Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Borderline = part time sociopath?

This was an interesting comment about how borderline personality disorder actually does manifest itself sometimes similarly to sociopathy, but that it is just one of several stages:

One of the hallmarks of BPD is the shifting of mindsets over time with a denial of previous mindsets at the time one is dominant. This is called identity diffusion...the person becomes split into different pseudopersonalities. In the case of the BPD, these are described in Deconstructive Dynamic Psychotherapy (a psychodynamic, evidence-based treatment for BPD) as the guilty perpetrator mode (I'm bad and beyond redemption. No one should care about me or help me.), the helpless victim mode (I'm good but helpless, there are bad others out there as well as potential ideal rescuers), the angry victim mode (I'm good but powerless and you're bad and victimizing), and finally the demigod perpetrator mode. In this fourth mode, borderlines are emotionally detached, engage in self-soothing behaviors, and often take advantage of others egocentrically. In this state of mind they do resemble sociopaths. But it is not the presence or absence of these traits that defines the disorder, but the rapid and sudden shifting from mode to the other. Sociopaths have more stability to their personality traits, rather than shifting from one to the next in response to interpersonal triggers. 

Does this sound right, borderline people?

31 comments:

  1. I think a lot of people pretend to be borderlines, but are really sociopaths and vice versa.

    Maria

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  2. Well, apparently Jeffery Dahmer had BPD. It seems like a four-pronged (or more?) type of bipolar disorder. I can't pretend to know.

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  4. As someone who has dealt with borderline men, yes, this sounds spot on. They go from all powerful evil genie to man baby when they suffer a setback. Then they punish you for their bad man baby feelings and feel a sense of relief. When you do not respond to them with breezy cheerfulness in the interaction following their man baby tantrum, they complain you are always bringing them down. Typically, this sort of drama causes a woman to withdraw. But then the withdrawal triggers the borderline insecurity to have the all powerful perfect mother kiss all boo boos away and their need for immediate comfort causes them to re-idealize you and pursue you with apologies and promises to change. If you go back, this state will inevitably morph into all powerful genie or man baby depending on the circumstances that are linked to his capacity to interact appropriately with the outside world. I can imagine that a similar dynamic exists with borderline women with less all powerful genie and more victim in need of rescue, but similar tantrum behavior that happens because they can't contain their very strong negative emotions.

    Most borderlines are perfectly kind and wonderful people at heart who actually do mean well, but they must deal with their shit before you can be in a romantic relationship with one.

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    1. This comment describes the person my family is dealing with. Right on target. How does one deal with this? It is a very dangerous setting.

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    2. It sounds to me like you are describing a misogynist

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  5. I suppose if you try to stay in the fourth phase you will look like a sociopath. But it is not who you are. The fourth phase would be just another coping strategy. You detach so you do not feel. It is just a lily pad you find to take a breather from all the confusion. You never stay there for too long.., it gets boring and depressing anyway even if you try. There is deadness there. I want colour in my life.

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    1. Again on target!

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    2. omg that pretty much describes it to a t!

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  6. Sociopaths have more stability to their personality traits, rather than shifting from one to the next in response to interpersonal triggers.

    How can you have stability in your personality traits, if you don't have a personality? Sociopaths are chameleons. I guess by "personality traits" they means interpersonal patterns? But borderlines have pretty consistent patterns in their lives, as well. Find rescuer, try to control rescuer, vilify rescuer, self-destruct. Rinse, repeat.

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    1. So, it still seems almost like a manic-depressive, but with some lateral movement. High ups and downs, but shifts of total apathy, or even bouts of total apparent normality? Could borderline personalities go diagnosed as bipolar/manic-depression, if other states aren't really noticed?

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    2. You should go to Haven's blog to see a whole section on bipolar vs borderline. Click on her name below. It is a wonderful resource.

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  7. Is it possible that we have dated some of the same fellows, Mach? :D

    I know the syndrome well...there will be a night when I've tired of the drama, leading to them shrieking at me that very accusation mentioned by anon above, that I'm dead inside. Very droll, considering they are attracted by my imperturbability in the first place!

