Dr. Phil’s podcast series, Phil in the Blanks: Toxic Personalities in the Real World, continues delving into borderline personality disorder, which Dr. Phil says is “the most stigmatized disorder of all.”
“One day, they’ll be full of vim and vigor, and confidence, and the next day, they’re wondering why they’re even in this world,” Dr. Phil says of the 18 million people affected by borderline personality disorder. “If you’re living with one of these people, there are a lot of dos and don’ts.”
This series addresses mental health disorders; how to recognize it, establish boundaries, and how to coexist with those in your life who may have it with tools and guidelines that can help minimize damage to oneself and loved ones.
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Take care of you: Get personal help or support because you have to take care of yourself. It's particularly important if you're living with someone that has borderline personality.
Use the two-way communication model when communicating: Use open-ended questions. You don't want to ask yes or no questions.
Ask for feedback: "Tell me what you hear me saying"
Take threats seriously:
If you or a friend or family member is experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviors:
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) toll-free at 1–800–273–TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. All calls are free and confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency. Learn more on the NSPL’s website.
Know your boundaries and assess your relationships: ask yourself who has borderline behavior in your life?
Write down the 10 key relationships in your life. Your best friends, your closest, co-workers, the siblings that you interact with the most, mother, father, spouse, etc.
Go down that list and see if anyone possess a lot of the characteristics of borderline personality disorder.
instability in personal relationships, intense emotions, poor self-image and impulsivity, fear of abandonment.
You have to decide if you are going to stand up for yourself and maintain healthy boundaries.
Take it personal
Get sucked into the blame game
Normalize their bad behavior
Allow your boundaries to be crossed
For more resources and guidelines:
Therapy for Caregivers and Family Members (Source: NIMH)
Families of people with borderline personality disorder may also benefit from therapy. Having a relative with the disorder can be stressful, and family members may unintentionally act in ways that worsen their relative's symptoms.
Some borderline personality disorder therapies include family members in treatment sessions. These sessions help families develop skills to better understand and support a relative with borderline personality disorder. Other therapies focus on the needs of family members to help them understand the obstacles and strategies for caring for someone with borderline personality disorder. Although more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of family therapy in borderline personality disorder, studies on other mental disorders suggest that including family members can help in a person's treatment.
What research is being done to improve the diagnosis and treatment of borderline personality disorder?
Research on borderline personality disorder is focusing on biological and environmental risk factors, with special attention on symptoms that may emerge at a young age. Researchers are conducting studies focused on adolescents at risk for borderline personality disorder to develop methods that help identify the disorder early. Borderline personality disorder research is also focused on the development and evaluation of psychotherapy and pharmacological interventions to prevent self-harming and suicidal behaviors, which occur at a high rate among people with borderline personality disorder.
How can I take part in clinical research?
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions, including borderline personality disorder. During clinical trials, treatments might be new drugs, new types of psychotherapy, new combinations of drugs, or new ways to use existing treatments. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe.
Although individual participants may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future. Decisions about participating in a clinical trial are best made in collaboration with a licensed health professional.
Where Can I Find Help?
Mental Health Treatment Locator
For more information, resources, and research on mental illnesses, visit the NIMH website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov. The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus website (https://medlineplus.gov/) also has information on a wide variety of mental disorders.
For general information on mental health and to locate treatment services, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline at 1–800–662–HELP (4357). SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Locator on its website (https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov) that can be searched by location.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Asking questions and providing information to your doctor or health care provider can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website for tips at www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers.
More information about finding a health care provider or treatment for mental disorders is available on our Help for Mental Illness webpage, available at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
For More Information
To learn more information about borderline personality disorder, visit:
For more information on conditions that affect mental health, resources, and research, visit the NIMH website (http://www.nimh.nih.gov).
