Borderline Rage: What I Wish People Knew About BPD and Anger
I will be one of the first to admit I have a fiery temper. Whether it's just my nature or a character flaw or the borderline illness, I don't know. But every so often, given the right (using the term loosely) mixture of provocation, physical state and emotions beforehand, I explode into a fit of rage. Think Donald Duck meets Incredible Hulk meets a doorslammer and you've got an idea.
One: Borderline rage is extremely powerful.
According to Healthyplace.com, one of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is "inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger." That's like referring to a tornado as an "air disturbance"--an accurate understatement of epic proportions.
The wrath of a person with BPD often comes on quickly. The intensity of the rage is extremely strong; it can quickly escalate into homicidal thoughts. Depending on the self-control of the enraged person, people or property can be damaged.
Two incidents from my time at Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital come to mind. In the first incident, a female patient began throwing things. As objects shattered and the pieces ricocheted, we sought shelter. I closed the door to my room and used my body as a weight to keep her from coming in. The tantrum then went into the kitchen, where she destroyed two or three five-gallon jugs of water and overturned the chairs and tables. The episode was so bad that armed police officers were dispatched to the unit.
In the other incident, a 400-lb. patient cussed me out. I was about one-third her size, and I told her I didn't appreciate it. According to my friends and staff (I don't remember much about what happened), she shoved me. I went airborne, sailed back "a good four feet" and bounced upon landing. I suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. Staff were surprised I didn't crack my head open. This rage, especially when uncontrolled, can be destructive.
Two: Borderline rage is scary for the patient.
Although rage is a familiar feeling for me, it still scares me every time. I'm afraid of my anger. I'm afraid of what I might do, what the consequences might be, of what might happen if I actually tried to hurt someone. Factor in that I'm a pacifist and it becomes especially distressing.
Because I'm scared as well as angry, it does very little good to tell me to calm down. I'm terrified that I won't be able to. I'm frightened that I'll lose control. What does help is offering medication, offering to listen to me, trying to keep me talking until I calm down. Be with me, stay with me. Help me calm down, don't just tell me to calm down and expect me to be able to do so.
The rage, thankfully, does not last long. However, for a person with BPD, sometimes an extreme emotion overrides memories of feeling any other way. We literally forget that we won't always be angry. This is why it helps for us to talk--it allows time for the anger to dissipate, and it allows us to feel something else. Time is critical in calming an enraged person with BPD.
Three: We can improve on our angry reactions.
My temper was a lot worse as a child than it is now. I've had a lot of therapy and for the most part have learned to control my anger. It takes considerably more to set me off now than it did when I first began treatment. Although I still get angry, I've improved. I don't fly off the handle all the time.
Anyone can improve given the right combination of medication, therapy and anger management techniques. But first they have to believe change is possible. Counseling can help a person get to that point. So can spirituality (it did in my case).
We're not doomed to go through life constantly ready to explode.
Oberg, B. (2012, January 3). Borderline Rage: What I Wish People Knew About BPD and Anger, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2012/01/what-i-wish-people-knew-about-bpd-and-anger
Author: Becky Oberg
I really don't know what is worse, the brutally painful reconization and acceptance of BPD, or the exhausting and immense amount of effort it takes in the attempt to control BPD. Not to mention the extreme intolerance you project towards anyone that believes in you enoungh to attempt to shift your percetion and introduce you to accountability. Oftentimes I confuse this overwhelming fatigue (progress) with my depression and it convinces me that once again I am dysfunctional, incapable, and unworthy. In my greatest moments and accomplishments, BPD lurkes in the shadows, quietly waiting to push me towards self-destruction. As if to prove to myself that I was right in believing I never deserved any of it from the begining.
As a half century survivor of BPD (twice through DBT, nada,) I have a saying relating to this topic:
"The comparison about bringing a gun to a knife fight? I bring a thermonuclear weapon to a bridge game."
90% percent of the time it sucks.. Its like fishing for pirhanas ..you get all exxcited that you got a bit, then you real it in, enbracing the challenge, the excitemnt builds, and when you finnaly get it out of the water, it tries to bite your hand off...so you throw it back and swear to be more careful about where you fish...and then when you keep getting bites, you keep catching the same fish over and over, like 10 times in a row...then MAGICALLY ..you cathc a nice big catch shiny bass,and you are soo happy and proud of it....but the next cast.....its another pirahna...and you get bit again......at what point do you give up? Because you love bass.
