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5 Characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder Characteristics

  • Fear of Abandonment
  • Pattern of Unstable Relationships
  • Inconsistent Self-Image
  • Intense Impulsivity
  • Severe Moodiness

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that involves problems with regulation of emotions. People who are diagnosed with this issue experience very intense feelings. They also tend to have a hard time coming down from emotional episodes. There are a number of results that can occur from such processing of emotions. Let's take a look at some of the primary characteristics of someone with BPD.

1. Fear of Abandonment

Whether the abandonment is real or perceived, those with BPD have an intense reaction regarding the idea of being left alone. They tend to depend upon the structure provided by outside relationships. Therefore, when these relationships are threatened in any way, the person with BPD experiences a number of negative feelings. These emotions take a toll on the self-image and the behavior of the individual. Any indication of being abandoned can trigger them, even things that seem insignificant to others.

2. Pattern of Unstable Relationships

These abandonment fears make interpersonal relationships difficult for someone with BPD. Thus, they tend to leave a history of unstable relationships in their wake. One reason for this is that they often idolize a person when they first meet them. Later, a pattern of love/hate may arise. It's often "all or nothing" with the BPD sufferer. They love someone when they feel secure in a relationship. They then quickly develop negative feelings such as distrust or animosity at the first sign the partner may leave or disappoint them.

3. Inconsistent Self-Image

People with BPD often lack a clear sense of who they are and of their purpose. This leads to intense confusion about their identity. Their self-image suffers. Such folks may display a pattern of frequently changing vocations, appearance or hobbies. They tend to take their meaning from those around them. When they don't have a steady relationship or social circle, they look within to find their purpose, which frequently leads to yet another reinvention.

4. Intense Impulsivity

Those with BPD may frequently be known for their impulsive behavior. This can manifest across a number of areas in their lives. Problems with gambling are common as are other addictions such as shopping, substance abuse or eating disorders. Engaging in risky behavior such as unsafe sex or reckless driving is also common.

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5. Severe Moodiness

Instability of mood is a regular occurrence for those with BPD. When they feel abandoned or threatened, they will lash out in various ways. They may become irritable, anxious, angry or depressed. Dysphoria, or a state of general emotional unease, often comes along with BPD. In fact, this may even be a constant state of being. Relief that comes with contentment or euphoria is rare.

One other thing to watch out for with those who suffer from BPD is suicidal ideation. This tends to be a "call for help" that is used regularly to avoid abandonment, but it should be taken seriously. It's important for the individual to seek professional help in these instances. Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex mental health condition that causes great difficulties for those with the condition and for those who love them.