Have you ever met a person who is on top of the world one minute and then suddenly they are raging like they drank a potion made by Dr. Jeckyl that they stole from Mr. Hyde? Chances are they might have a personality disorder called BORDERLINE.
Borderline Personality Disorder or “BPD” for short is a condition tied to a person’s conscious desire to remain in control of other people at all times. An extreme fear of abandonment tends to cause them to compulsively dominate conversations and when they don’t get their way (or enough attention), and then their narcissistic rage alights. People with Borderline Personality Disorder use constant mood swings as an excuse to abuse and behave narcissistically virtually each and every day of their own childish, immature, self-aggrandizing, and “charmed” life.
The person with BPD is likely to have a very high self-image with regard to how they strive to present themselves, but they tend to be unlike Narcissists in that many of them will use pity ploys or “mercy me” tactics to net gain them sympathy attention rather than by constantly bragging. But make no mistake — try to offer them a helpful insight or constructive bit of criticism and look out!
You will quickly come face to face with a raging monster who goes from a tame, self-deprecating, and meek individual who appears to be socially conscientious and loving to a wild gorilla, banging his chest telling you exactly why your idea is stupid, they are WAY smarter than you, and guess what? If something smart was YOUR idea rather than theirs then you can put money on it that it’s something they won’t willingly acknowledge was a good idea. What’s more, if something is not THEIR idea, by gosh it certainly won’t be anything they intend to cooperate with or willingly will comply to doing.
Borderline people are proud to proclaim the depths of their mood lows and highs, claiming it gives them some magical entitlement card that allows them to hoot and holler, rant and rave, and compulsively use and abuse everyone they come into contact with without mercy. In their mind, they are “special” — a real catch of a human being to net gain in your social circle. But make no mistake.
People with BPD use their proclivity for having mood swings to not only consistently get away with treating other people however they want (including road raging, frightening them, acting in menacing ways, and verbally being exceptionally abusive). Their mood disorder is used as a weapon against compassionate people who strive to calm them down, to people please, and to help them get an emotional or psychological handle on the fact that they very much so morally should consider the possibility they are being abusive.
According to NAMI — the National Alliance of Mental Illness, “Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties in regulating emotion. This difficulty leads to severe, unstable mood swings, impulsivity and instability, poor self-image and stormy personal relationships.”
While that all might be true, resist the urge to feel sorry for them. People with BPD tend to be able to get a handle on controlling their mood swings and proclivity for attention hogging antics as well as blurting by working with a Psychotherapist weekly for 18-24 months and concurrently working with a behavior specialist for a lifetime to improve their own social habits.
“It’s estimated that 1.6% of the adult U.S. population has BPD but it may be as high as 5.9%. Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women, but recent research suggests that men may be almost as frequently affected by BPD. In the past, men with BPD were often misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression…. shared the trusted Psychology Source. So don’t be tricked into believing they have no way to control their mouths or abusive temper tantrums.
People with BPD who have been raised by toxic parents who enable or worse ENCOURAGE their bad behavior are the least likely to seek help or to admit their short term thinking behaviors are problematic. It takes a village to help a person with BPD learn how to respectfully moderate their tone, word choices, and temperament — but only one narcissistic Enabler like a toxic mother or enabling spouse to totally undo all the positive work caring and concerned friends, family, and life mates do to help their BPD person self-regulate on a daily basis.
No therapist can compete with an Enabler’s influence. Neither can the love of a romantic partner, friend, or family member. It just takes ONE person who refuses to work as a part of the Borderline person’s team and instead encourages them to embrace continued toxic thinking to undermine any and all progress such people make properly socializing.
If you are concerned that a BPD person is abusive and being enabled, you are not alone in feeling frustrated. Since those closest to Cluster B people tend to have at the very least mild versions of Stockholm Syndrome, the truth that they are hurting the person by enabling bad behavior more than they are helping them is likely to be completely denied or missed.
Common symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder include but are not limited to the following proclivities:
People with BPD experience wide mood swings and can display a great sense of instability and insecurity. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned by friends and family.
- Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization—“I’m so in love!”—and devaluation—“I hate her.” This is also sometimes known as “splitting.”
- Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships.
- Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.
- Suicidal and self-harming behavior.
- Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.
- Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.
- Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.
- Dissociative feelings—disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity, or “out of body” type of feelings—and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes.
Borderline personality disorder is ultimately characterized by the emotional turmoil it causes. People who have it feel emotions intensely and for long periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally intense event. Suicide threats and attempts are very common for people with BPD. Self-harming acts, such as cutting and burning, are also common.
Since many BPD people have the propensity to self-harm in private, oftentimes Enablers don’t even realize the serious risk they take by encouraging the person to “be themselves”, to “live life the way they want”, and to embrace their erratic nature as something magical in life. While they are busy being amused by the colorful antics of the charismatic Borderline baying at the proverbial moon, they are overlooking that in secret that same man or woman is more than likely not only situationally abusing other people but is actively abusing themselves, too.
Encouraging them to drink or abuse drugs is one of the worst mistakes clueless or thoughtless abuse-enablers tend to make. So is in any way, shape, or form entertaining their demanding “I want it NOW!!!” Veruca Salt ways.
People with BPD tend to engage in risky behavior in private all the time. It might be having a bareback ride with a same sex man or electing to have a vasectomy as an excuse not to wear a condom with the ladies he woos — or it might be a girl who secretly cuts herself or burn herself with something like cigarettes, candle wax, or a lighter in places that she simply hides. They are also prone to dangerous binging on food, alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter pills and such — it all depends on availability and timing, to them, as most report having no preference, really.