Just then, you put the pole down and find another lake. You depart in kindness and peace, because you still love bass. But you also have compassion for yourself and are smart enough to recognize a problem you can't fix. So you walk and send love and take your precious soul to safer waters. Trust me...you don't want to lose a finger or an arm.
I think it is impossible for someone to know how a person with BPD feels and thinks if you don't have BPD. Therefore, as hard as it is for spouses and family, please find a counsellor for yourself to confide in rather than posting comments questioning the truth about the symptoms of BPD. Also, please know that people with BPD often come from dysfunctional families and marry those with mental illnesses and/or addictions who can be abusive. So, they can and often are victims of abuse.
I HAVE BPD AND UNDERLYING ANGER BUT I NEVER HAVE URGES TO KILL ANYONE. YOU HAVE SEEN SOME VERY STRONG REACTIONS TO ANGER AND THEY SOUND FRIGHTENING. WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE, UNFORTUNATELY, "MET." IT TAKES ME A WHILE TO REACH BASELINE BUT I'M NOT VIOLENT...
Well u know what, u either haven't got BPD or u live by yourself because I have had violent attacks on people I can't help it, lucky u if u havent
Don't think your bpd can be very bad
I really want to know guys. I read here on some comments that those with bpd can’t control their behavior or words coming out from their mouths, so I’m wondering is it ?? Real uncontrollable? And if so how come when they see a police officer in a middle of rage they can calm the drama very quick and lower their voice immediately???
It’s happend!! My partner has bpd which he don’t admit but I know. , and when he is in rage attack it’s enough for him to see police officers even in the other side of the road or one of his freind that he respect .....
yes it is. for me? I usually know what I'm doing when I'm doing it I think before I say thing hold it in and then it just comes out. it's like there's no filter from my brain to my mouth. or when im angry my obligation is to make you feel just as bad as me but when I think about it afterwards I feel really bad about who I have affected but I'm too embarrassed and stubborn to say I'm sorry.
Not for me. I am diagnosed with BPD. I once punched a police officer in the face...he was trying to herd me along and I told him not to touch me but he did so I literally floored him and I am five foot of nothing...so no...I can not control my rage. I was once calmly chopping vegetables and a housemate said something smart ass I had a wave of impulse to just turn and stab her. I literally threw up because the battle in me was so strong to do it, not do it. I threw up and dropped the knife like it was a snake and ran out the house shaking. I know some say your partner sounds like BPD but honestly only a professional can make that call as he may have some other disorder.
Hi Mandy. I am the mother of a 33 year old who fights everyday to live with BPD. She spends weeks alone in bed. When she is “happy”, she is dogmatic and overbearing. When she is upset, the rage is so out of control over the smallest thing. Basically, she gets to control every conversation or she gets irate and treats people horribly. I agree with you in that I know, she can not control herself. She has also hit policemen, fought with hospital security, pushed me down. But, she also refuses to accept that she has BPD and for the past year she has refused any kind of help. No therapy, no medication. She has never had any long term helpful therapy but now she does nothing to help herself. Her father and I have tried everything we can to try to convince her to get help. Interventionists, bribing, threatening, baker acted. She is 33. She gets to decide how she lives her life. And she refuses to get help. The rest of us are just in the wind being blown around the eye of the storm that is her. It is so heartbreaking and overwhelming and scary and embarrassing. She will have full on fits of unbelievable anger no matter where she is. I have tried so hard to help her. I have offered everything she loves just to see if she can get out of herself long enough to relax and enjoy life. Gyms, yoga, swimming club memberships, riding lessons, ( she was a competitive rider as a child and teenager), violin lessons (she played as a teenager and loved it). I don’t know what to do to help her. All I know for sure, is that if she does show up at all, there will be madness and destruction in her wake. She has isolated every family member on both sides except for the few of us who refuse to give up on her. She drinks waaaaay too much and is a chronic smoker. She vomits frequently from anxiety. Horrible panic attacks. It just goes on and on. She has been taken to hospitals by police or ambulance 3 times. Police helicopters have searched for her when she was threatening to kill herself by running her car into a semi-truck on the highway. She literally hides in he house and tells me that she freaks out if someone knocks on the door because she thinks it will be the police. She cuts herself and hits herself when she gets upset. She bangs her head into walls so hard that