The Question: What does "being borderline" mean to you? How do you
define "being borderline". Are you someone with the personality disorder
known as BPD or do you think that "being borderline" is a phrase that
fits more than "having BPD"? Do you perceive a difference? If so, can
you share what that is about for you?
Borderline to me means - apart from meeting five out of nine criteria
in the DSM-1V - it means a lot of things:
1. an extreme anger that only others with bpd would understand
2. an inability to cope with everyday living
3. an inability to see shades of grey - everything is either all good
or all bad
4. an extreme low self esteem (brought on by all the people in our
lives that should know better)
5. an inability to progess from adolescence to adulthood naturally
because we have been so suppressed by significant people that we
are actually "stuck in our childhood." For this, we then get abused
because we are "childlike" !!!!!
6. We are unable to distinguish between past pain and present pain
because it all rolls in together.
7. We often lose touch with reality - because we can't get over the
horror of our past - then we get locked up as "nut cases".
8. We fear abandonment because we have been abandoned by the
significant people who were supposed to love us as children.
The bottom line is - all of the symptoms are normal for those of us
who have endured the garbage that our significant loved ones put us
through. If they walked through our shoes or anyone else for that
matter - the result would be BPD.
I have a problem with the term borderline personality disorder as
it suggests that there is something wrong with my personality - there
is nothing wrong with the person I am - it is only a reflection on
what others have done to me over my childhood years. Being abused
and put down and ridiculed by the so called people who love you would
make anyone "mad". (I use this term in a nice way) A part of the
healing process is to know that we are not the "mad" "bad" "unloveable"
people that "they" said we were. Guess what "they" are the ones with
the problem - not us. "They" got it wrong!!!!! ("they" being all of
the significant others who dumped on us as kids.)
One therapist told me about there being a black sheep in every
family - a black sheep being the one who stood out as the strongest -
so for their lack of security "they" would then put down this black
sheep and "kick it into shape" so that it became a white sheep. It
never did become a white sheep so it just felt like it didn't fit in
anywhere. Alas - we have BPD.
NO I am not someone with a personality disorder - and I never did
have a personality disorder. I had an illness that was a result of
what other people did to me as a child. Through this illness I was a
strong individual and still am - and I would say that I am even
stronger now having lived through the illness.
Some would say that blaming significant others for ending up with
an illness is not taking responsibility - well - we bpd's always have
a problem with blame & guilt. We spend most of our lives blaming
ourselves instead of laying the blame with our abusers. I blame the
right people for my illness - but I take responsibility for my own
actions and behavior. There is a difference.
When you think about the 2% of the population that has been
diagnosed with BPD - think about what percentage of people are
geniusus. Only 2% have the strength and the courage to endure what
we go through. It has been suggested in many of your letters that we
are highly intelligent human beings - this is true - so consider this
support group as a "black sheep club" and I am proud to be apart of it.
I think that borderline fits me, because I am always on the border.
The border of insanity, the border of feeling like I fit in. The
border of likeing myself. Nothing I do seems to be the right thing.
I am the borderline of life. I don't think it has anything to do with
the border between psycotic and manic. For some reson when I hear of
this I think that it is a personality choice. Like I choose to be BPD.
Then I can just snap my finger and all will be well. I think thay it
should not have anything to do with the other illnesses. That we are
a group that should be taken seriously. Not just assocated with
some other illnesses.
I do think there is a difference between being borderline and BPD.
Borderline is a phrase that is clinical. It describe what nine traits
are required for you to be borderline. They do not say what it is like
to have to live with this disease. When I hear of somebody saying they're
BPD I think about the illness and how it has destroyed their life. I
think of it as being inflicted with leprosy. Something that slowly
destroys your life one piece at a time. There is no cure for this
illness, but every body thinks there is. They expect that because it is
a personality disorder that if we want we can change it. Nobody tells
a manic that, because there are meds. Why should Borderline
personality be any different?.
In response to this-- I would prefer being borderline. When someone
says they have borderline it reminds me of a disease or that it is
something one may catch like an illness. First and foremost, I would
rather be considered a human being, but if I was forced to accept one
of these labels I would choose being borderline. To me, this sounds
more like I have control over the situation [which I do to an extent].
