Remembering Sandy…(or living on the Borderline)
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
Yet, there is a widespread psychological disorder that most people know little or nothing about. Why? Because its symptoms are largely interpersonal, causing many to view it as a relationship issue, not a mental health one. Also, people shy away from the term because of its unflattering name: Borderline Personality Disorder.
In January of 2012 my cousin Sandy took her own life at the age of 46. She struggled her whole life with alcoholism. She also had all the symptoms of BPD…
Enough ignorance. Let’s review the major symptoms of people who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):
They have turbulent and stormy relationships, making it difficult to keep a job or maintain a close relationship.
They have frequent emotional outbursts, often expressing their outrage with verbal abuse, physical attacks or acts of revenge.
Though they’re acutely sensitive to being abandoned and rejected, they’re harshly critical of those closest to them.
They view others as “good” or “bad.” A friend, parent or therapist may be idealized one day, yet viewed the next day as a terrible person for failing to live up to their expectations.
They may act out with self-destructive activity (i.e. reckless driving, compulsive shopping, shoplifting, cutting, bingeing with food, alcohol, drugs or promiscuous sex) as a way to fend off feelings of unbearable emptiness.
They frequently express the desire to commit suicide.
Borderline personalities run the gamut from mild to severe. It’s generally only the people who know borderlines intimately who are aware of the extent of their emotional difficulties.
If you recognize your own borderline characteristics, what should you do? If you’re motivated to change, psychotherapy with a psychologist who understands BPD can be quite helpful.