she leaves holes in plaster walls. Nothing I say is right. I can’t have a conversation with her about the weather without her being rude or getting angry or debating or arguing. And the bitch of it all, she was the sweetest, funniest, most precious child to raise. We saw warning signs in her teens. But, I didn’t know what the signs were warning us about. I had no clue where it all was headed it is like she is a train that started out on an easy journey through beautiful country fields. Just slow and easy. And it got faster and faster and faster and keeps getting faster and then derails a bit and then gets back on the screaming track and we are all watching in horror because we know that her train is headed for a brick wall and we have NO power to stop it! I’m sorry this is so long. You are the first person I have ever written to about this except for a therapist once who I hoped my daughter would see. She refused to go. The things you said about not having control of your rage really resonated with me because I see the same thing with her. Because you suffer with this horrible condition too, I guess I am hoping that you can tell me how to help her. How should I react when she goes off the rails. Do I ignore her, do I speak gently? Do I get out of her space for awhile? Nothing I do works but at least I would like to know that the way I handle her is the healthiest way for her to be handled. I will never give up on her. Never. I will never leave. But, I want to do the staying... right. Please help me if you can.
I'm not Mandy but came across your post. I'm 46, live with my supportive parents and have BPD.
Which country are you in? We are Sussex, UK.
Hi kimberley. Im really sorry to hear you go through that. I gave bpd, am 23, and live with my parents. I always feel so bad about how I treat my parents when I go crazy. I'm sorry you have had to deal with you daughter coz it's a lot of mental strain. I hope you have support for yourself
U somehow need to get her into a mental hospital & keep her there & get her onto calming medication thru a drip even if u need armed policeman to take her there
I know as I have BPD & it's terrifying
Likely he is embarrassed to be seen that way so shuts down. The flair of anger is uncontrollable, and flairs fast. There is a moment of decision how you will express these inner feelings. They can also dissipate fast too. Not sure what to say to your situation tho.
Then he doesn't. With BPD it's like watching yourself from the outside. You know it's not okay but you can't stop the monster.
Because your partner is scared
If I am angry enough I wouldn't be scared of a policeman he would go flying
I'm sure my boyfriend has BPD. He is generally angry and can be abrupt. He has no patience on the road and gets very angry with other drivers, resulting in foul language, speeding and reckless driving. He has angry outbursts and rages, including physical violence, threats, name calling, swearing, throwing things, breaking things, yelling very, very loud (often triggered by external events but sometimes its just a sudden change in mood that comes on him) He has recently admitted he has uncontrollable anger and moods. He said he 'can't control the words that come out of his mouth' He also suddenly gets a very low, sad mood come on him - he has described this for years as 'I feel bad' but he has recently confirmed it as 'sad'. He has thrown food at me whilst out walking and totally ruined weekends with his rages. I leave as soon as I can leave the house (usually Mondays) He pleads with me to come back and says he's suicidal. The cycle goes on. Does this sound like bpd??? Any help/advice will be greatly appreciated.
Yes . Defenetly sounds like bpd.
I have been treated / diagnosed BPD for 7 years, 30-37 so far. It was A WHOLE LOT worse before but though I have come a long way I find myself flying into rages more often because I am stressed my 8 year old pushes and pushes until I explode into a fit and I feel bad but its uncontrollable when I'm pushed too far and I disgust myself, I hate that I get that way because nobody deserving of the swears, yelling, and I had been on respridol and my psychiatrist took me off but I think I need it. I'm taking Seroquil and Clonazapan but I feel like the only thing that helped the anger/rage was the respridol. I had a bad episode this morning - I begged my daughter to stop pushing me, to just do the simple tasks I gave her but the whining continued, no matter what I did she had a smart remark and I said "please stop, please just do as I'm asking - comb your hair and put socks on- but she made me put them on so she could tell me it was wrong and then did it herself anyways. She kept the whining and yelling and I tried so hard to plead to her to just stop but she didn't and I ended up flipping out, yelling hitting myself and saying I'm an idiot? I'm a stupid b*tch, I wish I was dead because I can not take it- the pressure to get to work on time while fighting with her so I can drop her at school is getting to be too much. I hate that I'm like this - mostly I'm in control but when I lose it I totally lose it and it just takes that one toe over the line to put me in that state.
