I have a question and I hope this is the proper forum. Sorry, but it takes a bit of explaining. I am trying to figure out if a very good friend of mine has borderline personality disorder. Of the 9 criteria that I have read about, she has exhibited a pattern of unstable relationships, she has a very poor self-image, she did have substance abuse/spending/promiscuity issues when she was younger but happily no longer has any problems in these areas, she is depressed and feels empty openly wondering what her purpose is in life, occasionally paranoid and feels rageful at times (never towards people – she just bottles it up or throws things when she’s alone or yells at her dog and then feels terribly). She has NEVER self mutilated or felt suicidal, thank god. Her dad was mentally abusive and distant and her mom was not exactly nurturing to say the least. We’ve dated off and on for a couple of years and it seems like there’s a switch that gets flipped every few months. It almost seems like sex is a trigger – although it’s probably intimacy. The sex is intense and then after about 7 to 8 times (2 – 3 months), she’s gone. Now she never baits me or gets angry at me (outwardly, at least) – she’s always very kind – but she just drops out of sight for a couple of months (she lets me know, of course) and then is back. During these months she isolates herself. She doesn’t run around with other guys during this time period. She just isolates. We are best friends and can talk for hours and hours but when she’s down, she needs to be alone – which of course I respect. Now she is VERY aware of her issues – is in therapy – wants very badly to be able to commit, to love, to trust and be able to accept it all in return. She has said she has “elements” of borderline personality disorder (that’s why I’m here). But my concern is – although she’s committed to getting better – and is an extremely strong-willed person who, in the past, seems to have fundamentally changed herself for the better in many ways, I wonder if she should be in a more specialized therapy. CBT? Something else? She has had a couple of long term relationships – living with a guy for a number of years – but she has said she has always had these bpd tendencies. But it seems to have gotten worse since her dad died. She has had a history of going out with bad boys (like her dad). She says I’m the first guy who ever treated her right and she says it’s hard to trust that. It’s a very difficult road to navigate when the very thing someone craves in the end is the trigger that forces them to push you away. But as I’ve told her, I’m not going anywhere. If she were abusive or running around trying to make me jealous or stalking me or doing any of those horrible things you hear about, then that would be a different story. She’s just sad and trapped in a cage she’s trying to get out of and I just want to help my friend. She so badly wants to accept what she knows she deserves from a man. Suggestions? Comments?
This has got to be the most thoughtful post I personally have seen about someone wanting to help with a potential case of BPD. What you are describing is so incredibly familiar to me. I was in CBT for YEARS, got sober, got a job, still I struggled intensely. It wasn't until I got diagnosed and realized that I needed to continue to throw myself into yoga and meditation (deeper than I had been) and that I needed to pursue Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), that things started to make some sort of sense. I still have a very hard time every day but I have been able to make a lot of progress in several key areas of my life in the 4-5 months since my diagnosis. Feel free to add me on here. I'm not as active as I had been in the past and I work full time but I do my best to check in. You are a very kind and caring person for taking the time to reach out for info/support. She's lucky to have you in her corner for sure.
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