43 thoughts on “Borderline Personality Disorder, Fear Of Abandonment, And Relationships

  • February 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Great article. How can I find a therapist that specializes in Borderline Personality Disorder in the New Jersey area?

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    • April 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      Any luck finding a DBT therapist?

      Reply
    • April 29, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      I may have some leads for you. What region of New Jersey?

      Reply
  • February 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Karen

    Glad the article was helpful to you.

    I would suggest going to the behavioral tech.org website under resources, you will find a list of DBT therapists. In addition, NAMI website and also psychology today.com are internet websites that ask that you put in your zip code to find a therapist in the therapist locater.

    Hope this helps.

    Lisa Bahar

    Reply
  • February 28, 2014 at 2:00 am

    Lisa,
    Thank you for your article as I always appreciate another viewpoint. My viewpoint is that as one with some borderline traits (being dramatic for one), I do not see myself as manipulative at all, but I have to set boundaries between myself and a manipulative personality. Manipulative manifests a need for external control, because somewhere that individual was not in control, as in, abandonment. I think it is also a way to safely act out anger. The borderline personality is very complex as I see it. Thank you again!

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    • February 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks RileyAnn for reading and for your insight on manipulation. Much appreciated.

      Lisa Bahar

      Reply
      • March 2, 2014 at 2:16 am

        Thanks, Lisa. I reread my post and will have to revisit this issue with my T. What I meant was, I set boundaries because I can’t stand to be manipulated by anyone and that is my way of controlling or setting boundaries between me and what effect people will or will not have on me, especially a manipulative personality. I have no desire to manipulate anyone, but I still have borderline traits. That is, not all people with borderline traits are manipulative, but some are.

        Reply
  • February 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I have a husband of 15yrs we’re separated. For 15yrs he would be controlling to a point my points of view didn’t matter just anything I suggested I’ve tried getting him help recently and he refuses and said I have a problem and not to be his mother. I said I’m only trying to help you. Its like everything was someone elses fault but his. I’ve taken him to a therapist/psychiatrist and the situation turned against me.

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    • February 28, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks jc for reading. If I may suggest, perhaps the best approach is to begin creating a support system for you and your relationship. I have many clients that are in a relationship with BPD or a personality disorder who work with me to gain insight, skills, education and support to nurture self and the relationship. Hope that helps.

      Lisa Bahar

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      • May 19, 2015 at 11:02 pm

        I have tried everything to help a friend, they won’t admit that they have a problem, as it is always me that is the problem…….so, you either learn to live with them, or you get out of the relationship.
        I have been abused physically and verbally, and it is never ending, and it will never end. It seems that BPD’s get off on hurting others that they pretend to care about, and yes, they are great pretenders, and liars.
        It seems to me that this is not genetic at all, but something that they are very aware of and enjoy doing. I hope I am wrong, for it seems to be pure evil from the very depths of hell, and they make your life hell on earth.

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  • February 28, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Wow, just wow.

    As a sufferer of BPD I am scarily impressed, wow. So accurate, I found the jumping from relationship to relationship the best as I didn’t know why I had this trait, I thought I was just a bad person for not allowing time (as is usually normal lol). Keep up the obviously impressive work. I look forward to your research!!

    Tc

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    • February 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks Thomas for reading. I am glad the article was helpful and accurate.

      Lisa Bahar

      Reply
  • March 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I think there is too much repetition of the manipulation theme here. There is more to BPD than slamming doors when someone is late. Plenty of people without BPD harm others with passive aggressive actions. And the world is chock full of manipulators who only want attention for themselves. Perhaps better understanding of BPD would come from different ways of framing the symptoms and the suffering that is at their core. Someone will think nothing of saying, “I just read an interview with a bunch of therapists proving that all people with BPD are contriving manipulators” based on this article. Please appreciate how people use whatever they can to discredit people with BPD. It is an epidemic of stigma.

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    • March 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you Wendy for your response to the article.

      What I appreciate about your response is the reminder of the core suffering that is the depth of an individual that is perhaps diagnosed with BPD. I agree with your consideration of non judgment and being respectful of those that are willing to explore their own reactions to situations. The word manipulation has a multifaceted response from individuals based on the meaning (dialectics) and can be thought provoking and challenging.

      My clients are those that have taught me through their experience and have allowed me to enter into their way of dealing with symptoms of BPD, as well as other clinicians and people like yourself that are willing to educate and provide a perspective that will enhance further understanding of BPD.

      Thank you for giving me some feedback, it really is appreciated.

