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What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Therapy 101, Relationships, Coping Skills
3 min read

Borderline Personality Disorder has long been stigmatized, dramatized in film, or painted in popular culture to mean that someone is “crazy” or “broken.” This simply put is inaccurate and just not true. 

Personality Disorders are characterized by rigid, inflexible patterns of thinking and behaviors that impair a person’s functioning. A person may have trouble with perception (their inner experience) and relating to others/situations that result in distress. 

This often causes problems with relationships, social activities, work, and school. It is estimate that between 10-15 percent of the world’s population suffer from some form of personality disorder that will form in the teen years. Personality Disorders may be under-diagnosed due to an individual’s lack of awareness or perceived need to change. However, with the proper understanding, insight and guidance we are able to integrate change, improve coping skills, and further relationships with others and ourselves!

The key tenet of BPD is that a person typically lacks a sense of self that lead to relationship issues. 

Common signs and traits are:

- Rigid, black & white thinking

- Hard time forming and keeping relationships

- Inability to regulate own emotions; Anger issues

- Fear of abandonment and betrayal that leads to trust issues (This may be the result of childhood trauma).

- Self-harm

- Impulsive Behavior/ “Self-Sabotage”

- Feelings of Emptiness

It is important to understand that a person may not exhibit all of these traits or may also struggle in other ways but with awareness they are more equipped to grow and heal.

A form of therapy that has proven to be successful in treating BPD is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). The goal with DBT is to attempt to live in the moment, develop healthy ways of coping with stress and triggers, regulate emotions and improve relationships. 

Therapists will guide you through and incorporate 4 key components:


-Distress Tolerance

-Emotional Regulations Techniques

-Interpersonal Effectiveness

There are also workbooks, exercises, and groups that specifically address and utilize DBT skills. If any of this information resonates with you or you notice aspects that you would like to work through, know that support is available and change is possible!

About the AuthorRodman Walsh is a California based Therapist whose specialities cover relationship issues, personality disorders, general anxiety, and more. Click here to view Rodman's profile and schedule a free introductory call.  

See Rodman in Discussion: 
- How to Support Family Struggling with Mental Health Issues
- The Experience of Living with BiPolar 1 Disorder

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