Do I have borderline personality disorder if I am unstable and have issues in trusting people?
Last Updated: 03/06/2020 at 8:05pm
Brenda King, PsyD
I treat life changes, women’s issues, and issues of aging using evidence-based treatments with healthy doses of warmth, empathy and humor to enhance healing and growth.
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Instability and trust issues are traits that are often found in people with borderline personality disorder. However, they are not enough to establish a diagnosis of BPD. BPD is defined as a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotion, as well as marked impulsivity. A diagnosis is usually established when the person meets at least five of the following criteria: 1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; 2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by extremes between idealization and devaluation; 3. Markedly or persistently unstable self-image or sense of self; 4. Impulsive behavior in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating); 5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-harming behavior; 6. Emotional instability in reaction to day-to-day events (e.g., intense episodic sadness, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days); 7. Chronic feelings of emptiness; 8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger; 9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. BPD is a serious condition and cannot be self-diagnosed. Please talk to a clinician or therapist to get properly assessed and also receive the best care.
I have never met a person who has never experienced challenges in trusting others or has never had periods of feeling unstable. There are many many reasons someone may have this painful life experience. As I understand it, diagnoses are useful to give professionals a common language to understand a collection of symptoms to begin the work of finding the best solution. It can be very tricky to try to diagnose ourselves. I once heard a professor of psychology pass out a text book to young students and say “first things first, during this assignment, you are not to diagnose yourself, family or loved ones, most people have experienced most mental health symptoms at least a little- this does not qualify as a diagnosis. The question is, ‘are these experiences creating challenges in more than one area of your life? Do they occur in many situations?” I suppose the point was, not every negative experience we have means we have a disorder. At the same time, Having this self awareness about your life experience is remarkable! This will get you very far in your journey to a life that feels good to you. I’d like to better understand your viewpoint on the experiences of mistrusting others and what being unstable means to you.
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