Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Quiet Borderline / Borderline Waif

Borderline Personality Disorder is different for everyone suffering from it. While there are a limited number of things that qualify a person for this disorder, how they display, which combinations of symptoms they display in, is all individual. Something else extremely important to keep in mind, is that BPD is only one aspect of what makes a person who they are. People’s experiences, ideas, likes, dislikes, preferences, and yes, baseline personality are all unique to the individual making even those with BPD unique individuals. Borderline Personality Disorder itself is usually stereotyped as a disorder of disruption, very outwardly volatile mood swings, externally focused aggression, and low-functioning. However, like most stereotypes, this doesn’t hold true for everyone.
Today I want to talk about a “type” of Borderline Characteristic called the Borderline Waif, or elsewise known as The Quiet Borderline. I talked about Dr. Christine Ann Lawson’s description of The Waif Mother, but the Quiet Borderline is something that I’ve seen many times before used to describe a particular expression of BPD (not just of parents).
It’s potentially less common, but equally insidious, maybe moreso, because it can be trickier to diagnose someone who displays characteristics of a Quiet Borderline. Why’s that? Because they are much more likely to Act In, then Act Out. They are not known for raging openly, where other people can see them, so it’s more difficult to recognize that there’s a problem. It’s very typical for only those people that are very close, often intimately involved, with this person to know that there is a problem that needs to be helped with. This is something that I identify with very well. To the outside world anyone you ask would tell you I am the pinnacle of pulled together. They don’t know what goes on inside.
Which ultimately is not that different from what you would consider a classic Borderline presentation. By which I mean that all those underlying reasons for a BPD diagnosis are essentially the same in those that are “quiet” and those that are acting out. The main difference is how it presents and manifests… how a person expresses their symptoms. 
Often the quiet Borderline feels stuck. Incapable of expressing themselves or moving in any direction whatsoever. It’s common for therapists to urge that a quiet Borderline “get things out”, connect with their feelings, and express themselves. This is something that Therapist works very hard on with me. I have an extremely difficult time remaining attached and present in my emotions which makes being able to express my needs and concerns very difficult because I don’t feel like they continue to exist or belong to me. Even with provocation a quiet Borderline could sit there seemingly unaffected and unruffled… until the time comes when they are alone and are able to deal with their inner turmoil in private; in silence.

Depression is very common for the Quiet Borderline. As Dr. A.J. Mahari notes, “At the root of so much of BPD, is anger and rage because it is anger and rage that are summoned up to protect against the pain. If one is not acting out that anger and rage (classic borderline presentation) then one is more likely to have an even more severe depression since, essentially, depression is anger turned inward.”
I find this to be true for me. If I can’t express my inner rage I have a sense of helplessness. I feel trapped in my own skin. Which only acts to compound my anger and increase my need to rage more. The longer I repress my feelings, the harder they are to control. I begin to isolate myself so others won’t see me in such a state. My loneliness increases. I sink further. And it becomes harder and harder to dig myself out of the darkness that depression is shoveling onto my head.
Anne, a quiet borderline, writes:
"I do not rage or SI (self-injure). I have never been able to express anger -- my mother simply did not allow it and I have never found a manner to let it out. I am just too tightly wound to get angry.
For the most part, I feel utterly alone, empty and scared. I crave being alone but often end up abusing prescription meds when I am alone. However, I am terrified of people and avoid being around them. I am extremely anxious and frequently depressed.

I feel different--I feel like I am encapsulated. I am not like other people and do not know or understand how other people feel. Sometimes I feel like I am watching life go by, as an outsider. I don't have much hope of ever feeling normal--I don't know what it means."

A Quiet Borderline turns it all inward where no one else can see. But whether a Borderline Acts In or Acts Out, the resulting emotional void is still the same. Often the Quiet Borderline is at arguably greater risk though, because while a Borderline that Acts Out may get a lot of negative attention, at least they’re getting attention which creates an opening for intervention. With the Quiet Borderline you may never even know that there is a problem that needs healing.

