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Borderline Personality Disorder

19th August 2009 by Carol Posted in Uncategorized

You may have experienced the person who seems to have two sets of feelings about other people: either she idealizes a person or she seems to hate that other person. You may notice that people can go from being idealized to being disliked in an instant. Perhaps you notice this co-worker being nice one day and really mean the next day. Maybe you were an idealized person but something you did offended the co-worker and now it appears you can do nothing right.

If these scenarios are true about your colleague, then you may be dealing with borderline personality disorder.

Psychiatrists use two general categories in their diagnosis of the various forms of mental illness: “clinical” disorders and “personality” disorders. Personality disorders have to do with people’s internal lives: how they perceive and understand the world. For this reason, personality are very difficult to treat. For example, a person with paranoia has some fundamental ideas about the world (people are out to get me) that are resistant to the influence of outside people because that person cannot differentiate between a person trying to help and a person who is harmful.

People with borderline personality disorder tend to think in black and white; they have a hard time engaging with the complexities of every day life. In their world, a person is all good or all bad and a person who does one wrong thing becomes all bad very easily. People with BPD also tend to be immature and impulsive. They do not express their feelings, such as anger, appropriately.

The first thing to understand is that if you are dealing with someone who has BPD, then you are probably not the problem. If you are not being forgiven for a single mistake, then the problem is much deeper than your one transgression and you are therefore not solely responsible for it.

Secondly, it is a waste of time to argue with this type of person. Because of how they understand the world and process information, they are typically not going to change their perspective simply because you have a better idea—no matter how much better your idea is.

What can help this person to see a need for change is natural consequences to their behavior, although sometimes the consequences have to be fairly severe and the positive effect of those consequences may be short term only. For example, after getting fired, a person with BPD may be open to some new understandings but may not hang onto those new ways of thinking for very long.

The main thing to getting along with this type of person is to realize that this person’s definition of reality is not the same as your definition, so you do not have to accept this person’s estimate of your worth or abilities. Interact positively: don’t argue and don’t accept blame. Keep your expressed emotions on an even keel when interacting with this person which will help you to avoid being manipulated. You may also want to write down the content of any significant interactions you have in case higher-ups have questions about what is going on. A general approach of being in a good mood (even if you are having to fake it to a degree and even if the other person isn’t) will often be the most effective way to establish a reasonably positive work relationship.

Check out mental health forum for discussions.

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One Response to “Borderline Personality Disorder”

  1. kevin blumer Says:

    we with BPD arnt that hard to get on with me myself just find it hard to get on with the jo public face to face me myself i am pretty easy to get on with in work but heres the problem if you slag me off i will take the defensive and you may not like that why because it is built into my head to defend myself if you dont slag me off and you work ill not have a probem my last boss had a good way of putting it kevin bosses best friend worker kevins worst enermy why cause i get hurt extremly easy