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Borderline Personality Disorder and How It Relates To Trauma

Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD is often confused

with multiple personality disorder, but they are not the same.

BPD is an illness that disrupts a person’s life and it can be

categorized with PTSD as a trauma-based disorder. It fits a lot

of the criteria as a disorder caused by trauma. Many who suffer

with this illness faced some form of trauma at a young age.

When I was first diagnosed with BPD, a psychiatrist I was

seeing was confused on how I got it. I had and have very loving

parents. They never abused me in any way. My psychiatrist

insisted that those with this illness were abused by their

parents. He was wrong. BPD doesn’t just come from parental

abuse; it comes from any kind of abuse. The abuse I suffered was

from the bullying I faced as a kid.


You may ask what is Borderline Personality Disorder?

“Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a psychiatric disorder

featured by intense fears of abandonment, difficulties

in emotion regulation, feelings of emptiness, unstable

interpersonal relationships, impulsivity, and heightened risk-

taking behaviors, as well as high levels of

interpersonal aggression,” states the authors of the research,

led by Benjamin Otto of Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.



(Found on Psychology Today website in an article called How

Childhood Trauma Can Trigger Borderline Personality Disorder | Psychology Today.) Symptoms of

this illness are rapid mood changes, fear of abandonment,

impulsive behavior, unstable relationships, self-harm, explosive

anger, and unclear or changing self-image.

If you look at the definition and symptoms, you can see how

it can relate to trauma. I can see it in the symptoms of my own

illness. I feared and still fear abandonment. When I was

bullied, many of my friends or people I thought were my friends,

hurt me, turned their backs on me, or moved away. A girl at

school did her best to make sure others would not become my

friends and she convinced those I thought were my friends to

turn their backs on me or they would be picked on. After facing

that, how could I not be afraid of abandonment? Repeatedly as a

child I felt abandoned.

After being tormented day after day at school, my emotions

became out of my control. It didn’t take long from me being sad

to suddenly in the middle of an out-of-control episode of anger

and rage. I threw things, I fought with my siblings, I called my

parents’ names, and I screamed from the top of my lungs. It was

like a small flame suddenly turning into an inferno. It was hard

to control my emotions. I went from being fine to being a mess

in minutes. I had so many emotions from what was happening to me

in school that I just couldn’t control them.


I didn’t get caught up in risky behaviors, but I self-

injured. In school I pulled my hair and punched hard surfaces.

In college I began cutting myself. I felt so many emotions that

I had no control over and the emotions hurt worse than the

wounds I inflicted on my body. Each nasty thing a fellow

classmate or teacher said to me caused an emotional wound. Each

day that wound was being dug at and widend. The pain was

excruciating and the only way to escape it was to pull my hair

or punch something. This allowed me to escape from the hurt even

if it was for a few minutes.

The unstable relationships started with friends leaving or

turning their backs on me. In high school I became friends with

a girl who abused me when I was at my lowest. No matter how

badly she hurt me, I couldn’t let her go because I was afraid of

being alone. As a young adult, I became friends with people who

used me and took advantage of me. I even got into an abusive

relationship with a man. I wasn’t sure what a good friendship or

relationship was because throughout school I didn’t have too

many decent friendships. I had one very good friendship in high

school and into my college years and I messed it up because I

was afraid she’d hurt me. I wrote her a not so nice letter.

As for my self-image, well, that was a mess. I didn’t know

who I was or why I was even alive. Was I the retard my teachers

and classmates called me or the smart girl who just learned


differently that my mom said I was? I saw myself as a worthless

person that God made a mistake in making. I hated myself. Self-

hate was basically beaten into me by the names I was called and

how I was treated.

As you can see, my BPD was caused by the abuse I faced in

school. For those with BPD the trauma can be caused by physical,

verbal, or sexual abuse, from neglect, having unstable parents,

or parents addicted to drugs and alcohol. The abuse doesn’t have

to happen by a parent; it can be from anyone who harms you.

If you think someone in your life is suffering from BPD,

get him or her help. Be very selective in finding a therapist or

psychiatrist. Not all know how to treat this illness. Research

BPD and write down questions for the therapist and psychiatrist.

Most importantly, ask them if they have experience in dealing

with BPD. Also look into group therapies that are centered

around BPD. When I was diagnosed, I participated in a group

therapy that taught me a lot of coping techniques.

It took me years of hard work to take control of BPD. With

therapy, support, and hard work I now have the symptoms of BPD

under control. With help you to can take control of Borderline

Personality Disorder and live a healthy and happy life.


You can also find more of my blog post at my personal blog,

Finding the Light at www.aimeeeddygross.wordpress.com.

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