      Lisa Bahar

      Reply
      • March 8, 2014 at 10:23 am

        Hello Lisa, I appreciate your response but still think the word manipulation incites a negative response and interpretation. You say the response is multifaceted which may be literally true, since no two people are exactly alike. My point is, the word manipulation is a negative term when applied to human behavior. And when applied so rigorously in the context of BPD, the negativity is compounded further. While there is some discussion of the motivation behind this perceived yet unconscious attempt to communicate, I feel the end result can be used as stigmatizing fodder by people, who often dominate internet discussion boards, whose goal is disseminating harmful talk about people with BPD. And you are right, I am one of them.

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  • March 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Thank you again Wendy. I admire your respect of those with BPD and will continue to reflect on your insights. Much appreciated.

    Lisa Bahar

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  • May 14, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you for your article. It is important to get information about borderline personality disorder out there…especially to the psychiatrists who are so eager to diagnosis BPDs as bipolar or schizophrenic so a quick medication can be given and then supposedly everything will be OK.

    I am a self recovering BPD who has been alternately labelled bipolar or schizophrenic depending on who is the doctor. It is ironic that I stumbled across mindfulness and affirmations on my own as a way to begin to recover from BPD. At the time I just decided that I needed to be less miserable so I would be a better mother. The resources are limited in my area but I am on a waiting list to be seen by a therapist who specializing in abuse and trauma. My childhood was not so good…lol, and the further invalidation by all the psychiatrists have left their mark. The stories I could tell…the worst being a 3 day stint in an isolation room that has left a huge scar….I learned how to control my emotions the hard way.

    However, there is hope for me yet. I am not overmedicated and finally got off the mood stabilizers when I am classified as bipolar. Being labelled a schizophrenic is not so bad, at least I tolerate that medication a lot better 🙂

    For BPDs that are searching for help while waiting to find the right therapist, please google mindfulness solutions because you will find so easy meditations that will help a great deal and some of them are short and easy.

    Also, learn to accept yourself (dare I say love yourself? lol) When you do accept yourself even as broken as you might think you are, things get a little easier and your reaction time to things that used to trigger you will ease up. It is true, I do it to deal with my narcissistic mother who I live with. Hay House has lots of source material.

    So there is hope for you too as well. If someone who has been wrongly medicated for about 29 years and stigmatized by being labelled bipolar/schizophrenic can do it so can you.

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    • May 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Hi Regina, your words of encouragement are great. But as a person with Borderline, I am wondering how you are sure it’s what you have? Self managing for me, even with knowledge of mindfulness techniques, is very often not possible. I was undiagnosed for 17 yrs in spite of seeing many professionals. I lack some hallmarks of BPD but nonetheless was diagnosed twice by experts as having all nine criteria. I suppose I am lucky none of the many pros I saw said I had something else. They just didn’t say what I clearly did have. I know misdiagnosis happens. Just saying, watch for over diagnosis on the symptoms. Someone saying to me, just do some mindfulness exercises and it will help could trigger a big problem for both me qnd the person saying it. It suggests BPD is self curable. For my whole life I unwittingly employed various coping mechanisms that I also found used in DBT. But doing them did not cure me or even help that much. It was just more futility. It is said that sometimes BPD symptoms decrease with age. Not for me, unfortunately.

      Reply
  • November 18, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Thank you for this information. My daughter was recently changed from a diagnosis of bipolar to borderline. My question is: how do I help her learn about her disorder and why she does what she does – what her part is in the broken relationships. I have bipolar and she’s 19. I think she’s really “over” the whole “mental illness” thing in general and just wants it all to go away. She is in therapy and sees a pdoc, but I don’t see them doing much in the way of education for her. Suggestions?

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    • November 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Dr. Keith, I would suggest viewing the DVDs If Only We had Known, it is a family guide to understanding Borderline Personality Disorder and the Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder. In my opinion, the DVDs really take away the stigma or the negative perception of BPD and explore the aspects of it in a very considerate and neutral way, while validating and helping others seek to understand versus judge. Check those out and let me know what you think? Lisa Bahar

      Reply
      • November 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm

        Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I will definitely get those and watch! Will let you know. – Lisa

