I know that you believe the things you are seeing and hearing are true representations of reality that contributes meaning to behavior observed in others and situations. In fact, if someone questioned the validity of the events and things happening within the context of immediate relationship, family, or social interaction, you would probably would not accept it and most likely would believe the questions would appear out of character. To suggest that there is a large gap in meaning of events that you do not understand between appearance and reality would not seem possible. However, consider for a moment the possibility that there are things not understood that you do not know about pointing to an incomprehensible pervasive pattern of behavior consistent with a personality disorder. There is no doubt that a important issue to consider is how little that most people actually know about mental health and personality disorders. Therefore, quite often behaviors not acknowledged create dysfunction in families and relationships instead of being able to a meaningful way to understand that certain behaviors, attitudes, and responses are reasons for concern. Consequently, assigning meaning to behaviors that equate behaviors as “our normal” is often a reaction to misinformation rather than actually understanding why a set of circumstances and behaviors occur as they seem to the untrained observer. The result leaves a family system without understanding the possibility of what could happen if treatment options and understanding creates solutions.
What makes this most difficult is when it is someone that you love and have lived with throughout life and there is this constant recurring roller coaster of emotions and behaviors. Obviously, it is very hard to come to terms with what these unusual emotions, behaviors, and response mean in the context of life. When behavior along with a skewed sense of reality and a feeling that something is not right, but we cannot put our finger on the exact problem constantly nags at relationships, it creates constant stress for everyone. People have different responses, one to dismiss it totally and the other is to react against the person, the behavior and actually make things worse instead of better. Unfortunately, the impact and depth of life events most certainly will face misunderstanding without first realizing the nature of a personality disorder coupled with a mental illness. Medical problems including mental illness and personality disorders cannot be the basis for valuing people as individuals. In fact, family and relationship partners must understand that the mental-personality disorder is not the person, but the medical experience of a disordered person. Consequently, the deception associated with Borderline Personality Disorder is not a deception by the person, it is a pervasive pattern of behaviors when undiagnosed, misunderstood, dismissed, and unmanaged; results in assigning faulty meaning and motivation to behavior that is personal and not medical or psychiatric.
Confusion regarding the appearance of the symptomatic patterns of the disease results from a lack of understanding about the meaning of ambiguous and confusing behaviors observed. The daily life experience with a borderline personality are confusing to sort out, partly because, persons with BPD have a biological factors that affect cognition and environmental factors that evokes associate mentalization and perception of life, people, and events. The resulting behavioral patterns flow from a unique process of assigning meaning and to the lived experience of life. As a result, Borderline Personality Disorder is often deeply entrenched as a part of a family system where comorbidity exists within an overenmeshed relational dysfunction without realizing the source of systemic problems existing in the experience of life events. What eludes many people is the high functioning; intelligent, capable person who looks successful on the outside, but is constantly in crisis on the inside. As a result, many with BPD expend much of their emotional energy hiding the disorder and it goes unrecognized until a crisis places the individual in a hospital or therapists care.
As a result, the underlying reasons for behaviors goes on undetected or misunderstood, as something else or someone else’s problem, until a relational crisis or life events evoke acting in or acting out behaviors resulting in diagnosis and potential treatment and understanding of the disordered personality condition.
Unfortunately, most families do not understand mental health conditions and because of the stigma of general mental health conditions by many people, individuals are resistant to seek treatment. Therefore, there is ambivalence in families to talk openly about personality disorders or mental health conditions. As a result, life with a with Borderline Personality results in many families loose a sense of relational balance without understanding the underlying pathology that creates a domino effect of dysfunctional behavior in a family system.
The result from a lack of clinical understanding contributes to dysfunctional relationships, where members become enablers to make life work or react by participating in emotional relationship dysfunction that is chaotic and sometimes results in fractured families. Unfortunately, when BPD remains undetected, the personality disorder contains the potential to damage and destroy relationships. When misinformation, reaction, and dysregulation dictate how people behave toward a personality disorder; the results bring personal loss for families and relationships. In many cases loving family members unwittingly programmed by the dysfunction of the disease to enable a constant need to rescue; thereby, they reinforce a lifestyle of misunderstanding about the disorder and allow the person to go without medical assistance.
