Monday, May 18, 2015

Borderline Personality Disorder

There are many personality disordered people out there. I have never been diagnosed with a personality disorder. Some people would probably put Aspergers on par with one, but Aspergers is a neurological disorder and if anything Aspies seek to be logical even if they are in a melt-down. I describe Aspergers as having a "glass" wall between me and other people. I even drew Budgie with a glass wall in front of her at this "snooty art" opening. That was a panel I was drawing this week. Aspergers can bring what the normal populace considers as "faults" [aloof, "over-intellectualized", too quiet and staid] I envy the neurotypicals their free ability to laugh with one another. Someone has be very close for me to laugh with them. Most of the time in a group I am busy cloaking and or trying not to stim though I may enjoy a stimulating book club conversation on occasion. Life for an Aspie is opposite in many ways of a borderline personality disordered person.

This blog mostly has dealt with narcissists but the borderlines are another matter. Some can be more toxic then others and this depends on how much they lean to the narcissistic wing. With borderlines, there can still be a conscience in there but if they have many narcissistic traits, it can be "limited". We know with narcissism there is a spectrum, I have always admitted this though my blog focuses on the malignant narcissists, this is true of borderline personality too. Some may struggle with borderline traits while some may be extremely borderline.

Since borderline personality disorder is part of the Cluster B category there can be overlap with narcissistic traits. 
Lack of compassion or empathy
The overwhelmingly most commonly mentioned behavior or trait associated with all the Cluster B Personality Disorders is a lack of empathy or compassion.  They seem unmoved by the effect their behavior has on their loved ones other than what is necessary to keep their loved ones engaged and around.  It is as if they were tone deaf or color blind to the feelings and experiences of others.
Is the histrionic the other wing? The way I informally define borderline are those who did not form a clear cut identity so they try on many others. They feel "empty" inside. They seek to use others to give them the identity they lack. In this way they are unable to truly connect with other people.

 One thing I notice about borderlines is many "love bomb" you right when you first meet them, I am often wary of this. Us Aspies having been victims of bullies have to be careful of those who come up to them with a smile on the face and a mallet behind the back ready to knock us out. One way to sum up the personality disordered is they wear "masks". I am not sure why borderlines love bomb so much, but it is one thing I notice in the disorder. To be honest if I feel like someone is love-bombing me, I hold back. I know at times this maybe has made me be too aloof from truly nice people, I have to take time to warm up to someone, but it has saved me trouble with the borderlines when I have first met them.

"If someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder attempts to draw you into a relationship, there is a very simple, concrete way to know it. Pay attention to your stomach. Even though he may initially seem sweet, attentive and empathic, you will likely perceive a subtle tightening in the pit of your abdomen, like a small rock you've suddenly noticed in your shoe-barely noticeable, but there.

Listen to that rock, because it is the voice of instinct, and it's trying to tell you something. Listen to your fear and start scanning for an incoming missile. The Borderline is often a tough target to initially confirm, but close attention to his attitudes and behaviors and an emotional position of calm neutrality can help you confirm his threat-potential. And if Borderline is confirmed, get out of there before it's too late.

But if too late has happened, and you are already involved with a Borderline Controller, you have experienced far more than the pinch of a small stone in your gut. You've been engulfed in an insane, hyper-emotional ride where spewing sheets of scalding lava alternate with warm, soothing baths of emotional saccharine. Life itself will have become a series of whipsawing emotional extremes, between his clinging adoration and hateful spite. The hallmark of this pattern is that "just when things seem to be going well," and he is treating you best, he suddenly turns into a perverse version of Air Jordan and you're the ball. Slam-dunked would be a mild way of describing the receiving end of this intensely emotional pounding."

