Borderline Personality Blog: Healing – Coping – Improving

During the initial years after my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, I thought that all other Borderlines were like me: introverted, shy, low self-esteem, self-abusive, hot tempered, angry, hollow, etc. For the most part, I assumed that the “constellation” of Borderline Personality, as described by the DSM-IV and my clinician, was the same for all afflicted with this disease. In reality, it is just the opposite. Though you may fall into the BPD diagnosis constellation, there are many different ways in which your BPD affects you, your life, and those around you.

Before I go any further, let me preface the following list of BPD variations by stating that I am not a mental health professional, nor qualified in any way to offer a BPD diagnosis. My thoughts are my own opinion gleaned from casual research on the internet and any commentary and feedback I get from blog readers.

That said, here are 5 different types of Borderline Personality manifestations:

If I were to characterize myself, I would fall in the “Transparent” category, with “High Functioning” tendencies. To qualify that statement further, I would describe myself as self reliant and capable of meeting all my basic necessities, but deeply conflicted with misguided BPD emotional energy. Friends might describe me as “hard working but shy”, when in reality the hard work is just a cover for my inner persona that is constantly at war with itself.

All things considered, I really don’t think any one type of BPD is better than another. The bottom line is that each type of person is troubled by BPD, and this wreaks havoc on their lives based on the “rest” of the personality traits that comprise them. No matter what category you fall into, I would suggest educating yourself, getting treatment, and taking medication if necessary. Life is hard enough without having the BPD demon inside you.

Comments

35 Responses to “What type of Borderline Personality are You?”

  1. Chelsea on May 4th, 2010 4:54 am

    I searched “borderline” on tumblr and this is what I found. I was very happy to read this.

    I feel that I should state that I am a “Transparent Borderline.” I think it is great that you have posted this in an effort to help others discover who they are and put them on the path to learning to live with the disorder.

    We are all in this together and I feel wonderful having found your blog. I hope that you will share your thoughts and stories on my blog in the future. Stay strong and keep your fight going!

  2. sean on June 3rd, 2010 8:19 am

    Hi, please excuse the intrusion, not sure if this is the place to ask, but what I have read here strikes a cord.
    I have been desperately trying to find an answer to a close friends behavior and BPD keeps coming up as the answer to “why she does what she does”.

    After all my researching, I could really use some insight, guidance and help with my friend who’s behavior and roller coaster life seems to fit most of the BPD symptoms list. She is amazing in so many ways, but I think I am at the point where I can no long accept her treatment of me, the one friend who has stood by her. I am also very concerned for her safety due to her continued risky, hurtful and self destructive behavior.

    She will not seek therapy, and from what I read, unless she sees a real BPD specialist she could just be wasting her time talking around the root causes.

    – Can you recommend an sites, blogs, etc?
    – how do I approach her about getting help?
    – how do I limit the risky sexual behaviors?
    – how can I stop her from constantly reaching out to user a-holes which she seems addicted to?
    – how can I help her???
    – can I help her?

    I know you cannot change anyone, although I did try to change some basic things, like “use condoms”, and limit drinking, and step back and look at the multiple “married lying a-holes your with..”
    Well seemed like common sense to me, or like I like to call it “rare sense” because it is not that common anymore.

    Please excuse the vent,

    in need of help
    sean

  3. admin on June 3rd, 2010 12:29 pm

    Hi Sean,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re in this situation. Unfortunately it is very common with BPD: the one’s closest and most loyal to the BPD person are usually treated the worst, in a strange irony of sorts.

    First, I would start with yourself. Visit this link at http://www.bpdcentral.com about the famous book Stop Walking On Egg Shells, which provides relief and coping mechanisms to loved ones who have BPD people in their lives:
    Stop Walking on Eggshells.

    Next, once you feel relieved of the stress your friend is causing, I would look for “teachable” moments when you can intellectually and emotionally reach her.