    The fault is mine as well, of course; I'm initially attracted by how much they FEEL, and it seems so bright and wonderous and vital that it's intoxicating. Ultimately, however, I simply can't keep pace and they loathe me for it. But I think the two types are drawn to one another like the proverbial moths to a flame: rinse, repeat, indeed.

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  8. I wrote the original comment. In response to Chris Pearson, yes. Borderlines are often misdiagnosed as having bipolar II and PTSD. This combination is often a red flag for potential borderline personality.

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  9. i have been diagnosed with borderline personality traits and i do sympathize with sociopaths. there are these modes, when i am able to manipulate, hurt, ignore, mock others. it is tempting to go further and further to be stricken into a whole shit of a life. but i always drew back when i saw where i was heading, because i could see it is a nowhere road. and then feeling comes back, strikes me down, makes me ashamed of myself, but it's better than not feeling at all. that i am not able to go further is because i feel attached to others, i guess. and i can connect to my hurts. only if disconnected to my own hurts the attachement to others brakes loose and makes me able to hurt them.

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    1. I haven't been officially diagnosed with BPD but I have the majority of the traits. I've experienced what you have described on a few occasions. When my emotional systems is overwhelmed, it shuts down and I become "sociopathic". I feel nothing inside and no empathy for others. In fact, I feel easily annoyed and enjoy seeing others in pain or at the very least find it amusing. I always snap out of it though and I come back to the usual emotionally-turbulent self. I wonder if sociopaths are really borderlines who choose to remain in the fourth stage and never looked back ever since. I do think that sociopaths don't want to change and enjoy living without emotion or empathy. My ex was a sociopath and he doesn't like emotions and finds it annoying. Hence, he would choose to stay in this state if given the choice.

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  11. Egads I don't even know where to begin with this one. I'm just going to go with No, no, and no. It's just too simplified. If you're only going to look at one small aspect of a disorder and say, hey look if you take away all of the other aspects that comprise this disorder and isolate this one particular component, it can appear similar to sociopathy... that's what you have with this comment. That's all it is. Taking a very tiny isolated aspect and trying to draw one grand comparison from it. Wrong. 100% wrong.

    I've written what it's like when I've personally experienced times of zero empathy, which have been fore exceptional periods of time, and to the outside observer it may appear similar, but even then it comes from a different point of origin than someone with sociopathy might draw their point of zero empathy and therefore wouldn't actually be considered similar. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.

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    1. Maybe in your situation. But in ours it is right on target.

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  12. I also don't think he really understands what identity diffusion is. There's a good example of arm chair psychotherapy right there.

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  13. Mode Shifting definitely explains my BPD to a tee! It has been a miserable shifting existence for 42 years! This site has been a big help understanding my plight!! Also very fascinating and eye opening.

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  14. Borderline personality disorder and being bipolar are two different things. Yes, they have similarities and they are confused quite often but the main difference is the environmental effect of the mania associated with the two. BPD people who are in the "mode" of being helpless or heroic can be changed by their environmental circumstances to feel better or worse. With Bipolar however, envireonment has no effect. People with bipolar can be in a very depressive environment and suddenly feel great ecstasy for no reason, and the opposite also applies where a potentially positive and lively environment can have no effect whatsoever on a very low mood. Basically, BPD people shift quite often between different levels of modes whereas people with Bipolar have distict extremes they have very little control over i.e episodes of mania and depression.

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  15. Does it? I guess there are a few things to worry about.

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  16. This is very true. As a borderline I will admit that at times in the past, before recovery, I feel like I had many sociopathic traits, and sometimes I feel like I still do, but I also have a lot of empathy for other people. For a long time I had trouble with identity issues, which I’ve been working on as well… I’m not sure that "identity diffusion" is the correct term to use… a better description would be something like “an unstable sense of identity”

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  17. A bpd here who has experienced sociopathic phases before. I think being a sociopath would be very boring. You feel nothing at all and what the hell would one do with all his/her time? I guess that's where all the duping games come into play. If you were that bored and felt no empathy, duping others would be a tone of fun. Something to pass one's time. Except I'd want each game to be bigger and better, otherwise, it'd be boring again... Any Sociopaths feel this way?

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