A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time. Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (surroundings, life situations) and inherited characteristics.

A person’s personality typically stays the same over time. Personality disorders are long-term patterns of behavior and inner experiences that differs significantly from what is expected. The pattern of experience and behavior begins by late adolescence or early adulthood and causes distress or problems in functioning.

Symptoms and Types of Personality Disorders | Bell Foundation®


Borderline Personality Disorder has several signs and symptoms. For diagnosis, mental health professionals have grouped the symptoms into 9 categories. A person who shows at least 5 of these symptoms for a long duration is diagnosed as suffering from BPD. 

  1. Fear of abandonment

One of the most prominent signs of BPD is a fear of abandonment. People with BPD are always scared of being left alone by loved ones. Something as simple as a family member coming home late from work can trigger intense reactions. As a result, individuals suffering from BPD put frantic efforts into keeping family and friends close.

2. Unstable relationships

People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing that each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, without any middle ground. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash as a result of your rapid swings from idealization to devaluation, anger, and hate.

3. Unclear self-image

Self-image is a perception of self that defines how much you like yourself. With BPD, individuals struggle to keep a stable perception. They go from loving themselves one day to absolutely hating themselves the next day. Such people do not have an idea of who they are and what they want in life.

4. Self-destructive behaviour

If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when you’re upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, , or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviors may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.

5. Self-harm

After self-destruction comes self-harm. Individuals suffering from BPD do not hesitate from harming themselves. They may easily cut themselves or burn themselves and may also take a step with the intent of suicide. Loved ones have to be vigilant at all times and on the lookout for suicidal thoughts.

6. Mood swings

 Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly , usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness

Individuals with BPD suffer from a chronic feeling of emptiness. They often feel like “nobody” and have this uncomfortable void that they try to fill with the help of extreme and risky behaviors. This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the void with things like drugs, food . But nothing feels truly satisfying.

  1. Explosive anger

BPD causes impulsiveness, which often results in explosive anger. It also results in a short temper that comes out even at the slightest of disagreements. Explosive anger may be accompanied by behavior like throwing things or screaming (even in public places).

9. Feeling suspicious

 People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts  about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.

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