        Reply
  • November 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    This may add to the discussion here. Since posting last year, my diagnosis has been changed, from BPD to C-PTSD. C-PTSD was my own self diagnosis when I first began researching my symptoms about 10 yrs ago (after finally realizing and accepting what they were/are, to whatever degree I’ve achieved that) which was also after 10 previous years of clinic after clinic, doc after doc with no results. So I’m 20 yrs into this trip and just properly diagnosed. C-PTSD and BPD have similar criteria. I was heavily stigmatized as a Borderline and did a lot of research and self education-which was against most the advice I was given.Another twist, is retrieving records from a public clinic where the diagnosis was withheld. 4 (awful) years later, I was diagnosed with BPD, and presumed that was the undisclosed diagnosis, as is common. In fact, the undisclosed diagnosis was C-PTSD, and I was given a “ruse” diagnosis of being a “highly sensitive person”. Why all this? Protecting perpetrators. Many clinicians are well aware of how BPD and C-PTSD are labels that can be subjectively applied. The rate of BPD diagnosis seems quite healthy. C-PTSD, not so much. It has taken years of self education. And a lot of filtering.

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  • April 20, 2015 at 2:41 am

    We diagnose ourselves because we lack sense of self, right. So it’s just another symptom. As long as you diagnose yourself, means you are trapped in the lack of self so you are trapped in BDP, even if you think you’re smarter. It’s like a Fight Club.

    Behaviour skills … well, I don’t know. We do know how to act, we are not dumb. It is our emotions that push us to act otherwise. And yes, I can feel anger and not act trought. But you know very well what I’m doing then, right? I’m supressing it, nothing else … and it will just collect until it boils … or, I may not boil it out, and supress it further … and you know what happens next? Body symptoms – gasses, muscles squeezing in stomach, pain in chests … that’s what happens.

    So is there an alternative to this? I’m not sure, I started psychoanalysis 2 months ago, and maybe I can get to the root of the fear of abandoment … or maybe not … probably it should take over 5 years, maybe 10. I’m not sure, but I really hope I will get deeper … maybe the whole point isn’t so much of getting to the root as it is of building the healthy (not romantic) trust in the relationship with therapist itself.

    It’s all OK … but the pain my chest in stomach kills me. So much “impulsivness” there … and the perfectionism and all the bullshit .. all the symptomps. But you can’t change the symptoms, because other show up, because the root remains.

    I’m really angry at people teaching this DBT. When I read the book about it, and I was already fucked up with perfectionism, it felt like I’m totaly fucked up. It just pushes you to panic more. Nonsense.

    You guys have to realize we KNOW the social rules. It’s the UNCONCOUS fear of abandoment. It’s something that takes years to be unrooted or trust to be builded. We lost that trust to depend on people when we were like 1-2 years old. You think we can just ACT like this is unrooted and everything will be OK? Dooh, of course it doesnt work that way, that’s why psychoanalysis may take over 10 years and may fail even then. Miracles are rare, but DBT actualy healing the root cause? Cmon, you must be kidding me.

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    • April 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Zvonko

      Thank you for your comment. You’re right, DBT helps with the symptoms but it can be somewhat invalidating when it appears to address the symptoms but not the root cause. On the other hand, DBT will decrease the intensity of the symptoms when practiced over time and may be helpful in the long term, short term is more challenging and can be frustrating for those of us, that want to get to the root cause to deal with the behavior.

      I appreciate your comment and understand how challenging these skills can be.

      Lisa

      Reply
    • May 20, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Zvonko,
      I think your idea that self diagnosis is just another symptom of BPD is way off base.
      Mis-diagnosis is rampant. Particularly giving the BPD label to those who have C-PTSD. It is the difference between saying ‘you are inherently flawed’ and ‘your problems are a result of traumatic experiences over which you had no control”. Stats vary, but up to 87% of people diagnosed with BPD report adverse childhood experiences, abuse, neglect, interpersonal trauma. While mindfulness and other skills DBT teaches are appropriate, denial of how the person got this way is a bigger problem than the mental health system admits.
      It becomes so intuitive for commenters like “exhausted” to frame a person’s difficult traits as BPD and use it as the marquee reason to sever ties with them. Lying and manipulation, as I have said in other comments, are not exclusive to those labelled BPD or even mentally ill. Lisa points out “sloppy manipulation”, where the person is not skilled, and probably lack of other skills leads to using this method. It is incredible what context can do in forming opinions.

      Reply
      • May 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm

        I have tried to reason with the person, they blow up….there is no reasoning to them, there is nothing but anger……and it stems from fear…….I have experienced this for about 5 years, now….I have left, but came back, out of pity for the person…which is my fault.
        I choose to stay, but I need to be on guard at all times, and try to defuse, or not say anything to set them off……but sometimes this doesn’t work, as they get frustrated easy, and if I am near, then I become the target of their frustration. I leave the room for a while, and it seems to help.
        Maybe their brain just did not fully develop. I don’t know. I am sympathetic, though. Someone has to be…..no one knows, until they have to live with someone they love that has this problem.

