All sorts of figures are throw about the prevelance of personality disorders in the community. There are some reports that say up to 20% of the population are affected, which I don’t think is far off the mark from personal experience. Most people know very little if anything about them, including those that suffer from them. I have included borderline as that is what Rachael suffered with, and also because it is one that I run into allot that is undiagnosed and is treatable.
Many toxic relationships are between person suffering wih borderline and narcissistic personality disorder, in fact the ones I have had first hand experience with, which numbers about a dozen, have all been borderline/narcissist relationships, as have those that have made it to the news and have ended tragically.
That awareness campaigns have not been conducted on TV and mainstream media of both borderline and narcissistic personality disorders in order to prevent as much suffering as possible in nothing short of criminal and comes as no surprise.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a psychological condition which produces extreme emotional pain, adverse effects on the lifestyle of sufferers, and usually a significant negative impact on relationships with others.
BPD is called a ‘personality disorder’ because it involves a lasting pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving rather, than a few specific psychological symptoms.
People with BPD frequently experience strong and overwhelming emotions which they have difficulty controlling. Strong feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger may be triggered by relatively minor life difficulties. Many people with BPD also experience intense feelings of loneliness or emptiness.
Unfortunately, BPD is a condition that is frequently misunderstood by family and friends of the BPD sufferer and at times, even by some mental health professionals. This can in turn increase a person’s sense of isolation.
Many people with BPD experience volatile or unstable intimate relationships. Many fear rejection from those close to them and may at times act in extreme ways in response to this fear of rejection or abandonment.
While historically BPD has been seen as a condition which is extremely difficult to treat, over recent years there has been growing evidence that some specific psychology therapies such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Schema Therapy can be very effective treatments for many people with BPD. However, unlike psychological therapy for many other psychological conditions, psychological therapy for BPD usually requires fairly intensive therapy for well in excess of 12 months.
HALLMARKS OF BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Being a borderline feels like eternal hell. Nothing less. Pain, anger, confusion, never knowing how I’m gonna feel from one minute to the next. Hurting because I hurt those whom I love. Feeling misunderstood. Nothing gives me pleasure. Wanting to die but not being able to kill myself because I’d feel too much guilt for those I’d hurt, and then feeling angry about that so I cut myself or take an overdose to make all the feelings go away.
WHY BPD RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO COMPLICATED
Low emotional intelligence.
There’s more than one way to be smart. In addition to the kind of intelligence you can measure on an IQ test, there’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is about monitoring emotions—both your own and those of the people around you—and then using this knowledge to guide your thinking and actions. Many people think BPs don’t have empathy. They do—it’s just that their own emotions are so intense they can be oblivious to the emotions of those around them. They’re like a drowning person who grabs on to a would-be rescuer and pulls them both down.
While in the past many mental health professionals have viewed Borderline Personality Disorder as having a poor prognosis, in recent years several psychological treatments have emerged as effective treatments for BPD. However these treatment approaches typically require undergoing psychological psychological therapy for well in excess of 12 months.
Recent research suggests that the majority of BPD sufferers improve over time with treatment. In fact, many improve to the point where they no longer qualify for the diagnosis of BPD. However, it sometimes takes several years for sufferers to achieve this level of improvement.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT, is a treatment approach which aims to teach BPD sufferers skills to better manage their emotions.
Schema Therapy aims to help people with BPD overcome dysfunctional core beliefs which are believed to be the cause of negative thinking patterns and emotional reactivity.
Other psychological treatment approaches include: Transference focused Psychological Therapy, Mentalization approaches, and variants of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).
For more information on psychological treatments for BPD select the relevant link from the menu to the left of this page.
Medications are also sometimes used in the treatment of BPD. While there is no medication “cure” for BPD, psychiatrists often prescribe medication to treat some of the symptoms that may accompany BPD.