The 9 traits of borderline personality disorder (BPD) include:
1. Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are frequently afraid of being abandoned. Even seemingly minor occurrences such as a loved one returning home late from work or leaving for the weekend can cause significant anxiety.
This might result in desperate attempts to keep the other person near.The person might plead, cling, provoke fights, stalk their loved one, or even physically prevent them from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior has the unintended consequence of pushing others away.
2. Unstable relationships. People with BPD have a tendency to have passionate but short-lived relationships. They may fall in love quickly, feeling that each new person would complete them, only to be disillusioned soon after. Their relationships appear to be either wonderful or terrible, with no in-between.
Because of their fast swings from idealization to devaluation, friends, and family members may experience emotional whiplash.
3. Shifting self-perception. When a person has BPD, their sense of self is highly unpredictable. They may feel good about themselves at times, but other times they may hate themselves.
They most likely have no idea who they are or what they want out of life. As a result, they may change jobs, friends, lovers, religions, values, interests, and even sexual identity regularly.
4. Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. They may engage in dangerous, pleasure-seeking activities, especially when they are unhappy.
They may spend money they don't have, binge eat, drive dangerously, shoplift, indulge in unprotected sex, or use drugs or alcohol recklessly. These dangerous practices may make them feel better in the short term, but .
5. Self-harm. People with BPD are more likely to engage in suicidal behavior and self-harm. Suicidal behavior can range from having suicidal thoughts to making suicidal gestures to actually attempting suicide. Self-harming, including cutting and burning, are also common.
6. Erratic moods. They could be happy one minute and depressed the next. Little things that other people dismiss could throw them into a whirl of emotions. These mood swings are severe, but unlike the emotional swings associated with depression or bipolar disorder, they normally dissipate after only a few minutes.
7. Feel empty. People with BPD frequently describe themselves as feeling empty, as if they had a hole or vacuum inside them.
They may feel as though they're "nothing" or "nobody". Because feeling this way is unpleasant, they may try to feel better with substances such as drugs, food, or sex. However, nothing really relieves their distress.
8. Angry outbursts. People who have BPD tend to struggle with extreme anger and short tempers. Once the fuse is ignited, they may have difficulties restraining themselves, shouting, throwing objects, or becoming fully overtaken by wrath.
This rage isn't always focused towards others. They spend a lot of time hating themselves too.
9. Disconnection from reality. Paranoia or suspicious beliefs about others' motivations are common in people with BPD. When they’re stressed, they may feel disconnected from reality, which is referred to as dissociation. It's possible that they’ll feel dazed, spaced out, or as if they're not in their own body.
Need to find a therapist near you? Check out the Monarch Directory by SimplePractice to find licensed mental health therapists with availability and online booking.