Borderline is hard to define, so let's see the definition above. My personal experiences of borderlines and some did pop up in my life, was they they run hot and cold. They either love you or hate you sometimes even within the same day. Most I noticed seemed to seek chaos. They couldn't handle quiet introspection and always had to be busy, and "running as fast as they can" just like many of the narcissists. A lot struggled with substance abuse disorders. Cutting and self injury is one thing that is known to be rife among borderline personality disorders. Often therapists dread borderlines, I have known some therapists and the patient they most fear are the sociopaths, narcissists and borderlines.

I lived with a borderline roommate for a time. She could be a very nice person but she would go into these rages. It could be something small to set her off and she would run off in a huff. She had those she idealized who turned into instant enemies. For me it was a roller coaster, she and I could be great friends some days but if I was late on a phone bill, I was her arch-enemy from the gates of hell.  She invited two often-drunk Australians traveling America to live with us rent free for two months, and would have me go to the bar and tell me not to let her go home with anyone which I often failed to prevent as she pushed me away when she met her new paramour. After a few times of this, I stopped going to the clubs with her.

I find it too hard to connect to borderlines, their worlds to me are confusing spinning tops. They seem to avoid consistency like the plague. I'm the kind of personality where I need calmness and dependability. Even on the intellectual front, their constant contradictions confuse the heck out of me. They hold views that directly contradict with each other.  The instability of their personalities leak out into their intellectual life where writing two contradictory statements doesn't even faze them. I don't mean borderlines any ill will, but I can't understand them nor relate to them. No friendship for me has ever lasted with a borderline. They are too chaotic. I am too Aspie. Can a Borderline Aspie even exist? I will let the psychologists answer that one. I don't know.

I and an Aspie friend have often talked about borderlines, how they seem to suck up all the attention from a room, and they do get their needs often met. We often have said they are a whirlwind of chaos and they are like the Energizer Bunny, us poor cautious staid Aspies cannot keep up nor do we want to. Some almost seem manic, that is one thing I noticed about borderlines but then they could crash into severe depressions. I never met a borderline who ever went without a boyfriend too long. Just like the narc women attracting all the milquetoast men of the world to be at their feet, I got a feeling that while young men rejected shy me, they went for the "exciting" ones.

Borderlines will always take up for Narcissists. Narcissists are empty personalities and Borderlines are fragmented ones. If you are in a room with a couple borderlines and a narc is anywhere in the area, watch out.  My NM had her borderline helpers who popped up including Aunt Confused who seemed to straddle the narcissist and borderline world. Her homage to narcissists was never ending, while the rest of us were chopped liver. Many Borderlines are notorious in the counseling world for ending up in abusive relationships and probably here they are most likely to end up with sociopaths and narcissists in relationships.  While ACONs in general due to their upbringing can end up in disordered relationships, with borderlines that is a dance of those who share some commonalities.

There may be some Cluster B commonality where they will identify with narcissists. They will identify with them. In fact even out in the world one will see borderlines sympathizing with the narcissists. I believe someone who is Cluster B is going to identify with other Cluster B narcissists and see the disorder in a whole other way then I or many others. Their empathy for ACONs vs the narcissists is nil. 


  1. Thank you for posting this. Wow! Dealing with people who have BPD sounds like a life in roller coaster. I had a roommate who sounded like borderlines as you described in your article and we did not last long as roommates either.

  2. Thanks anon. It is a life in a roller coaster. I cared about the roommate too but had to move out and couldn't take things like that. I am sorry you went through it too.

  3. A borderline sounds like they would make a terrible roommate. I'm sure I've met quite a few in my lifetime. My first ex-husband I'm sure now is very borderline. I am sure of it. He created chaos everywhere he went, but he does feel bad when he does.

    He didn't have much of a conscience though, just some, but maybe he just hated to own up to things.

    Thanks for this, I had no idea about this. My first ex was nothing as narcissistic as my second ex, so I am clueing in more and more.

