BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER:
What you Need to Know
We received the following information
from a Muslim brother, and we thought it was useful information
that is worth sharing:
Dear Zawaj.com Editor,
Thanks for taking the time
to read this e-mail.
After several years of
marriage and having kids with my wife, I have discovered with
the help of a therapist and by my personal study and research,
that my wife has symptoms which fit the definition of Borderline
Personality Disorder (BPD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual (DSM-IV) (APA 1994), published by the American Psychiatric
However, the problem is
that all the therapists agree, due to the nature of BPD, any
direct disclosure about the disorder without psychiatric supervision
or any attempt to force therapy to the patient may result in
denial and possible counter-blame to others. The need for therapy
has to come within from the patient.
In other words, I cannot
just tell her that she has the symptoms of BPD. I love her very
much and I am ready to stand by her.
Therefore, I am writing
to you in the hopes that she may read this, and maybe she will
decide to go for therapy by herself.
Should you kindly help
me by posting, distributing or forwarding this message and the
following information to others then I would be grateful.
Muslim Brother (Please
keep my identity anyonymous)
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
- Is someone you care about causing you a great deal of pain?
- Do you find yourself concealing what you think or feel because
you're afraid of the other person's reaction or because it just
doesn't seem worth the horrible fight or hurt feelings that will
- Do you feel that anything you say or do will be twisted and
used against you? Are you blamed and criticized for everything
wrong in the relationship-even when it makes no logical sense?
- Are you the focus of intense, violent, and irrational rages,
alternating with periods when the other person acts perfectly
normal and loving? Does no one believe you when you explain that
this is going on?
- Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or even lied to sometimes?
- Do you feel like you're the victim of emotional blackmail?
- Do you feel like the person you care about sees you as either
all good or all bad, with nothing in between? Is there sometimes
no rational reason for the switch?
- Are you afraid to ask for things in the relationship because
you will be told that you're too demanding or that there is something
wrong with you? Are you told that your needs are not important?
- Is the person always denigrating or denying your point of
view? Do you feel that their expectations of you are constantly
changing, so you can never do anything right?
- Are you accused of doing things you never did and saying
things you never said? Do you feel misunderstood a great deal
of the time, and when you try to explain do you find that the
other person doesn't believe you?
- Are you constantly being put down? When you try to leave
the relationship does the other person try to prevent you from
leaving in a variety of ways (anything from declarations of love
and promises to change to implicit or explicit threats)?
- Do you have a hard time planning anything (social engagements,
etc.) because of the other person's moodiness, impulsiveness,
or unpredictability? Do you make excuses for their behavior or
try to convince yourself that everything is okay?
- Right now, are you thinking, "I had no idea that anyone
else was going through this?"
Does This Person Display
the Following Behaviors?
- Alternate between seeing people as
either flawless or evil? Have difficulty remembering the good
things about a person they're casting in the role of villain?
- Find it impossible to recall anything
negative about this person when they become the hero?
- Alternate between seeing others as
completely for them or against them?
- Alternate between seeing situations
as either disastrous or ideal?
- Alternate between seeing themselves
as either worthless or flawless?
- Have a hard time recalling someone's
love for them when they're not around?
- Believe that others are either completely
right or totally wrong?
- Change their opinions depending upon
who they're with?
- Alternate between idealizing people
and devaluing them?
- Remember situations very differently
than other people, or find themselves unable to recall them at
- Believe that others are responsible
for their actions-or take too much responsibility for the actions
- Seem unwilling to admit to a mistake-or
feel that everything that they do is a mistake?
- Base their beliefs on feelings rather
- Not realize the effects of their behavior
Does This Person Also:
- Feel abandoned at the slightest provocation?
- Have extreme moodiness that cycles very quickly (in minutes
- Have difficulty managing their emotions?
- Feel emotions so intensely that it's difficult to put others'
needs-even those of their own children-ahead of their own?
- Feel distrustful and suspicious a great deal of the time?
- Feel anxious or irritable a great deal of the time?
- Feel empty or like they have no self a great deal of the
- Feel ignored when they are not the focus of attention?