National Institute of Mental Health Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications Science Writing, Press, and Dissemination Branch 6001 Executive Boulevard Room 6200, MSC 9663 Bethesda, MD 20892-9663 Phone: 301–443–4513 or 1–866–615–NIMH (6464) toll-free TTY: 301–443–8431 or 1–866–415–8051 toll-free FAX: 301–443–4279 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nimh.nih.gov U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Mental Health NIH Publication No. QF 17-4928
Borderline personality disorder: a pattern of instability in personal relationships, intense emotions, poor self-image and impulsivity. A person with borderline personality disorder may go to great lengths to avoid being abandoned, have repeated suicide attempts, display inappropriate intense anger or have ongoing feelings of emptiness.
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association. (2013).
What causes borderline personality disorder (BPD)?
Healthcare providers believe borderline personality disorder (BPD) results from a combination of genes and environmental factors. Causes of BPD include:
Abuse and trauma: People who have been sexually, emotionally or physically abused have a higher risk of BPD. Neglect, mistreatment or separation from a parent also raises the risk.
Genetics: Borderline personality disorder runs in families. If you have a family history of BPD, you’re more likely to develop the condition.
Differences in the brain: In people with BPD, the parts of the brain that control emotion and behavior don’t communicate properly. These problems affect the way the brain works.
What are the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD)?
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) usually appear in the late teenage years or early adulthood. A troubling event or stressful experience can trigger symptoms or make them worse. Over time, symptoms usually decrease and may go away completely.
Some people have a handful of BPD symptoms, while others have many. Symptoms can range from manageable to very severe. Because BPD symptoms are similar to those of bipolar disorder, people sometimes confuse the two conditions. The most common signs of BPD include:
Frequent and intense mood swings: If you have BDP, you may experience sudden changes in how you feel about others, yourself and the world around you. Irrational emotions — including uncontrollable anger, fear, anxiety, hatred, sadness and love — change frequently and suddenly. You may be quick to lash out at others and have trouble calming down when you’re upset.
Fear of abandonment: It’s common for people with BPD to feel uncomfortable with being alone. They have a strong fear of being abandoned or rejected. They might track their loved ones’ whereabouts or stop them from leaving. Or they might push people away before getting too close to avoid rejection.
Difficulty maintaining relationships: People with BPD find it challenging to keep healthy personal relationships. Their friendships, marriages and relationships with family members are often chaotic and unstable.
Impulsive and dangerous behavior: Episodes of reckless driving, fighting, gambling, substance abuse and unsafe sexual activity are common among people with BPD. Self-destructive behavior can be difficult or impossible to control.
Self-harm: People with BPD may cut, burn or injure themselves (self-injury) or have suicidal thoughts. They have a distorted or unclear self-image and often feel guilty or ashamed. They also tend to sabotage their own progress. For instance, they may fail a test on purpose, ruin relationships or get fired from a job.
Depression: Many people with BPD feel sad, bored, unfulfilled or “empty.” Feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common, too.
Paranoia: If you have BPD, you may worry that people don’t like you or want to spend time with you. People with BPD may feel confused, lose touch with reality or have “out-of-body” experiences.
Source: Cleveland Clinic 10/14/2020
Warning Signs of Suicide
Borderline personality disorder is associated with a significantly higher rate of self-harm and suicidal behavior than the general public. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives. https://go.usa.gov/xVCyZ #shareNIMH
5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain
People with borderline personality disorder who are thinking of harming themselves or attempting suicide need help right away. Learn about what to do if you think someone might be at risk for self-harm by taking these 5 action steps: https://go.usa.gov/xyxGc. #shareNIMH
Let’s Talk About Borderline Personality Disorder
New Hope for People with Borderline Personality Disorder. Bockian, Neil R., Porr, Valerie and Nora, Elizabeth. Villagran.Roseville, CA: Prima, 2002.
You Need Help! – A Step-by-step Plan to Convince a Loved One to Get Counseling. Komrad, Mark S., MD. Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2012.
Mindfulness and Meditation: Your Questions Answered Aguirre, Blaise. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2018.
Psychopath vs Malignant Narcissist