10 Signs Someone You Know Has Borderline Personality Disorder

Someone You Know Has Borderline Personality Disorder

Even though Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most common mental illnesses out there, many people don’t know much about it or aren’t sure how to help someone with it. So what exactly is BPD? How can you tell if someone has it? What does having BPD feel like? And most importantly, how can you help someone with this disorder get the treatment they need? To answer all of these questions and more, here are 10 signs someone you know has a borderline personality disorder.

1) Excessive Need For Approval

If you know someone with BPD, they’re bound to show signs of approval-seeking behavior at some point. Their desire for approval can be so intense that they often need a boost to get through tough times. People with BPD often have a hard time saying no, which is why they may say yes even when they don’t want to do something (or already have plans). If you see someone with BPD asking for or expecting others to give their approval on things like clothing choices or vacation destinations, it could be a sign of BPD.

2) Unstable Intimate Relationships

If you have a borderline personality disorder, you tend to put more faith in your friendships and romantic relationships than others do. Your relationships are often intense and short-lived, which can lead you to believe that everyone wants to be in a relationship with you. However, when your feelings are hurt or when people withdraw from you, it’s difficult for someone with BPD to accept that as a normal response. This leads them to constantly seek out new friendships and love interests in an attempt to feel safe again.

3) Self-Loathing

People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) feel deeply flawed and worthless. They have a highly distorted self-image. The disorder often occurs along with other mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. People with BPD are prone to impulsive and reckless behavior, including suicide attempts and self-injury that involves cutting or burning themselves. According to statistics from Mental Health America, people who live with BPD tend to be young — 45 percent are under age 25 — women, and of Caucasian descent. Having someone you know has BPD can be emotionally devastating and difficult for family members who want their loved ones to seek treatment but don't know how to help them do so.

4) Fear Of Abandonment

When a person has BPD, they will often be quick to say or do things that might push people away. However, deep down inside, they don’t want to lose those relationships—even if they say they do. The closer someone is to them (be it friend or family), the more likely they are to behave in an out-of-character manner and seem detached from reality in order to push them away. The reason behind these actions is simple: a person with BPD fears that if you get too close or let them know how much you care about them, you’ll leave—they equate closeness with abandonment.

5) Unhealthy Anger

The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) characterizes BPD as having a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, affects, and marked impulsivity. One aspect that is often a source of conflict for those with BPD is anger. Some might say a person with BPD can become angry out of nowhere or after only minimal provocation. Anger can seem unreasonable and disproportionate to observers. People with BPD can be known to act out in rage when their emotional needs are not being met or when they feel abandoned by someone close to them.

6) Impulsive Behaviors

Your friend might show impulsive behaviors. For example, they might be unable to resist buying something expensive or make a rash decision such as changing jobs. These types of behaviors may cause your friend stress and self-doubt later on. They may feel like they need to be punished for their actions and may turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with their emotions. If you see your friend exhibit these types of behaviors, it could mean that they have a borderline personality disorder (BPD). Furthermore, if your friend has engaged in violent behavior toward themselves or others in a way that seems out of character for them, you may want to consider seeking professional help from a psychiatrist or other medical expert.

7) Self-Harmful Behavior

Self-harm is one of the signs someone you know has a borderline personality disorder. Self-harm behaviors include cutting, burning, and skin picking. All of these self-harmful behaviors are methods that people use to cope with their emotions. When you’re experiencing intense negative emotions such as anger, sadness, or shame, these actions can temporarily numb your emotional pain. However, it is not a healthy coping mechanism and if left untreated it can be damaging to your physical health and overall well-being. It’s important for loved ones to understand how these behaviors manifest in order to offer support.

8) Chronic Feelings Of Emptiness

While many of us feel sad or blue occasionally, people with BPD tend to experience these feelings chronically. The negative moods are often due to a fear of abandonment, which is common among people with BPD. This can lead them to overreact to any potential signs that they’re not wanted in a relationship, such as feeling angry or upset if they think their partner seems tired after work (it might not be because they don’t love you). They also tend to believe that no one cares about them, and often make frequent suicidal gestures like cutting themselves or attempting suicide.

9) Recurring Suicidal Behavior Or Threats

When someone you know has a borderline personality disorder, he or she may experience recurring suicidal behavior or threats. People with BPD might also make statements like This is it or I'm going to end it all, which can be very frightening. Sadly, some people with BPD do take their own lives, so it's important to monitor what your loved one says. If you believe that someone you care about is at immediate risk of hurting himself or herself and/or others, call 911 and get professional help right away. The longer a person suffers from BPD symptoms and doesn't seek treatment, the more difficult those symptoms become to manage in therapy.

10) Seeing Only Black And White In Relationships (All Good Or All Bad)

If your friend is suffering from BPD, you may find that you’re unable to see things from his or her perspective; everything either seems absolutely awful (as if it’s all your fault) or absolutely wonderful (as if he or she has never done anything wrong). This is because people with BPD tend to see things in black and white. When they love someone, they really love them! They also tend to go so far as to blame themselves for their loved one’s actions when they don’t like someone—when, in reality, we all deserve credit for our own behavior.


The early stages of BPD can be hard to recognize and even harder to diagnose. It’s so common for people with BPD to misdiagnose themselves, in fact, that it is recommended that at least two mental health professionals evaluate a patient with signs of BPD before arriving at a diagnosis. However, if you think someone you know has signs of borderline personality disorder, be sure to ask their permission before approaching them about it. Seeking help can be a frightening process and because stigma surrounding mental illness remains prevalent in today’s society, it’s important not to cross any boundaries while trying to help out.



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December 19, 2022 at 11:23 AM

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