22 Things People With Borderline Personality Disorder Want You To Stop Saying



“You don’t have to try to fix/help my mood. But make it clear
you’re still there.”

Posted on October 04, 2017, 16:00 GMT

We recently asked members of the
BuzzFeed Community with
borderline personality disorder (BPD) to tell us what they
wish people would stop saying to them about BPD.

Somewhere between 1.6% and 5.9% of adults in the US have
BPD, a
personality disorder that’s characterized by difficulty
regulating emotion. People with BPD can experience severe
mood swings, poor self-image, and volatile relationships. You
can learn more about the symptoms of BPD here.

There are lots of misconceptions about BPD out there, maybe
because of how it’s portrayed (and not portrayed) in pop
culture, and because of assumptions people make when they
hear the phrase “personality disorder,” which they don’t make
when they hear the name of another mental health issue (like,
say, anxiety or depression). That’s why we wanted to ask
people with BPD what they wish people would and wouldn’t say
to them about their BPD.

Here’s what they said.

1. “I wish people would stop telling me
I just need to control my emotions.”

“Or that I should stop being over dramatic. If I could
control my emotions, I would. And saying there is someone in
a worse situation than you doesn’t make it any better,
either. It just makes me feel like I’m being ungrateful :(.”

—Diablo, 17

2. “That our lives are complete train
wrecks and people should steer clear of having relationships
with people with BPD.”

“That it’s just women who are diagnosed.”

—AJ, 29

3. “I wish people would stop saying
that people with BPD do it for ‘attention’ or just to be

“A lot of people with BPD (myself included) act certain ways
to try and avoid a sense of abandonment. I had an emotionally
absent and abusive mother. I started raising my siblings by
the time I was 10. My childhood was anything but normal.
Actions that would have protected me as a child have followed
me into adulthood, and those actions are now unhealthy.

I also have depression and anxiety. I have been in therapy
for a while and on medication for several months. Although I
feel a lot better, it’s always going to be a battle for me to
have a ‘normal’ relationship. I luckily have a great
boyfriend who is extremely understanding and always willing
to reassure me. It IS possible for people with BPD to have
functioning relationships, it may just take us a little more

I may have BPD, but I also FEEL more than most people,
meaning I love hard, fully, and with my entire self. BPD may
make me feel extremely sad at times, but I would never give
up my ability to love like I do.”

—Rose, 26

4. “Stop focusing on education around
‘surviving’ people with BPD! I am not something to

—Milly, 28

5. “I just really wish that BPD didn’t
come with such a negative connotation.”

“In the past I felt so ashamed when I had to list off my
diagnoses to medical professionals, or anyone for that
matter, because for most people, I could see the change in
their body language and the shift in their eyes when I got
down the list to BPD.”

—K.C.M., 20

6. “I wish there wasn’t such a stigma
that we’re all ‘crazy,’ and that we will hurt and manipulate
others in relationships.”

“I have zero malicious intent and lots of us with BPD have
‘manipulative’ behaviors completely unintentionally. We just
act that way sometimes out of fear of abandonment.”

—Rachel, 21

7. “We aren’t just being overdramatic
or ‘brats.'”

“We’re in a legitimate crisis, one that’s difficult to
understand if you don’t suffer from BPD. Remember, this is a
mental illness; our behaviors are only an expression of the
underlying disease.”

—Melanie S., 26

8. “You don’t have to try to fix/help
my mood. But make it clear you’re still there.”

“I get overwhelmed and overstimulated a lot. If I lash out
it’s not your fault, and it’s not as out of the blue as it
looks. I get emotionally overwhelmed over small things and
when I try to explain, I get frustrated and feel like I’m
speaking another language. I just need what I call
‘in-the-room space.’ You can leave me be, you don’t have to
try to fix/help my mood. But make it clear you’re still

—Smith, 24

9. “That I’m too much trouble. … It
makes me think that I’m too broken to be with people.”

“That I’m too much trouble. I work very hard to be
appropriate and normal in my reactions and world outlook.
It’s a battle almost every day, and to have people imply, or
even outright state, that I’m too much work or too much
trouble makes me not want to fight the battle anymore. It
makes me think that I’m too broken to be with people.

—Anonymous, 27

10. “‘You don’t seem like you have

“‘Congrats on your Psy.D.! But for real, BPD manifests itself
in different ways. Don’t assume that knowing one person with
BPD makes you an expert.”

—Anonymous, 25

11. “I wish people would be honest if
they don’t know much about BPD or don’t understand

“I don’t mind explaining what it is… I don’t mind answering
questions, but first people have to ask them. ”

—Nathalia, 19

12. “I wish providers would stop saying
clients with borderline personality are ‘lost causes’ or

“Not as someone who has BPD, but as someone who works with
individuals with BPD, I wish providers would stop saying
clients with borderline personality are ‘lost causes’ or
‘untreatable.’ These clients may be difficult to work with
and the personality traits may never completely go away, but
there can be so much progress when clients are supported by
their therapists.”

—Rachel H., 24

13. “It blows my mind how some people
can be compassionate toward depression/anxiety but not toward
people with personality disorders.”