    By that I mean, if one day she is upset because she has been dumped as the result of an extra marital affair, try and sooth her and suggest non-judgmental, factual things to help the situation. For example, “Let’s talk to a counselor about starting healthy relationships,” versus “You’re a fool for thinking a married man would actually leave his wife” (Not that you’re saying that type of thing – I just mean try to use very indirect, unbiased verbiage).

    Sometimes in low moments you can reach someone with BPD (but sometimes you can’t). You could also try when they’re even keel again. You would probably know what time is better than others.

    As for the high risk behavior, I actually feel suggesting the use of condoms and/or birth control is a healthy suggestion. It doesn’t judge her behavior or encourage it; it simply reinforces commonsense sexual behavior. The last thing she needs is a pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease, that will make things much worse. The fact that you’re making these suggestions shows that you really care, and is probably one of the reasons why she still gravitates towards you counsel (even if she doesn’t take the advice).

    In general, BPDcentral.com is a good place to start in terms of websites, for both you and your friend. Another place might be Youtube.com, searching for “BPD video” or other terms. Every once in a while, there is a 2 or 3 minute clip someone makes that reaches people emotionally, and it can lead to lucid moment. Even better, YouTube.com is free and very easy, just click and watch your computer – not too hard for even the worst off BPD sufferers.

    Then, use basic Google searches to find other blogs and support forums (there are a few here and there that are worthwhile).

    Ultimately, though, she has to want to get better. It’s not your responsibility to get her treated or emotionally sane. She needs to be the one to make that decision. All you can do is find a few key emotional and/or intellectual moments when she might be open to new ideas, and give them a try.

    Best of luck and most importantly, it’s not your fault!

  4. katye on June 8th, 2010 3:59 pm

    Thanks for putting this up. I know it is never the best practice to attempt to self-diagnose, but after having gone through much emotional and mental turmoil over the past 4 years, with an sharp intensification of it this past spring, I decided that I had to do some research. The therapist that I was seeing had an aversion to labels and so would never give me labels for what I was going through. I came across BPD when I was actually searching symptoms for bipolar disorder. As I read more and more about BPD, I kept getting this shocking sensation that someone was reading my life back to me. This of course, wasn’t true in every situation, but it was often the case.

    I just want someone who can help. Since leaving my university and therapist for the summer, I have been trying to find a therapist here. I actually went to see someone today and thought it would be good to mention BPD to her. When I brought it up, she gave me this “look” as if to say “no way. you don’t have that.” She then told me that all BPDs that she has worked with in the past have been loud girls who seek attention by acting out in the psychiatric ward. I told her that my battle is often manifested more internally and she just brushed it off. The emptiness, loneliness, terror, shifting emotions, and chaotic empty shameful black hole that must be what people refer to as the “self” have me feeling trapped. I feel trapped between life and death, and it’s as if the future is closing in.

    As I searched tonight, I came across your post. Along these lines, (if BPD is indeed an accurate label) I would be the high-functioning, introverted type. Everyone who sees me on the outside thinks that I am fine, but inside, I am dying and sometimes think it is time to go. But I am afraid and stuck. The pain inside is nearly intolerable. Does it take suicide attempts or drug abuse or a wreck to get help??? Probably. I don’t know where to go for help now. No one will diagnose this. They just trivialize what I tell them by saying that everyone feels this way and that it is totally normal. Maybe I am crazy to think this is what is going on. But I am quite convinced, and usually, my intuition is right about these kind of things.

    Do you have any advice?

  5. admin on June 8th, 2010 5:29 pm

    Hi Katye,

    Thanks for your heartfelt post. It’s a well known fact that mental health professionals often steer clear of people with BPD, or who potentially have BPD, mostly because they are difficult to treat.

    Judging from your comment, it sounds like you need to talk to an experienced therapist, perhaps someone who has at least 10-15 years working with people. Also, it might be worth mentioning that you think you have BPD before you even visit, just to sort out who’s got the qualifications to see you right away.

