Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a pervasive mental health disorder diagnosable to people over the age of 18 years old who experience a range of symptoms surrounding relationship problems, poor self-image, unstable moods, self- harm, and chronic feelings of abandonment and rejection. While BPD has been linked to biological and genetic factors the development of most personality disorders are the result of exposure to environmental stress specifically childhood trauma.
The experience of childhood trauma increases the likelihood of developing personality disorders.
Historically, BPD has been classified as a disorder which predominately affects women. The gender differences in the display of personality disorders contributes to the polarization found within diagnosing personality disorders leaving many people who suffer these conditions unidentified. However, more research suggests that the prevalence of BPD in men is higher than once reported. New research suggests that BPD in men goes undiagnosed due to societal and cultural factors that influence the way in which symptoms are expressed by men and viewed by others. It is estimated that 1 in every 16 people will suffer from BPD where 5.2 % of men are affected.
Many men who have BPD are misdiagnosed due to the presentation of their symptoms and the co-morbitities that occur with personality disorders. Individuals with personality disorders are 50% more likely to develop other serious mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Interestingly, men who have BPD are more likely to demonstrate maladaptive pleasure seeking behaviors, explosive anger, and substance use disorders than women with the same diagnosis.
Most men who experience BPD will initially present with personality disorder symptoms that resemble Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder but upon further probing it is revealed that the narcissistic or antisocial traits are driven by the primary symptoms of BPD including inadequate sense of self, fear of rejection, criticism, or abandonment, chronic feelings of emptiness, and all or nothing thinking.
Personality disorders are distinct from other forms of mental illness as they are exclusive to one’s sense of self and relationships with other people.
Borderline Personality Disorder has two dimensions, the mental health side where the affected individual experiences internal and personal distress and the relational side where those in close relationships with the person with BPD individual experience ramifications of the disorder. Many individuals with personality disorders are unaware that they are affected as their symptoms are driven by rigid or unhealthy pattens of thinking and behaving that have formulated overtime and become engrained in the person’s daily functioning.
Relationships where one individual (or both) has BPD can be extremely challenging and often demonstrate re-occurring patterns of conflict. If someone in your close or intimate relationships suffers from BPD you have been affected just as much as they have. You may be feeling drained, stressed or even belittled. In many cases of domestic violence men who use abusive behaviors toward their intimate partners meet criteria for or show signs of BPD. If there is any form of abuse occurring in your relationship due to the symptoms of your loved one, tell someone.
If you or someone you love suffers from BPD finding support is the best thing you can do! In addition to receiving counseling or psychotherapy to cope with the symptoms of personality disorders in your relationship there are a wealth of resources available to those who suffer from BPD and their loved ones.
Raquel Buchanan is a Licensed Marriage and Family in Palm Springs, California. Raquel offers counseling and psychotherapy to children, teenagers, adults and families. Raquel specializes in building self-confidence and self-esteem in people who have experienced childhood trauma. She is an internationally recognized speaker on the topic of domestic violence and has experience working with people who have been court-ordered to treatment for the use of abuse in their romantic relationships.
Raquel Buchanan is a mental health profession in southern California who blogs about life and relationships. Raquel is on a mission to spread awareness about the impact of violence, abuse, and trauma. The information contained on this site is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional assistance. Contents contained in these blogs are based on true stories or the experiences of several several people and are fictional. Identifying information has been changed to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of therapy patients.