“BPD isn’t something to be embarrassed about and not everyone
has the same experience with BPD. The movie Fatal
is not an accurate representation of most
people with this disorder. We aren’t ‘crazy’ and even if you
met someone with BPD before, don’t expect the same behavior
from someone else with it. We’re individuals, and more
importantly, human beings. We will never ‘cure’ our BPD —
only learn to live with it in the healthiest way possible. So
please understand how frustrating it can be to have such a
stigmatized mental health issue, especially when there is
currently no medication to treat BPD.

Treat us with respect like anyone else. It blows my mind how
some people can be compassionate toward depression/anxiety
but not towards people with personality disorders. And
lastly, if a loved one is dealing with BPD, please be
understanding and patient with them; most of the time we’re
trying our best to get better but no one is perfect.”

—K Cairns, 22

14. “I’m not a manipulative narcissist
and I’m not a ticking time bomb.”

“Every time I google something about BPD or Dialectical
Behavior Therapy (DBT) /mindfulness, I need to take great
care to avoid all the sites describing people with BPD as
horrible monsters who wreck people’s lives, use the terms
borderline and narcissist interchangeably, and have slogans
like ‘stop walking on eggshells.’

Through I’ve met dozens of individuals with BPD, and not one
of them has been a narcissist. Many of us struggle with
self-esteem and feelings of emptiness, seeking outside
validation that we can’t supply ourselves. Despite this, I’m
not a fragile, glass object that will break at the slightest
provocation, so you don’t have to walk on eggshells around me
(unless I’m having a bad day and am disregulated — I’d let
you when that happens).

One more thing, I’m male. Men suffer from BPD as well, though
many times we get misdiagnosed first. I was wrongfully
diagnosed as bipolar for 20 years and my struggles only
deepened. I don’t think I would be alive today if it wasn’t
for one doctor. who finally corrected my diagnosis.”

—Brian, 44

15. “Stop with the Fatal
references. Just don’t.”

—Anna, 23

Annafrajtova / Getty Images

16. “That we’re automatically toxic
people because of a diagnosis.”

“I’ve been in therapy for years, and partly as a result of
all the hard work I’ve done, I have healthy, close, stable
relationships. Unless I told you, you would never guess I
have BPD. Even then, when I do tell close friends they almost
never believe me because I don’t look like their
(stereotypical) definition of BPD. Every single health
provider (mental health and medical) who knows my story and
symptoms is in agreement that at the very, very least I
possess traits and features of BPD, and really, I think
they’re more qualified to know.

And honestly, if you just can’t believe I have BPD because it
doesn’t coincide with your preconceived ideas of it, maybe
it’s time to consider if your preconceived ideas are all that

—Anonymous, 30

17. “‘Stop being dramatic, it’s not the
end of the world. Can’t you get meds? Have you tried yoga?
I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at your disease…'”

“‘Don’t you have any boundaries? Honestly, you have no limit.
It’s just a movie. It’s just a text. You just need some
sleep. You just need a good meal. It’s probably the gluten.
It’s too much sugar. You seem fine. I think you’re fine. Stop
worrying about it.'”

—Raina, 37

18. “I wish people would stop mixing up
borderline personality disorder with Anti-Social Personality
Disorder or just plain bad behavior.”

“When things go wrong, I don’t want to hurt others — I
want to hurt myself. The only time I ever see my illness
portrayed in the media is as the “stalker/serial killer of
the week.”

—Anonymous, 41

19. “Please never ever say to someone
with an official BPD diagnosis, ‘I think I have that too,’
after they explain their disorder.”

“It’s so incredibly rude and insensitive. Yes, many people
can experience a BPD symptom or two at one point in their
life or another, but not with the frequency and severity of
someone with an official diagnosis. Just because your period
gives you mood swings doesn’t mean you have BPD. Just because
you’re extremely upset and angry after your boyfriend or
girlfriend broke up with you doesn’t mean you have BPD. If
you truly think you have the disorder, after doing your
research, talk to a professional so they can tell you if you
actually have it.”

—Anonymous, 17

20. “I hate when people call me

“It’s not something I can control and I wish I wasn’t this
way. I’ve been told many times by people in my family that I
just have to ‘get over it’ and ‘learn to cope,’ but a BPD
mind doesn’t analyze and understand things or situations in
the same way. Sometimes I know what I’m doing is irrational
but I can’t help it, and it makes sense to me.

I don’t tell anyone I have BPD anymore. I used to, and the
way they looked at me just immediately changed. If I had a
problem with something they would brush it off as a ‘symptom’
and not acknowledge that there may be a real issue.”

—JJ, 23

21. “That I’m ‘usually’ better than this
or that I ‘wasn’t like this yesterday.'”

“It’s difficult to keep up with my own expectations of myself
and trying to remain stable. I’m kicking myself harder for
being unstable and it doesn’t help when you constantly point
out how I’m ‘not the same.'”

—Bee, 18

22. “I wish that people would stop
telling me to hide my disorder.”

“The more we don’t talk about mental health, the more we
won’t talk about mental health. It reinforces the idea that
BPD is something shameful. I am immediately treated
differently by medical professionals as soon as they read my
diagnosis on my file, but without full disclosure I won’t
receive the appropriate treatment. I can’t control that I
have BPD, but I can control the positive choices I make for
my health and there should be nothing shameful in that.”

—Anonymous, 31

To learn more about BPD,
check out the resources at the National Institute of Mental
Health here.

And if you need to talk to someone immediately, you can reach
the National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or the
Crisis Text Line by
texting HOME to 741741. Suicide helplines outside the US can
be found here.

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