    1. When you have a borderline for a roommate there is a lot of drama. There is never a boring moment. Mine had her periods of kindness too even great kindness, but it could be troubling. Here the borderlines can be on a spectrum too and ones with a more developed conscience will be different from those who lean into narcissism. Maybe your first ex was more of a borderline....I always felt most borderlines I knew had some conscience, I could TALK to them unlike the narcissists but sometimes with them you would go round and about and they seemed ready always to defend and protect the narcs above me.

  4. Hi Peep. Thanks for this post! :^) It really got me stirred up because I grew up in the turmoil and devastating effects of a mother with BPD, which was apparently passed down in the family like a cherished piece of furniture. I hope you won't mind me getting a little ranty here... There's a twist on the BPD that runs in my family. They are shy and not outwardly uncomfortable to be around in a casual setting as far as you can tell. The disorder you describe goes on in their heads though, and is not obviously BPD as the way we usually experience it. But, they are uncomfortable in their own skin and will somehow sabotage any important event because their discomfort becomes too much to bear. They believe they are logical in their conclusions about others and have really bizarre ways of processing information. They are takers and shape-shifters, lacking any real core character, go undetected as the bullies they are, as duplicitous as Ns but, because they are shy, can seem maybe just a little simple-minded and overly sensitive. They aren't simple-minded; they completely understand they don't have to do anything they don't feel like doing. They truly believe, like all cluster Bs, that general rules of give and take don't apply to them, just the take part (underlying Ns, all of them). The shy and understated BPDs in my family are as wicked and horrifying in their quiet storms as the more aggressive types. Anyone can become their scapegoat in any moment, but they love choosing lifelong 'defects' to demean and punish when they feel like it. They pick apart anyone who's "different" from them, which is pretty much everybody!. They laugh at other's misfortune, one of the only times they laugh; sadistic.

    My own mother, sister and niece are so much alike, it's uncanny. They could probably be interchangeable in any situation, they are so similar as place-markers in the world with what they (don't) have to offer. But I had to realize with each, as I first realized with my mother, that when you draw them out and they tell you what they think, they are as chaotic, hate-filled and lacking empathy and maturity as any other BPD. They live in blame, blame, blame and never take responsibility for any act. They can't maintain any consistent image of themselves (except that they are blameless) and are constant saboteurs of their own obligations. While they are fairly approachable, they would eventually steal everything from you, and make you out to be the dark force, claiming you forced them to steal, lie, hate, or not follow through on an agreement... Rather than freaking-out, screaming and out of control (although my mother reserved this crazy screaming blame for me, when the coast was clear), the shy ones quietly set about in their hate, propelled by rage to set you up. They take advantage of your good nature, laugh at how they got you to feel sorry for them, then claim you only helped them to make yourself look good or feel superior. They are so destructive and deviously undermining toward anyone who offends their selfish sense of personal space. Their distorted thinking tells them what they deserve from others in every moment and no one can ever predict what that is.

    Anyway, I wanted to put it out here that the external cues weren't obvious in my family because the waif-self was so much more prominent in this strain of BPD than the bat-crap crazy that usually gives this disorder away. I fell for the waif and kept thinking they just needed a hand or some help to get their lives "back on track" and they'd be alright. It took a lot of heartache for me to realize I could never expect them to be OK. I don't know if I can describe the damage done to me and my little family. I see BPDs as just another version of evil (narcissism) in disguise. (Didn't mean for this to be quite so lengthy.) -- Lora

    1. Lora sorry you had to deal with a mother with BPD. Thanks for describing your outlook on borderlines. One thing I believe is tricky about borderlines is they WILL SHOW FEELINGS [perhaps even OVER-SHOW them] unlike the narcs who often show no emotions but anger. I agree many just believe in the take part. Sorry yours were so horrible. Borderlines are warmer then Narcs on the surface but much of the same damage can happen. I think they are more likely to have rotating scapegoats at the moment. Some [people online say BPDs have empathy but then therapists say they lack it. I think it's like when someone gets depressed they can't see outside of themselves but for a BPD they are suck into a whirlpool of a fragmented identity and this is more a permanent situation. Yes many of them can set people up or go on rages. Part of the disorder as you will see above is the out of control anger. Aspie's deal with anger too, but we are more apt to do it behind closed doors and alone while someone with BPD will go on a rant and be "scene" makers. Yes shy "waif" ones would be more devious then the one running around with heavy mascara, crying over her many boyfriends on the floor of the club and drinking and drugging the night away. The more "gentle" ones would be less obvious. Around BPDs I always felt invisible as the world spiraled around them, attention sucked in as much like a vacuum just like the narcissists but different.

