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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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Borderline Personality Disorder

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 19th 2009

 1. "Jan 17th 2009 E. Mail from anonymous person:

I have BPD and I do shut down contacts, well, quite often actually. It happens when I don't meet that person anymore. I get tired of speaking only on a phone or sending emails. I just don't care anymore. Somehow it seems like I need to see a person in front of my eyes to be assured that she/he is real."

2. Fictional examples based on psychotherapy experiences:

A. This forty year old woman was referred to me for psychotherapy with a diagnosis of BPD. She came for psychoanalytic psychotherapy twice per week. After the second session each week she became extremely anxious and depressed because she experienced me as having disappeared from her life. As a result, she felt abandoned and alone in the world until the start of the next week when sessions resumed.

B. A new patient with BPD seemed to have made a good start at her psychotherapy. All of her symptoms of depression and anger cleared away and she felt wonderful. I became her hero, a man who was brilliant and capable of solving all problems. One day, I yawned during the session. She became fiercely angry at me. She experienced my yawn as my anger at and rejection of her. I quickly fell from my lofty heights of being a talented therapist to being a charlatan who was callous, cold and devoid of human compassion.

The E.Mail above, as well as the fictional case vignettes describe part of the experience of those with a Borderline Personality Disorder.

These are people who do not have a clear sense of who they are, what they look like, and how they are seen by others. Moods are stormy, shifting, unstable as the person becomes easily offended and either angry or rageful even though others may think there is not reason for it. When things are at their worst, these people can quickly become suicidal, cutting themselves or making very real and dangerous suicide attempts. In rare instances, they can become assaultive.

The fact that this is a personality disorder means that behaviors and reactions are patterned and repetitive over many years dating back to childhood. In many ways, the experience of loss and disappointment in me when the weekend came or when I yawned represented the same losses experienced at the hands of parents when they were children.

Various studies show that adults with this disorder were either sexually abused on an ongoing basis during childhood or were severely neglected. The confusion felt during adulthood reflects the confusion, storminess and lack of safety they felt during their formative years. Parents behaved in ways that were inappropriate, intrusive, harsh, punitive and both neglectful and abusive.

In point of fact, studies show that many, if not most, people with BPD were severely abused as children, both sexually and physically.

People with BPD tend to be very concrete and "black and white" in their thinking. My yawn was experienced as an attack on and rejection of the patient. It never occurred to her to ask if I was ill. In fact, I was ill, fighting a nasty virus that kept me up most of the night. The point here is not that I felt misunderstood, but that, she, the patient, had no room in her thinking for other possibilities than that I was rejecting of her.

In the same way, that same patient, in her anger and disappointment, experienced me as falling from hero worship to worthless charlatan, all because of a yawn. Again, the point that is being made her is not to blame the patient but to illustrate the painful way she experienced life.

Perhaps one of the most difficult problems that BPD afflicted people have is that they do succeed in alienating and embittering family, friends and loved ones. It is very true that they bring about the realization of their worst fears: rejection and abandonment. Then, they are able to say, in psychotherapy, "see, I told you so."

Treatment for BPD is long and difficult. One of the most successful treatment strategies used today is DBT or Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Basically, DBT is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy during which the patient learns to identify the ways in which their thoughts are unrealistic and unfounded, then learning to replace them with reality based and accurate ways of thinking. Included in this is the use of meditation and visualization to help the patient learn how to reduce and control their stormy and shifting emotions.

If you know someone with BPD and find it hard to deal with them please try to remember that it is even harder for them to cope with their own selves.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD.






Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
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RE: "BPO Boyfriend of two years - - Nov 28th 2009" - struggling - Oct 20th 2010

Hi there,

Your situation sounds quite similiar to mine ... although for me I asserted myself and turned into tough "love" and some verbal abuse b/c I was so hurt that he lied, deceived, betrayed me and kept doing it.

He so wanted to change to the man I wanted him to be then recently him saying love him for who he is. Where I'd say your not someone I'd choose. On and off roller coaster ride for the past 2.5 years.

Ending him assaulting him that ended up with him jail for 4 nights and 5 days. And over a girl he and her both became obsessively contacting each other and both denying that's odd and nothing's wrong with it.