It also means that I am not borderline every moment or in everything
that I necessarily do. This way it is seen as a continum. When people
say borderline---what does it mean? Borderline diabetic, borderline
personality disorder-- I don't consider someone as borderline this or
that. You are either diabetic or not, have a personality disorder or
not. What one person considers borderline may in fact not be the same
as another person. I hate labels. Are we borderline to being
schizophrenic? Who's to judge? Where is the exact line? People
shouldn't be considered an exact science. To me, being borderline is
when I do certain behaviors to extreme or have reactions that are
extreme. Everyone to a point is borderline. To me, this diagnosis
means taking things to extremes-----situations, feelings, etc... that
others don't do on a continued basis. I also disagree in that one
person should not be compared to another. There are reasons why people
act and think the way they do. What gives society the right to judge
my actions or how I think without having my past history or coping
mechanisms. There is no purpose to giving a person a label except to
keep them a victim of that stereotype. People with cancer are people
before they are or become the label of cancer. If I had my wish, there
would be no labels in this world. People hide or refuse to take
responsibilty for one's actions because of labels and on the other
hand others try to rid themselves of labels only to find out that they
can't rid themselves of it because it is a stain--lasts till
you die. I consider myself to be in recovery---meaning I hope and am
working to be fully functional member of society. I would hope that when
I reach my goal that I can drop that label. In other words, just because
I may exhibit certain behaviors now that are considered maladaptive,
doesn't mean I can't overcome them. I hate labels and their
consequences. It is a stereotype in which one is expected to live by. I
am doing what I can to change so I can relate to others through my
actions that there is hope for recovery---I don't have to have this
label over my head when I die! Recovery is about life and not labels.
Sorry for the rambling but this subject reaally struck a chord with me.
Lastly, I believe in empowerment, not revictimization through attached
I was just talking about this very topic in therapy today. When I
saw BPD in my phospital records I started researching it immediately.
I had never heard of it. I got all the info I could find on the web
and read "I Hate You Don't Leave Me". I had found myself after 53
years. The descriptions fit like a glove for the most part.
The definitions and explanations and examples made sense of so
many things for me. It answered questions that I couldn't answer
with the manic depression diagnosis.
I don't think the name is very descriptive of the disorder but I don't
have an alternative. It is all about personality. It is all about what
makes me, me. It is behavior that almost everyone experiences at
times but I see the main difference being that this is how I live
24/7. I don't think you can will yourself out of it. I think it is
all about learned behavior from experiences that we've had. Its
is a way of seeing and reacting to life that is more extreme than
the average person.
It is about a lack of self-esteem and self-worth about not knowing
who you are. Its about trying to be what you think people want you
and need you to be. You don't know how to be yourself because
you really have no sense of self.
For me it also means not being able to accept the fact that what
I think and feel can be different from what someone else thinks or
feels. If I feel I'm a bad person and I'm not lovable then I don't
understand in my head how anyone else can see that differently.
If I feel strongly about an issue or a situation I don't understand
why everyone else around me doesn't see it exactly the same way
as I do.
BPD is the definition of who I am. I know others may not feel this
way, but to me it is the essence of who I am. That doesn't make me
feel bad really. I find it kind of comforting. I can now see and
understand why I feel the way I do. Why I think the way I do. Why
I react so differently from everyone else. It puts the broken pieces
of the puzzle that was my life all together for me to see.
Some people call it distorted thinking, black & white thinking,
all or nothing thinking. I see all that as me, Evelyn. It is how I
think. It is how I see things. Maybe it is black and white thinking
but its also my thinking. I've lived my whole life thinking this way.
This disorder makes sense to me where the manic depression doesn't.
To be borderline means for me:
1. To be unable to handle my feelings in an adult way.
2. To loose control under certain circumstances (Psychosis)
3. To see myself as alien
4. To be unable to control my impulses
5. Lack of inner-structure and great demand for outer-structure
6. To be extremely fixated upon myself (narcissm)
7. To have a big, dark hole inside
8. To be unable to fill this hole
9. To dream of symbiosis
10. To be scared of getting older
11. To depreciate other human beings in order to fill the dark hole inside
12. To fall in love with other human beings to fill the dark hole inside
13. To be sometimes very depressed and then to be unable to do anything
14. To be very aggressive towards other human beings without reason
15. To dream of being invulnerable.
16. To dream of terminate other human beings who are coming too close.
17. To be unable to stand out with nearness
18. At the same time longing for nearnesss
19. To wish that there would be a switch i order to switch off all feelings
20. To wish to be ALIEN (from the film), because it is made for survive
21. To wish to be an TERMINATOR (from the first film, NOT the second).
22. In general: To dream abut realizing my narcisstic fantasies
23. To know that I have only about 10 more years to live
24. Having seen the Film 'Paris-Texas' more then 300 times :)
This is a good topic because I really hate it when someone says
"oh she is a BPD person".. I am NOT a "BPD" person - I am a woman who
has been diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder......
