Beware the Borderline Personality

Beware the Borderline Personality One of the most dangerous and difficult personality disorders to beware of in the dating world--LDS and otherwise--is the "Borderline Personality Disorder". What causes the Borderline Personality Disorder (or BPD) is unknown. Some studies have tied this disorder to having gone through extreme physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or abandonment, others to biological and hormonal factors. Still, the exact cause or causes is still unclear. This disorder is predominantly female and is truly a "relationship oriented disorder" tied to fears of abandonment, attachment problems, paranoia, rage, and confrontation.


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and an individual's sense of identity.

People with BPD, originally thought to be at the "border" of psychosis and neurosis, suffer from difficulties with emotion regulation. While less well known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, BPD affects two percent of adults. People with BPD exhibit high rates of self-injurious behavior, such as cutting and, in severe cases, significant rates of suicide attempts and completed suicide. Impairment from BPD and suicide risk are greatest in the young-adult years and tend to decrease with age. BPD is more common in females than in males, with 75 percent of cases diagnosed among women.

People with borderline personality disorder often need extensive mental health services and account for 20 percent of psychiatric hospitalizations. Yet, with help, many improve over time and are eventually able to lead productive lives.



A person with borderline personality disorder may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, or anxiety that may last only hours or, at most, a few days. These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. Distortions in thoughts and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad or unworthy. They may feel bored, empty, or unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, and they have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated or lacking in social support, and they may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone.

People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes toward family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize another person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all.

Most people can tolerate the ambivalence of experiencing two contradictory states at one time. People with BPD, however, must shift back and forth between good and bad states. If they are in a bad state, for example, they have no awareness of the good state.

Individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to mild separations. Even a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans can spur negative thoughts. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthless. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.

People with BPD exhibit other impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, binge eating, and risky sex. BPD often occurs with other psychiatric problems, particularly bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other personality disorders.


Possible Celebrities with BPD:

To help recognize this disorder and make identification a little more clear, it can sometimes be helpful or useful to consider certain public figures who have displayed borderline traits. Accordingly. celebrities who are thought to maybe have had this disorder (or at least certain BPD traits) include:

1. Amy Winehouse (traits: self-injury, shame, volatile relationships, substance abuse, impulsive, suicidal, eating disorder)

2. Pete Doherty (traits: impulsive, shame, excessive anger, volatile relationships)

3. Britney Spears (traits: excessive anger, mood swings, reckless behavior (i.e. driving), substance abuse, eating disorder)

4. Courtney Love (traits: substance abuse, excessive anger, shame, self-injury, possible eating disorder)

5. Lindsey Lohan (traits: reckless behavior (i.e. driving), substance abuse, eating disorder, promiscuous sex, self injury)

6. Princess Diana (eating disorder, mood swings, reckless behavior, substance abuse, possible self injury)

7. Angelina Jolie-Pitt (self injury, volatile relationships, sexual confusion, eating disorder)



If you identify an individual with BPD in the dating world, I highly recommend not dating them for your own protection and safety. If you befriend a person with this condition, keep it light and beware that they are extremely sensitive to rejection. In fact they can and will flip and turn on you in an instant with rage and paranoia filled accusations with the least provocation. People with this condition are very lonely and desperately crave companionship and connection, yet are quick to push it away and sabotage most any relationship at any given moment.

If you are an individual with this condition (or at least some traits of it), mood stabilizing psychotropic medications in addition to long term dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) and/or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be helpful. In fact, DBT is a therapy primarily designed to help with the borderline disorder and I highly recommend it. Such therapies exist in groups, individual psychotherapy, and workbooks.

Helpful websites for BPD sufferers or family and friends of BPD sufferers include: and Helpful workbooks to treat BPD include: Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life by Spradlin (DBT workbook) and Mind Over Mood by Greenberger (CBT workbook).

Final Thought:

If you have traits of this disorder, get help to eventually equip yourself for full functioning in a committed relationship. If you have a family member or friend with this disorder, please encourage them to get the help referenced in this article. And if you encounter a person with these traits in the dating world, I recommend keeping them as a light friend only and treading lightly with them. Everyone is a valued son or daughter of God, and with long term help people with this condition can eventually lead a fairly normal life and have normal committed relationship. Such is still the ideal goal to strive for, but only after extensive, focused, strategic work on themselves. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Dr. G

2017-09-25 Randy Gilchrist Psychological health

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to