Borderline personality disorder is frequently linked to the experience of severe childhood trauma.
An expert on the subject of borderline personality disorder (BPD), Theodore Milton, has proposed FOUR SUBTYPES of this serious disorder. These four subtypes are :
1) THE PETULANT BORDERLINE
2) THE DISCOURAGED BORDERLINE
3) THE IMPULSIVE BORDERLINE
4) THE SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BORDERLINE
Let’s look at each of these four subtypes in turn:
1) THE PETULANT BORDERLINE.
Milton describes this category of individuals as:
– complaining and critical.
– irritable and impatient.
– having a marked tendency to swing between expressing a deep need of others and pushing them away (this is known as AMBIVALENT ATTACHMENT STYLE).
– possessing a deep sense of inadequacy.
– prone to outbursts of explosive anger.
2) THE DISCOURAGED BORDERLINE.
This category of individuals has characteristics in common with those who suffer from DEPENDENT PERSONALITY DISORDER. Milton also describes those who suffer from this subtype of BPD as tending to be :
– angry (although this can often be suppressed)
3) THE IMPULSIVE BORDERLINE.
According to Milton, those individuals who fall into this category have characteristics in common with those who suffer from HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER. They also :
– tend to have a superficial charm.
– have a marked tendency towards thrill-seeking (e.g. impulsive sex, gambling, dangerous driving etc.)
– tend to be highly attention-seeking.
4) THE SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BORDERLINE.
Finally, Milton describes this subtype of BPD sufferers as :
– consumed by self-hatred.
– particularly prone to self-harming behaviours.
– prone to physical self-neglect.
-attracted to indulging in risky behaviours.
Other Personality Disorders May Exist Co-morbidly With BPD :
If, as adults, we have been unfortunate enough to develop borderline personality disorder, it is quite possible that we have also developed other personality disorders that exist alongside it concurrently (or, more technically, CO-MORBIDLY).
Which Other Personality Disorders May Exist Co-morbidly With BPD?
According to Zanarini (1998), the four personality disorders that are most likely to exist simultaneously alongside (co-morbidly with) BPD are as follows :
- Avoidant personality disorder (35-45℅)
- Dependent personality disorder (30-40℅)
- Paranoid personality disorder (20-30%)
- Anti-social personality disorder (15-25℅)
(For those who are interested, there are eleven personality disorders in total).
The percentages given in brackets after each of the four personality disorders displayed above represent the chances of an individual having that particular personality disorder existing co-morbidly alongside his/her BPD.
Why Is It Common For These Four Personality Disorders To Exist Co-morbidly Alongside BPD?
- Avoidant Personality Disorder: BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because, as children, they are likely to have felt threatened by, and been betrayed by, significant others leading them, as adults, to view people in general as potentially dangerous (to their emotional, or, even, physical well-being) and therefore best kept at a distance.
- Dependent Personality Disorder: BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because they are likely to have grown up in an environment which caused them to fail to develop confidence in their own coping skills and to feel vulnerable, hopeless and helpless.
- Paranoid Personality Disorder: BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because they are likely to have grown up being perpetually harmed by significant others and/or living with the constant fear that significant others may hurt them at any (unpredictable) moment (psychologically, physically or both).
- Anti-social Personality Disorder: BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because, as children, they are likely to have lacked positive role models, been mistreated and abused leading to them, as adults, to have internalized few, if any, positive values, to be distrustful, cynical, angry and resentful. Such feelings can then be projected onto society as a whole and ‘dog-eat-dog’ / ‘every-man-for-himself’ / ‘look-after-number one-because-nobody-else-will’ / ‘everyone -is-essentially-selfish-and-will-ultimately-betray-you’ and nihilistic view of the world may develop.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).