Every since my teens when my best friend told me I was a psychopath, I have believed it. The more I learn about psychopathy, the more it looked like the truth. I got a personality appraisal and was diagnosed ASPD and NOS. And yet…
A year or so ago, a friend, also a Path, once suggested I might to Borderline instead of Psychopath. I was much too emotional to be a Path. True, I was more emotional than he was. But, of all the Cluster B “disorders,” I scored lowest on the tests for BPD. I don’t fear abandonment. I don’t love-hate anyone. Well, he other day, I replayed the video about BPD that I have on my Borderline page. I’ll display the video here for convenience.
I realized that I have displayed some signs of BPD in my past. I have cut myself a couple of times. It’s wasn’t like the Borderlines in the video who did it because they needed to get relief from their feelings. In both my cases, it involved a fucked up attempt at communication. One time, I cut myself in order to write a note to a guy I had been dating in blood. (How Borderline is that?) I wasn’t even in love with the guy. Just buttsore. I changed my mind and begged him to destroy the note without opening it. He assured me he had done so. The other time was when I was living with my parents and cut to win an argument. It didn’t work. The negative reaction I got probably dissuaded me from ever doing such a thing again. The exhibitionist nature of the acts seem kinda Histrionic in a way.
Another behavior the people in the video described was getting so angry with a frustration as to throw a phone across the room. I have actually done such a stupid thing at work, of all places. I mostly get so mad when the technology isn’t working properly. People occasionally but not often piss me off that much. I guess I deal with people who piss me off by just being directly rude to them. Of course, ‘Paths can get plenty angry too.
For years, Nine Inch Nails was my favorite band. I still love Trent’s music but not the way I used to which was a typical rock fan kind of worship. I don’t know enough to venture a diagnosis but Trent does show a lot of traits in his songs that could be considered borderline.
The video shows a man talking about have a “camillian-type” persona. That sounds similar to Narcissists (false self), Psychopaths (the mask) and even Histrionics (all the world’s a stage). Maybe having a fluid sense of self is a Cluster B trait.
It’s funny how many of the same traits keep showing up in each of the Cluster B “disorders.” Histrionics want all the attention. So do Narcs. Psychopaths, Narcs and Histrionics are detached from emotion, each in a different way. Psychopaths just don’t feel that much. Narcs have a “false self” which fight their battles while the “true self” is tucked away safely. Histrionics feel a lot but the emotions are shallow and change quickly. Borderlines are the only ones who feel deeply. That makes them so different from the other Bees that one wonders if they are even in the same cluster. But my recognition of my own Borderline traits informs me that there is a connection. I would welcome the insights of others on this question.
Definition of BPD in the DSM
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5.
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms.
Symptoms & Criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder
According to the DSM-5, there are four diagnostic criterion, of which Criterion A has seven sub-features.
A. Disregard for and violation of others rights since age 15, as indicated by one of the seven sub features:
- Failure to obey laws and norms by engaging in behavior which results in criminal arrest, or would warrant criminal arrest
- Lying, deception, and manipulation, for profit or self-amusement,
- Impulsive behavior
- Irritability and aggression, manifested as frequently assaults others, or engages in fighting
- Blatantly disregards safety of self and others,
- A pattern of irresponsibility and
- Lack of remorse for actions (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)
The other diagnostic Criterion are:
B. The person is at least age 18,
C. Conduct disorder was present by history before age 15
D. and the antisocial behavior does not occur in the context of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)
Well, one out of three. But these “recovery” sites often accuse us of idealization followed by devaluation in our relationships. And the fluid sense of self, discussed above, is certainly a characteristic of Psychopathy, if not ASPD.
So there are three characteristics Psychopaths share with Borderlines. I used to think there weren’t any.
- Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery
- Borderline Personality Disorder. NIMH.
- The Emotional Vulnerability of Borderline Personality Disorder.
- 20 Rules for Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder.
- Treating BPD.
- Brain Biology, BPD & Mindfulness.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms and Relation to BPD. The differences and similarities between ASPD ad BPD b
7 thoughts on “The Borderline Within”
I tend to agree that the supposed boundaries between the B categories are leaky at best, but then, having had the task of doing multi-axial diagnosis per the DSM, so are most of the other categories.
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The Bees! What a cute image!
I don’t have anything useful to say on the topic, but if you take one behaviour (like cutting) as “pertaining more to this or that clusterB disorder” you’re going into black and white territory. As Bob said above, psychiatry describes people, and people can be fluid. I don’t think I’d ever cut myself for effect, I used to love falling off my bike and bleeding as a kid, my husband is a narc and he’s done grand melodramatic things like that with a knife once or twice (no blood, but it was difficult for me because it’s one of those times where you’re supposed to show empathy, I think, and the situation being downright comical doesn’t help).
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“Going into black and white territory.” Oh! Another Borderline trait! LOL! Are you into empathy?
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Hum I’m not sure what your question really means….
I was just wondering because you said, “because it’s one of those times where you’re supposed to show empathy.” I was wondering if you are empathic or not.
Thanks for sharing