    While it is true that some people with BPD act out , (or eventually act out) in dramatic ways, this is not always the case. Sometimes, people create self harmful situations simply by swallowing their emotions, or allowing themselves to get trapped by the utter emptiness that is BPD.

    Bottom line: Experienced therapist, perhaps knowledgeable about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and someone who is open minded.

  6. Anonymous on June 27th, 2010 7:22 pm

    I, like Katye, have not been diagnosed with BPD and in searching for information on Bipolar Disorder I also found BPD and experienced a rush of emotion at descriptions that resonated with my life experience. When I approached my older brother, who is a mental health professional, about it (by way of accusing him of obviously knowing very little about it) he explained that he deals with it everyday and gave me a very meaningful look. This confirmation of what I recognized as traits that have caused a lot of anguish in my life really opened me up to a whole world of new understanding. I appreciate your description of the variety of ways BPD presents.

    I was diagnosed years ago with ADHD and took Wellbutrin very briefly during that time for its off-label effects on ADHD. I was wondering what your experience has been with this drug. While I no longer have health insurance and cannot afford treatment, I did find Adderall to be very effective at helping me focus and accomplish schoolwork. However, I was not aware of my interpersonal deficiencies at the time and so did not look for relief in those areas. I am interested in your experience with medications and in any suggestions you have for climbing out of BPD without the therapy ladder.

  7. Lauren on June 27th, 2010 7:23 pm

    I, like Katye, have not been diagnosed with BPD and in searching for information on Bipolar Disorder I also found BPD and experienced a rush of emotion at descriptions that resonated with my life experience. When I approached my older brother, who is a mental health professional, about it (by way of accusing him of obviously knowing very little about it) he explained that he deals with it everyday and gave me a very meaningful look. This confirmation of what I recognized as traits that have caused a lot of anguish in my life really opened me up to a whole world of new understanding. I appreciate your description of the variety of ways BPD presents.

    I was diagnosed years ago with ADHD and took Wellbutrin very briefly during that time for its off-label effects on ADHD. I was wondering what your experience has been with this drug. While I no longer have health insurance and cannot afford treatment, I did find Adderall to be very effective at helping me focus and accomplish schoolwork. However, I was not aware of my interpersonal deficiencies at the time and so did not look for relief in those areas. I am interested in your experience with medications and in any suggestions you have for climbing out of BPD without the therapy ladder.

  8. kevin blumer on November 19th, 2010 10:40 am

    I dont know what type of bordeline personality i am i think i was diagnosed as impulsive cause i do things but really think what happens afterwoods i know i am very cligy.I am currently waiting for treatment so i will probably learn more about my diagnosis then i only found out about 6 mounths ago plus i dont know if i want treatment.

  9. A.J. Mahari on December 7th, 2010 6:59 pm

    Very interesting and yet perhaps further confusing and complicating BPD for people’s understanding. Types, sub-types, and so forth, seem arbitrary to me because underneathe it all, as I’ve discovered, not only in my own recovery 15 years ago but in my coaching BPD clients (and bpd loved ones) there are emotional/psychological arrested development at the core of what BPD is and so to try to make more distinctive delinations only serves to add layers on top of what needs to be understood. Under all of these presentations or other described presentations there lies common woundedness that needs to be addressed and resolved.

  10. anonymous on March 14th, 2011 5:45 am

    My mother has borderline… I have to live every day through her selfishness. Everything’s about her, and never about me, despite being only a teenager. She had a weight loss surgery, and now the only thing she talks about is how good she looks. I feel like I have to take care of her, because she’s constantly expressing the fear that I will abandon her as my other three siblings have done because of her behavior.

  11. Anonymous on March 24th, 2011 6:10 am

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with BPD after about 10 years of being diagnosed with a range of different mental illnesses.

    It’s been a very encouraging diagnosis because I finally feel that this one fits and I’m getting the treatment that I actually need.

    One thing that has really shocked me since I’ve been diagnosed with BPD is the amount of shame and recrimination that seems to be directed at people with BPD compared with other mental illnesses.

    I’m not sure exactly why that is. Perhaps it has something to do with BPD being seen as a personality problem and personality is usually thought to be something people choose.

    For myself, I’ve found that seeing myself as ‘bad’ or my disorder as some kind of ‘demon’ only makes it harder to do what I need to do and understand the processes behind the problems so I can change them.

    I know it’s going to take a long time to completely reprogram my thinking and I’ve found (although I don’t know if it is the same for others) that if I’m kind to myself, and try to understand instead of being judgmental, it’s a lot easier to control my behavior towards other people – which is ultimately what I want to do more than anything.

    I found your post very interesting, thanks for making it. I’m sad to say I’d identify myself as an ‘extroverted BPD’. Although I don’t self harm and being manipulative is not one of my failings, everything else fits painfully. I’ve actually been committed to a psych ward many times but now they know I have BPD rather than mental illness they let me come and go when I feel I need it to help with management of my disorder instead of locking me up. So there’s pros and cons in everything I guess :).

  12. Julia Dixon on May 7th, 2011 10:51 am

    Need help getting my Blogger (in some way, associated w/ gmail) blog out to the public. It addresses living w/ BPD and its attendant emotional problems, addiction-related subjects, and homelessness (a current problem I hope to overcome, once I have received my psych disability).

    I came late to the computer thingie, and am guessing that 25-some years of alcoholism and BZD addiction, along with sporadic use of street drugs until 8 years ago, and some ADD, among other things, contributes to my difficulty w/ same. I no longer drink, but cannot accept a lot of 12-step ideas about the nature of addiction: I believe that my own BPD came first, and kind of shoved me into substance use in order to escape the intenses pain of social rejection, and find like minded souls. (Punk rock did save my life, for awhile, but at the moment, is kind of impractical at the moment.)

    At times I slip into Gonzo journalism mode. I think I can hang with this.

    All that said, I’d like to join the blogging community, engage in dialogue about BPD and other subjects related to it, and meet, in this forum, others w/whom to exchange educational and recovery-from-BPD information.

    Thanks,

    J Dixon

    juliadixon916x@gmail.com

  13. Julia Dixon on May 7th, 2011 10:53 am

    No: I did not already say that.

    I need assistance getting my BPD + ‘issues’ blog out to the BPD community and others interested in the subject. Am stupid w/ computers; was asleep during the revolution.

    Something’s off here, and for once, it ain’t me.

  14. belle l on May 11th, 2011 9:24 am

    I was just recently diagnosed with bpd and before they told me I just knew…im scared personally, i have my mothers entire family as a backdrop to smother me with…schizophrenia, bi-polar, bpd, pedophilia, depression, anxiety, munchausen, etc etc…where do we turn when there is no where to turn? im so tired of things always being rotten….I am going to dbt for the first time on thursday, Im so nervous…. i already feel guilty for leaving my sons’ father, my mother, etc, i dont know if I can carry more… what do I do?

  15. The Quiet Borderline on May 11th, 2011 10:30 pm

    […] Taken from Borderlineblog.com […]

  16. Introverted Borderline « The Quiet Borderline on May 12th, 2011 12:33 am

    […] Taken from Borderlineblog.com […]

  17. Gypsy on May 12th, 2011 3:53 pm

    I dont necessarily think its that cut and dry. I think that someone who might fall into one of those categories at one point in there life, might find themselves in a completely different one at another time. I personally can see both the extroverted and introverted types.

  18. Anonymous on January 4th, 2012 4:04 pm

    I have BPD and have had it for many years, but was only diagnosed last year in January 2011.

    I’ve been through all sorts of types of BPD over the years. From high-functioning and transparent, to plain old low-functioning.

    I don’t think I’m any of those types now, as I seem to now be a mix of all.