- Express anger inappropriately or have difficulty expressing
anger at all?
- Feel that they never can get enough love, affection, or attention?
- Frequently feel spacey, unreal, or out of it?
And Does This Person:
- Have trouble observing others' personal
- Have trouble defining their own personal
- Act impulsively in ways that are potentially
self-damaging, such as spending too much, engaging in dangerous
sex, fighting, gambling, abusing drugs or alcohol, reckless driving,
shoplifting, or disordered eating?
- Mutilate themselves-for example, purposely
cutting or burning their skin?
- Threaten to kill themselves-or make
actual suicide attempts?
- Rush into relationships based on idealized
fantasies of what they would like the other person or the relationship
- Change their expectations in such a
way that the other person feels they can never do anything right?
- Have frightening, unpredictable rages
that make no logical sense-or have trouble expressing anger at
- Physically abuse others, such as slapping,
kicking, and scratching them?
- Needlessly create crises or live a
- Act inconsistently or unpredictably?
- Alternately want to be close to others,
then distance themselves? (Examples include picking fights when
things are going well or alternately ending relationships and
then trying to get back together.)
- Cut people out of their life over issues
that seem trivial or overblown?
- Act competent and controlled in some
situations but extremely out of control in others?
- Verbally abuse others, criticizing
and blaming them to the point where it feels brutal?
- Act verbally abusive toward people
they know very well, while putting on a charming front for others?
Can they switch from one mode to the other in seconds?
- Act in what seems like extreme or controlling
ways to get their own needs met?
- Do or say something inappropriate to
focus the attention on them when they feel ignored?
- Accuse others of doing things they
did not do, having feelings they do not feel, or believing things
they do not believe?
What is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
Quote from book published by the American Psychiatric Association:
"The DSM IV provides the only comprehensive classification
of all recognized psychiatric disorders in print. This edition
features increased emphasis on multicultural influences, development
across the lifespan, and substance abuse disorders. More than
1,000 clinicians and researchers have contributed to the revision
of this classic reference".
Please note that only five of the nine listed symptoms are
required to make a diagnosis.
Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnostic
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships,
self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by
early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated
by five (or more) of the following:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered
in Criterion 5.
2- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships
characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization
3- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable
self-image or sense of self.
4- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially
self- damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless
driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-
mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
5- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-
6- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood
(e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually
lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
7- Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8- Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling
anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent
9- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative
- American Psychiatric Association. (1994).
Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth
edition. Washington, DC
Borderline Personality Disorder frequently co-exists with
- Depressed Mood
- Dramatic or Erratic or Antisocial Personality
When you visit a GP with a sore throat she may take a couple
of tests, maybe test for a virus and possibly take a blood test.
Based on these results she will be able to diagnose you. In the
course of that diagnosis she may be presented with two possible
alternatives (a common cold and/or strep throat for example),
it is now her job to diagnose the most probable of the two. This
is a differential diagnosis. On psychiatric evaluation a patient
may present with symptoms of possibly two or more illnesses.
It is the psychiatrists role to differentiate which is the most
probable and take action based on that decision.
Here are a list of the possible other diagnoses on the mood
disorder and personality disorder spectrum. These must be carefully
considered and ruled out before a definite diagnosis is made.
It is also likely that those with borderline personality disorder
will be carrying another, possibly equally debilitating disease
and this also has to be taken into account.
- Mood Disorders
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Personality Change Due to a General Medical Condition
- Symptoms that may develop in association with chronic substance
- Identity Problem
BPD Online Resources:
Traits Common to People with BPD
held by BPD sufferers
and Realities about BPD
"games" between BPs and Non-BPs
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Central - Message Board
and Treatment for BPD
(An evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral treatment)
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Books for Non-BP:
Walking on Eggshells; Coping When Someone You Care about Has
Borderline Personality Disorder"
by Paul T. Mason, Randi Kreger, Larry J. Siever
Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook: Practical Strategies for
Living With Someone Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder"
by Randi Kreger, James Paul Shirley
Hate You, Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality"
by Jerold J. Kreisman (Author), Hal Straus (Author)
Further Resources / web-sites: