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One of the most common personality disorders, BPD or borderline personality disorder often remains undiagnosed or repressed and gets passed off as mood swings or a volatile disposition. However this disorder is much more than just mood swings as it can seriously affect the quality of a person’s life. The primary manifestation of this disorder is in the way you think about yourself and others which result in the work that you need to do on a daily basis.
How does BPD manifest in your life?
The most common ways Borderline personality disorder can manifest in your life is with extreme mood swings or emotions, a discernable pattern in relationships becoming unstable after sometime, impulsive behavior, and a self–image which is distorted. BPD thus affects how you view yourself, how you feel about others and you resultant behavior in general. Some of the typical signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder are mentioned below.
Persistent feelings of emptiness
- Anger in inappropriate or unnecessary places, losing your temper very frequently, resulting in physical fights
- Fearing abandonment intensely, whether it is real or imagined and thus going huge lengths to stop it from happening
- Extreme instability in relationships which may cause a partner to be liked one moment and then hated the next
- People with BPD also tend to be suicidal which is often caused by the fear of rejection or separation
- Engaging in risky and impulsive behaviors such as
- Engaging in unsafe sex despite being aware of the implications
- Splurging money on gambling
- Leaving a good job suddenly
- A tendency to indulge in drugs
- Binge eating
- Reckless driving
- Suddenly terminating a healthy and positive relationship
- Sudden changes in values and self-identity and goals and feeling low about yourself as a result
Causes of Borderline personality disorder
In most cases borderline personality disorder can’t be exactly attributed to a single cause and in most cases, is a combination of factors. While genetic or hereditary predisposition can cause BPD it may also be triggered by other factors. Also, not curbing mal-traits in young children or encouraging such behaviors may lead to BPD as they grow up. Some of the factors that contribute to BPD are
- Abnormalities in the brain
- Childhood incidents which were stressful
- Personality traits which have worsened
If you think you have been displaying some of the symptoms for a fairly prolonged period, it is advisable that you visit a mental health professional for counseling and start with therapy as advised by them.
Anger is good. It protects you. But intense, uncontrolled anger may destroy valuable relationships. Anger is a result of anxiety and fear. When we assume that our expectations will not be met, we become anxious. When we feel unsure about our own capabilities we become anxious. This anxiety creates fear. Anxiety comes from our beliefs. All beliefs can be modified.
Anger has lots of energy. Avoid arguments/confrontations when you are very angry. When you are very angry you are likely to use rough language which may damage your relations and you are likely to behave impulsively. All this you might regret later on. Following are a few techniques which will help you to manage your anger in difficult situations :
- Sit down and have a glass of water, slowly. This will help you to calm down a little.
- Avoid or go away from that room or situation. Tell the people concerned, that you are angry and would like to discuss it some other time.
- Deep breathing exercises help a lot. Close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths, turn your attention towards your body. See what is happening to your body. Tell your body muscles to relax. If your heart is beating fast, if you are breathing fast, continue deep breathing, till it normalises.
- Now understand what is making you angry. Understand your own anxiety and fear related to the issue.
- Let the other person know how you are “feeling”. Start your statements, “I feel hurt/insulted/let down/neglected etc. when you do this”, instead of saying “You hurt/neglect me”. When you express your feeling in this manner, the other person does not feel blamed, which makes the other person more receptive.
- Focus on the current issue, don’t bring in past situations.
- Tell the other person, what you want or expect, instead of telling what you do not want. E.G. Instead of saying “I don’t want you to go out now”, say “I would like you to stay at home today”.
- Listen carefully what the other person wants to tell you. Give others a chance to voice their opinions.
- Make an eye contact and be firm but polite while communicating your point of view.
- Understand everyone’s responsibility in the situation. Try to see, what is your share in the problematic situation? Work on that.
- Understand what change you want.
- Have realistic expectations from others and also from yourself.
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