  19. Bybys on May 24th, 2012 3:55 pm

    I was diagnosed BPD on October. All this process has been so painful,ups-and-downs. People at the hospital ISN’T actually EDUCATED!!?? So,when I feel upset,I shout,I even can act in agressive way.
    Personal at the hospital have “Discriminate,Isolate,and Neglect” me as a patient. The process has been so painful beacuse of the lack of support that I have suicidal thoughts every day. I just would like to receive the right treatment,and medications,to move on with my life.

  20. Anonymous on June 28th, 2012 11:48 am

    I am so happy I came across this posting.

    I have been in a close relationship with a former boyfriend, now roommate, for over five years and I can not get to understand what would be a close diagnosis to his condition.

    From my personal research, I found that most of the BPD characteristics apply to him with the exception of hurting/cutting himself. He mentioned a couple of times his condition is bi-polar disorder and he does not want to get treated because he does not want to get medicated.

    From these descriptions, he seems to be a transparent borderline with extroverted tendencies.

    – what would be the main characteristics that would differentiate a person with bi polar disorder from one with borderline personality disorder?

    – are there any treatments that won’t require medications for any of these conditions?

  21. Marisa on July 12th, 2012 11:41 am

    Thanks for posting these. I’ve only previously seen descriptions of the “waif”, “witch”, etc. My comment concerns the last sentence of your description of the “Transparent Borderline”. You wrote that a Transparent Borderline is difficult to spot until a “severely traumatic event that brings all their BPD feelings to the fore” occurs. I wanted to add a caution, if you don’t mind, that not uncommonly, people with PTSD have been incorrectly diagnosed with BPD, particularly when they were repeat victims of various trauma and more specifically when it was deliberate trauma (domestic, child, intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, crime, etc.). When someone is in the midst of coping with a severely traumatic event, it isn’t a good time to diagnose someone as people often do act out of character. To be diagnosed with a personality disorder, the characteristics are pervasive and concrete, and I would counter that the rage and other issues you discuss as behavior of someone reacting to a severe traumatic event is not pervasive and concrete unless you have witnessed their Jekyl/Hyde behavior at home and in public. I caution anyone in judging and diangosing anyone based solely on someone’s reactions to or about a severe traumatic event. I’ve seen non-borderline individuals break down and show incredible rage and vindictiveness in the aftermath of traumatic events as I have with my own mother, who was borderline. The difference was the way they behaved in day-to-day life and the permanence of certain traits. Those without BPD were constant in their emotions. My mother never was and therefore, the reaction to the severe event was like comparing a category 5 hurricane to the tropical storm or category 1 or 2 that she was for the rest of the time.

  22. Ashley on July 16th, 2012 3:26 am

    Thank you for this. I definitely relate to transparent with high functioning. I have always minimized my bpd because I am an over achiever, and tell myself I’m just using it as an excuse because I am “weak” or something. Truth is I hide behind my hard work to avoid social situations which bring about huge social anxiety. When I get home at the end of an incredibly busy day I sometimes lie on the floor for hours just trying to get a grip on my emotions.

  23. Ashley on July 16th, 2012 3:26 am

    Thank you for this. I definitely relate to transparent with high functioning. I have always minimized my bpd because I am an over achiever, and tell myself I’m just using it as an excuse because I am “weak” or something. Truth is I hide behind my hard work to avoid social situations which bring about huge social anxiety. When I get home at the end of an incredibly busy day I sometimes lie on the floor for hours just trying to get a grip on my emotions.

  24. Angie on September 14th, 2012 3:38 pm

    I have thought that I was a quiet borderline from the first time I heard about it. There is something strange though; I am extremely introverted yet I display extroverted bpd symptoms. I take out my inner rage on those who I think hate me, or are falling away from me by acting out and verbally abusing them. This isn’t my only symptom of course, but it’s an example of one which you can clearly see as confusing. My theory is that I have so much depression and anxiety that it has caused me to be extremely shy as a child, and in turn I developed bpd at a very young age. Is is possible to have extroverted tendencies of bpd yet be a complete introvert?