I lived with my partner for 4 years but recentely got out the relationship .i suffered anger off him , physically restraining me when i wanted to go ( i was afraid) constantly having to reasure him i loved him .he felt threatened by anyone close to me & would either get angry or cry .towards the later end of our relationship i was getting very tearful ,down & depressed this worried him immensely as he could only reflex on how it made him more insecure .at the height of my depression due to being caged in 24 /7 with my ex partner i told him that i felt like dying .as quick as a wolf he spat in my face and said"well fucking die then'.he was allways sorry the next day /hour.if i was late ringing him he would rant and acuse me of not loving him enough ect .a proper rollercoaster .no consept on money whatsoever & has debts of thousands following him .i could write a book
hey this sounds more like NPD to me.
You know I have BPD and I am thankful as time goes on people are understanding how important mental health is. After all what is under the hood of the car keeps the motor going so it should be that much more important to keep our minds in check. I tend to be very open about my struggles with disorder but when people hear I have this most tend to run and not even give me a chance. I tend to be the more quite reserved type and most of my anger is turned inwardly. In many ways I feel like I am the problem and I cause pain and I am the one that needs punished so when there is rage if I don't figure out ways to control it or work through I became the target of that rage, but in many instances it's something outside of me that's upsetting to cause the rage and in most cases a false reality. However, when I am at the anger and rage level and I am being provoked and they aren't backing off I have to say if there were no consequences for my actions I have no idea what I would do. Additionally, i.will be honest I don't know how anyone with BPD is still alive or functions at times. When I go inside my head and have what I call BPD moments I.hear voices telling me how horrible I am, how worthless I am, and howmuch wasted space I am. I have created a space in my mind for that noise and avoid it with all costs, but if I go there or get down or have been criticized I became my worst nightmare. It isn't easy to co-exist with all of this. For those who struggle similar to me it is easy to maybe now see why self harm and suicide is very common with BPD that and cutting sometimes relives stress. In many ways without therapy to help us learn to cope or work through it I just don't know how one cam manage to have any decent quality of life. I do isolate a lot in fear of hurting others and I become way more reserved if I feel rejected or abandoned or not wanted in any given situation. BPD is scary and in many ways I am afraid of myself not knowing fully what I am capable of especially since I surpress so much.
Very informative and interesting
The victims are the poor spouse (usually the husband) who has to deal with a mentally deranged borderline. The screaming, the yelling--throwing items, doorslamming, then running away to parents or echo chambre you go girl "friends." unless the borderline recognises-acknowledges her severe illness--nothing will change. The key is distance, and if cannot work out, divorce. Easier to treat a meth addict than a Cluster B.
Projection much? Try being in the shoes of the person with the disorder. You're arrogant or ignorant.
No, it Is hard on the spouse. People with BPD need to acknowledge this, though I know persoective taking can be hard for them. Therapy.
My daughter has this disorder and I've tried to be in her shoes. Honestly her behavior is so unpredictable, hostile, vulgar, and just plain abusive. He is right that if they don't recognize the issue and get therapy, the only choices you have are to distance yourself (love from afar), or live in misery with this person. I would choose distance because living on misery is not helping anyone in the situation.
It all depends on how bad the person effects others lives, I am currently sorting one out through the police because it is so out there and so extensive it begs belief that anyone doing such things is anything other than evil.
Obviously you have it.
That was directed at :) July 15 comment.
[moderated] it hard for the partner but try going through a normal mind to that of a bpd mind don't make comments on something you know nothing about
I hear you. I don't know where you live, please contact community mental health in your city. You can get treatment, and even get help getting to and from appointments. DBT is short for Dialectical Behavior Therapy and it was developed for people with BPD. It truly can help you live a more hopeful life. It's difficult work sometimes, most anything worth while is...and I am certain your daughter is and that you are as well. Community Mental Health programs are in every county of every state. It's a place to start. Best of luck!
Thanks but DBT doesn't work @ all it is useless
When I get upset everything I have learned it doesn't make any difference
I can go from 0 to 100 in 2 seconds & not even know why
DBT didn't work for me & I have BPD.
I go from zero to hero in 10 seconds.