I am also a mother, a cub scout leader, a teacher, a paralegal, a
person who loves playing flute and piano - I think you get my drift.
I am a complex individual made of many parts - the BPD is just one of
those parts. I don't want people to think of me as just any one of
those parts - because that diminishes who I really am. And to label
me as a BPD unfairly ignores all of the complex things that make
up me as a person. WE are all complicated and amazing people with
complex lives and BPD is just a part of that - it is not what defines
us. OOOOH I think I should get off my soapbox now.
For me, being borderline means not having a stable sense of identity.
A feeling of constantly floating, drifting without ever being centered.
Always on the edge. And even though I feel like I am moving towards
finding a center, being grounded, everytime something comes up I am
tempted to run back to those fragmented edges that are easier to cope
Personally I feel that I have BPD...I have the Disorder! Being
Borderline to me means that any "normie" can show or demonstrate (slip
into) Borderline traits. Having Borderline Personality Disorder means
that you meet five of the nine criteria delineated in the DSM-IV. A
"normie" can break the cycle like falling off a horse or a bike...A
person with BPD does not have that luxury without external help. Oh
I am sure it can be done alone...but the evidence by the posts on this
board suggests that it is not of the paradigm.
Borderline means to me "to go either way in an individuals thoughts,
feelings, words and behaviors"
I have characteristics of BPD but I am not BPD. I am Carol who has
hundreds of characteristics I also have some of the nine
characteristics of the label BPD......guess it is all in how we view
labels......labels and names is how we define our world. So if I
change or remove the characteristic does that mean I know longer own
the label........or do I own the label because I was diagnosed and it
is now an absolute? So if I take a white shirt and dye it red it is
still a shirt right? If I am married I am a wife (another label)
but if I divorce I am no longer a wife...therefore I stop acting as a
wife I loose those characteristics maybe......If I have a skirt and
sew it into pants it is no longer a skirt it is pants maybe......seems
to me when we label we can begin to take on the role of the label by
means of adopting characteristics...we can do this consciously or
Borderline in my opinion is nothing more than a label defined with
nine characteristics. It is not bad or good. To me it is like a broken
down car......if the car quits running I need to determine what the
diagnosis is in order to fix it......once I know what is wrong I can
fix and manage the problem so that the car can continue to run.....if
I don't know and the thing keeps breaking down I will soon become
frustrated and the pattern of breaking down snowballs into something
else more challenging. So having a label of Borderline has helped to
identify the areas in which I need to be aware...once I have awareness I
seek out education or gather knowledge once I have the knowledge I can
than work with those tools in making changes..........Borderline
effects me and others around me differently as I am a unique individual
....even though I may have the label I also have my own life experiences
and perceptions that are unique to me only.
Borderline does not determine everything about me it is only one
aspect of me......we can have or be borderline anything......I can go
either way........but at least I have a choice in which way I go.
Borderline is not an excuse to be or not to be a certain way it is not
an excuse or reason to act or not act a certain way......it is nothing
more than a reference and sends me information...it is what I do with
that information that determines the out come...it always comes back
to choices...we have a choice in how we react or don't react...life
is 90% what happens and 10% of how we react.
This is in my opinion only it is know way intended to reflect or
speculate on how anyone else feels or thinks!
What does being Borderline mean to me? It has been very helpful to
find a name for the enigma that is me. It helps to know that I am
not alone and that others deal with many of the same issues that I
do. It is funny but having a name for this condition helps me to
feel less strange or weird. At least I fit in somewhere in the
human race. Plus knowing that I have BPD helps me to better
pinpoint the issues that I have to work on to get better. It gives
me a direction in which I can travel to heal. I assume that I will
always have some BPD traits and yet that is probably not all bad if
I can channel these traits into good actions rather than negative
I feel that I am a person who has both an identity of being BPD but
also has the disorder of BPD. This is because BPD is part of who I
am but it is also an illness that I have. BPD affects alll aspects
of my life and how I relate to the world. It is me and it is about
me. I hope this makes sense to everyone.
Being Alone Versus Being Lonely