The quiet borderline tends to experience an imploding self-destruction whereas the acting out borderline's experience is that of an exploding self-destruction that flings emotional shrapnel on any and all who get too close. Both are emotionally unavailable more often than not. The quiet borderline uses avoidance and silence as ways of protecting against feared intimacy and the acting out borderline uses confrontation, intimidation, and often berating criticism.” –Dr. A.J. Mahari

For the Quiet Borderline, instead of allowing others the chance to abandon them, they often pull away from the crowd to avoid abandonment. However, that doesn’t mean they aren't still suffering from abandonment. Especially if they're in the throws of self-harm. “Rather than act in a way that may lead others to abandon her, she continues to abandon herself (and her inner child) by repeatedly being self-abusive and by hating herself. She turns this fear of abandonment in on herself. Many borderlines, the acting out borderlines, project this inner conflict out onto others. This leads an "acting in" borderline to quietly, yet relentlessly "emotionally" bleed inward, deeper and deeper on and into that void where one's self needs to be known. In the absence of knowing that self, the repeated abuse, abandonment and annihilation of that self, even to the "acting in" borderline are experienced as being perpetrated upon them by a foreign persona -- a false self.”
The fear of abandonment and rejection felt so acutely by those with Borderline Personality Disorder often leads to either Acting Out and taking out that pain on others, or Acting In and taking that pain out on themselves. That doesn’t mean these don’t comingle or change with time. When I was  younger I Acted Out, I raged, I viciously berated and went on the offensive when I perceived a threat to my sense of self. I am almost completely the opposite now. I Act In, taking out my hurt, loneliness, disappointment, shame, and everything else on myself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally have an impulsive slip and release those issues to the outside world. I do occasionally, just not very often.
Dr. A.J.Mahari has one last thing to say that I think bears repeating:
“The quiet borderline is not the 'traditional borderline'. The quiet borderline is not the most feared borderline. The quiet borderline does know the same rage as the "acting out" borderline. The rage is directed inward instead of outward. In many cases it is the quiet borderline that may well be at greater risk. These "acting in" borderlines, however, are hurting themselves at alarming rates and evening killing themselves. The failures of mental health systems to adequately address this is yet but one more abandonment imposed upon the quiet borderline. The quiet borderline is often not taken seriously enough or heard in time to make a difference.”

It’s important to recognize that there are differences in how Borderline Personality Disorder presents. We can’t heal what we can’t recognize.

So how do you recognize a Quiet Borderline/Borderline Waif?..... stick around and we'll see if we can find out.


  1. I am a quiet borderline for sure. i always go inward instead of out. when i was younger (teen, i'm now 32) i had some outward times, but mostly always inward. I was to be seen (sometimes) and not heard as a child. when i was first diagnosed bpd i struggled with the traits of acting out and everything that goes with that because that wasn't me... but the feelings that partner with those actions are the same for me, they are just a rage inside myself behind closed doors. i don't go after others, just go after myself. i can always link something bad back to me, even if it takes 20 steps to connect it back to me, there is always a way that it was my fault. most people who know i have BPD are shocked with they read up on it because they would have never thought. they say i always look happy and everything is put together and "perfect." They say that i don't miss a beat when stress and disaster come my way, I just move gracefully though. if they only knew what was happening inside my head and behind close doors, if they only knew the immense pain and hurt and sadness i feel every single day.

    but things do get better! I've been married for 6 years, my self-harm is down to maybe once or twice a year, i'm able to talk and share with my husband and friends, my anxiety is way down, my depression is less frequent and for the most part i'm starting to learn how to deal with hard issues like a "normal" person does. DBT has saved my life in many ways and going to therapy and staying on meds is also a must. my life isn't perfect, i have bad days and i struggle a lot, but it has gotten better.

    everyday is so much work to keep going. i don't think anyone can fathom the energy and work we have to put in just to leave the house and function like a "normal" person. sometimes just getting out of bed! it gets tiring, its not easy, its exhausting and never-ending. i know i can do it, but sometimes i am so tired of fighting. i feel if i just rest for 1 day it will all be over and i will never get back to this place again. i wish people knew how hard we work. i wish that people understood what it is like to be us... maybe they wouldn't be so quick to judge!?

    sorry for the rant, its been a long sunday! Thank you for your blog, it's so nice to hear from someone who knows what it's like and understands. i don't reply very much, but i do read every day. Thanks!