  25. Akasha on October 14th, 2012 2:44 pm

    I’ve always felt the strong emotions that come with being borderline, but i’ve never quite known if i am one. I’ve never drank, done drugs, been promiscous or cut myself or harm or attempted any bodily harm.. Most of my emotions are expressed through yelling and crying on my own. So i don’t know which category i fall under if any. But whenever I need advice on how i feel about therapy or life, the only person able to help me is someone else who’s bpd and i can relate so much. But i don’t seem like one at all… therapists always say “you strike me as completely normal” because they don’t see anything wrong i guess, nothing. So anyone feel the same?

  26. ann on February 13th, 2013 6:53 am

    Check out the work of Theodore Millon who proposes BPD subtypes in conjunction with other personality disorder characteristics. I think the unstable nature of thought/behavior/emotion within BPD may manifest various ways at various times. As a licensed counselor, I’ve generally found strong correlations between self-blaming in BPD and therapeutic success with CBT/DBT (as opposed to others-blaming and things not going so well). The more you can incorporate recognition of how your thoughts/behaviors lend themselves to problematic outcomes in some way the more you begin to gain control over the negative and/or destructive patterns. However, it’s a constantly moving target so embrace the ‘process’ and not the ‘destination.’

  27. admin on February 13th, 2013 9:12 am

    Hi Ann,

    Thank you for your advice! I will definitely research Mr. Millon’s work and educate myself further.

    You’re right about the “process” versus the “destination” description of confronting BPD thought patterns.

    My impulsiveness makes me want the destination immediately and I often lose patience with myself during difficult moments. The concept of a “process” is much more appealing: it is something I can work on day-to-day, whereas a final conclusion to my emotional distress often feels like an impossible mountain to climb.

    Visit again soon!

  28. Joyce on March 5th, 2013 11:03 pm

    I agree with Ann.

  29. Kira on May 3rd, 2013 11:54 pm

    So I’m beginning to think that I’m a high functioning, introverted borderline and that I might be in a relationship with a narcissist. A very nasty duo from what I’ve read. I started out trying to figure out what was wrong with him and stumbled across this article about borderline and narcissistic relations. It fit us to a T. I’m kinda scared about it actually because I want to lead a normal happy life. And now I’m also worried that I’m ripping him to shreds. And there’s feelings of guilt and a deep seated need to keep him around. What’s crazy is that narcissist are extremely good at feigning that they care. Anyway here’s the article..http://gettinbetter.com/dance.html

  30. eilonwy on June 18th, 2013 9:47 am

    i am introverted BPD
    im drowning on the inside, noone can see im dieing.
    thank u for posting this

  31. admin on June 19th, 2013 6:03 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for your comment. Please seek counseling or therapy if possible. No one has to know about it: just keep it between you and your doctor.

    The BPD voices in my head scream at me all day. If I let them interact with people around me, I’d probably be locked up for good.

    My introversion – which would normally be healthy and productive – tends to be tortuous at times.

  32. Lost-Shaman on August 31st, 2013 7:18 am

    Great post! Is the “Introverted Borderline” the same as the “Quiet Borderline”?

  33. Richard Paul on September 4th, 2013 8:16 pm

    Is the writer of this post — admin — still there? I would like to ask you a few questions about your introverted BPD.

    Richard

  34. Paul on September 21st, 2013 1:08 pm

    I so agree :) i too feel like a transparent. if only i could get others to understand :(

  35. Jeanne on April 20th, 2014 2:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this site, very helpful. I am a recovering alcoholic and am now in therapy. My psychologist says that I am within the borderline spectrum. So if I am understanding this correctly you can have traits of the disorder but not necessarily a diagnosis? Does an actual diagnosis really matter? Thanks for any input on this topic. :)

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