I was trying to end it for good this time. Telling him it'll be hard for me so for him to help me get over him too. With things to do so I can't contact him, etc ... including getting together with this very girl before I knew what he was all ready doing which both, as stated, denied being odd.

I had trust issues with him from the beginning, however he sacraficed a lot and did a lot for me to show his love for me. Yet when you break someone's trust and keep doing things to make that trust continue to break down ... well, what else can you do but give them chances to make it up yet they keep failing?

Just days before (have th emails from him saying don't ever leave him, what it'll do to him if I leave him, he has no one else and just the day before to promise him never to leave him). When I said ok as long as he doesn't lie to me or hurt me as a promise like that can't be held up if he does something so awful I can't stay with him any worse then what he's done to me.

He said (that Wednesday) he reduce talking with the girl and not see her anymore. Well come to find out he saw her that night and said nothing to me. He had two origami birds she made him the next day. I remember those weren't there before. Plus he had things she gave him, a photo card even, displayed in his room. Which I told him that's not right and odd IF he wants me still and work it out.

He fought about it and he didn't even tell this girl he was involved in working out this relationship. When I said that's wrong and what would he think if it was me? He agreed YET he argued, aggressively that he will NOT tell her.

Next day (Thursday, 9/9/10) we fought, saw the origami and I ripped it. He attacked me. Strangled TWICE and tried to rip my mouth apart when I cried out for help.

He was with the girl days after he got out. She left him couple of upsetting VMs. Cursing at him for him leaving her stranded at the house.

Oh, that Wednesday she called in incessantly and left him several vms and text msg. I heard the vms and they were begging him to please call her one more time and with her crying saying she'll show him her poetry and her baby pictures and she'll do anything he wants if he'd just call her back just one more time. What would anyone think of this message??

Both are lying to themselves. And I beyond shocked that he tried killing me. And have said nothing in the least to show any remorse for what he did nor an attempt to apologize in the least.

I am horrified over it all. Why couldn't he just let me go? I even told him to be with her to help him get over me be easier ... all the while they were growing an "obsessive" attachment to each other.

How dare he, how could he do this to me and say nothing or think nothing of it but to say "move-on".


there is a wonderful person that lives inside - - Dec 20th 2009

I feel on love with a guy who I now believe has BPD.  At the start he seemed obsessed and would msg and phone constantly.  He claimed not to have a drinking problem but the first time he got drunk during our relationship I received 50 voice mail msg within 3 hrs.  Each one becoming more demanding.  When we were together we had the best love life and laughs imaginable.  8 weeks later I found out I was pregnant to him.  I wanted me to abort the baby.  I told him I will do with or without him.  And several times told him we were over.  He wouldnt go would show up like nothing had been said.  Everything he got drunk I would receive wot I call the crazy calls and msg.."u dont understand me, no one does, this is all your fault, i am unstable." The rollercoaster continued.  When I became fat during the pregnancy he told me I was fat and he didnt want to have sex with me anymore.  I changed my numbers.  He got his mum to come around and see me and sent nasty emails.  His expectations of me were quite unrealistic but I if i had any of him this would turn his in2 a raging animal.  His x had 2 abortions and he called her a f cu^t for killing his kids.  He stopped all affection with me but continued to call.  When the baby was born he was there.  He seemed to have a change of heart and told me he was sorry and wanted a 2rd chance with me.  He touched my hand and loved the baby and looked after me for the first few weeks.  when he went back to his own house I struggled on my own and told him I not coping.  I was called every name imaginable and that he would take the baby away from a mental case like me.  His mother gets the nasty threatning calls also.  Once when he pleaded with me to abort the baby and cried because he believed the baby would b mental like him I tried to leave his house.  He locked me in.  Lately i have tried to be really understanding.  Our love life good again.  but when he rages its all my fault and once upon a time my 2 boys were wonderful now they are awful and preventing from him spending more time with his baby and me.  Of late he has been telling me he always fucks up relationship because he cant help being nasty just in him.  And he has threatned to leave the relationship.  When i have said ok he msg again I serious and I am taking the baby.  This morning he apologized to me for raging at me because I put my phone on silent in the night and had 4 missed calls and 3 abusive msg.  i replied I know why u abuse and hurt me because you hurt so bad inside.  Your baby loves and needs you stop hurting your body with alcohol.  Sometimes he drinks so much non stop for 2 days that he shakes.  he also suffered a brain injury at 21 and was told never to drink again.  I keep reassuring him that I want desert him or give up on him.  If I dont answer the phone straight away I get "why arent you answering your phone"  etc.  i made fun of him the other day.  "you love me , you hate me, your not listening to me, wot did i say, everything in my life is your fault, i have a drink because of you, etc..all the things he says to me.  He laughed.  I dont know if he will get better but I want to be his friend because there is a wonderful person that lives inside.

BPO Boyfriend of two years - - Nov 28th 2009

I have been in a 2 year relationship with someone I now think shows signs of BPO. When I met him we were both extreemly attracted to each other, he seemed like the person I had been looking for my whole like, handsome, smart, successful. But i did notice he had a temper, but thought that I liked a little spark that he would use that temper to protect me, which he did, he was my knight in shining armour. He adored me, told me he loved me always, showed me he loved me, he seemed almost obsessed with me. Me being recently divorced and him as well I was crazy about him and he was for me too. But over time things started to change and he became angry at me. He started complaining that he didnt feel secure with me, that I didnt make him feel loved enough, even though he said he knew I loved him. He would get angry at things I would think nothing of, a glance in another direction, a phone call from a friend that I would be making plans with, not waiting for him right outside the bathroom at a function and walking back to our table, always analyzing my time, where I was and how long things took, accused me of lieing about what I was doing, thant my time line didnt add up, I would say what time line? i would have to recount everthing I did and then he still would say i was lieing, wants to know details of all my convesations I would have with friends, thinking I was saying bad things about him or they were,  all these things created an uncontrollable rage, with unbelievable foul language name calling, sticking his middle finger in my cheek callin me a f***in c**t, etc.. Oneof the first time it happened all 6'3" of him towereing over me with his finger pointin in my face screaming at the top of his lungs Your STUPID, Your STUPID, relentlessly, until I slapped him across the face, and ran from him thinking he would hit me back. Things kept getting worse after this, with his biggest thing I was a lier, I never had anything to lie about, I was totally faithfull to him and loved him.

He was the most loving man I had ever met the most intimate emotionally wanting to know everything about me, loving me so completely, then turning on me 360 degrees, maybe this is how breakups work, I had been married for 20 years, maybe u have to be cold turkey, it's hard for me to understnd someone that loved me so deeply as he said he did and as he showed me to now  he wants nothing to do with me, he told me I could not love him the way he needed I didnt have it in me, I make him feel insecure and insignificant. He was completely crazy about me loved everthing about me, then turned into hating me. My family and friends could not understand what I did to make him so angry, I realized I am not perfect and didnt handle everything all the time way, but I was never trying to hurt him, always the oposite.

We were at a concert and I kept glancing to a girl that I recogonized but wasnt sure, just mostly bored and looking over at her from time to time. It actually was her after all, but he said to me nastily what am I looking at, so I told him, he started yelling at me no one treats him like this, that I was a f - in low class bit.. this went on for over an hour as we left the concert him screaming at me in public, to the car and as we drove home he was going over 80 miles an hour weaving in and out of traffic, The next day he took all my stuff out of his house and threw it outside. I didnt live with him but had some stuff stored at his house. He did a lot for me, and he said I never appreciated anything, but I totally loved him, he was diffucult I could never know what would set him off. I still love him the good him, he was like jeckel and hyde. I dont know how to get over this, I still call him, he seems to be completely over me, he's posted himself on a dating site and is seeing several women, he doesnt have many close friends some aquaitances that are his new friends he has been hanging out with. He will only call me when he has a crises and he will cry or scream then hang up on me and I dont hear from him again, I try to call back or text him to see if he is ok, he may text me back the next day "ok" . then that's it. I'm so confused because I think he is crazy and I think Im crazy to love him and want him, I see so much potential with him, but thats foolish, he may never get there. I have never had such a close emotional  and dynamic physical relationship with anyone, tow things I always wanted.  