    1. I have to agree with the blog and your post- to everyone else, I have it all going for me; job, partner, studying, planning a wedding - buying a house but really I am so confused, lost, angry and resentful.. I look in the mirror and I barely recognise myself; I am so fake, the reflection is a facade.

      The real me is a demon in my head saying Im not good enough, that I deserve bad things to happen because Im a bad person - that my partner will leave me, it's a matter of time until he realises that I'm not who he thinks I am and I am not worth it...

      I have been in and out of hospitals because of BPD and combinations of everything else that I suffer from, I have spent countless years numbing myself via alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, risk taking - ashamedly I have done it all....

      Knowing that people are alive that are experiencing things that are similar to my hell is sadly comforting - I have given up on the system and am now trying to holistically change my thinking via behavioural self-therapy.. these blogs and pages have changed my life already by providing me with clarity and a whole new level of understanding.. Thank-you all so much for making me feel "normal" I have just found this site and I will continue to read... xx

    2. Hello everybody , I too am a Quiet BPD and I do suffer severe bout's of depression , it was great to read this thank you for sharing Anne X

    3. I know exactly how you feel with the exhaustion. I've been absolutely fatigued for years. I can barely function. I feel so guilty all the time because of it and I hate it!

  2. You know, I think mental health services (over here in UK at least) actually encourage people with BPD to 'act-in' or become 'quiet borderlines'. When you give up standing up for yourself, asking for help for the pain, when you give up responding to their criticism - you are seen as 'improving'. Now I come to think of it, I think the whole psychiatric system is set up this way, certainly for any emotional or trauma-related problems.
    Is it ok to link to this post from my blog?

    1. Often I think you're right. Especially since BPD can be so specific to deal with you really to do find a specialist that deals in DBT therapy or something similar. Otherwise counselors and therapists tend not to be able to deal with it and yes, try to sweep the symptoms away and keep them quiet instead of actually healing them.

      And yes, of course it's definitely fine to link to your blog. Link away!

  3. Man, so many BPD articles slip up and start saying "she" and "her"

    It sucks being a male [quiet] BPD

    I slip in and out of masks so fluidly that I forget I'm even wearing them. I forget how few people know the real me. At least I do now. Writing is an amazing outlet. It gives you a safe place to talk about your emotions.

    1. I try to keep it gender neutral, but I you're right, it's easy to slip in a gender distinguisher, especially as I'm female and I relate to what I write. I'll try to be more vigilant about this though!

  4. I feel like i am stuck, now sure who or what i am, i dont want to do anything or go anywhere... My family has been pointing out for a while that i get angry far too much. Found out i have anxiety issues.
    I think i might be BPD, but i cant do anything about it. I dont let anyone in, my therapist 'abandoned' me. And now im stuck, backed into a corner... Took the rest of my anxiety meds hoping something would happen, now i just feel sick and like shit...

    How does one feel better again ?

    The criteria itself is against me, ex. 'Must indulge in self harming behaviours (driving recklessly...ect)" Im 18, i dont know how to drive or have a license, i've never had sex, and im afraid of the dirtiness involved in drugs. My anxiety means i hoard my money, therefore i cant gamble either, i dont even leave the house...