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  • May 22, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Dear Exhausted, You are a friend to stick around. Don’t do it out of pity, though. People have said that to me and it made me feel awful and ashamed. There must be something else that keeps you there. There must be some good qualities in this person. Point them out to them. Ask them why they are so angry. You are right, there is something wrong in their brain. You’re right about fear being at the root of the anger. The brain is over-reacting, causing a fear (and anger) reaction when it appears to anyone else, there’s no reason. It’s not rational, it’s survival instincts. I am reading about the limbic system in the brain, and how it malfunctions in people with trauma experiences, and PTSD. For people with BPD, even if there’s no trauma, it seems there is similar brain dysfunction. Maybe you and your friend could do some research together on how the limbic system works in people with PTSD and BPD. I have found research and understanding reassuring and helpful, and any true friends will support and sympathize, but not pity. 🙂

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    • May 22, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      Thank you for the conversation, Wendy. I appreciate your input very much. I seem alone in this thing, whatever it is. I am sympathetic to the feelings of this person. It must be hell for them as well…….
      This person seems normal to everyone else, and functions, held a job, and is very intelligent. Very normal and kind to me, except for when the temper tantrums come, and then, look out….lol 🙂

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      • May 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

        Exhausted, I wrote knowing I’ve written many comments here already, which can be interpreted negatively. It makes me appear too aggressive. We are all here seeking understanding, which is not easy to come by in the everyday, face-to-face world. I was labelled BPD, which is absolutely incorrect. Imagine how frustrating! How angry it makes me! but if I say “I do not have BPD, I have PTSD”, I am told, because I have BPD, I am delusional. If I am angry, which anyone would be in this situation, I’m told it’s because I have BPD! If I prove otherwise with a mountain of research to back me up, including on misdiagnosis, I’m told, the diagnosis is there and it will not be changed. BPD is a very slippery and often stigmatizing label. Particularly with the overwhelming stats linking early trauma and later maladaptive behaviours. All of a sudden you are a diagnosis, not a person with experiences and reactions. I have an MA, a BA, other diplomas. Lack of intelligence is not my problem. However (watch for narcissism accusations) too much may be a problem. DBT is a good framework. I did some, I researched its use and results in places like prisons. It can be complicated and off-putting. I also met Marsha Linehan, at an event for professionals that people with BPD weren’t particularly welcome at. I’ve gone to BPD fundraiser events where I felt unwelcome because I wasn’t donating. I am poor! Does that mean I have to stay home? I noticed there is a new movie, “Welcome To Me”, supposedly about a woman with BPD. Her self-centred-ness and delusion leads to buying herself a TV show. Wow. The best example of BPD symptoms is that, in this facebook age where everyone wants to be the star of their own show? I work with celebrities, musicians, all kinds of people. Do they all have BPD? How many times have I heard a regular joe say they think their life is worthy of a TV show. I am not discounting the need for help and support for people with these symptoms, including myself. I found a bit in DBT. And mindfulness. I also find a lot of help in Bessel Van der Kolk. this word ‘tantrum’ is a tough one. Nobody likes being compared to a bratty child. How about reframing it as a reaction out of control thanks to problems in brain function? All the best to you and your friend, exhausted. I think I’ve contributed enough here.

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  • May 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Exhausted, it appears you are practicing a DBT skill Opposite Action which asks us to “gently avoid” take a time out and see it from their perspective. The challenge is like what you indicated the conditioning of feeling cautious to express yourself or the emotion of fear related to potential interactions. If you can, check out the “If Only We Had Known” series on BPD, it helps with what you have described in a non judgmental way of understanding the sensitivity factors of the brain, based on the biosocial theory and also how to deal with situations. I hope it helps, would be interested in hearing your thoughts if you watch.

    Reply
    • May 22, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you, Lisa, for the reply.
      I have worked with mentally handicapped people, and know pretty well what to expect with them, and so I applied some of my skills to my friend.
      They need a cooling off period, and seem to get back to a rational way of thinking, and act as if nothing happened!
      It often makes me wonder if they are even aware of what they are doing?
      My mind is changing, since reading up on BPD….I have found much help here.
      Thanks again, and I will watch the series you told me about….much appreciated.
      I will get back to you on it. 🙂

      Reply
      • May 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm

        Sounds good. Glad it helped. Look forward to hearing from you.

