WHAT CAUSES BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER?
Many people with BPD or borderline personality disorder and addiction ask themselves “Why me?” You may have a sibling, parent or other relative who also has a serious mental illness or an addiction to alcohol or other drugs, and you probably have many relatives who have not been afflicted with a mental illness or addiction.
Borderline personality disorder is an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.
But what is borderline personality disorder really? BPD or borderline personality disorder and addiction have been linked to learned behaviour, psychological factors, exposure to chronic extremes stressors and a genetic vulnerability. This is underscored by the fact that a vast majority of individuals with BPD (about 60 to 80 percent) report a history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. IT has even been suggested that BPD is an extreme case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It should be pointed out, however, that abuse in and of itself does not cause BPD. Rather, it triggers vulnerable individuals’ potential to develop the disorder.
We have found that individuals with BPD or borderline personality disorder consistently make the following three thinking errors: the conviction of basic badness, mistaking a want for a need and the inability to make compromises.
Not everyone with borderline personality disorder experiences every symptom. Some individuals experience only a few symptoms, while others have many. Symptoms can be triggered by seemingly ordinary events. For example, people with borderline personality disorder may become angry and distressed over minor separations from people to whom they feel close, such as traveling on business trips. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and their illness.
BPD means the Conviction of Basic Badness
Feeling that you are fundamentally flawed, bad and inferior may be familiar to you. Often you may think: “If you really get to know me, you won’t like me and will reject me.” Using alcohol and other substances may have given you brief and temporary relief from these negative feelings, but the intense and deep sense of self-loathing returns once you are sober. Thus, individuals who have BPD or borderline personality disorder and a chemical dependency find themselves in an eternal vicious circle: trying to cover up the bad feelings by using substances, but then having the sense of ‘basic badness’ re-affirmed by the substance use and other self-defeating behaviours.
You may find yourself in this cycle believing that “I am not worth anything and don’t deserve to be in a relationship with a decent person” and using a substance to temporarily escape this inner sense of depression or emptiness, worthlessness, hopelessness and powerlessness. Based on your personal experience and environment, you started thinking about yourself in negative terms and internalized this belief over time. If so, stop and imagine yourself as a newborn baby. You were not born with a negative sense of self. Nobody is. Logically, you know that nobody is born feeling bad about themselves.
If you suffer from the depressive conviction of basic badness, you may identify with some of the following statements:
Nobody really cares about me.
I am not a worthwhile person.
If you really get to know me, you will reject me.
Deep down inside, I am fundamentally flawed.
I only feel good when I am around other people.
I deserve to be punished.
I don’t deserve anything positive (friends or success, for example).
If I am myself, everybody leaves.
I can’t stand losing a relationship.
Everything positive is coming from others.
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