  5. Seeing as you have BPD yourself, I was wondering something. Is it possible for a BPD to turn from an "Acting Out" to an "Acting In?" About three years ago, I had all the classic symptoms of an Acting Out BPD. I went into horrible, horrible rages. I threw things, I slammed doors, I screamed at the top of my lungs at the slightest provocation. I remember once when I was sick, and I asked my mom to make me some tea, and she responded that I could get up and make it myself. I immediately felt that she hated me, that she always hated me, and I immediately started verbally berating her. I've done this a lot to my mother over my teenage years, and I know why. (I won't go into details about that however). Not only did I have extreme fits of anger towards my family, I was also cutting myself a lot during this time, and I was prone to ODing on my prescription pills. (I attempted suicide three times in the span of a year). I also had the impulsiveness. I spent money whenever I was upset, and I was an extremely reckless driver. And don't even get me started on my romantic relationships during this time. Anyway I was diagnosed as being bi-polar, and the only solution was to drug me up. It only made things worse and more out of control. Since then, I stopped taking all medications until very recently. After high school ended and I started college, I didn't have any of the previous symptoms. I was no longer so violent and angry. I still had my moments where I would snap over tiny things and I would still yell, but I no longer threw things and slammed doors, etc. I've been in a romantic relationship for well over a year with an amazing guy, and we did have a very rocky start, but it was nowhere near as bad as my past romantic relationships. I also no longer self-mutilate, or attempt suicide. However, I noticed that I can no longer get myself to study and achieve the grades that I want/need. I can never focus, because I'm so easily bored with everything. This past semester of college has been really hard on me. I've noticed my mood has started to change erratically, and my irritability has increased somewhat. The most recent "episode" that I can think of was last week, when I found out my insurance plan was changing and that I would have to pay more out of pocket. For a normal person, that's stressful, but manageable. For me, it was the end of the world. I became so depressed that I thought that I was better off dead. I even contemplated driving my car into a building (unfortunately I was driving while this all happened) but thankfully I didn't. I guess I'm just extremely confused. I know that if you have BPD, it never goes away. But for awhile I didn't have any symptoms. Is it possible that I never had BPD to begin with? It still doesn't feel like I have it right now, so I'm assuming that maybe I became an Acting In BPD, but I honestly have no clue. At times I feel completely fine, and then the depression hits out of nowhere, and I feel worthless, etc, that everything is my fault, etc etc. I'm sorry for the length of the post, but I'm really confused and I would really like a perspective of someone who actually HAS bpd. I don't understand how I can go from all the obvious signs, to little to no signs out of the blue, especially considering that I did not have any therapy whatsoever (besides all of the medication). I am planning on seeing a BPD specialist, but I'm afraid that if I don't show any of the outward signs of BPD that I'll be dismissed and no one will believe that I may actually have the disorder. I don't want to wait until this gets out of control again, because it kind of looks like it's going in that direction, slowly but surely. I don't want this to affect my relationship, or school or work. If anyone can help me, please do so. Thanks!

    1. >>> Is it possible for a BPD to turn from an "Acting Out" to an "Acting In? But for awhile I didn't have any symptoms. Is it possible that I never had BPD to begin with? It still doesn't feel like I have it right now, so I'm assuming that maybe I became an Acting In BPD, but I honestly have no clue.

      Absolutely. In fact I did this myself. When I was in my teens I Acted Out very intensely all the time. I still had the occasional bout into my 20’s, but like you, when I went off to college I noticed I started to Act In more. I still felt the emotional turmoil but instead of breaking doors and objects, I kept those destructive thoughts inside and they tore me up that way. Now I Act In almost entirely. Acting In isn’t actually better than Acting Out. That pain is still there.

      >>>> I know that if you have BPD, it never goes away. But for awhile I didn't have any symptoms. Is it possible that I never had BPD to begin with? It still doesn't feel like I have it right now, so I'm assuming that maybe I became an Acting In BPD, but I honestly have no clue.

      It’s perfectly normal to have periods of time where you feel fine. Environment plays a big part in our emotional experience. It’s likely you’re not being triggered as much. When you’ve been feeling better have you been experiencing a time where your personal life is pretty steady and things have been going pretty well for you? When you “snap back” is it usually because something unexpected or hurtful happened? That makes you feel a loss of control?

