The 10 Personality Disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder

mental health

This post is intended to list characteristics of personality disorders, causes & treatments.

*These are characteristics often observed in a personality disorder though every feature may not apply to each specific personality disorder. Appreciate what is of value to you in this post and leave the rest.

Individuals with a personality disorder often experience chronic, pervasive difficulty with relationships, impulse control, & emotions. The features may be present in childhood, often become prominent in teen years, but often a diagnosis is withheld until adulthood.  Typically, a personality disorder is in sync with one’s ego. Due to this the person may lack self-awareness and externalize the problems associated with their personality disorder. Personality disorders can co-occur.

In order for a diagnosis a person must exhibit difficulty in at least one of the four, (among other criteria specific to the personality disorder);

  • Distorted thinking
  • Problematic emotional responses
  • Over or under regulated impulse control
  • Interpersonal difficulties

Data supports that any person with a personality disorder is more likely to have a substance use disorder. Though, sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate which is causing the other. Personality disorders should be diagnosed with caution.

Personality disorders are grouped into clusters based on common similarities;

Cluster A: Social withdrawal or awkwardness driven by distorted thinking

Cluster B: Dramatic, impulsive and emotional thinking/behavior

Cluster C: Driven by fear

Borderline Personality Disorder


[Cluster B]


  • Common among personality disorders
  • Distorted self-image
  • Fear of abandonment drives behaviors

“People with Borderline Personality Disorder need support-not stereotyping.”

symptoms of borderline personality disorder

  • Impulsiveness
  • Inappropriate anger
  • Unstable relationships
  • Paradoxically, pushes others away

“People with BPD are like people with third-degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.”

Marsha Linehan

  • Susceptible to black and white thinking; all or nothing
  • Intense mood swings
  • Emotional hyperactivity
  • Feels cut off
  • Targets relationships specifically

Rejection sits at the heart of Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Perceived as manipulative
  • Lack of ability to behave rationally
  • Their opinions may change rapidly


  • Often engage in risky behavior
  • Self-harming tendencies
  • Chronic feeling of emptiness
  • May seem controlling



Genetics, brain chemistry and certainly environmental factors play a role in developing borderline personality disorder. Often trauma, abandonment & abuse contribute. Someone with borderline personality disorder often has experienced hostile environments and caregivers that were not attuned to child’s needs. Their behavioral is deep rooted in a strategy for survival, with the focus on preventing abandonment at all costs.

“I’ve learned having insight means you can gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing. In my case, the deep intuitive understanding was of my core self, and how it contributed to my illness. Insight, or what I call “in-sight”-looking in- is the key to developing self-awareness.

You need insight to be introspective, to examine and observe your mental and emotional processes and make changes accordingly. It involves the ability to have a flexible perception that can see from many angles, not only from your pre-existing lens which often gets distorted by your belief system. I can now see cause-and-effect both on my part and by others-how they intertwine with one another and how interactions get filtered through the lens of our experiences, beliefs, and expectations.” Oriana Allen


Therapy > Medication

>>>Dialectical Behavioral Therapy DBT<<<

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT

Schema-Focused Therapy | Focuses on unmet needs that have led to the behavioral patterns, goal is to meet needs with healthier skills

Numerous psychotherapy approaches can be used | Mentalization, Transference, Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and problem solving (STEPPS)

Support groups | Help to understand how to relate to others, skill building for social and emotional responses

Group therapy | May find solace in others experiences

Family therapy | Can support family members & help them become more supportive and more constructive

Medications | Most common are antidepressants & mood stabilizers, sometimes low doses of anti-psychotics

Antipsychotics | Antipsychotics can help control symptoms like aggression and violence.

Mood Stabilizers | Lithium and Tegretol for example can help control the severe mood shifts.

Demi Lovato has self-reported being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder

More on Demi Lovato

More Information on Borderline Personality Disorder

Read about men with borderline personality disorder


For the other 9 personality Disorders or other mental health topics visit