3 Myths About Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) myths are common as BPD is one of the most stigmatized mental health conditions, along with conditions such as schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder and other personality disorders. I have been discriminated against by healthcare professionals, struggled for years to talk openly due to stereotyping and see few compassionate representations of the condition in the media. There are three main myths about BPD and I will outline them here.
3 BPD Myths that Need to Be Corrected
- It's distress, not attention-seeking. One of the most dangerous myths is that people with BPD are attention-seeking. As people with this condition can become extremely distressed very quickly, others might judge this behavior as dramatic or purposefully exaggerated. It is important to me that people in my life understand that I often experience emotions very strongly. What others might feel as mild anxiety, slight sadness and embarrassment, I might experience as terror, despair and all-consuming shame. It is incredibly painful to have others disbelieve, scold or even ridicule me for the way I feel — I have had someone laugh at me just after I had self-harmed.
- It's not manipulation, it's not knowing how to cope. Another hurtful myth is that people with BPD are manipulative. Many people with this diagnosis fear abandonment and rejection so strongly that they will go to great lengths to check they are still loved. That might mean behaving in erratic or chaotic ways such as sending multiple texts or repeatedly asking for reassurance. There have been times in my life that I’ve sobbed uncontrollably when someone had to go. This wasn’t me being manipulative and trying to coerce them into staying with me. Instead, this was because I hadn’t yet learned how to manage overwhelming sadness and anxiety.
- Feeling better and having happy relationships is very possible. A further myth is that people with BPD will never feel better and therefore trying to help someone with this condition is futile. This is simply not true. A few years ago, I believed that I would be trapped with my BPD forever and it made me feel hopeless. Over time, however, I’ve learned effective ways of coping and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has enabled me to live a life without self-harm and chronic suicidality. I have benefited enormously from having a therapist who is dedicated to helping people with BPD get their needs met, have satisfying relationships and deal with any trauma they have been through. There is much written online and in print claiming that people with BPD are not capable of having healthy relationships, families and careers. I have been in a wonderful, affectionate relationship for close to two years now and some of the main reasons I am loved are my sensitivity, empathy and lively imagination.
Borderline personality disorder is challenging enough to deal with without having to cope with myths, stigma and discrimination too. People with this condition need to be seen for who they are, the pain they may be feeling, the trauma they might have been through and their potential.
Cappuccino, R. (2019, August 28). 3 Myths About Borderline Personality Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 10 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2019/8/3-myths-about-borderline-personality-disorder