What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

I Hate You- Don't Leave Me, Understanding the Borderline Personality by Jerold J. Kreisman, MD and Hal Straus

Is there someone in your life who makes you feel exhausted, who seems to go from one crisis to another has constant mood swings, and has extreme reactions to life stressors? If the answer is yes, you could be in a relationship with someone who has borderline personality traits or someone who could be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

This month we are going to look at the book I Hate You - Don’t Leave Me by Jerold J Kreisman, MD and Hal Straus. As the title suggests people with borderline personality disorders are inconsistent, it is the hallmark of this personality disorder. One minute you are on a pedestal, and you can do no wrong, and the next moment you disappoint them, and they can no longer tolerate you. Interpersonal relationships are the biggest problem for people with borderline personalities and you can see why.

Much of their lives are spent on an emotional rollercoaster, and those around them feel much the same way. Their moods change swiftly and can be explosive one minute in the heights of joy and the next in the depths of depression. Many people with borderline personality disorder fear being abandoned, whether real or imagined and will do anything to hold onto that person, even going so far as to have recurrent suicidal threats or gestures or self-harm. Borderline people feel chronic emptiness and will engage in destructive ways to escape these feelings such as binge drinking or drugs, eating marathons, anorexic fasts, and bulimic purges, gambling, shopping sprees, sexual promiscuity, and self-mutilation.

“Central to the borderline syndrome is the lack of a core sense of identify,” according to the book I Hate You - Don’t Leave Me. People with borderline personality disorder tend to become cameleons by trying to adapt to the people around them. This is because they are confused and have little idea about who they truly are. They tend to pick out the best traits of the person they are with and adopt them because as a person they tend to lean toward a negative self-image.

So what type of childhood experience did a person with symptoms of borderline personality have? Their childhoods were normally chaotic, with parents or guardians struggling with alcohol, depression and emotional disturbances. They experienced an emotional battlefield with adults who were indifferent, absent, and rejecting, and could also have experienced severe psychological, physical, or sexual abuse. These unstable relationships then carry through to adulthood where romantic relationships are highly charged and chaotic with short-lived relationships where the person will be frantically pursuing someone one day and sending them packing the next.