We have already seen from other articles published on this site that those of us who suffered severe childhood trauma are at much increased risk of developing borderline personality disorder (BPD) as adults than average.
We have also examined the symptoms of BPD in other posts so there is no need to repeat that here.
Instead, in this post, I will look at nine important goals that BPD sufferers may need to aim for on their road to recovery (different individuals with BPD have different sets of symptoms, so not all BPD sufferers will need to address every goal and different individual BPD sufferers will need to address their own particular combination of treatment aims accordingly).
Many sufferers of BPD experience outbursts of severe rage which may, in part, be linked to damage done to the development of the amygdala (a brain region involved in the processing of emotions) during childhood ( caused by growing up in a chronically stressful environment).
The BPD sufferers is particularly likely to experience intense anger when events occur that remind him/her of his/her childhood trauma, such as being rejected or abandoned.
These may include self-harm (eg. cutting), binge eating, excessive use of drugs/alcohol, unsafe sex, reckless driving etc.
The BPD sufferers, consciously or unconsciously, may be carrying out such activities in a desperate attempt to numb psychological pain. Psychologists refer to this short-term (and ultimately damaging) coping mechanism as dissociation.
Many BPD sufferers intensely fear rejection/abandonment and may make desperate attempts to avoid it, including threatening/attempting suicide. This is connected to the fact that many BPD sufferers experienced deeply insecure childhoods, and being rejected as adults can trigger memories, and the corresponding emotions, of having been rejected/abandoned as children.
Often, BPD sufferers fluctuate between idealizing and demonizing those they are emotionally intimate with, seeing them as ‘all good’ one minute and ‘all bad’ the next. Indeed, many BPD sufferers think in terms of ‘black and white’ in general, ignoring the shades of grey in-between. Such thinking is unhelpful and over – simplistic. Life is much more complex than that.
Many BPD sufferers were excessively criticized and made to feel unlovable as children. They are then likely to have internalized these negative messages and, consequently, to have grown up to believe, erroneously, that they are ‘intrinsically a bad and unworthy person’.
We have seen in other posts that a very stressful childhood can physically damage the brain’s development (eg. by damaging an area of the brain known as the amygdala) which can lead to severe over reactivity to stress as an adult (psychologists refer to this as emotional dysregulation or emotional lability.
BPD sufferers often self-harm as a way of coping with mental anguish and distress; this is a form of dissociation. They may, too, threaten or attempt suicide in response to real or imagined rejection.
Often, BPD sufferers experience life is being empty, meaningless, pointless, futile and absurd.
Because many BPD sufferers felt constantly in danger and under threat during their childhoods, this was fertile ground in which to develop paranoid thinking which may worsen and become pathological in adulthood.
More Advice On BPD : Click here for very informative and helpful link.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).