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8 Confusing Personality Traits of Borderline Personality

What do you think of when you hear the term “borderline?” What do you think of the term codependent? For most people, borderline signifies a”split,” “switchable,” “unstable,” or “unsure behavior pattern. Codependency, for most, signifies a vulnerability or pattern of unhealthy behaviors.

It’s interesting how the mention of this word can lead to a cascade of reactions in a person.

This article will discuss some common signs of BPD that often confuses those in relation to the person with BPD. I will discuss codependency in the video below as well.
Note: It is also important to keep in mind that BPD can also be frustrating for the person experiencing it.

3 Comments to
8 Confusing Personality Traits of Borderline Personality

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  1. Hi Tamara,
    I have (obviously lol) heard of both borderline personality disorder and codependency but what I DID not know at all until watching your video just now is that there are stages of codependency. Is that new knowledge or has this been around for a while? I think breaking it down as you did is very helpful in seeing just how far a person has progressed and allows an individual to monitor themselves so it doesn’t develop (preferably) or, if it already has, to know when to seek help!
    Is codependency and enmeshment the same thing –with perhaps the former being more of a diagnostic term? Actually (and I should know the answer to this but I don’t) is codependency even listed as a formal DSM diagnosis?
    One thing I noticed in your video is that you spoke of it using examples of a romantic relationship but it can also happen, for instance, between parent and adult child, friends etc., am I correct? I ask because my therapist has said that my mom and I have a codependent relationship to some degree. But I believe (and so does my therapist) that it is the result of the dysfunctional and abusive dynamic at home and having it drilled into me by my former stepfather that I needed to take care of my mother, protect her feelings, and also being put as a child in a position that more resembled a wife–taking care of housework, my younger siblings, being forced into sexual activity etc.
    I have always felt that others lives, feelings etc were more important than my own–especially family. When mom is hurt emotionally, I rush to try to fix it. Same with if my siblings have a problem–they call me. And if my phone rings I almost ALWAYS HAVE to answer it even if I am busy or resting because what if a family member needs me? But at times lately I find myself feeling resentful which is NOT like me! I ask myself “when is it going to be MY turn to have a life, find out what I like, what MY needs are, etc.” I remember times when I was really unwell emotionally due to ptsd and depression but I would resist hospitalization for fear of “worrying or hurting my family.” Wow, this one has been quite the eye opener! I’m glad you talked about this, thanks!

    • Hi Lori,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you pointed out that codependency can occur in all relationships. You are right that it doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships. The video was recorded in September which was National Domestic Violence Month. I have seen so many clients in a codependent relationship with an emotionally overwhelming and immature mother. I have seen codependency in student-teacher relationships as well as coworker relationships. It is never healthy.

      Is codependency and enmeshment the same thing –with perhaps the former being more of a diagnostic term? Actually (and I should know the answer to this but I don’t) is codependency even listed as a formal DSM diagnosis?

      I think codependency is enmeshment but at a more severe level. Codependency and enmeshment are psychological/diagnostic terms used in the field of psychology. However, enmeshment was a term developed in family therapy to identify families that were way too “fused” together. But essentially, I believe they are the same terms used differently. It is possible that you and your mom have a codependent relationship but who doesn’t to some degree? Perhaps you are just simply close to your mom and honor her. I do with my mom. At the same time, if there is codependency that’s not healthy, obviously. But I think mainstream society makes too big of a deal about psychological terms and concepts and begins to label everything a “problem.”
      Take care

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the codependency/enmeshment issue. I agree that there are definitely times when people label things as being problematic when it may just be a personal choice or something else entirely.
    In my situation though, after thinking about it further, I do believe there is some codependency happening because it feels smothering to me sometimes. I love my mom dearly but I also feel that I have not “broadened my horizons” as much as I would have and have wanted to because she just can’t tolerate separation. I have a little experience with travel and I enjoyed it and would do it more if money were not an issue but I know she would have difficulty not talking to me daily. I also think that part of the difficulty the past few years is that she is a senior citizen, just turned 77 and in an unhappy marriage living in a little town about 90 minutes away and now plans to divorce her husband (they’ve not been happy for a long time now and he treats her as if she is nobody to him) and start over again back near us, her adult kids (and grandbabies).
    I know it is a vulnerable time for her and she is depressed and afraid , struggling with limited money, etc but it feels like she wants me to be everything to her –her dependence is at times overwhelming and I want to be there for her but I also have to find a way to build a better life for myself and continue working on my own issues!


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