It is indeed a tragedy and injustice that many people who suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD), a condition which can inflict excruciating mental pain on the suffer (10℅ eventually kill themselves), are not only not helped by others, but blamed for the symptoms they display as a result of their illness.
This can result in complete rejection by family and friends, and I state this with the benefit (if that’s the word we’re looking for) of my own bitter experience. Their lack of knowledge, understanding and imagination can lead them (family and friends) to view the BPD sufferer as having a flawed character rather than accept s/he is genuinely, and seriously, ill.
Of course, if one’s family has contributed to one’s illness (there is a strong association between childhood trauma and the later development of BPD) it can very much suit them to blame the sufferer rather than to face up to their own culpability for reasons that are far too obvious to require elucidation from me.
To use an analogy, it’s rather like one’s family beating one to a pulp and then blaming one for bleeding over them and spoiling their clothes, is it not?
The author of Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified, Robert O. Friedel, MD, Distinguished Clinical Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, states:
‘Many people believe that the symptoms and behaviors of people with Borderline Personality Disorder should be entirely under their control. This is not the case. To a significant degree, Borderline Personality Disorder is the result of disturbances in brain pathways that regulate emotion and impulse control. In other words, this is a true medical disorder, and, basically, no more under one’s control than diabetes or hypertension.’
PREJUDICE AGAINST BPD SUFFERERS WITHIN THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM – RELEVANT STUDIES :
Cleary et al. (2002) surveyed 229 mental health workers and 84 percent of them reported that BPD sufferers were more difficult to deal with than patients with other mental health issues.
Krawitz and Batcheler (2006) surveyed 29 mental health clinicians and they frequently reported behaving defensively towards BPD patients and. even more alarmingly, in ways that were not in the patients’ best interests.
A study conducted by Treloar (2009) surveyed 140 mental health clinicians about their attitudes to patients suffering from BPD. Responses included the following :
- BPD sufferers made them feel uncomfortable.
- they experienced negative feelings towards the BPD sufferers, including frustration and being challenged.
- the belief that BPD sufferers were ‘manipulative’
- the view that BPD sufferers were ‘time-consuming.’
Black et al., (2011) surveyed 706 clinicians working in mental health and, frighteningly, nearly half of these professional mental health workers reported that they preferred to avoid those suffering from BPD.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).