      When I go back home and visit my parents or my hometown this is often a trigger for me and I’m much more volatile. When I go back to my own condo with my cat, in a calm environment, things often get better for me.

      A BPD specialist shouldn’t dismiss you. Before you go write down the examples and experiences you’ve had. How long those things have/had gone on for, etc. That way you can convey your concerns even if they’re not an immediate issue. And don’t be afraid you state directly that you’re worried about not being able to manage all of this without help. After all they’re there to help! Good luck!

    2. Thank you so much for your insight. It really helped.

  6. Honestly, I don't really know what "type" of Borderline Personality Disorder I am. I'm not sure if it can happen, but I think I tend to shift back and forth from acting in and out. Lately, acting in has been more common for me. But even if I'm acting in, I still am easily provoked, and I'll let out anger, sadness, or a mixed state out easily.

    I also have Ultradian Bipolar Disorder, by the way, so I guess that's what makes it confusing. Apparently having both. I guess that can also explain me going from acting in and acting out, but still letting my feelings out easily, even when acting in.

    Actually, I tend to have a mix of acting in and out at the same time, most of the time, really. If that's possible.

    I dunno. It's confusing.

  7. THANK YOU.....I will be 52 in March and have FINally found out who I am, thanks to MANY months of research and one more CLICK to this blog/subject/label.
    How can this POSSibly make me HAPPY?
    Try being lost for that many years and you will know the pain I have endured.
    To have been there, done that would be the ONLY way to know....

    I can SAFEly begin to help myself AND my Doc.
    This article will be in my hands at 1:00 Sunday when I meet with him and bring in my "newest/latest" FIND on ME.

    I WILL update!!

  8. I am most definitely a "waif" borderline. I "act in" most of the time but in my relationships i "act out". My husband turned to heroin bc i pushed him for 3yrs straight, belittled him, threatened to leave pretty much everyday. The whole "come here, go away" thing has destroyed my life. And my husbands. He is off of the drugs now and i pray he doesnt go back. I turned him from the most caring, loving, sweetest man to a narcissistic drug addict and i willl never forgive myself. He treated me like a queen and the nicer he was the more i pushed him away. To the outside world i seem all meek and sweet but in my relationships i am the complete opposite.

  9. If only I could gather more strengh. There' no one but me, little dysfuctional me, to pull throw those hazy days. I must flee, must flee from this house, which is not a home. From my family, the five of us, we're all mad in here, but I'm the one to blame. Sorry I couldn't take care of myself alone when I was little. Sorry I'm not able to do it now, while you picture me as the demon who ruined your precious, fragile life.

    Why am I the scapegoat? I am not bad. I AM NOT BAD. I did not sin. Still, you keep.

    But I will pull myself together. I'm gonna move out. Out and away. And then I will build myself as a person. I don't need you anymore.

    1. Try not to leave. I left under what sounds like similar circumstances, ran to an old boyfriend who was single so that he could watch over me and take care of me a little. But, I now see that my impulse over my whole life is to try to get away! I always want to make a run for it! One of my favorite movie lines is in the Wizard of Oz when Toto gets away from the mean lady and Dorothy says "you got away! you got away!". As a child I would pack a bag, tell my mother I was leaving, go outside and pet the dog goodbye, sometimes walk for a while and then come back defeated, yet keeping the option open. Yes, I got away eventually and married someone unlike HER and moved to a different part of the country. But a low points, I would imagine myself with a whole other life. I would even imagine the cool apartment I would get with all cool dishes to towels to ...
      Then I thought I messed up my children after they had started out with such promise. And even after I tried so hard to make a happy life for them - I couldn't quite pull it off.

