Borderline Personality Disorder Defined

Someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) shows a wide variety of symptoms and behaviours consistent with this syndrome. It sometimes seems as if someone with this personality disorder has two personalities.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

You often feel unbalanced and unstable when you have a borderline personality disorder. Often, individuals with BPD respond or react unpredictably, to the point where they are surprised by their responses! You often feel rejected quickly and are afraid of being abandoned by people who are important to you. You can react strongly emotionally if that threatens to happen.

Borderline personality disorder occurs in 1 to 2 percent of the population in Canada. About 75% of them are women. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

borderline personality disorder
Borderline personality disorder sometimes feels like being two people.

Causes borderline

A borderline personality disorder is often caused by a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. You are more likely to have borderline if:

  • Borderline runs in your family.
  • You have an aptitude for BPD. Your brain may process stimuli differently. This allows you to think, feel and react differently than other people.
  • You have had a significant experience in your youth and/or felt unsafe, for example, through abuse, sexual abuse or a divorce from your parents.

What are the characteristics of borderline?

Recognizing borderline is not easy. Sometimes it seems like you have two personalities. The characteristics of borderline that are common are, for example:

  • you keep people at a distance
  • you behave suspiciously toward other people
  • you don’t let anyone know you
  • have little control over your emotions
  • don’t know who you are or what you feel
  • being untouched or feeling flat by events that would usually make people very upset 
  • self-harm

These borderline characteristics can apply to both women and men.

Friendships and relationship

Even though you have learned to deal with borderline over the years, childhood memories reveal that keeping friends when young was also challenging. It is, therefore, not easy for someone with a borderline personality disorder to maintain friendships and relationships. 

Strong emotions

With a borderline personality disorder, you usually have little control over your emotions: the slightest trigger can affect you profoundly and, for example, make you unreasonably angry, so angry that you feel like throwing things. Others think you exaggerate or react too sensitively, and you often do not understand why you react emotionally. 


Your sensitivity also means that you sometimes react impulsively and, for example, do harmful things to yourself or others. Such as reckless driving or substance abuse. Individuals with BPD often also use self-harm, such as cutting, because physical pain is easier to control than feeling that emptiness and pain inside.

Borderline, stress and depression

When your feelings and thoughts keep your mind going in many directions, it takes a lot of energy and stress to keep it all together. Therefore, people with a borderline personality disorder often have stress-related physical complaints and anxiety disorders.

Two or more personality disorders

About one-third of people with borderline personality disorder have at least one other personality disorder. People with BPD are also more likely than others to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder. Furthermore, people with borderline personality disorder often suffer from unexplainable physical complaints.

Research also shows that people with BPD have a much higher chance of abusing alcohol or other substances than others. Borderline personality disorder often also harms your physical health. Just think of physical problems due to substance abuse or frequent unprotected sexual contact.

Borderline treatment

There are several options for treating borderline personality disorder. Within STG, specialists team up to provide individual counselling using Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). In addition, group therapy is also provided, focusing on DBT Skills training. La Ronge Counselling currently cares for clients with borderline personality disorder through individual therapy and DBT group therapy.

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