He has completely shut me out and I relied on him so much, he was very smart and strong person, he was reliable and I thought sincere. He was over the top with me and I use to tell him that. He even agreed, now he's the oposite. I asked him to get counseling at one point and he started going, but stopped going. I dont know how to move on, I have been holding on for over 4 months now and I miss him every minute, crya  lot and miss talking with him, I shared everything with him he was my best friend, but when I  am with him I cant understand him, he gets angry a lot and convinces me I am to blame.

BPD - - Nov 18th 2009

My girlfriend of five years is diagnosed BPD and has been in counceling for ten.  Generally when she is enraged she attacks herself, hitting herself in the face until she is bruised.  However last night she turned on me. She had told me of a dream she had the night before where i wanted her dead.  With that playing through her mind and the lifetime of arguments with me saying things in anger; she lost it.  It was awful.  I have to say that looking in her eyes it was not the first time I notice the physiological effects that take place when she goes into rage.  And the smell of her breath is foul.  Sometimes I wonder if she isn't possesed.  Her counceling sessions seem to be ineffective; only are they good (I derive this from her comments) when they are positive feedback for her.   BPD is a horrid, abusive, illness.  I love her spirit but I doubt many people who live with this illness come through it ok.  I have chosen to stay and work through it; however last night has me questioning if that is ok anymore.  I think sometimes she wants me to end it because she does not have the courage.  And I think sometimes that is best for her too.  This is all so confusing.  We are going on day six of full scale bpd right now.  And of course this is all my fault; what she says although I doubt she believes it.  I am not sure how to help her out.  Everything I try is shot down, and this is just as the books and councelor recommends ( validate, accept, set boundaries, don't react in anger). Nothing works!

Borderline - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Oct 17th 2009

Hi Judy,

There is a lot of stereotyping of people who have a BPD diagnosis. There is also a lot of stigma attached to it. It is very unfortunate, even tragic that, even today, prejudice and stigma persist about issues of mental illnesses of all types.

I am compassionate about people with this disorder because I know how they suffer. That is why I see Dialectical Behavior Therapy as a big step forward in helping people with this problem learn how to let go of a lot of their anguish.

I just want to clarify one point that you made. I can well imagine that various uninformed mental health practitioners told you that people with BPD only threaten suicide but do not act on the threat. This, tragically, is not true. People with BPD do not make empty threats and there are too many expamples of completed suicides to support this assertion. So, dismiss what you have been told.

It is good that you are a practicing Catholic because religious belief and spirituality are comforting and helpful.

Please keep reading our blogs and you comments are always welcome. We also have our wonderful Online Support Community.

Dr. Schwartz

A helpful commentary - Judy C. - Oct 17th 2009

Dr. Schwartz,

I have experienced more than one therapist as somewhat flippant about borderlines.  My social workers said the psychiatric hospitals are full of them, they rarely attempt suicide, though talk about it frequently, they disrupt group therapy, generally, are a lot of work and a pain in the neck.  I don't discuss my own BPD much in therapy, because a lot of therapists don't know I have it.  I've been in a hospital setting where other patients have gravitated toward me because I appear so sensible and stable.

The reality is I suffer every day, am very unsure of myself and how I'm being perceived.  I suffer all the feelings of a borderline, and am humiliated by them.  I'm friendless, and never had a stable relationship.  I also have M.S., and am primary caregiver for my alcoholic husband who has Alzheimer's.  I'm a practicing catholic, which keeps suicide at bay.  I take God and the commandments very seriously.  But I think you can figure out, each day is an exercise in fighting despair, and wondering why I'm bothering to keep going.

You sound as though you take this diagnosis seriously, and even hold compassion for your people who fit in this category.  I try to be kind and helpful to others, according to what my faith teaches me.  In spite of that, I don't function well, and at age 59, the chances are poor that I'm going to improve.

This site, giving an opportunity for self-expression without incurring derision feels comfortable to me.  Thank you for your commitment to this field.





BPD controls my life - Jax - Jul 2nd 2009

I was diagnosed at the age of 16 after yet another hospital visit after locking my self in my room with a very sharp knife after a meaningless argument with my mother that at the time seemed like the end of the world. I am now 29 and covered in scars.

