How to Identify Person With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

While narcissist personality disorder (NPD) is difficult to diagnose and cure, people with borderline personality disorder or BPD are easier to diagnose due to the outwardly symptoms and the fact that borderlines do accept that they have a problem. Treatment like Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help BPDs to live a better and harmonious life.

10 ways to identify a person with Borderline personality disorder-

1. An Idealization- Discard and Push-Pull Cycle- A borderline can idealize you and make you feel like a god and then in a matter of few minutes declare you the reincarnation of Satan. It is very different from bipolar disorder. The core of the idealization and devaluation cycle is the push and pulls between feeling of abandonment and feeling of being engulfed by the emotional proximity. The abandonment might even not be actual but just a perceived one. A slightest feeling of abandonment can make them absolutely hate you. For example- You forgot to call them back or god forbid if you forget their birthday! They will hate you and want to never see you again but then after a few minutes they will cry and immediately want you to come back. It is a difficult conundrum to live with.

Push>>Feeling of Engulfment- You are emotionally too close to BPD which will suffocate them, and they would want to keep a distance for self preservation against the possible future feeling of abandonment. They will push you away.

Pull >> Feeling of Abandonment- BPD would want to pull you back towards them to avoid being feeling abandoned.

Push>> You came back >> BPD feel emotionally suffocated > Push you back

Pull>> When pushed you leave> BPD feels abandoned > Pull you back

The cycle of Idealization and Devaluation continues. They can’t help but run this cycle in every relationship. They fear the abandonment the most, but can’t help but push people away and face the inevitable abandonment. The worst part is BPD will frequently and deliberately push their loved ones away just to test the limit of love and see if the people will abandon them.

2. Risky Behavior- During emotional turmoil BPDs tend to indulge in risky behavior like rash driving, unprotected sex, sexual promiscuity, getting involved in street fights, public indecency, trespassing, stalking or threatening and harassing people they believe have hurt them. The BPDs often run into law enforcement agencies during this time. It is impossible for them to control their emotions and behavior when severely hurt. They don’t know how to make the emotional pain go away and would indulge in risky behavior to somehow divert the pain and gain attention or get back at the person who has hurt or abandoned them.

3. Addictions- BPDs tend to abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol or tobacco to numb the emotional pain and get rid of the feeling of emptiness. The use of addictive substance however aggravates some of the most dangerous symptoms of BPD like self harm, rage and depression.

4. Difficulty keeping Job- BPDs find it hard to stick to one job for long. They also change careers, college majors and field of interests frequently. This has partly to do with their fluctuating self image and inability to control their volatile emotions at work place. They can easily annoy the co-workers and supervisors with the ever changing mood and bouts of rage and depression. BPDs also tend to disappear from work, take long breaks or go on extended leaves to cope with their personal emotional crisis which happens quite often and inevitably makes the BPD lose the job or move to different career path.


Originally published at on November 24, 2017.

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