Many people, such as, most famously, the now deceased Michael Jackson during his adulthood, want to be forever young. But be careful what you wish for : new research suggests that those suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) may have ceased to develop emotionally at around the age of thirteen years due to the occurrence of severe trauma around this critical period in their psychological development.
In other words, they become emotionally developmentally arrested : puer aeternus (eternal children). Far from being a desirable state, it can make their adult lives all but impossible (click here to read my article about BPD to learn about its main symptoms).
And their consequent behaviour during adulthood, as a result of having BPD, is not like that of a well-balanced and well-adjusted thirteen- year-old, but that of a challenging and difficult one.
So, according to this new research, those suffering from BPD can be regarded as being ‘stuck’ in the early adolescent phase of personality and emotional development. Because of this, their emotions remain labile, unstable and turbulent.
In particular, due to this arrested development of the personality, research suggests such individuals will :
– be hypersensitive to rejection
– have poor self-control (eg impulsivity/recklessness/diminished concern for the negative consequences of behaviour)
– have an excessive need for instant gratification
Therapies which may help individuals experiencing the kinds of psychological symptoms that I have referred to above may benefit, in particular, from two specific types of psychotherapy – these are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc, PGDE(FAHE).
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