I have been in and out of phsyciatric clinics most of my life from attempted suicide´s or severe bouts of depression or drug and alcohol abuse. I have spent countless hours with different Dr´s and therapists as I seem to go through them as I do my friends, short and intense relationships then emmotional instability and fear. I have been the same with the men in my life, completely disfunctional. I fell preagnant at the age of 19, under family pressure I married the father and filed for divorce 1 year later. I have remarried since but continue to feel so missunderstood. Missunderstood by my family, husband and all those who are on the outside looking in.

I feel so desperately allone as I suffer with my emmotions knowing that they must be greatly exagerated in my head. Sometimes convinced that I am loosing it but cant find a way out. I cant get anyone to understand what I am feeling and why. I know my husband tries but just cant hack it often getting angry with my intence sensitivity to everything he does. The silliest missunderstanding and I am sure he no longer loves me or wants to be with me.

This disorder conditions my everyday and at times I find it so exhausting. I just wish I could face the world with out these handicaps as it is hard enough as it is.

Hopefully as time goes by there will be more therapies developed and more awareness about this desease.

Chin up........



Not sure.. But i think this is it :/ - Steven - Jun 27th 2009

My name is Steven. I'm not completely sure that i have BPD, as i haven't had a proper diagnosis, or even seen a therapist yet.. But so far, I line up with 8/9 of the symptoms of BPD, and everything that i hear sounds like exactly what i'm going through.. I can love someone. and think they're perfect one moment, and hate everything about them the next. I'm extremely afraid that my loved ones will leave me, because they find me impossible to get along with, or they like someone else more, or for other numerous reasons. I have random mood swings that take place frequently, from intense anger, soaring happyness, and crippling depression, and back again every few hours, and the moods don't last long at all... I'm also currently dealing with an addiction to self-injury, which only seems to intensify the mood swings... I feel like i'm at the end of my rope, I don't know what to do, how to take control of my emotions, and my life.. And even though i know that putting this out there won't help anything.. I guess, even though my voice won't be heard.. It was nice to finally speak.

Response to Allen's BPD Blog - mscat - Jun 5th 2009


I've been given the diagnoses as Borderline several times in my life. I thought I was cured a long time ago . I had been hospitalized as a teenager for 2 yrs and then off and on afterwards, and again in treatment for a severe Eating Disorder in my early adulthood and 20's. I managed to be ok for a while, however never keeping a job very long because of conflicts with co-workers or bossess. I had a child at 24, became a single parent, and still struggled. Mostly with intense moods, emotions, and relationships. 10 yrs later, things took a drastic turn for the worse. I became clinically depressed, and as much as I tried to pull it together things fell apart even faster. The depression hit so hard that I started losing touch with reality. Then started self harming once again. In my mid 30's the self harming turned worse then ever before, leading to severe injuries. I had gone back into therapy and treatment , placed on medications, however it is still not under control. what i've read is that BPD is suppose to become easier and less as a person becomes older. However, opposite has been true for me . One positive thing is that I'm less impulsive as I was younger, not shoplifting anymore, or any of that. But the Self harming is at times impulsive, and the all or nothing thinking is great . I have also become advoidant, and do not enjoy being around people, do not trust people, and sometimes worry that I could erupt like a volcano onto others> Instead, the violence is directed towards myself, in which the evil , dark side of me takes over, and does serious acts of violence. I will often feel totally in pieces as parts of the body is disconnected. When the self harming incidences occur, a body part is at center focus, which becomes/needs to be destroyed. It is definately not fun to experience and go through everyday life feeling numb, unreal, and have no sense of idenity . + have no desire to form any real close relationships , due to knowing that eventually i'll be hurt, left, or betrayed in the end. At least once a year I go through a severe Self harming incident , which leads to a hospital stay in the CCU for over a week, surgries and blood transfusions. Then going back for more skin graphs. I certainly did not ever think, or plan that the Self harm could ever become like that and lead to forever scarring, loss of mobility, and lack of control , anger, or violence that comes out when the evil is all too unbearable to stay within.  


