Warning Signs of borderline personality disorder.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a common mental condition that affects the way a person thinks or feels about themselves and others. If a person has BPD they’ll have intense mood swings, dread being abandoned, struggle maintaining healthy relationships, and may act impulsively.
Because people with BPD struggle with a lot, it’s crucial for people around them to understand the mental condition and be supportive. Sadly, BPD is one of the most misunderstood and stigmatised mental illnesses. Because of the misconceptions and stigmatisation around BPD, people with the disorder are always afraid to speak out and seek help.
So, how can you tell if a friend or a family member has BPD? Here are seven tips on how to do that:
1. Pervasive Fear of Abandonment
People with BPD are always afraid the other person might leave. Everything in the relationship could be going on just fine, but they’d still fear being abandoned. In extreme cases, the patient may feel like they are not good enough, or they are not doing enough for the other person. If you notice a sudden change in behaviour where someone acts all ‘needy’ or ‘clingy’, empathise with them, and seek professional assistance as soon as possible.
2. Intense Emotions
Someone with a borderline personality disorder will have extreme emotions, which may change super fast. For instance, someone with BPD can go from being happy and laughing to crying and feeling sad within no time for no apparent reason.
Sometimes people with BPD can be overly sensitive and unable to control their moods. You should immediately seek professional assistance if someone you know starts showing a drastic change in emotions. It could be a borderline personality disorder.
3. Overwhelming Self-Doubt
It’s normal to have an internal critic. Everyone has one. However, someone struggling with BPD has overwhelming self-doubt, which may lead to low self-esteem. Because of the constant self-doubt, someone with BPD feels incomplete and inferior and relies on other people’s approval to define their personality. In most cases, a person with BPD will copy the behaviours of other people because he/she is unable to be autonomous.
4. Unstable Relationships
Relational instability is quite common in people with BPD. For instance, an individual with BPD may have problems trusting some coworkers, a particular neighbour, friends, some family members or even a partner for no justifiable reasons. In some instances, people struggling with BPD may change romantic relationships more often, thinking that having a new relationship will make them feel more loved or whole again only to end up being disappointed. As a result, all their relationships are always short-lived.
5. Disproportional Anger and Irritability
Does your friend or lover show disproportional anger and is always highly irritable? It could be BPD. BPD sufferers have trouble controlling their emotions, especially their anger and are prone to overreacting. They also have problems holding themselves together and may show disproportional anger. This impulse behaviour may result from the loss of an important connection, employment, or relationship. We should, however, mention that not every highly irritable or moody person is struggling with BPD.
6. Risky Behavior or Self-Harm
If a person starts to engage in risky behaviours such as drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, reckless driving, prostitution, excessive gambling, among other risky behaviours, they could be suffering from a borderline personality disorder. In some cases, a person may cause self-harm by burning or cutting themselves. In most cases, people engage in these behaviours when triggered by persons they think are bullying or abandoning them.
7. Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts
Is your loved one obsessed with death-related topics? Are they always talking about death and making suicide threats? They might be struggling with BPD. In extreme cases, some patients may actually attempt suicide. Parents and caregivers are highly encouraged to keep a watchful eye on their teenage children, especially when they start to embrace art or music that praises or idealises suicide and death.
Although borderline personality disorder is an unpreventable mental condition, it is manageable, especially when diagnosed early. Therefore, if your loved one displays any of the warning signs mentioned above, make sure to talk to a mental health expert immediately.