        Reply
  • May 26, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    To Wendy:
    I am beginning to understand better, as I have prayed for this for quite some time.
    Thank you for your bluntness, as sometimes it helps to see just what it is all about.
    And, I have been living with this very close friend (husband), for a little over 5 years, and I know what to expect……and to be blunt and honest with you, it is like a child throwing a temper tantrum when they don’t get their way…..which leads me to believe that a certain part of the brain isn’t working right, that is why I sympathize.
    I , too, am poor, but am seeking knowledge of this to better understand my husband, because I do love him. 🙂

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  • October 23, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Lisa,

    I am a BPD and I have problems provoking my husband, accusing him and it has ruined my marriage. I fianlly found a DBT work gorup I start in a couple of days. My question is, how can I learn to stop accusing and provoking? Does DBT cover this? Relief from it can’t come quick enough… quality of life here is not good. I am deperate for help.

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    • October 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Specifically, I accuse him of cheating. Need to know where he is. He now isnt talking to me and told me that he wont be telling me anything about what he does anymore. He seems to hate me. We are both miserable and I don’t know what else to do to stop.

      Reply
      • October 24, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        J: Thank you for this comment and the prior one. J, you are on the effective track of willingness to participate in a DBT group. I commented on your other post on my thoughts on how to deal with accusations, and your group will certainly enhance and add more. There will be skills to practice and over time you can see results, practice, practice practice. It’s not easy, but very reasonable and effective. So proud of you for reaching out. I will keep good thoughts for you and your relationship. Lisa Bahar

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    • October 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      J: Yes, DBT can help with accusing. In your group, there may be numerous approaches, however, what I would anticipate, is the MIndfulnes skills related to Observe: Observe the Event that is prompting the “interpretation or meaning” of him cheating, Observe and Describe the thought, meaning be able to Observe what you are noticing and label it with “he’s cheating.” Once you are able to Observe and Describe, DBT will then add the Emotion, which may be for example Fear, Jealousy, etc. DBT will then explore how Emotions Work and what each Emotion prompts you to do, meaning that every Emotion has an Action. Each step, DBT will provide a skill to implement to decrease the intensity of the Fear, Jealousy, etc. Most likely your group will review the Observe and Describe skill as well as the Emotion Regulation skill: Opposite Action for Emotion. I am glad you are learning the skills, and admire your willingness (that is a skill too!) to name BPD and do what works (Effectively) by joining a group. The Interpersonal Skills will help with your relationship. Practice and I am certain you will see some results. Thank you for reading the article, hope my feedback made sense. Lisa

      Reply
  • October 29, 2017 at 5:41 am

    I am so disappointed in this article. All the blame placed on a person who is sick and in incredible pain, labelling them with unhelpful, abelist language such as manipulative which just drives an already hurt individual further away. You make no mention of how serious a mental illness BPD is, nor that supposed ‘manipulation’ is not something in all cases of BPD. Yes, people need boundaries to take care of themselves and cope, but at the forefront should be the person who’s unwell!

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    • October 30, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you for reading the article and giving your feedback. The word “manipulate” can be off putting, on the other hand it can also be helpful to “name it” for those that may be aware of the tendency to deal with situations that create challenges of emotional reactivity. I appreciate the comment, and do agree that an already hurt person may feel a reaction to that word. Thank you again for taking the time to give feedback. Lisa Bahar

      Reply
    • October 31, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Reading my comments above is a little difficult, after getting notifications about new posts here. I have been in trauma based therapy for several years and clearly much, much improved since the nightmare of misdiagnosis and a miasma of horrific repurcussions. I maintain the overuse and scrutiny regarding “manipulation” in the article is stigmatizing and unnecessary. It’s kind of hilarious how someone said I self diagnosed with CPTSD because I lacked sense of self. In fact, it was my sense of self that enabled me to know I was being manipulated by therapists wielding DBT and BPD labels. Who needs to name and own things is not exclusive to patients. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a therapist to admit they were wrong.

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      • November 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        Thank you Wendy for revisiting after seeing the new posts. Appreciate your feedback and will take into consideration the word “manipulation” and be mindful of how to better describe certain actions. Hope you are doing well, thank you again. Lisa

        Reply
  • April 4, 2019 at 5:07 am

    Obviously the person interviewed has not been intensively trained in DBT because a trained DBT therapist would not use the word manipulation.

    Reply
 

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