideas or emotions enter your head, you become unable to focus on your actions, choosing to operate on autopilot or see yourself doing tasks without feeling connected to your body. Because others may believe someone who is disassociating is just tired or distracted, disassociation is a hidden sign of BPD. Dissociation can also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or dissociative identity disorder (DID). However, if it happens in combination with the other signs, it is most likely a sign of BPD.

It's important to keep in mind that mental disorders affect people differently. Not everyone has all the symptoms. About one-third of people with borderline personality disorder have at least one other personality disorder.

BPD is a complicated and stigmatized disorder. It's critical to understand that people who suffer from BPD are not always bad. Because BPD is associated with a high level of emotional impulsivity and instability, it's important to seek help if you're experiencing difficulties.


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