The Negative Reputation of Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) carries a negative reputation. From professional psychologists to strangers on the internet, there are many negative opinions about this personality disorder. But what does that mean for people who live with BPD?
The Negative Reputation of BPD
When I was first diagnosed with BPD, I made the mistake of going online and researching the disorder. Although I did find some legitimate resources, I also encountered a lot of forum posts about BPD. Most of them seemed to be full of people who had dated people with my disorder and warned others to stay away.
Many strangers said that because I had BPD, I was manipulative, toxic, dangerous, and to be avoided at all costs. People told stories of the things they had experienced in their relationships and used them to warn others. The consensus seemed that people with borderline personality disorder ruined other people’s lives and were not deserving of relationships with other people.
Of course, I knew that you have to take what you read on the internet with a grain of salt. However, this information was overwhelming and upsetting for someone who was recently diagnosed. It played into the old ideas that I had that I was evil and a bad person. I worried that I was inherently flawed because I had BPD and would not move past this diagnosis.
These negative opinions were not just restricted to strangers on the internet. My friend was studying psychology at university at the time, and one of her professors was a psychologist. The professor said point-blank that she refused to treat patients with BPD and would refer them to another healthcare professional. She found them too difficult and unresponsive to treatment.
The Effects of the Negative Reputation of BPD
For a long time, I believed most of the harmful content about BPD. Before I started my dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) course, I worried that I would never get better. I strongly identified with the label of BPD and started seeing the common symptoms as an explanation for most of my behavior. I believe that I even started to act out more, internally citing the disorder as the cause and not something I was in control of.
I also felt ashamed to tell people about my disorder. I felt like I was opening myself up to criticism and avoidance because of what people would assume about me. Although my close friends generally understood mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, I worried that BPD was simply too much.
Overall, I would internally associate myself strongly with the disorder’s negative aspects, and externally, I would distance myself. I believed myself damaged and broken, but I was desperate for others not to see me this way.
Moving Past the Negative Reputation of BPD
In the video below, I discuss what I do to move past the negative reputation of BPD.
Have you experienced a negative reaction when telling someone that you have borderline personality disorder? What do you do to cope with the negative reputation of BPD?