The Different Faces of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a form of mental illness that can make a person’s life a roller coaster of emotions with friends and families along for the ride. People with this condition have often experienced childhood abuse or other traumatic life events. The resulting cacophony of negative emotions and behaviors makes it very difficult for them to maintain steady relationships or work history.

Persons with BPD are often impulsive, moody, angry and self-destructive. They quickly enter into intense relationships that soon become explosive. Because of the impulsiveness the person makes many risky decisions and is usually dealing with the consequences of those choices.

One writer with considerable experience working with patients suffering from BPD has separated the disorder into four distinct personality subtypes.

The Discouraged Borderline

This person, who could also be called codependent, is emotionally needy and seemingly unable to function well on their own. They’re a follower who goes along with the crowd, but all the while they are seething against the wrongs and injustices of others, though they rarely direct their anger toward others. Instead they turn their anger inwards in the form of self-injury and worse.

The Impulsive Borderline

This type is intentionally charming and engaging, even flirtatious. They interact with others only superficially, using their boundless energy to pursue excitement and adventure. But once the thrill is gone, so are they. They like to be the center of attention and can demonstrate enough allure to get it, but they can never get their fill.

The Petulant Borderline

Everything about this type is unstable and unpredictable. Their patience level is low. They are constantly dissatisfied with how things are going. They desire to be involved with others, but at the same time hold back because they fear being let down. They can be combative and challenging toward others and at the same time are ready to take offense themselves. This person’s emotions range from low self-esteem to intense anger toward others.

The Self-Destructive Borderline

This type is consumed with self-loathing and bitterness. Their low self-opinion can lead them into all sorts of humiliating and dangerous behaviors. They may engage in degrading sexual behavior. They may drive with complete disregard for safety. They may ignore even the most basic forms of personal hygiene.

BPD can wear many faces, but it is always challenging. It is important for both the person with the disorder, as well as those nearest them, to seek out professional help in learning how to manage erratic emotions and behaviors.