    2. Thanks Peep. Your insights are HUGE! Loved the image of the crying, drunken, mascara running... Hope it was ok to laugh because I did, out loud! I'm also glad you brought up Aspie anger. From what I've learned, anger as experienced by Aspies, is qualitatively different in the brain from the unreasonably, emotionally charged outbursts of the PDs. I have much more sympathy for Aspie anger because it seems to be more understandable than the crazy, blaming, projecting, slicing through your heart and soul, freak-outs that pass for anger in PDs. I do understand though, Peep, that you have to deal with this and imagine it can be overwhelming, deep and more painful than a neuro-typ's anger experience. I suspect you've been learning techniques that work for you to harness it somewhat so it doesn't act as yet another stressor. I appreciate your honesty and sharing on this topic and wish you didn't have to try so hard to make your Asperger's work within a society of butt-heads. :(

      I guess the soft spot in my heart might be exaggerated as one of my kids deals with the Aspie-cousin, hyper-focus ADD. He's like the "absent-minded professor". I used to worry he'd walk out into traffic when he was deep in thought; he didn't. :) He rarely shows anger anymore, which kind of unnerves me, but he'll still get fairly obstinate and flat when people are illogical or dishonest. As a young kid, he used to get overly frustrated and at times way too angry; I could see he was in pretty extreme psychological pain, so we got help. I have no idea how anger gets processed in his head now, he's grown, but he'd probably tell me if he was having trouble with it. He likely uses a kind of robot logic and doesn't see the point of having his type of anger programmed into his head. Hope that continues to work for him, but since his mind's not fully developed, he may have to revisit some different management ideas. Thanks again for the openness here, Peep. :) Much appreciated. -- Lora

  5. HI Lora, I guess you can tell I knew a few BPDs. LOL They are easier to deal with full blown narcs but sadly some have the narc traits.

    Aspie anger we process it slower. That is one thing about being Aspie you even have to sit and consider where your feelings are coming from. Aspies can have melt-downs but adult aspies who are higher functioning learn early on to keep that private as much as possible. I can stand up for myself to people when needed but this is something for young Aspies to process.

    I think anger for Aspies can be harder because it can even take us time to figure out what is bringing the upset feelings and the social machinations like solving a puzzle. Yes Aspies can shut down when really angry. You can go flat especially if you are in the middle of an argument to even try and figure out what is going on.

    Sometimes the flatness can occur because you are feeling overwhelmed and it is a cloaking mechanism. {ie don't let them in} The worse thing for me is I often will cry when angry which I hate because some will perceive that as weakness. I try to hide it, but it sometimes slides through.

    The cousin is young so he is probably still processing safe ways to manage anger and having to deal with it. Aspies take a lot of bullying and hard times out in the world and often this can be the reason for some of the anger inside. I would say BPDs probably do a hot flash, and it's over quick, but Aspies do the slower anger thing and build up slowly [sometimes we are not even sure yet if we should be angry because we aren't reading social cues, but an unsettling in our stomach is kind of the precursor for me personally. Aspies in my opinion do not have the guile to decide to "get even", or get revenge or "backstab which you can see out in the NT population, NOT ALL of course, but most Aspies I have seen and known just want peace and quiet.

    I think he probably is going flat to ensure, no melt-downs and retaining good social control--bullies can feed off angry reactions.