I haven't got time to do stupid dear man or anything & my brother won't let me go to these places & as I work for him it's not an option
Sometimes medication better
I am 47, single mom of 7 yr old sweet, beautiful girl. What really is presently causing turmoil in my life is seeing her explode. She had a friend over recently and when friend rejected ideas of playtime my girl cried hysterically saying that everyone treats her like trash. I'm beyond shame and guilt!!! It's heart-wrenching to know that I brought her into my hell on earth. I was always told that I couldn't have children and found out I was pregnant after I separated from her father. I knew not having children would be a blessing, mostly for their sake. I'm sure my BPD is beginning to have an affect on her. It could be environmental and biological. I'm panicking. I have no help and no means to acquire help. I was sexually abused at 6, 12, 23 and in my 30s. I love my baby more than anything and the very last thing I want is this life for her. Please, any advice I welcome. I can't afford therapy. I scour internet for help on anger and BPD and PTSD but I feel like hearing from others would be even more beneficial.
john, in my experience, most people with mental illness do understand the burden they lay on other people. they may not always be able to express or separate from it but it's there and acknowledging it out loud can be really humiliating. that's not to say that it should never be talked about -- quite the contrary. the stigma of shame around all of this is part of a much bigger problem. but to say that they don't know what it does to you, what it takes from you, just because they still need it is somewhat short-sighted.
a person in a wheelchair understands the physical toll it takes on someone to help them in and out of their chair but they still need that help. and it doesn't mean they'll never get frustrated and lash out because they need it, sometimes (or often) at the very people who are trying to give it. i certainly do. and i feel miserable about it every single time but controlling it is like sopping up the tide with a tissue.
that's the difference between someone who has a mental illness and someone who doesn't -- yes, we all have the same provocations and triggers and bad days and shit feelings. but where you have a bucket and a towel, we have an ocean and a flimsy scrap of paper.
the other difference is that, regardless of your circumstance, you more than likely have the choice to walk away from it. that's not necessarily a choice you would want or like to make or even feel you can but in most cases the carer does not have a legal obligation to stay and deal. and even if they do, they don't have to deal with love. but we can't walk away from it, it's always ours. no matter where we go or who we love, it's with us. sometimes, yes, that reliance can cause resentment because you also have a control over this person that makes them vulnerable to you in absolute ways, ways you are not vulnerable to them. it's true that, in many cases, the hand you hold is the hand that holds you down and that grasp tugs from both directions. but the fact that you can bail either physically or emotionally is not a mystery to the person you are caring for. it's a terrifying understanding and it is with us always. in moments of peril, it is sometimes the loudest thing we can hear. caught between the fear of rejection and desperate need for acceptance, sometimes we push back. sometimes, we all but demand you leave us already before we need you even a single bit more. and at the same time, how dare you promise to be there only to take it all back when it gets ugly. of course it got ugly, we told you it would. it's always been ugly. and if we can make you leave us for that, then we were right when we swore we were unlovable.
all the things you do for that person are all the things they cannot do for themselves -- those tasks are monumental to them, ones they sometimes can't even imagine handling alone. that you are doing it at all is probably nothing short of a mystery to them, in many cases a flat out miracle. they might not be at a point in their treatment where they can identify and speak it to you but it is a tremendous gift to choose to be someone's caretaker, and we are almost always aware of it even when we can't bring ourselves to believe that, or act like, we deserve it.
i'm not trying to excuse any of the way you've been treated -- it's difficult and exhausting and bless you for bearing the burden of caretaker. and i am so sorry for your pain, what you've given up and given over. i'm just hoping to maybe help better define the correlation between reliance and fury and, as you said, the provocation of those we love.
Thank you for your comment, I have an extremely hard time explaining to my boyfriend that iam aware that iam frustrating and hard to deal with most of the time, i tell him that I frustrate myself I hate that I feel things so deeply an how I tend to misconstrue alot. I see and perceive things wrongly and then over react I don't mean to and I do try my hardest to let him know what he said or did that triggered me and explain that iam hurt but it comes out in anger instead, he doesn't get it he got blessed with amazing parents and a normal childhood I didn't I was forced to see it all wrongly and take in the abuse like a sponge would I hadn't known anything else and I hate that, I wish so badly I could be different iam terrified of loosing the one person I've got left.
