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There are so many myths and facts about Borderline Personality Disorder and some even overlap each other. While it would be difficult to even try to compile a list of all of them, suffice to say that many things said about people with Borderline Personality more often than not are based on more myths than facts. Unless someone with Borderline Personality in an aware enough place with it, is talking about it in reference to his or herself, or someone close to someone with Borderline Personality, who is speaking about their individual loved one with Borderline Personality, facts get lost to the myths.

Myths are stereotyping and pathologizing and fail to take into account that not all with Borderline Personality despite common challenges and some common patterns are the same at all. The way that they manifest or that their issues and challenges become apparent to others can differ widely from one individual with BPD to the next.

Why such differences?

Some people with Borderline Personality are taking responsibility for what that means in their own lives and are getting support, help, treatment and/or BPD Coaching with someone like myself. They may be in DBT Skills program, active therapy of which there are  many different types. People actively engaged in getting on and staying on the path to understanding, growing, changing, and recovery are vastly different from those who have not yet made this pivotal choice.

People with Borderline Personality, whether they know they have it or not, whether they’ve been formally diagnosed or not are often in denial and do not as of yet, at least, have the awareness of what they are responsible for and may be acting in or acting out feelings that when they are triggered to dysregulated emotion they do not know how to deal with and then blame whomever is closest to them for how they feel or for somehow having caused their pain.

While it is not true that most people around those with BPD cause their triggers or pain people with BPD (if they are not in treatment, if they have co-morbid diagnoses, and/or if they are substance abusers or addicted to substances like drugs and/or alcohol are still very much unaware of what they are feeling and why. Project identification, then, to put it in plain english, ascribing what one is feeling and doing as coming from the person closest to them, is the mechanism by which so many people who are loved ones of BPD can quickly get confused and in some cases defensive.

It is important that people take the time to separate out facts from myths. Not all people with BPD are the same. Not all people with BPD are in treatment, many are. Not all act out, some act in. Some will rage at you, some will give you the silent treatment instead.

Despite common core issues to all with Borderline Personality what makes each person with it different is firstly that each person is an individual and secondly that each person may be in a different part of the journey, some may not yet even be on the journey to seeking help and actively wanting to change and learn new ways of coping.

And, in those who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality, who may not yet have felt helped by treatment they had in the past, and who still may be very easily triggered and whose moods may be very changeable the truth is that not all with Borderline Personality react the same way as many others might.

Some self harm yes. Some feel or are actively suicidal. Some are “higher functioning” (which also means they have a more elaborate defense mechanism system in place that can be difficult in therapy) and are maintaining high level jobs and careers. Some are more “low functioning”, meaning that they have difficulty holding down a job or go from job to job either getting fired or quitting out of boredom and not knowing what they even want to do.

Not everyone with Borderline Personality can be described by any or all of the known actions, inter-actions, words spoken, moods, affect, depression, self harm promiscuity etc.,  talked about in books or online. It is important to put human context of an individual’s own life experience into understanding what they are struggling with within BPD and why. This is where actual facts can be learned and understood by both the person with BPD and the BPD Loved one.

If you take one experience with one person with Borderline Personality and globalize it as if it applies to all then you are likely to fall into the many many myths about Borderline Personality.

One of the most misunderstood myth about Borderline Personality currently is that is is a “brain disease” and that psychiatric medications help. This is a myth not a fact. BPD is not a “brain disease” as American Big Pharma wants people to believe so they will consume their very dangerous (with numerous side effects) psychiatric medications. Medications that more often than not impede getting on the path to recovery – not help it at all. BPD is an emotional/psychological/spiritual woundedness and there is not medication to fix that.

Fact: Borderline Personality looked at, experienced, or discussed without its human context is pathologized, stigmatized, and stereotyped.

Ask yourself, whether you have BPD or not, are you contributing to the proliferation of myths or facts about Borderline Personality?

© A.J. Mahari, March 19, 2013 – All rights reserved.

Myths and Facts about Borderline Personality