    I hope things do get better for him definitely. Thanks so much Lora

    1. Ahhh shoot, Peep! I typed out that description all wrong. I was thinking I was being clear, but as they say, "clear as mud"!! I meant to describe my now grown son, who is 22. He has a hyper-focus type of ADD (tunnel vision) and I was calling that type of ADD, a cousin of Asperger's, not my kid's cousin. I apologize. That was just terrible wording on my part. Eeesh.

      But, as usual, your reply was still so helpful to me. This son (I have 2), the "absent-minded professor", had a hard time in elementary school too. Neuro-typs thought he was weird and he kind of was. But he developed a close circle of goofy friends who didn't mind and ignored the rest. The parents were more likely to actually shun him than the kids. :( He was lucky to develop a great sense of humor which made his awkwardness less noticeable. As he got happier, he was less angry and he used his "charts" to keep track of his emotions and behaviors. By high school, he was blending in. The "jocks" liked him, so he became a tutor to get their grades up. He never made them feel stupid; he knew what that was like.

      He's grown into a wonderful young man and has remained a good and reliable friend to his original group. He has a freakishly accurate read on people. Shows how much I knew! I was worried he wasn't noticing his surroundings! LOL! However, missing social cues does happen. He seems to brush past it now as a tactic instead of freezing up. I'll stop going on about him, I sense my inner-braggart coming out... Sorry.

      I'll go ahead and look up cloaking and think about your other points as well. I have a friend with a daughter who has autism, pretty obviously. These are some of the toughest issues to confront, IMO. But unlike Ns and BPDs, people on the autism spectrum deserve good people in their lives to help, when needed, and to love and care about them. It's very nice to come here and just "talk". Thanks again, Peep. -- Lora
      PS I'll try to be more clear in my descriptions. :)

  6. Nice post... BPD Witch Hunt... You're right most of 'us' are assholes, thanks for the generalizations. Now I won't go any further about your article so as to give you room to say that I'm just your typical raging Borderline, but seriously, most people who ACTUALLY have BPD and aren't just dicks (you kind of made it sound like anyone who's volatile is immediately BPD and it seems other readers are assuming as much) have a lot of issues as you were so kind to point out. However, not all of us are self-absorbed and ignorant to our condition. Some of us our trying to be better than what we are now. If it were easy, or voluntary, we wouldn't be this way, would we? Sorry that our disorder clashes with yours so violently, but seriously, thanks for the hate speech.

    1. Where did I write BPDs are "assholes"?

      "This blog mostly has dealt with narcissists but the borderlines are another matter. Some can be more toxic then others and this depends on how much they lean to the narcissistic wing. "

      Yeah Aspies clash with BPDs I can see it here now even.

      Piss a BPD off and you are evil incarnate.

    2. "I don't mean borderlines any ill will, but I can't understand them nor relate to them. No friendship for me has ever lasted with a borderline. They are too chaotic. I am too Aspie. Can a Borderline Aspie even exist? I will let the psychologists answer that one. I don't know."

  7. I came here hoping to be educated, enlightened, something, but no... Hatemongering against people who have a serious mental disorder involving anxiety depression and fears of abandonment. You're a wonderful person.

    1. To you and the commenter above. Go to the above and write EXACTLY what you disagree with.

      Where's the hate mongering?

    2. Be specific in your protest here. Just don't scream hater. Quote what sentences bothered you.

  8. By definition borderlines are insane. So shut up and accept the stigma you worked for and so richly deserve. My mother and ex wife are Borderline and I hate both of them. They love that I hate them. So take your chaos and plague the people you "love"

  9. They start at zero and go to hater like a duck on a june bug. They can never explain themselves because there is no explanation for insanity.
    Borderline= I can yell louder than you.

    1. Some go from love to hate in a milli-second. I can't cope with it. Even here their bitching me out shows how they operate. Borderline does equal "I can yell louder than you." Nope there will never be amends, or explanation here.