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.

support person

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 labels.

Mary S

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 with.


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.

The Banjoman

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 unconsciously.

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 is nothing more than a reference and sends me is what I do with that information that determines the out always comes back to choices...we have a choice in how we react or don't 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 ones.

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.


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