The Pitfalls of Over-Identifying with Borderline PD

September 19, 2023 Karen Mae Vister

In the past, my trauma therapist has had to give me a reality check about over-identifying with borderline personality disorder (BPD). To be honest, I needed that wake-up call. Not every unpleasant thought or emotional dip is automatically a BPD symptom. It's made me realize the pitfalls of getting too wrapped up in identifying with my mental health issues.

I was first diagnosed in 2011, and back then, my symptoms felt inescapable. It's wild how that kind of belief can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I found myself doing things that perfectly matched this perceived identity I'd created based on my diagnosis, which only reinforced those symptoms and patterns I desperately wanted to change.

I Over-Identified with Borderline Personality Disorder

When I first got the diagnosis, it was like a shiny new label that explained everything I'd been going through. It was tempting to make it my whole identity because, for once, there was a name and some words to put to all those complex feelings and experiences. I was over-identifying with BPD.

While my intention was to be understood and validated, by constantly bringing up my disorder as an explanation for my behavior, my loved ones started thinking I was just using it as a get-out-of-jail-free card for my poor decision-making, which brought on a whole lot of resentment and pushed them further away.

There is validity in the fact that I have struggled with lapses in judgment due to BPD in the past, and self-awareness can be a helpful tool, a way to make sense of why I acted the way I did, but this over-identification with BPD threw up some serious roadblocks on the path to change. It did a number on my self-esteem, and I was genuinely terrified of losing what I'd come to see as this integral part of myself. It made me wonder, who would I even be without these traits?

Avoiding Over-Identifying with BPD

I decided it was high time to build a deeper connection with myself. This involved really getting to know who I was during those rare moments of pure joy. Those moments were like these fleeting sparks in my life back then, but it was crucial for me to consciously tune into the person I became when I could genuinely savor life and accept that I was worthy of being happy.

Lately, I've been shying away from content that tries to slap labels like "BPD" on human behavior. I'm no longer over-identifying with BPD. I'm not interested in squeezing myself into a box. I've found peace by embracing my unique journey, and while articles like this one have their place in shedding light on our experiences, they're not the whole story. We're not here to fit into boxes; we're here to shine in our own magnificent light. 

Check out my latest video below. I dive into a few misconceptions I had about recovery. I talk about my path to remission after finding a trauma-based therapist who specializes in both complex posttraumatic stress disorder and BPD.

APA Reference
Mae, K. (2023, September 19). The Pitfalls of Over-Identifying with Borderline PD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 21 from

Author: Karen Mae Vister

Karen Mae Vister, author of her blog, Over the Borderline, dedicates her work to providing valuable content and support for individuals on the path to recovery from borderline personality disorder. Find Karen Mae on Instagram and her blog.

October, 3 2023 at 2:47 pm

Great article and video. Informative and helpful.

October, 5 2023 at 5:44 am

Hey there, thanks a bunch for the feedback! I'm very glad you could find our content helpful. Please let me know what other BPD topics you'd like me to touch on.

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