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At the heart of the process of recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder is the need to find one’s lost self – an authentic self that has been lost to the core wound of abandonment in BPD. BPD recovery requires first asking the question, Who am I? Secondly, it requires finding the answer to that question.

How does one with BPD answer the question: Who I am? The
way to finding yourself is through your emotions. Much to the dismay of
Descartes, who said, “I think, therefore I am.” who one is, when one
has been diagnosed with BPD has far more to do with what one feels than it does with what one thinks.

is very important but in the throes of BPD much of one’s thinking is
cognitively distorted. Borderline thinking is also often so
intellectual as to totally block out one’s emotions. There is a
polarized split between what is thought about and what is felt. For
those with Borderline Personality Disorder,
there is a lack of conscious awareness of what is actually thought
before what is actually felt. Being more aware of what is felt leaves
those with BPD misperceiving their experience as being the result of
feelings versus thoughts that create feelings.

In order to find
yourself and a stable sense of
you must find a balance between your thinking and your feeling. You
must learn to think and to feel in between the black and the white of
borderline reality – a reality that is often steeped in negativity. A
negativity that can block any sense of hope. Those with BPD, in the
quest of the
lost self need to actively and consciously seek to find hope from the polarized negativity of BPD

Who you are is so tied to what you have experienced and to how what you experienced left you feeling (thinking) about yourself. Who you are
is also very tied (until you unwind it and heal it) to what others said
to you or about you. If you were constantly criticized or put down then
you likely have developed a sense of yourself as an incompetent person
who is not “good enough”.

I am a mental health and life coach and as such I can and do help many with Borderline Personality Disorder acquire a clearer and more focused understanding of what it takes and means to recover from BPD. I help others to gain more awareness of their own recovery processes as well.


To reclaim our individual identities and to build a strong foundation upon which our personhood and identity is defined and understood we must be able to answer the following consistently:

  1. What do I value? What are my values?
  2. Am
    I telling and living the truth? Telling lies will only serve to further
    see you lose yourself. Deceit and manipulation are defense mechanisms
    but they also make it impossible for you to know who you “really” are. They are the tools of the false self.
  3. If I am lying or misrepresenting the truth why am I doing this?
  4. What do I like about myself? What don’t I like about myself? Why?
  5. Have
    I cleared my head and my heart of any and all “old tapes”? Am I
    thinking for myself and trying to define myself based upon my own quest
    for this understanding of self or am I still seeking to define myself
    based upon how others have defined me in the past?
  6. How do
    I feel about myself? Do I like myself? Can I accept myself? If you do
    not accept and like and learn to love yourself you will not be able to
    like, accept and love others from any stable sense of self because you will still be looking to them to define you.
  7. Have
    I felt and dealt with my pain? Have I grieved for my losses and
    disappointments? Am I willing to work them through and let them go? If
    you are holding onto past hurts and pains, injustices, abuse, tapes,
    etc you are keeping yourself invested in being who others wanted or
    needed you to be. Often this means that you are choosing to remain
    enmeshed in others as opposed to truly getting to know who you are.
  8. How
    do I want to represent myself? How do I want others to see me and
    experience me? Do I need to continue to perpetuate my old hurts and
    neglect or abuse by turning others against me so that I can continue to
    hide from myself?
  9. Are you willing to face
    your pain? Until we do the work, our pain will encompass who we
    “really” are. You cannot access your true self until you walk through
    the pain and learn to release it in healthy ways.
  10. Why do I stay
    invested in hurting myself? Do I not hurt enough? This is the point at
    which you need to start to listen to that “inner-child” aspect of
    yourself and integrate his/her hurts into your NOW consciousness. You
    cannot heal and get to know your self by holding your pain outside of
    your “self”.
  11. Do you feel that you are worthy of being
    respected, loved and cared for or about? If you cannot feel this way
    about yourself than truly neither can anyone else.
  12. Am I ready
    to take personal responsibility? Am I ready to be held accountable for
    my actions and my words? Are you ready to live your truth in the here
    and now and let go of the past?
  13. Am I ready to acknowledge that
    whether or not I get better will largely be up to me? I have the
    ability and the responsibility to make choices and decisions. This is
    part of what being me really means in life.
  14. Am I ready to lay
    down the maladaptive defenses that only serve to keep me separated from
    my self? Are you ready to learn new and healthier ways to cope and to
    relate to self and others?
  15. Do I want to get and be well? Or am
    I still more invested in the secondary gains of remaining sick. Do I
    really want to know myself and take responsibility for myself or do I
    want to continue to live through others and to hurt myself in what is
    an absence of acknowledging who “I” am.

Ebooks © A.J. Mahari

find your authentic “self” and to build a stable sense of identity you must act
always from a place of integrity. You must make an informed choice to
step onto the path of truth and to walk that path no matter how much it
hurts. It is very difficult at first. It, like anything else, does get
easier over time.

Borderline Personality Disorder has stolen your identity. If you want to reclaim yourself — and to know who you are
— then you must make the choice to face your pain and to do the work.
It means changing how you think, how you feel, and how you act. It
means dedicating yourself to truth, honesty, integrity, personal
responsibility, and to learning to cope with being the vulnerable,
hurting soul that you are. No more bravado. No more games. To answer
the question: Who Am I? — a borderline must give up the games, the
lies, the manipulations, the focus on “other”, the giving away personal
power and personal responsibility to “other” and the secondary gains of
the learned helplessness of BPD and of being needy and must look inside
where your true self awaits the arrival of your love, devotion, and

Borderline Personality Disorder does not have to be a life sentence. It
means (among other things) that you have not fully developed your
identity. It means that you have been alienated from yourself, most
often, by what has happened to you and or how you have perceived and
interpreted what has happened to you in your life thus far. You are
free, you really are free, to write a new life-script — one that
enables you to find the answers the question: Who Am I?

you answer that question, you will be healing from Borderline
Personality Disorder. Refuse to abandon yourself any longer. Instead
learn to be there for yourself. You really can and will find you when
you want to badly enough.

Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder is possible. It is as possible for you as it was for me. In spite of the fact that recovery is still not defined clearly by professionals, if you have BPD, hopefully you can continue to add to your understanding of what recovery from BPD is, what it looks and feels like and how you can quantify your own progress from what I, and others who have recovered, share about our experiences.

I am a mental health and life coach and as such I can and do help many with Borderline Personality Disorder acquire a clearer and more focused understanding of what it takes and means to recover from BPD. I help others to gain more awareness of their own recovery processes as well.


recovered from BPD over 14 years ago now. I know who I am. I know what
I like and what I don’t like. I take care of myself. I meet my own
needs. I do not look to “others” to do this for me or to define me
anymore. Yes, in all truth, the journey to my own identity was been
very painful. It has also been equally, if not more so, rewarding. You
can take this journey that is the journey From False Self To Authentic Self on the journey that is your living your way to answering the question: Who Am I?

to define yourself. Be courageous. Your life, your happiness, and a such a
wonderful sense of peace await your authentic-self-discovery. It is a most
worthwhile journey. Make the choice or the decision today, if you
haven’t already, to walk the path to the discovery and awareness of your
true identity — your authentic self — keep walking down the road to the YOU that you WANT to

© Ms. A.J. Mahari – April 2, 2000 – with additions February 16, 2009 – All rights reserved.

A.J. Mahari is a Mental Health Coach who,among other things, specializes in working with those with Borderline Personality Disorder and/or their partners, relatives,
or friends. A.J. has 6 years experience as a Life Coach as well and works with clients from all over the world.

Borderline Personality Disorder – Recovery and The Question: Who am I?