While the Enabler is busy pouring the BPD person another glass of wine and encouraging revelry, they have no idea what happens to the person’s family member later on that evening when they get home that night. Since drug binges and binge drinking are used as excuses to mask Narcissistic Abuse that is passive aggressively enacted, people who are scapegoated or targeted for abuse by Borderlines know full well that they are likely to be the “life of the party” out and about then become stark raving, verbally abusive LUNATICS when and if they are alone with a target and their desire to feel powerful opens wide.
Cheating compulsively then blaming their depression or lack of attention from an otherwise doting spouse is COMMON. Sleep with them once a week, they want it twice. Sleep with them twice, they cheat them blame their innocent spouse or romantic partner for not showing them enough physical attention for their likes.
Make new friends? Not if the BPD has THEIR way. Any new person you meet and share a kinship with will suddenly be THEIR best friend. Trust they are smear campaigning behind your back, socially disparaging you and promoting elaborate gaslighting stories and lies to win the favor of the person they subtly perceive is a narcissistic rival. Give it time and you will suddenly find yourself un-friended while the Borderline love bombs and hoovers the target completely in such a way no one would believe they even met you or knew you in this lifetime.
All of them tend to have compulsive issues related to things like money, food, and clothes. Dressing for the opposite of success, demanding meals be prepared for them or served to them at their desired time, and having massive control issues regarding finances are all par for the course with most BPD personality types.
[Some make massive, hasty purchases and blow the budget while alternating with penny-pinching or hoarding, while others use money as a way to control their parents, business partners, children, or domestic partners by keeping control of the checkbook with an iron fist while at their sole discretion paying bills and doling out allowances.]
Have a parent, grandparent, sibling, child, or stepparent with BPD? Yikes.
Dominating conversations, relationships, social interactions, and getting their way 100% of the time is their “thing”. There’s hell to pay when and if the Borderline fails to get his or her way. That includes but is not limited to them getting their way 100% of the time and their children, romantic partners, and sometimes even parents or family members trapped in the cycle of Narcissistic Abuse not being functionally allowed to have their own life.
Drama and boorish behaviors are their calling card. Expect them all to constantly play the victim, to demand attention, to lie when it suits them, and to strive perpetually to socially triangulate.
Feeling sorry for them and refusing to hold them accountable for their aggression and constant attention seeking behavior is the fastest way to do them long term harm, socially and psychologically speaking. That means tough love strategies must be employed consistently by any and all people close to the person if and when he or she agrees to willingly enter into behavioral therapy in order to improve the long-term quality of their relationships.
What is most commonly noticed about people with BPD is most who meet them will say they are likable people — but all will say they are simply too long winded or conversationally invalidating. If you are an expert in something, they claim to no more and will not listen to or take in a word you say. They know it all and could care less what others have to say. But no, no, no! Don’t leave or end the conversation early. People forced to listen to them stay in discussions striving to avoid being rude but the conversation is seldom if ever reciprocally beneficial or emotionally pleasing.
Attention and complete control of their social environment as a narcissistic predator is the common “fix” the Borderline is seeking. They tend to have a knack for picking out People Pleasers and those who are compulsively milk-toast style Enablers to support their toxic behavior socially.
Be mindful that many use tears, temper tantrums, and threats to commit suicide as Machiavellian attempts to control the behavior and emotions of the people around them.
Expect them to turn beet red and bluster and rage at people who they think can be conned into indulging them by making them feel afraid or to get very serious, forceful, and emphatically stern with others who tend to cave to even the most misguided or toxic authority figures.
If you are a kind person prone to feeling sorry for a hard luck story, suddenly they are a heaping, sobbing, ball of tears spinning a yarn intelligently concocted to manipulate YOU as a targeted person into feeling sorry for them and enabling their behaviors.
Or, if you are a sane, loving, even-tempered, and rationally minded person, expect to be “talked to death” while they badger you with demanding you pay attention to them as well as bow down to their Cartman style “authori-tay” about any topic they seek to impress you within their constant quest to dominate conversations.
But know this — of all the Cluster B personality types, people with Borderline Personality Disorder are the ONLY type who are 100% capable biologically of change, growth, introspection, their form of “love” by association and dominance, and behavioral improvement. While people with NPD and ASPD are biologically capable of experiencing a full range of emotions and people with Histrionic Personality are compulsively slaves to their own grandiose fantasy dramas, the Borderlines have COMPLETE ABILITY TO CONTROL THEIR BEHAVIOR.
Learn to spot the warning signs of a person who is likely to leave you feeling frustrated and completely drained after spending a few hours with them. Having BPD does not make them bad, per se, as human beings… but interacting with them (even on a low contact basis) can be truly psychologically confusing and emotionally battering to a person who is — to them — a prospective NARCISSISTIC SUPPLY SOURCE willing to be conned into paying attention to them or believing in them.
The more you are willing to allow them to hold the reins or control conversations, the more likely they are to take advantage of you. Borderlines feed psychologically off other people showing them kindness after they have pulled some manipulative and attention seeking ploy.
Abusing other people’s hospitality is their pride and joy. It’s all about them — gimme, gimme, gimme is their personal nature and philosophy, typically… but they ALL do favors for other people in the hopes that that person will then feel psychologically compelled to do them forty.
At best, most folks with BPD tend to leave anyone who speaks to them as if their time and good will has been comprehensively been abused. Just know, the personality type is one of the most efficient in figuring out who will and who will not be inclined to feel sorry for them and put up with their erratic, eccentric, mood swings and attention-seeking behaviors.