When you google “borderline personality disorder” (BPD), you find no shortage of information. Some of this information is credible and explains symptoms. However, others lead to articles about abusive partners and parents, with lengthy narratives about how others have been mistreated by people with BPD, their behavior characterized as that of a typical person diagnosed with borderline.

These stories paint those with borderline as unlovable and evil. Some articles are even from therapists or medical professionals who label those with borderline as untreatable and unstable and incapable. Sometimes, people even use borderline as an insulting label for people they do not like, when borderline personality disorder is a mental illness. Here we’ll talk about some truths about borderline that are often missing from articles full of stigma and bias. 

Borderline Personality Disorder often stems from trauma

People with  borderline personality disorder often developed symptoms in response to a traumatic upbringing or a traumatic event early on in life. Oftentimes, those with BPD develop their symptoms in order to attempt to protect themselves. 

There are treatment modalities that work

Those with borderline personality disorder are sometimes labelled as “untreatable” when there are a number of treatments that are used to help those with BPD lead happy, healthy lives. Dialectical behavioral therapy helps with regulating emotions and helping those with borderline Personality Disorder have healthy relationships with those around them.

Relationships bring with them a fear of abandonment

Overwhelmed man discussing borderline personality disorder with psychologist

Close relationships for people with BPD can be difficult to navigate sometimes because they  are afraid their partner or friend might leave them. This can cause some of the unstable relationships discussed in those online narratives. Unstable relationships are not born out of anger, but a fear that they are not worthy of a healthy relationship and partner and with a fear those around them will leave them. This is a trauma response. Stable, healthy relationships can be achieved in relationships for those with BPD with the help of a therapist and tools to aid them in emotion regulation.

Borderline personality disorder can look different in different people

A BPD diagnosis can look completely different for different people. In the DSM-5, there are nine symptoms that can be present. To obtain the diagnosis of BPD, only five symptoms need to be present. That means it can be possible that two people diagnosed with BPD only have one overlapping symptom. 

People with BPD can lead healthy, happy, independent lives

A diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is not a life sentence of misery and unhappy relationships. Those with BPD can learn coping skills to help them regulate emotions and control impulses. These skills can also help them communicate in a healthy manner with loved ones. Sometimes, symptoms can even dissipate over time. Someone with BPD may feel their symptoms are more intense when they are in their teenage years and feel as if their symptoms become less pervasive as they grow older.

Person Holding Note with Be Kind Text, help for those with borderline personality disorder

Stigmatization is harmful.

Long story short, borderline personality disorder is a treatable mental illness. Interventions can help those diagnosed with BPD lead healthy, fulfilling, lives filled with meaningful, stable relationships. Stigma can cause those with BPD to feel ashamed and it may even stop some people from seeking treatment. Those who suffer from any mental illness deserve happiness and stability, and stigma does nothing but prevent this. Consider facts before reacting to generalized stereotypes.

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