A large majority of borderline personality disorder (BPD) suffer at least one episode of major depression during their lifetime. However, does the kind of mental pain experienced by those with suffering from BPD and depressive disorder differ from the kind of mental pain experienced by those suffering from depressive disorder only (i.e. without co-existing BPD)? A study conducted by Fertuck et al. (2016) set out to answer this question. The question is of particular interest as BPD is regarded by many to be the most excruciatingly agonizing of all psychiatric conditions (see my previously published article Severe Mental Pain And Anguish: BPD And Argopsychalia).
The study included 57 individuals who were suffering from BPD and 22 who were suffering from depressive disorder.
The researchers defined mental pain as including:
- chronic aversive emotions
- a negative self-concept
- a sense of pervasive helplessness
Mental Pain Measured By The Orbach And Mikulincer Mental Pain Scale (OMMP):
The researchers used the OMMP scale to measure the level of mental pain experienced by the two groups. The scale includes nine subtypes which are as follows:
- loss of control
- narcissistic wounds (see below)
- emotional flooding (see my previously published article: IS YOUR PREDOMINANT RESPONSE TO TRAUMA FLOODING OR DISSOCIATION?)
- freezing (see my previously published article: 4 RESPONSES TO TRAUMA: FIGHT, FLIGHT, FREEZE AND FAWN).
- self-estrangement (see my previously published article about‘ DEPERSONALIZATION’).
- social isolation
- emptiness (see my previously published article: CONSTANTLY FEELING EMPTY? EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS).
Of these nine mental pain subtypes, the borderline personality disorder (BPD) group significantly differed from the depressive disorder (DD) group on only one: NARCISSISTIC WOUNDS (the BPD group scored significantly HIGHER than the DD group.
What Is Meant By The Term ‘Narcissistic Wounds’?
The authors of the study described ‘narcissistic wounds’ as being: ‘characterized by feeling rejected and having low self-worth.’ In relation to this, you may wish to read my previously published article: WHY REJECTION IS SO PAINFUL: AN EVOLUTIONARY EXPLANATION.
The authors of the study also draw attention to research conducted by Yoshimatu and Palmer that suggests depression in individuals with BPD is more chronic than depression that occurs in the absence of BPD and that it tends to be relatively unresponsive to treatment prior to the alleviation of the individual’s symptoms of BPD.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)
David Hosier MSc holds two degrees (BSc Hons and MSc) and a post-graduate diploma in education (all three qualifications are in psychology). He also holds UK QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). He has worked as a teacher, lecturer and researcher. His own experiences of severe childhood trauma and its emotional fallout motivated him to set up this website, childhoodtraumarecovery.com, for which he exclusively writes articles. He has written several books on topics related to childhood trauma.
He has published several books including The Link Between Childhood Trauma And Borderline Personality Disorder, The Link Between Childhood Trauma ANd Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and How Childhood Trauma Can Damage The Developing Brain (And How These Effects Can Be Reversed).
He was educated at the University of London, Goldsmith’s College where he developed his interest in childhood experiences leading to psychopathology and wrote his thesis on the effects of childhood depression on academic performance.
This site has been created for educational purposes only.