What Are the 9 Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder?

borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health challenge that can be challenging to live with. Many people with BPD experience bewildering emotional ups and downs, extreme volatility, mood swings and difficulties maintaining healthy relationships. 

If you suspect you have borderline personality disorder, receiving an accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure you get the help you need. While there is no cure for BPD, a treatment professional can work with you to change your habits, attitude and overall outlook on life so you can begin reclaiming a sense of normalcy. Speak with a doctor or therapist if you recognize these nine symptoms of borderline personality disorder in yourself. 

1. Fear of Abandonment

People with BPD are terrified that their loved ones will reject them. For instance, if the thought of your partner or spouse spending time without you seems unbearable, you may take desperate measures to avoid being alone, including pleading with them not to leave, canceling travel plans without telling them or installing an app that tracks their location. Unfortunately, this clingy behavior often drives other people away instead of making them want to stay near you. 

2. Unrealistic Self-Image

BPD causes unpredictability in your sense of self and how you relate to others. You may alternate between times of high self-esteem and lows in which you despise yourself. In response, your goals in life might also vary rapidly. Often, people with BPD experiment almost constantly with different career choices, religious beliefs and sexualities in search of a new identity.  

3. Relationship Instability

The rapid mood swings and lack of defined boundaries associated with borderline personality disorder can leave your family and friends struggling to keep up. One day, you might idolize a romantic partner, only to decide you can’t stand being around them the next. People with BPD tend to have intense, short-lived relationships due to these shifting standards.

4. Reckless Behaviors

Poor impulse control is another classic characteristic of BPD. In the absence of healthy coping mechanisms, you might take risks when you get upset, such as driving under the influence, having unprotected sex, or maxing out credit cards. These dangerous behaviors may temporarily fill a void, but you will regret them in the long run.

5. Self-Harm

Self-harm, with and without suicidal ideation, is a standard warning sign of BPD. Deliberate self-harm can include compulsive cutting or burning as an outlet for difficult emotions. Some people with BPD also talk about ending their lives or actually make suicide attempts. 

6. Unpredictable Mood Swings

Another red flag of borderline personality disorder is moods that refuse to stay consistent, vacillating between euphoric and despondent. Minor incidents that would roll off most people’s backs could trigger intense, but short-lived, bursts of anger or temper tantrums that might involve you shouting or throwing objects. You could also spend a lot of time directing your anger inward.

7. Poor Decision-Making Skills

If you have borderline personality disorder, you might waffle when someone asks you to make plans. Because of this, you could feel aimless or be more comfortable taking the lead from others.

8. Paranoia or Dissociation

Some people with borderline personality disorder are inherently suspicious of other people’s motives and motivations. When you feel overwhelmed, you may even lose touch with reality – an experience called dissociation. People who experience this phenomenon describe it as a sense of detachment or an out-of-body experience. 

9. Emptiness

Borderline personality disorder may cause you to feel like you are “nothing” or “nobody.” Attempts to fill this hole with activities like gambling, overeating or substance abuse may provide a brief sense of relief, but are not enough to satisfy you.

Women Helping Women in Prescott, Arizona

At Canyon Crossing, we offer a continuing care program for women living with trauma, addiction and other mental health issues who can benefit from gender-responsive treatment. When you are ready to rediscover how joyful and meaningful life can be, contact us today.

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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