Borderline Personality Disorder and evil? Are those diagnosed with BPD actually evil? Why is that so many people, even non borderline communities on the web want to forward this concept?
To represent someone else as evil or diabolic may well say more about the person judging than the person deemed to be evil or diabolic.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex mental illness. It may be just as complex for those diagnosed with it as it is for their family members, loved ones, ex or relationship partners, or their co-workers for that matter.
Borderline Personality Disorder does not just effect those who are diagnosed with it. It effects anyone and everyone they come into contact with, know, and/or relate to.
If one decides to demonize and vilify an entire group of people based upon the fact that they have Borderline Personality Disorder, one must not understand one’s own personal responsibility in and for one’s own choices.
Non borderlines can choose to stop relating to those with BPD. Those with BPD cannot as easily choose to stop suffering from this very pervasive and complex personality disorder. No matter how crazy-making and painful the experience of being on the other side of someone with BPD is, I can tell you, as one who has been there, it is not more painful, or worse, than what the person with BPD themselves is going through and is left with long after relationships rupture.
The effects of BPD on everyone can be devastating and are often confusing and definitely are painful for all involved. However, to attribute those with Borderline Personality as merely a bunch of evil lying people, or as M. Scott Peck wrote about in his book, “The People of Lie” as being people of “the lie”, I think, goes too far and serves no one. This characterization of borderlines as all evil and/or as “people of the lie’ profoundly forwards stigma and confusion about BPD.
If you have BPD, the ways in which you may hurt others and/or yourself are not justifiable due to your pain. However, borderline behaviour is not a reason for an entire group of people to be referred to by anyone as the “people of the lie” or as evil. There is good and evil in everyone. And, last time I checked, borderlines do not have a monopoly on lies.
In fact if there is a central lie associated with Borderline Personality Disorder, for many, it is the lie of their childhoods. It is the Legacy of Abandonment in Borderline Personality that is the first lie and a lie that is one that changes the unfolding life of the person who goes on to develop BPD.
Not everyone with BPD is the same. There is a wide-range of differences in those with BPD despite many common aspects of patterned relational difficulties.
When those who are non borderline attribute evil to those who are borderline they often do so out of their own painful experience and to be blunt, inability, refusal, or failure to look at their own issues and responsibility for their own choices. Not entirely everything that happens in relationships between borderlines and non borderlines (regardless of the type of relationship) is the fault of the borderline – not everything.
Non borderlines need to be careful that they do not ascribe to this black-and-white type of thinking wherein everything that goes wrong in a relationship goes wrong because of the loved one’s BPD and that everything the borderline does (that granted can be very painful) is from this place of evil and/or from motivations that are purely evil.
From the outside, on the others side of BPD if can be all-too-easy to attribute all of one’s heartache and pain and whatever else goes along with that to the person with BPD. People with BPD can act in ways that may have some evil attached to them. However, I do not think that people with BPD are truly and/or entirely evil.
As someone who has has BPD and who knows that pain firsthand, I think it is important to remind non borderlines that much of what borderlines do that may seem evil isn’t done only to punish others or to control others it is done from a dissociative place – from a place, namely what I refer to as the core wound of abandonment – where the borderline has been emotionally and psychologically wounded to his or her core.
What can be defined as evil in one context might not be seen as so evil if one understood the depth of the pain that those with BPD are in. This does not excuse inappropriate, punishing, or abusive behaviour on their part at all. But, what is there to be gained by demonizing those with BPD as being evil or as being compared to or described as “people of the lie”?
Are some non borderlines looking for absolution? Are they searching for this absolution to relieve their own feelings of having been victimized? An absolution that means that any and all pain they have or still are suffering has nothing to do with them? If so, let me say right here and right now, this is nothing but a lie. What is experienced on the other side of BPD, by non borderlines, is a matter of choice. Non borderlines have choices they can make to understand BPD better and to look inward at themselves to discover what they will benefit from healing within themselves that may have left them vulnerable to choosing to remain in a relationship with someone with BPD and more to the point to feel as if they need to rescue the person with BPD. When one feels the need to rescue, it is often one’s own self, not someone else, that requires that loving, compassionate, and healing attention.
I have lived on both sides of BPD and as a recovered borderline now I live as a non borderline. Being someone who does not fit the criteria for a personality disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, specifically, being a non borderline, does not mean that you are perfect or that you do no have your own issues. You are not perfect and if you are human you have, to one degree or another, your own issues. Your issues are in the mix with the person with BPD who is in or was in your life.
Demonizing someone, let alone an entire group of people who have a personality disorder – or more than one personality disorder files in the face of the compassion and kindness that those who are blessed to not have a personality disorder “should” be able to extend to those who are mentally ill.
The bottom line, however, is that no one, absolutely no one, has anyone in chains that mean that they have to stay connected or even in contact with someone with BPD. Non borderlines will benefit more from resolving their own anger and pain and from working through the issues that lead them to certain choices (with regard to the painful interactions with the person with BPD in their lives) rather than blaming and demonizing those with BPD.
It is not evil to be in so much pain that you do not know who you are? It is not evil to be struggling to just survive because one was emotionally abandoned at a young age and/or sexually or otherwise abused. It is not evil to lash out from the active throes of BPD. It is not evil, it is about pain and suffering. It is not justified in that those with BPD do have responsibility for their actions, absolutely. But when stressed beyond one’s ability to cope it is not just those with BPD that can act in ways that are abusive, inappropriate, and unwanted – ways that rupture relationships, take hostages, and threaten to impinge upon sanity and ruin lives.
Actions can be deemed evil, but to say that the person themselves is evil seems to me to be a forwarding of stigma and a searing judgment that may be viewed as an attempt by some who are non borderline to avoid their own responsibility for the choices they themselves made or may even continue to make.
Borderline Personality Disorder is not Anti-social personality disorder. A person with BPD only, is not a sociopath or a psychopath. In too many places on line more and more there is this damaging and inappropriate melding of these terms and definitions in ways that threaten to further demonize those with BPD and that blind non-personality disordered people to what exactly BPD is and why those with BPD do and say what they do, or more the point, often, do not say or do what non borderline so wish they would.
My hope is that those who demonize borderlines will read more about it and come to understand the reasons for everything borderline. This understanding can’t change your world if you have been hurt by someone with BPD but it can go a long way to you helping yourself and healing yourself without having to demonize the person with BPD in what is a type of polarized thinking that resembles the black-and-white borderline ways of thinking that you may be characterizing as the epitome of evil.
To represent someone else as evil or diabolic is to assume you can really understand where they are coming from, from the inside out.
How is a non borderline demonizing the borderline any different really from the borderline who hurt the non borderline? If one is evil, wouldn’t it then stand to reason it could be said both are evil?
© A.J. Mahari, November 1, 2008
A.J. Mahari is a Life Coach who, among other things, Mental Health, BPD, NPD, and BPD NPD Loved Ones Coach, specializes in working with those with BPD and NPD or their loved ones and family members. A.J. has 20+ years experience as a Life Coach and has worked with hundreds of clients from all over the world.