I identify with so many of you. I'm looking for an online real-time forum or chat room for those suffering with BPD and support. Anyone feel free to contact me.
did you find anywhere?
I identify with so many of you. I'm looking for an online real-time forum or chat room for those suffering with BPD and support. Anyone feel free to contact me.
This last week I had a second situation where I was so angry I was thinking murder. This scares the crap out of me. I'm just now looking for answers on this. I'm bipolar and borderline personality disorder. I've dealt with bipolar for 20 years. Bpd for six months. I was diagnosed bpd about 10 years ago but didn't care and forgot about the diagnosis. It he's so much to read was has been posted here. So far I haven't found anything in books about the rage I've had. Rage doesn't even cover what I experience. After it I can see clearly the build up of feelings. I just want to hide from the world.
Rage is the worst. And the most unbearable. I have lived with BPD all my life. I come from a dysfunctional family, depressed, passive mother orbiting around a narcissistic father. The family on both sides was problematic. Father’s family was cold, living through trauma of 4 out of 6 children dying. My mothers family is poor farmers who worked 16 hours every day to get 4 kids through college. That family is obsessed with money and achievement, most importantly academic titles. My childhood was a nightmare. I wore the same underpants for 7 days because nobody taught me to change them or washed them. I was never taught about periods and given any hygienic articles. How did my mother think I can take care of it myself when I grew up in communism and there were no tampons to be had. My father was always yelling, raging and abusing us. Every day was spent on fear. Not a single happy day. I am afraid of people, the evil lurking in them and somehow my rages of course bring the worst out of everyone. I really hate people. Before I tried to have friends and always got burned, I stopped trying and I have none. I literally do not have a single friend. Not one. My husband is bearing my rage, stemming from achievement crazy upbringing I got. I always feel like I massively underachieve and so does he. I moved to another country to escape from my family where everyone was boasting how much money they were making. Nobody talked about anything else. It is unbearable. I have been through every addiction. I took psychiatric meds since she 14. I am now 46. Not a single day in 30 years free from prescription drugs. I took any drug I could to control the depression , rage and terror of my life. I worked as an anaesthetist and stole drugs from the hospital. I was through everything. I hate who I am, but worst, worse than the crushing depressions is the rage. It is like a demon takes over. I cannot control myself. I scream and yell and rage for days, weeks even and then it passes like a storm, then I have to deal with the embarrassment of what a horrible, lousy person I am. It is like an endless cycle. I cannot afford therapy. It only helps for depression, but nothing, nothing helps for the rage. Not meds, no amount of DBt skills o tried to teach myself for lack of access to care, meditation, mindfulness, you name it. Once the raging demon arrives EVERYTHING goes out the window. My family is a victim but so am I.
CRYS...I hear you......
I am cPTSD which a euphenism for BPD. I also have Bipolar and Asperger too. Quite a mix huh?
What has worked for me was some....some DBT.....but mainly Neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback has helped me a lot. After 29 sessions now....I fond it very hard to use my previous go to tool..disassociation....
Also check for MTHFR issues too......
I have made very good progess.....I have Everest to claim and nothing expect my death will stop me...
Thank you Tonia for your comment on April 15/16 - I really don't want to bother anyone but sometimes I'm so afraid of what I'll do to myself that I ask for help (or rather scream for help) or do something to bring attention to myself so somebody will look at me. We often feel invisible, like we don't exist, like ghosts.
John, I don't think you realise this but BPD has a way of clouding the patient's judgement. I know this sounds irresponsible but when a bpd patient feels like they need the emotional support of their close friends, in their minds that is the way it should be. They do not realise how tiring and irrational their expectations are. It is not intentional and if they could they wouldn't be such a bother.
One thing that is very difficult about living with a person with BPD is their expectation that a loved one will constantly be available to assist them to moderate their own emotional states. You describe this in your "Number Two" paragraph. I mean no offense to you, but I see this attitude expressed over and over on the internet, that a BPD person seems to perceive what others consider as basic emotional self-moderation processes as being "core needs" that others are required to "meet", and that there is intense anger and frustration when others fail to meet the expectations of needs. The BPD sufferer seems chronically incapable or unwilling to moderate own emotional states. What people with BPD seem not to realise is that being available to assist with moderating emotional states is deeply, deeply exhausting. Over time, providing this level of assistance is exhausting at the level of personality-destruction; to the person assisting, there seems to be nothing left of the self outside meeting the needs of this other person who is constantly in emotional turmoil, of constantly attempting to help find the way out of this labyrinth of destructive and self-destructive intensely rageful and grieving emotional states.