While children are growing up and families are interacting with spouses relating; the missing piece of information not understood is why borderline dysregulation results in a disrupted relational system bringing chaotic patterns that reinforce exaggerated responses. Parents who raise a borderline child and are not aware of the problem frequently blame themselves, react on an emotional level and blame themselves later in life. The guilt says that if they would have known, they could have changed the outcome of life for the person who is a Borderline Personality. Many people report that they feel victimized, confused, while at the same time assuming responsibility and living in constant turmoil because the family members do not understand the complexities of this personality disorder, nor how to self-regulate. Obviously, family members who do not have daily interaction or are not the primary attachment figure of the borderline may believe this is just anomalies or extreme behaviors as normal part of life. Obviously, when there is a lack of understanding about the patterns of behaviors associated with Borderline Personality Disorder and the daily experience of life, the disorder goes unrecognized by most and the chaotic experience continues for the BPD, as well as, those in the immediate family system.
Not all Borderline Personality symptoms will present with the exact patterns in every individual person in the same way creating confusion for people who are not mental health practitioners. It is common for borderline personalities to appear to most people as a very normal person and go unnoticed by people in the extended family, friends, and circle, of acquaintances. Nevertheless, at the same time the disorder is inflicting excruciating emotional pain upon the person with BPD, as well as, close family members who do not have a clear sense of the range of behaviors that just does not make sense. The response of many family members can be confusion and feeling a little crazy themselves.
A common behavior associated with borderline personality is acting out or acting in exhibiting attention seeking behaviors convincing enough to evoke a sympathetic response. The natural response to acting out is to engage an enabler or to gain a rescue for the Borderline from every impending crisis, which is real in the perception of the person with BP. The behavior of acting out has resulted in many Borderline’s being labeled as a “Drama Queen”, i.e., individuals who “act out” to gain the sympathy and support of others. This biologically driven performance is portrayed to deflect attention away from the intense fear that triggers the behavior. Obviously, people who witness this who do not fully understand what is happening respond to console and rescue the person from their tragic circumstances. The fear of rejection, abandonment feels real, even though it may be irrational. The borderline personality believes it to be true.
As a result, Borderline Personality Disorder drives the thinking, feeling, and behavioral responses from emotional dysregulation to irrational fears and result in behaviors that systematically manage a unconscious lifestyle played out in an ongoing drama witnessed through behavior patterns of “faking it” to make it in the world of skewed perception that the pathology that borderline personality creates. In the dramatic behavior, the intense fear of abandonment and continual belief that imminent rejection is always on the horizon manages the behaviors exhibited. Therefore, at the heart of the BPD’s crisis management, the morbidity potential attached to the phobic thinking drives the fear that eventually he/she will be “found out” and face permanent abandonment and rejection. Consequently, the behavior often observed centers around a drive from disorder thinking and emotions to manage life at the cost of others that contributes to a life-long pattern of attempting to control people, information, and perception in ways that spin others reality to match the mentally distorted by a disordered view of life events and others. The goal of the pervasive thinking pattern is to control, so abandonment will not happen and hide the underlying problem from people around them from no sense of self-resulting in fear of rejection.
The danger felt by the person with Borderline Personality Disorder motivated by neurotic fear of being found out and facing possible rejection or abandonment, stems from disordered emotional processing and cognition. As a result, the very idea of someone exposing the reality of borderline behavior is a trigger that evokes fear of exposure along with the subsequent fear of abandonment. Consequently, the potential of facing this stress triggers the core issue, the fear of abandonment, isolation, and public exposure to the truth resulting in Borderline Rage.
The behavior following demonstrates an intense feeling of rejection, pain, along with outbursts of anger. Then, neurotic fear triggers defensive mechanisms that try to regain control. Borderline Personality mentalization attempts to paint the world and perception of others with a skewed mental perception of the meaning of life events and others by convincingly re-spinning reality to those around them in a way that matches their own. Resisting this point of view acts as a trigger of behavior sometimes observed bringing borderline rage, acting out, as well as, acting in behaviors from emotional dysregulation resulting from the perceived threats.
If you are the person who understands the deception and the personality disorder patterns and you decide to challenge the dysregulating behavior patterns, be prepared to become the focused object of rage motivated by irrational belief that you pose a threat for abandonment, social isolation, and rejection. Understand that rage is directed at you because of disordered thinking from BPD in a very personal way that is an attempts to destroy you and disable your voice, to speak credibility to everyone she/he can influence. Something to remember is that in the case of a borderline, the loss of control coupled with the fear of abandonment triggers a heightened level of stress that is unmanageable, which results in unmanageable emotional state that dysregulates. Therefore, emotions, such as panic, heightened compulsivity, and attention-seeking behaviors, result from inability to regulate emotional states. Consequently, a common experience for many BPD’s occurs along with dysregulation and splitting occurs. Then, what was once all good has suddenly become all bad.
