Personality disorders are very defined and recognized in today’s society. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association provides common language and standards to classify mental disorders. The DSM is used by many people in varying disciplines in many other countries. In times past, people with disorders may have been misunderstood, outcast from community, or even persecuted. However, in our current culture the pendulum has swung in the other direction. People are tricky creatures to study due to the complexity and magical way our brain works. Very little is known, even less is understood about how and why we work the way we do.
1. One of the disorders identified in the DSM is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD was officially termed and recognized in 1980.1 The DSM defines borderline personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following: Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation; identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self; impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging; recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars or picking at oneself; affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood; chronic feelings of emptiness; inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger; transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms.2
This is a condition in which people display patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, splitting, and extremes in thinking. This can manifest as tension triggered by perceived rejection, being alone, and failure.3 Those with BPD are associated with many different feelings. Some of the feeling can be positive, but are often recognized as negative; creating destructive thoughts and actions. Diagnosis is often made during young adulthood as well as adolescence. It is becoming apparent that some children may be displaying BPD from as early as one year old, especially as the condition is further understood.4
A person with this disorder is often bright, intelligent, and appears friendly and competent.5 A stressful situation is often the catalyst to break down positive appearances of those who suffer from BPD. A romantic issue, death of someone close, or work trouble can wash aside developed coping ability, which may have taken years to build. With emotional or situational structure gone, someone with BPD may take brash action against themselves or others.6 Destructive behaviors and chaotic...