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Borderline Personality Disorder or Traumatic Stress Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder – What if it is a traumatic stress disorder?

When most people think of Borderline Personality Disorder – they think of bad behavior.  It is someone that is very difficult to deal with, someone that you have to be on guard against, Borderline Disordersomeone who will try their best to manipulate you.
But, while that may be the outcome, just like most psychiatric disorders, it isn’t exactly their fault.

One of the problems with BPD is that since it is a “personality disorder“, there is often no recognized medical treatment.

We simply expect that the patient should self-monitor and control their behavior.  Therapy may help this, but how many of us (psychiatric patients, in general) really want to go to therapy.

Many of us have already spent hundreds of hours with a therapist – who may or may not help.  In addition, the best therapists are likely people who can “see through the bullshit” and refuse to be manipulated.  This obviously goes against the nature of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.

In fact, the stigma is so bad that some therapists won’t even work with Borderline patients.

Co Morbid DisordersOne theory may help.  Some therapists have developed an automatic assumption that a Borderline patient is also a trauma victim.  While this co-morbid condition may not always be true, it can help some therapists feel more comfortable treating the patient.

Due to many soldiers returning from impossible battlefields in the Middle East, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is fairly well recognized.  Remember; I am not saying that it is easily treatable, but to some extent, the stigma is less.

When therapists look at Borderline patients as truly a PTSD patient, they may be more willing to treat the disorder. And they will attempt to get to the underlying causes of abandonment, impulsive and destructive issues, loss of control and poor self-image.

While PTSD is well defined by the professional psychiatric community, a longer-term disorder currently known as complex traumatic disorder is not.  Most examples of CTSD still involve soldiers, or they may involve women who had difficult pregnancies or who were violently sexually abused, repeatedly.

However, what if you don’t fit any of those recognized categories?

There are more ways to treat traumatic stress disorders such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or a newer one, Dialectical Behavior TherapyDBT focuses on four major areas:

•    Regulation of emotionsPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder
•    Tolerance for distress
•    Interpersonal effectiveness
•    Mindfulness

Unlike CBT, there is no “processing” component – making it work well as an initial treatment, starting before the patient has developed coping skills.  It builds up the feeling of emotional safety so that coping skills may develop.

Differentiating between “plain” Borderline patients – and those whose behavior is brought on by traumatic experience may help to eliminate some of the stigma still associated with BPD.  It may also offer actual, more effective treatment than CBT or other approaches.

Melissa Lind

Suicide and Self-Harm with Borderline Personality Disorder

Hey.  It happens.  End of article.

Just kidding.  Just like with Mary Poppins, I find that humor can be the spoonful of sugar helps to help the medicine go down, and this is some very, very bitter medicine indeed.  But first a little good news.

Borderline Personality Disorder is totally treatable, possibly even curable.  According to one study, as many as 94% of us can receive almost total remission of our symptoms.  But only if we get treatment for it.  So figure out a way to shuck out the bucks.  It’s a long, hard road (years, baby, years) but isn’t your happiness worth it?

Now… let’s look at another percentage.  If you choose not to get treatment, you have a 1 in 10 chance of killing yourself.  And who knows how high the percentage of us is that at least tries.

My first serious attempt was June 1st, 2013.

Depressed and LonelyI had been working at tough job, teaching 9th grade in a city with the second highest crime rate in America.  I had turned in my resignation, and had yet to find another job.  Not only was I stressed from not knowing where my next meal was coming from, but I had genuinely fallen in love with some of the kids at the school, and now they were all going away and I was never going to see any of them again.  Abandonment!

And to top things off, while all of this was happening, my girlfriend decided she no longer wanted to be in relationship.  That’s two, big double whammies of abandonment piled on top of each other.

Now, I’ve made “cries for help” in the past.  There have been points in my life where I would cut or burn myself as either a way to seek nurturance from someone or as a way to feel something, anything again (2the Empties.”  We’ll talk more about these later).  But this time, I just gathered the things which meant something to me—the art my ex had given to me, all our pictures and memories—place them on the bed in the spare room, and started washing down pills with alcohol.

Now don’t laugh at me.  It was red wine, not whiskey, and the pills were over-the-counter.  Enough of both would have worked.  I asked my doctor.  But here’s the problem…

I only had so many pills in a bottle, the rest were in blister packs, which I got too drunk to open.  So the next time you wanna complain about how hard it is to get into those pills, just remember that they make them that way for a reason.

Anyway, the pills and booze took effect and I wound up passing out.  I woke up a few hours later because my body was telling me I had to go to the bathroom.  I wanted to die, but I sure didn’t want to be found in a puddle.  I dragged myself to my feet somehow, slumped into the bathroom, and saw myself in the mirror.

Every muscle in my body was slack.  My mouth hung open.  My eyes drooped.  My face was basically hanging off of my skull.  I barely looked human.  And the thing in the mirror scared me.

What if I didn’t die?  What if I was stuck this way for the rest of my life?  It was a distinct possibility, but one I couldn’t think too hard about.  I managed to pee, slump back to my bed, and pass out again.  I stayed there for the next fourteen hours.