This symptomatic pattern from BPD’s threatened with a feeling of lack of control, or being found out, is the manifestation of anger toward the object of their irrational fear. The irrational fear that BPD mentalization and assignment of meaning causes produces a mental mythology that you are all bad because you do not affirm the skewed beliefs of the world as the borderline views it through their thinking. In the distorted reasoning of a dysregulated Borderline, the identifier endangers their ability to maintain a feeling of control, which in turn triggers emotional dysregulation under the stress. Then, comes the anger, rage, passive aggressive anger focused by the internalized threat upon the person who knows about them and who may expose the undiscovered BPD. Therefore, before assuming responsibility for the rage, pain, and dysfunction, remembers that this is not your fault, it is the product of biological and environmental experiences from Borderline Personality Disorder.
To understand this more, the behavior pattern of the borderline demonstrates intense fear of being discovered is rooted in an irrational belief that she/he will be abandoned if people really understand who they are and others will stigmatize them, abandon them, and ultimately reject them. The behavior commonly presents the BPD as a wounded child on one side. Among others, behavior can demonstrate acts of striking out; outbursts of anger, using innuendo, accusation that vilifies person perceived to threaten the borderlines need control reality. Meanwhile, the drama is painting a picture of their own victimization by others or events that surround them. Consequently, the picture painted is the image of a wounded child and their innocence in every situation in contrasts with villainizing those who do not comply with the distorted reality constructed BPD perception. As a result, borderline’s are capable of extreme behaviors when they irrational thing results in dysregulated emotions. Typically, Borderlines surround themselves with people, who are largely undiscerning, unaware, many times co-dependent, and capable of easily being influenced by the characterological traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.
If you are not willing to join the company of the borderline enablers and participate in their plan, then you should expect your life to become very difficult. Borderline behavior toward individuals they cannot manipulate or control often characteristically demonstrates rage, distorted reason, and skewed perception fueled by a firmly held belief that this behavior is justified, correct, and you deserve intense cruel actions. It is because in the skewed perception of the Borderline you are just being mean and viscous to the wounded, innocent child who is actually a suffering saint. At the same time, the wounded child has a sense of entitlement to behave as they do no matter how bad, nor matter the consequences for others, no matter who they damage. There is no sense of functional pro-social behavior and much like typical anti-social behavior, the BPD insists on being supported and given what they want most. What they want to feel most is that they are in control of those around them so they will not be abandoned. As a result, in the thought process of the Borderline they are so, very innocent, never responsible, and do not deserve this treatment.
One way that borderline, control manifests through is isolating support mechanisms that the BPD person believes you depend upon for functionality in life. Therefore, do not be surprised if you are isolated, discredited, and witness risk-taking behavior that many times results in criminal mischief in passive aggressive ways. Common areas of isolation, such as family relationships, children, grandchildren, friends, relationships, and financial resources are the target of the Borderline to exhibit passive aggressive anger and to isolate you before you can abandon them. In addition, it is common for dysregulated borderlines to destroy your personal property, assault your credibility privately, while projecting their own behaviors on others. The goal of these behaviors are to deflect from themselves any belief that they are indeed suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder; then paint a picture they are a victim and you are actually the one that has a problem. Therefore, the splitting behavior, “all good turns to all bad” is a reality and suddenly you are secretly the victim of the lethal behavior of Borderline rage. In fact, borderline personality functions is to constantly keep the object of their behavior in “no win” situations creating powerlessness to respond to the distortion in order to reinforce the myth they uniquely created about you.
Borderline Personality Disorder demonstrates victim behaviors quite well. In fact, people who are not supportive of the victimization of the BPD can easily become the object of rage and accusation. A common description “the emotional vampire” becomes a reality and behavior is acted out in ways that emotionally drain the emotional sponges who are emotional empaths without healthy boundaries. For their audience, a stellar performance is given to endear sympathetic attention, while the BPD is divides people from one another to meet their personal need to be the center of attention. The insidious behavior from the disorder operates from a deflated, empty ego and an absence of a secure individual identity. The actions of Borderline Personality Disorder reinforces a distorted sense of self, both projected and protected, while at the same time painting the picture of victimization by others. In the deception, the PD functions to achieve is personal empowerment by isolating those who are threaten irrational fears from a need control the persons who are the objects of the relationship disorder.
