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by Dr. Becky Spelman on 06/01/2021


At its core, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is largely defined by an instability that extends to moods, behaviour, relationships and your sense of self. And while it’s common for us all to experience changes in the way we feel at some point, for those with BPD, it occurs with far greater intensity. This kind of emotional turbulence makes for challenging and oftentimes chaotic relationships for both the individual and those close to them.

Due to these changes in mood, BPD can sometimes be confused with bipolar disorder. However, it differs in that these changes occur much more frequently, usually taking place during a single day andsometimes over the span ofan hour compared to the weeks at a time cycle of mania and depression with bipolar.

If you’re suffering from borderline-type mood swings, you may jump from sad to angry, afraid and elated all within a short space of time.

One of the main causes of this is the fear of abandonment. There is often an intense and imagined feeling that those close to the individual are about to leave them. For example, being late for a meeting with a borderline can cause that person to resort to verbal abuse because of a perceived lack of attention. This mindset and lack of perspective can also lead to impulsive behaviours, which often surface as result of these ‘emotional slights.’

The symptoms of BPD are closely intertwined with one another, with each one often informing the appearance of the next, functioning almost like a domino effect.


There are nine main symptoms that characterise Borderline Personality Disorder with the official criteria for a diagnosis requiring at least five of the following to be present:

Fear of Abandonment: To someone with BPD, the thought of being abandoned is a very real possibility, however unlikely it is to happen. It can lead to highly co-dependent relationships and be a great source of friction with friends, family and lovers.

Unstable Relationships: Due to the fear of abandonment and fluctuations in mood, unstable relationships are a common occurrence. They’re often viewed in extremes of being either perfect or terrible – also known as ‘idealisation’ and ‘devaluation,’ respectively.

Unclear Sense of Identity: Also known as an ‘identity disturbance,’thisstems having such low self-worth that the need is felt to constantly be looking for a way to boost esteem by making changes in appearance, friends, relationships, values, goal and even sexual orientation.

Impulsive Behaviours: These behaviours often linked to self-destructive tendencies, low sense of esteem or the need to seek attention.They include activities such as reckless spending, binge eating, substance abuse and other risky behaviours.

Self-Harm & Suicidal Behaviour: This can be another common occurrence and usually the result abandonment issues, emotional swings and emptiness weighing heavily on the individual. Suicidal behaviour is not only limited to attempted acts but also includes thoughts and threats.

Erratic Emotions: The emotional swings of BPD are different from normal fluctuations in mood in that they’re more intense, usually occurring over a matter of hours. They’re also often triggered by trivial events that might otherwise be shrugged off by others.

Extreme Episodes of Anger: Anger issues have been linked heavily with abandonment and unmet expectations within inter-personal relationships. If someone with BPD feels they’re being shunted, it’s not uncommon for them to display anger disproportionate to the situation.

Feelings of Emptiness: People with BPD might often talk about feeling ‘hollow’ or referring to how they’re ‘nothing’ inside. This often feeds into the tendency towards the shifting sense of identity and engaging in impulsive behaviours as a way of trying to compensate for the perceived lack of self.

Dissociating/Losing Touch With Reality: Dissociation and stress-related paranoia is often a side effect of emotional instability and fear of abandonment, causing the individual to be suspicious of other’s motives. It can make reasoning with someone who has BPD extremely challenging.


There are multiple treatments that have proved effective in treating BPD,

that we offer at Private Therapy Clinic. Currently, the most widely accepted forms for treatment for BPD are:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Dialectal Behaviour Therapy

Mentalisation-based Therapy


If you think you may be struggling with the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, we offer a free 15-minute consultation with one of our specialists. You can get in touch with us by calling: +4402038820684

Or, alternatively, you can book online by clicking here.


American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  New York: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Psychology Today. (2019, 22nd Nov). Retrieved May 5th, 2019 from,

National Health Service. (2016, 22nd Aug) Retrieved May 7th, 2019 from,

National Institute for Mental Health. (2017, December) Retrieved May 12th, from,

National Alliance On Mental Illness. (2017, December) Retrieved May 13th, from,

THERAPISTS WHO Treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) AT PRIVATE THERAPY CLINIC

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