When I woke up, I still had trouble controlling my muscles.  I felt and moved like a newborn giraffe.  I made it into the living room, flopped onto the sofa, watched some TV… and started drinking again.  No pills this time.  I didn’t want to die at the moment.  I didn’t feel anything.  And that’s what we’ll talk about next.

Your brother in arms,


Borderline Personality Disorder is totally treatable, possibly even curable so it`s no need for suicide and self-harm!

Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

(A page that tells his story from the beginning and has links to several of his articles)

It Is Not Just Our Own Boundaries BPD People Have Problems With

Boundaries and Borderline Personality Disorder, Part-2

Remember last time when I talked about the friend that “wouldn’t be my friend anymore” if I didn’t blow up frogs with him?  Well, my boundaries as an adult haven’t gotten much better.  For example:

“Sure, honey.  You can go back to your job as a stripper.  It’s just dancing, right?  I’ll totally overlook the fact that you are shaking your naked jiggly bits at strange men.  Just don’t leave me.

I’m paraphrasing, but I spoke basically those same words to my ex-wife, who also has Borderline Personality Disorder (and was in fact the first time I ever heard the term before).

BoundaryNow, I’m sure there are some open-minded guys out there who would legitimately have no problem with their wife being a stripper.  There are few guys who I’m sure would be totally turned on by it.  Well, I’m not one of those guys.  I’m old-fashioned, and by old-fashioned, I mean “jealous and possessive.”  What I wanted to say was:

“You are my wife.  Yes.  They’re your jiggly bits, but the only person I’m cool with you shaking them at is me.”

But did I tell her that?  No way!  She wanted to do it, so I said “do it.” Then went and cried about it, just like I cried about the frogs.

That’s my own biggest boundary problem.  I’m terrified both of asking for what I want and telling people what I will and will not accept from them.  And that really sucks.

Now… it’s not just our own boundaries people with BPD have problems with, but respecting the boundaries of others, too.   Here’s an example of what I mean.  Let’s pretend that what follows is a series of text messages between me and a former girlfriend of mine (we’ll call her Justine, because it’s not her real name, but it’s a totally hot name for a girlfriend to have, in my opinion).  I’d like to say these hypothetical texts are wildly exaggerated, but in reality, they probably aren’t.  And yes, we BOTH use proper grammar when we text.

JUSTINE: “Sorry, Bruce, but I can’t see you this weekend.  My son has a paper I have to help him with and I’ve GOT to get this project done by Monday.”

BRUCE: “You need space because you want to work on your art?  But the weekends are my time with you!  You NEVER wanna spend time with me anymore.”

JUSTINE: “I know we haven’t seen each other much lately, and I’m sorry.  I hate to not see you, but I really will be too busy.”

BRUCE: “Guess I’m just not very important to you.  You must not love me anymore, so I’m gonna send you mean, accusatory text messages and try to make you feel like a total waste of flesh.  You hurt me, so I’m gonna hurt you.”

That’s paraphrasing.  When I’m in “the zone,” I just do it.  I NEVER admit to it… at least not until after the fact.  I’m working on it.  And then, after five or ten minutes with no response from her, I start again.

BRUCE: “I’m sorry.  I’m a terrible person.  You deserve better.  I’m breaking up with you because I totally suck and should be destroyed.”

And another five minutes.  No response from her.

BRUCE: “Please stop ignoring me!  I don’t ignore you!  Can’t you see how much this is hurting me?”

And in less than two minutes…

BRUCE: “Don’t leave me!  I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!  I’M SORRY!”

And then I go cry, just like I did for exploded frogs and wiggled jiggly bits.  And ten minutes later, I get a reply.

JUSTINE: “Um… I was driving.  Stop being such a drama queen, Bruce.”

BRUCE: “I’m sorry.”


BRUCE: “Please don’t hate me.”

JUSTINE: “I don’t hate you, but I have to get to work now.”

BRUCE: “OK.  I’m sorry.”

Ten minutes.  No response.

BRUCE: “Please don’t leave me!”

I know, I know.  Pathetic.  I’d like to say I’m not that bad anymore, but considering I did something almost exactly like this when I opened my eyes this morning, I’d be lying.

Keep in mind; I’m new at all of this.  Don’t look at me as the wise old sage with all the wisdom.  I’m figuring this out as I’m going along.  

So anyway, once I realize the abandonment is only perceived, I’m able to get hold of things quickly, but I do find myself apologizing more and more these days.  Hey, at least I recognize that my behavior is wrong.  

Now… When the abandonment is real, when the relationship really is over, I’m much, much worse.  

BRUCE: “Fine then.  You don’t love me, and that’s because I’m unlovable.”

JUSTINE: “You’re not unlovable, Bruce.  I care about you a lot.  I just can’t be in a relationship right now.”

BRUCE: “That’s OK.  I understand.  I can’t be in this world right now.  I love you and I’m sorry for what I’m about to do.  Goodbye.”

And that, boys and girls, is where the booze and pills start going down the old gullet.  And that’s where I’m gonna leave (but not abandon) you for this time.

It’s an old writer’s trick.  The cliffhanger.  Always leave them wanting more.

Your brother in arms,


Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

(A page that tells his story from the beginning and has links to several of his articles)