In the act of anger focused on the threat, BPD is empowered through passive aggressive behavior designed to express anger passively in order to confuse and retaliate at the same time. Passive–aggressive anger is passive in how it is presented and seems to be innocent, innocuous, and well hidden. However, the toxic anger felt from rejection, abandonment, and perceived threats results in toxic debilitating behaviors toward persons who are the source of threats to the BPD. As a result, the pervasive actions are attempts to dis-empower secretly anyone who might validate their greatest fear, being found out and losing control of their image and others affirmation.
A characterological feature of BPD is no middle ground. The cognitive behavioral perspective is characterized by “splitting”: everything and everyone is either “all good or all bad”. Obviously, for the BPD, having the inability to regulate emotions under stress causes the dysregulation of emotional responses into extremes, anxiety, and intense behavior. For instance, “I hate you, please don’t leave me” is a statement that expresses the extremes of a borderline splitting in a dysregulated emotional state. For the unwitting relative, partner, victim, it is a psychological double-bind that is emotionally confusing and traps them in a no win situation, where there seems to be no escape. Adults who enter into relationships with borderlines many times feel brainwashed, abused, and stay in a state of emotional confusion by the BPD’s accusations, manipulation, and criticisms. This principle stated by Benham says: “The techniques of brainwashing are simple: isolate the victim, expose them to consistent messages, mix with sleep deprivation, add some form of abuse, get the person to doubt what they know and feel, keep them on their toes, wear them down, and stir well.” What a vivid picture of daily life with an unregulated, undiscovered, and untreated Borderline Personality at work spinning reality.
The problem experienced in the deception is a functional inability to achieve genuine intimacy in relationships because of the perpetual deceptive manipulation of the Borderline. The behavior occurs to create an image of life that is spun, as if it is reality for those around them. The deception convincingly persuades the audience with dramatic, impassioned presentation of need through charm utilizing the seductive power of emotional charm from the wounded child. Unfortunately, having BPD in a family and not understanding the peculiar behavior results in deception and constant confusion. The result is that family members misunderstand, criticize, or enable behavior. Because the borderline is so intuitive emotionally, the BPD behavior is adept at hiding reality in drama. As a result, family members acquiesce to disordered thinking boundaries are distorted and the unrecognized borderline behaviors result in the loss of potentially healthy relationships and what could have been is lost in the confusion.
A further problem for BPD’s and relationships is that many people are unaware of is that the borderline will more than likely crash and burn at some point in life. When the day of awakening comes for you and you begin to suspect that something is wrong, you may go back and begin to recollect the childhood memories, inconsistencies, and behavior cues that tell you something was out of sync. When that moment of awareness comes; then you will feel the pain of wondering what you did wrong and if you would have only know how thing could have been different.
There is a deep sense of regret that can manifest when you realize that you have been placing blame for what has happened upon another person, who in reality has been the object of the borderlines rage and distorted reality. Unfortunately, for the Borderline, many do not realize their problem until they wind up in an emergency room, in a courtroom, a prison, because of an acting in event. One thing is for sure, that behind the borderline is a painful life, broken dreams, and people who are experiencing the constant grief from the emotional upheaval being experienced.
If you are reading this, you more than likely understand exactly what I am saying. If there is a borderline in your life, time will write a story that will have themes that you may believe are deception, manipulation, dividing, and splitting that are intentional. Awareness is the first step at having the building blocks for a healthy way to approach a very challenging personality disorder. Only you can make the decision to listen and consider the impact of what is occurring and learn to do what is best for you. The unfortunate fact is that many borderlines do not find the help needed to enable an effective life until relationships are damaged and what could been is lost through the deception that empowers the borderline who continues on a path of self-defeating behaviors and deceiving those around them.
Think about the ways this disease affect the life of the undetected BPD and their families and relationships, I am reminded of what John Greenleaf Whittier said, “The saddest words of tongue or pen is what could have been.”
Something to think about is that there is help available for those who suffer from this personality disorder that could change the way that life can be experienced for the borderline and those around them. There is no shame in having a mental illness, the shame is that people who believe they are helping by rescuing and enabling, while actually hurting the borderline by actively supporting the behavior, which destroys relationships in families every day.