Bullied at school and searching for clarity - Dan - May 11th 2009


I was bullied in Years 6 and 7 and think that this has affected my life for a long time now. I'm 35 and only starting to fully realise many things, like who I am and how I'm coping in the world.

I moved across Australia in 2006 to give myself a break from my family and assert my independence. There have been some great friends made, a lovely woman included (we still see each other) and some attempts at work - such as a few government contracts, however, I struggle with holding down a job, metting new people, and feeling sometimes violently resentful at the world, my family and even the place I live. I know that a lot of it is exaggerated, but I feel that there is still a big dark hole in my heart and life.

I believe that I have Asperger's Syndrome and a little of ADHD. This is no "woe is me" statement but a sincere attempt at self-knowledge I have obsessed over in the last few years. Not long after I started researching the disorder, I found myself thinking "Yes, this is so me!". I am muscially gifted, smart and good-looking, and I allow myself to be consumed in what ever holds my interest.

Going to school was hell at that boys' college. It was an exremely nasty and violent place with an emphasis on fierce competition in sport and academia and a pecking order that left out kids with disabilities and so called "different behaviours". I tried to fit in and even join the tough gang in Year 5, but they rejected me. I'm so sorry now that I tried to do stupid things to impress them, but as I see it now, I was just a screwy kid trying to protect myself. Joining them would have placed me at greater risk of harm that not joining. So glad I left that school, as those gang members have gone to jail or been injured in accidents - which is a shame.

By Year 7 I was almost completely rejected by the year group and the school. It was a lonely, scary and desolate place to be. I wandered the quadrangle at recess and lunch, hassling the year 4 kids for some reprieve. I longed to stand up to all of the year 7 bullies, longed to escape, longed to roam the nature trails around my house - anything but facing another day at that school.

I was picked on because of my character, the persona I was projecting out to the other students. The constant name-calling had worn me down and ruined my self-confidence. My mother once said that it had come to a "crisis point". I was withdrawn, loved to draw and pour over maps, and had difficulty standing up for myself. I was very sensitive, easily moved to tears, and didn't understand the feelings and intentions of the other kids. It was a rough environment for me.

I've asked myself "Why was I bullied?" Having read about Asperger's and made personal connections with it, particularly with the fact that Aspies have unique talents (I do!!) and odd behaviours (I brought some of my dad's pills to school to trade, getting into real trouble) which make them easy bullying targets, I can put things together now. IF ONLY THE TEACHERS KNEW ABOUT IT THEN! Of course they didn't, it was 1986.

I want to make something positive out of this experience 'cause I'm sick of the anger and apathy that has knawed away at me for the last 23 years.

Peace everyone!


bsp - robert - Mar 26th 2009

i have a illness some times i drink i cant keep girlfreinds long i spend bad i buy things to make me feel better i do art a lot it helps a i do weights some times i just cut my self of from people for days its horribel im very senitive if some one says wrong things to me i go funny or weired in my mind and cut of for days i never stop thinking my mind is like a race track i dont sleep much im women mad i get ladys all time but it never lasts that sends me mad then i think no one loves me i do over things but get bord ease can some one tell me what this is about look on googel  artist robert haworth    thank you 

I am BPD .. - Becky - Mar 6th 2009


I'm Becky and i have a diagnosis of BPD, I am extreamly ill at the min and struggling to hide it from people ...

As for what was said about people not treating BPD i have found it very hard to find treatment as many say they are not qualified to deal with my problems or i find myself leaving treatment as i get mad and think i'm fine! BPD is one of the hardest and loneliest illnesses you could ever imagin and i wonder every day if things will ever get better. I have a partner who i think is finding it to hard as well ... he tends just to call me stupid and to stop being an asshole!! Not a great help really!

 I still work full time although i think i'm heading for the sake as i can not concentrate on things for very long and get annoyed with things or myself!!

I spend my whole life changing my hair or having a tattoo in the hope that this time it will make me happy and i will feel good about myself .... it never does!! I DONT HAVE A CLUE WHO I AM!