You may not perceive this as being very helpful, but I will really encourage you to look more closely and critically at your first paragraph in this article, where you describe the circumstances that lead to your experience of a rage explosion. I will encourage you to try to understand that people who do not ragefully explode also experience these events of provocation, physical states, and different emotions that result in a rage explosion for people with BPD. However, speaking as a person who has been a long term carer of a person with BPD, throughout psychiatric hospitalisations and many other events, it sometimes seems looking from the outside in, as though a person with BPD will deliberately gather these circumstances to themselves in such a way that the sufferer will explode ragefully. I really encourage you to think about your own role in causing your rage explosions.
I am the mother of a 23 year old son who suffers from BPD and also experiences dissociation. As a care giver I am surprised to read that you think the BPD sufferer is “unwilling” to moderate their own emotional state. A person who suffers from BPD isn’t always able to recognize their emotions or behaviors as being unusual or destructive. My sons mood swings and self harming have become such a part of him that this is his norm. It’s his brains way of dealing with stress and fears. My husband and I have spent many days and nights chasing him around the home to keep him from self-harming or trying to kill himself. He also says mean hurtful things to us and others. Yes, it is exhausting but he did not choose to have BPD and if he could control it he would. We have been lucky to recently find a psychologist who is applying DBT concepts and we can see a definite improvement. BPD is such a complex disorder that many therapists are unwilling to treat it,or will only take on one BPD client at a time. He has stayed in Mental Health facilities when he is suicidal, they usually keep him for 3 days and then they release him. Now he is angry and suicidal when he comes home. He is not able to understand people are trying to help him and still not a choice. He earned a full academic pre-med scholarship to college and was a starting football player in high school with many friends. He has lost all of this due to his disorder. It’s not a choice to be suicidal, self harming, or suffer from anxiety , depression or dissociation. If he were able to think about his own role in his rage explosions then we wouldn’t be having this conversation and he wouldn’t have BPD.
Hi there, Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm not the author of this blog, but I am the author of the More Than Borderline blog today. I do agree with you that BPD is not a choice, neither is the anger, self-harm, depression, or dissociation that come along with it. I have found that as I have gone through treatment, I have changed and increasingly am able through use of DBT skills and other skills, learned to think about my own role in rage explosions. Although, to your point, it can take me some time to cool down before I can think about that and it usually isn't immediately in the moment. Thank you for sharing your experience. I know BPD isn't easy for families, either. -Whitney
I feel for you. I too have BPD (diagnosed by a psychiatrist) but my counsellors and mental health workers and doctors that I see in the ER after a particularly bad episode always want to tiptoe around the real issue. The only help I've gotten is with one-on-one counselling and having a good counsellor to validate your feelings really helps. It's not a fix, I am not fixed after 10 years of counselling and trying to change. I also have "a lot of social anxiety issues and depression. It’s hard for me to truly connect to people" - I can relate to you for what it's worth. I actually think I am unable to truly connect to people - whenever something happens that I perceive as disrespectful towards me or my children I go back to not trusting that person no matter how close we've been and I become paranoid that they're using me or they're out to get me or they're in my life for some reason that suits them but not because they actually love me. I just can't believe that anyone actually loves me except my two children and my pets. I just can't believe why someone would love me so therefore I don't believe that anyone actually loves me, they're just using me for their own purposes :( I agree, it's a very lonely way to live. There are good moments though and we have to live for those. For the most part, I'm only alive right now because my kids need me - otherwise I would have offed myself a long time ago. I'm sorry this wasn't particularly uplifting, but I hope that knowing that there are other people out there who "get" you and your experiences helps a bit.
1/ anger is just the 'froth' on top of the real feelings (& will be old long held feelings that are triggered - open the dam gate so to speak). learn to find these feelings &, slowly, deal with them & the anger, eventually, is dealt with. a long, difficult journey, but.
2/ anger doesn't have to be 'acted out' physically, it can be done just as well with speech (not yelling) that cuts deeply psychologically & hurts just as much as physical pain, if not more so