Attention seeker. Childish. Crazy. Drama queen. Liar. Manipulative. Monster. These are just some of the stigmas attached to borderline personality disorder.
Due to its symptoms, BPD is a very misunderstood and stigmatised mental illness. Medical professionals, family, friends and the general public often have negative attitudes towards those with BPD. This is because they lack awareness and understanding of the mental illness.
What is BPD?
Borderline personality disorder (also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder) is a mental illness that causes an inability to regulate your emotions.
What happens when you cannot regulate your emotions?
Being unable to regulate your emotions results in great emotional instability. This is characterised by explosive rage, extreme mood swings, fear of abandonment, feelings of emptiness, impulsive behaviour, stress induced paranoia or dissociation, self harm, unstable relationships and an unstable self image. These are the symptoms of BPD, but not everyone with the illness exhibits every symptom.
What is the cause of BPD?
Although the origin of borderline personality disorder is not fully understood, the primary and most common cause of BPD is childhood trauma. Other factors, such as genetics and brain abnormalities have also been suggested to cause the illness.
Data collected from a poll of around 400 individuals with BPD shows that 99% have experienced some form(s) of trauma during childhood.
The most common traumas were neglect/abandonment and emotional abuse. Some individuals also stated that they suffer from symptoms of certain types of trauma, but have suppressed the memory (this data has not been included in the poll).
Exposure to a devaluating and rejecting environment as a child results in a cessation of emotional and social development. This is when the characteristics of BPD start to develop. The child fails to learn how to control their emotions, which results in borderline personality disorder when they reach adulthood.
Individuals with BPD are not monsters. They are broken people who deserve compassion, support and understanding. Deep down, hidden under the rage and other borderline characteristics, is a highly sensitive and vulnerable person who needs help.
Don’t judge them, help them.