I cling to things that are no good for me .. I rage and hurt myself ... i scream and abuse the people close to me ... I hate myself sometimes or do i or am i ok no i'm discusting! ???? I have a history of abusive BF and a history of drug abuse!! I shift my mood rapidly i forget why i'm mad, i cry for what seems to others as no reason, i see my partner as perfect one min and terrible the next! Pulling and pushing him!!

This is an awful thing to live with every day so if you really feel you have this then please do somethin about it before it gets complete hold of you!!

Wishing you all well!

Becky xxxx 

no chance of improvement? - - Feb 17th 2009


I am very thankful to have just found this site!  It is refreshing to read how others are coping with many similar problems that I, too, am working on! Please excuse and forum errors-- and spelling/grammar ones, too! I will try to remailn brief and to the point.  I appreciate any responses andthank you in advance! Much Mahalo!

I have a question re; Borderline Personality Disorder. In a Personality Psychology class I was taking in college ( I have a B.S. degree in BioPsychology) the instructor told the class that she never treats patients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, in fact many of her colleagues do not either.  She claims there is no chance of any improvement with this disorder and that the patients have great potential to becoming dangerous to the therapist (ie: stalking etc.) For almost seven years I have not understood this.  Is any of what this instructor relates factual or is it pimarily a personal decision as to who she chooses to treat.

I have my own opinion on this, I am just wondering how others view this.

Editor's Note: Your instructor gave you information which may be true for her personally, but which is not true for the community of psychotherapists.  Many therapists will and do treat patients who meet critiera for borderline personality disorder.  This can be a difficult treatment (compared to a treatment for someone whose problems are less about emotional chaos) but many therapists do it.  Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is probably the best studied approach.  It  blends cognitive therapy and mindfulness training with the goal of helping people prone to self-harm (suicidal acting out, or self-injury) to gain better control over their moods.  Other 'name' therapies designed to help people with BPD that are currently under study include Transference Focused Therapy, and probably Schema Therapy belongs in that category also.  And many more 'eclectic' therapists work with these patients every day.  Because the problems in BPD concern relationship difficulties (a tremendous need for relationship intensity/intimacy; a tremendous fear that it will not be present when needed; difficulty handling moods resulting from abandonment fears; developmentally immature polarized conceptualizations of relationship partners as saviours or abusers (rather than a little bit of both like most people are)) borderline personality issues are ideally suited to being worked out in a therapeutic context.  The big problems involve the duration of the therapy (and how to pay for it), the intensity of the therapy (there is a lot of drama involved), and the difficulty maintaining appropriate therapeutic boundaries in the face of very behaviorally disturbed patients.  People do get better either in small ways or larger ones, however.  Not everyone improves, and not every therapist is good at this sort of work, but patients can get better and do. 

TO: WE AREN'T SO STORMY WITH EVERYONE, Feb. 5, 2009 - Aurora E. Hunter - Feb 11th 2009

" Lest you think that moods can only be caused by chemicals, you'd be quite wrong. The success of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy approaches has established pretty much beyond any doubt that thoughts are capable of influencing mood, and that if a patient can be taught to think differently about his or her depressive (or anxious) thoughts, his or her mood will lift. Knowing this makes it perfectly plausible that instabilities in someone's ability to feel secure in relationships and someone's lack of knowledge with regard to how to sooth themselves when they get agitated can translate into mood swings as pronounced as anything chemically induced. Both chemicals and thoughts are legitimate potential causes of mood swings. It's a reasonable thing to disregard the influence that thought and perception has on mood instability when dealing with clear and pronounced 'hardware' problems (such as bipolar I), but in more mild forms of bipolar disorder it is possible that chemicals and thoughts - hardware and software - play a role in determining patients' mood."

 I have learned to think in a manner that is condusive to good mental health; you can too, with the help of therapy.  I also take Effexor for emotional balance.  It is a journey; I wish you well.

  Thoughts become things... choose the good ones! ®
© ®

Good Stuff - William Hess - Feb 6th 2009

Thank you for your blog.  I have worked with college students with psychiatric and learning disabilities for over twelve years besides having my own personal experiences with trauma and traumatized individuals.  Your willingness to recognize the relationship between trauma and many of the psychiatric disorders individuals experience is refreshing.  Moving away from the culture of denial helps the suffering individual to understand him or her self in new and dynamic ways.

Again, Thank you.

We aren't so stormy with everyone! - - Feb 5th 2009

I have BPD.

My best friend is the trigger.  It's horrible to know that your moods can shift so easily.  And even though I know exactly what I'm doing wrong, I can still feel the shift coming and I can still determine what I'm about to do as a good thing.  Even though throught my bouts of anger or depression I know it's overreacting and being overly sensitive.  It's just not something I can stop.

 I think people should also be aware that those with BPD aren't so stormy with everyone in their lives.  In my case, it's only with my best friend.  My parents and other friends know nothing about my condition because they never witness the worst of it.

What I really need, though, is for someone to write up an article on how we can control it ourselves, not on how others can help us out.  It makes me feel like an animal when I see books on "Living with someone who has BPD" and whatnot.  Seriously.  I don't know how to control my emotions and I'm not prepared to go to another shrink.

48 year old woman - finding friends - Suzanna - Feb 5th 2009

I am a married woman with kids and I cannot seem to develop friendships with women. Either I don't like them or they don't like me. I am horribly lonely though for some fun friends! I feel this constant emptiness or pit in my stomach and I start to get very anxious and panicky when I'm alone. I feel that other women don't understand me and/or don't like me, for reasons I don't understand.

Family Therapy - Allan N Schwartz - Feb 2nd 2009

Hi Geo,

I agree. Family therapy is a geat thing and should be a wonderful part of the treatment of BPD. I will soon be writing about family therapy. Please look for the article here on our site.

Dr. Schwartz

About family therapy - Geo - Feb 2nd 2009

Hi Allan,

  It has been echoed in the article that the problem is rooted in the family.  Family therapy may also be a solution to this problem.

  Cognitive process is the direct cause of behaviour. However, deep inside the emotion, there may be more to discover and to "heal". Yearning deep inside and the hurt that still cause pain in an unaware manner. Satir iceberg model demonstrates a rich of information.

  Even people is thinking in a logical and constructive way, the emotion is still roaring inside. People's mind is complicated and not straight forward as in cognitive-behavioural perspective.



this is me too the T - banjo - Jan 27th 2009

This is exactly how i react to things. Like the reader who replied first i also drink which makes things worse. I have no friends because i really do alienate people and all i want to be is the absolute opposite of everything i am. I am irrational, depressed, angry, tired, confused and really on the verge of just giving up. I'm a single mum of a two year old, work full time, have a mortgage, a car, can't afford any off it. i've slept with horribly discusting people in attempt to have a relationship with anybody. I've just come to the conclusion that i cant be loved. im that paranoid that i even think my own son doesn't like me. im living in a really dark, sad world and all i want is to feel normal and well for my son. ive treated people so bad that im always watching over my shoulder expecting someone to come after me. please help

answer - - Jan 25th 2009

Wow....that sounds like someone i know. In which that is ME. I have a range of emotions that come out like a tornada. A lot of friend that i have have think that I have a split personality disorder, but i feel its how i cope with my stress. For example I want to be nice and good to people around me but when someone misunderstands me or tell me something nasty i SNAP. When I say snap i mean my heart starts to beat really fast and i feel adrenaline inside that wants to burst into millions of little pieces. I understand myself complety but the mood roller coaster i go through is hard to control sometime. I try to go to the gym and work off the crazy feelings i have inside but sometimes that doesn't even work. Sometimes i drink to let the stress out but then my anger storms out worse........I have a problem with keeping relationships and I don't feel like anyone could ever love me enough !!! Even if they did love me enough i would feel annoyed by their presence and flip out all over nothing....can someone explain that?

The symptoms you describe seem very familiar - Paula - Jan 22nd 2009

Hi Allan

I've just been reading your Blog on BPD & The symptoms you describe, seem very familiar with some of the symptoms that I can relate too?I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but my personality is like that. Thinking that people are against me all the time, won't accept a compliment, always having my guard up at all times!

Do you think I could be suffering with this? I have never even given this a thought till I read your article.

You know of my past experiences with going on the Community and relating to some of my post.

I would much appreciate any advice, and would welcome any suggestions that you may think will help me in dealing with this situation!  

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