      But, yeah. There is a lot of trauma in BPD and I started to get a little too odd. I was treated for depression for years and years until I finally realized that I have PTSD. From various childhood traumas. I married a tech guy who never pays that much attention to my mood swings which is kind of good sometimes, because I get anxious if anyone ever pays too much attention to me. I know it's b/c whenever my mom noticed me she was about to criticize me or make a joke out of me. She was really bitter that she had to raise me. I know she would have treated ANY daughter that way, but it was me all the time.
      Anyway, I do feel a lot better in the past few years and I give a lot of credit to EMDR for the trauma treatment. I don't think I was really depressed. I was traumatized. Too many things in the world zapped on a sore spot in my psyche!

  10. This is an amazing post. It is the first piece of sensible information I have read and helps me understand why I am not like other people with Borderline who act out in such explosive manners. I am definitely an 'Act-in' it's destructive and devastating when the explosion erupts within. Thank you for an excellent post!

  11. hello... I think I might suffer from bpd.

    since I was 13 I was in and out of relationships. I could ever be alone. I've had unsafe sex with lot of guys, even though it wasn't one night stands. each time I had a "aids anxiety" after, and I was always too afraid to get tested, so I could go for months crying in bed, reading all recent articles online on aids that I knew by heart already.

    all of my relationships became some obsession of mine. I wouldn't care about anything else. I would get very jealous, having this feeling that i'm burning inside.

    recently i was in a long distance relationship. I met the guy back home, we've been together for a month which was amazing, and a month after he left, after having a lot of anxiety attacks that prevented me from focusing on my exams, I "stopped" feeling at once. I didn't get how I stopped feeling after having such intense emotions, so I stayed with him for another two months until we met, hoping that it'll change when i see him.

  12. I had a sever anxiety attack in these 2 months. I had crazy thoughts running through my head 247, it was like living in a nightmare. i wouldn't get out of bed and could barely focus on studying. nothing changed when we met. I was detached and still had anxiety attacks. second time we met for 5 days, 2 weeks after, I was more depressed than anxious and was just crying all the time.

    while we were apart, he sent me an article about bpd.

    to me, a person that is paranoid and has anxiety attacks, it wasn't a good idea. I started getting obsessed over it, and as for right now, i'm waiting for an appointment for a psychiatrist on sunday.

    I don't know how one is being diagnosed, how can you really know if you suffer from it?

    if at all i'm the quiet borderline. my mother bullied me throughout my childhood, and everytime I cried she would tell me to shut up and stop feeling sorry for myself. she would beat me up too, not too severely, but I remember that up to a pretty old age I had this instinct to jump backwards when she approached me.

    my father is also crazy. they would scream on each other every night, until they got divorced, when I was 12. I have a little brother that has had anger management issues and i'm currently not it touch with my dad cause he would discuss all his problems with me and blame anyone for his problems. he was also paranoid.

    I am 24, I am about to start my last year in a psychology-sociology bachelor degree. I live i Israel, so it's a normal age to still be studying cause we have to serve in the israeli army for 2 years.

    I never hurt myself, I am not addicted to anything. I have problems sticking to one job and I change jobs after 4 months on average. I find it really hard to combine work and school, I get really stressed and just feel like i'm smothered.

    I have a lot of anxiety issues in general, and a really low self esteem in times. I don't have any hobbies, and I don't know what I want to do i my life.

    I actually have a lot of friends that don't take me seriously at all when I tell them i might suffer from bpd. cause I can be very happy and fun.

    but since I got the idea to my mind that I have bpd, I became really depressed, which was really easy after having that 2 months anxiety attack.

    the thing that makes me feel like shit is the thought of never having a long lasting relationship with a guy. having a husband and a family was my dream. and I feel like it'll never happen now. the second concern, is that I will never stick with a job cause I'll never find something I like, and in general I get really hurt when people criticize my work.

    another thing that made me feel even more like s*** right now, is reading that it's really hard to treat to quiet borderline, which gives me even less hope.

    I feel so lost. I barely get out of bed, I feel like my life are over. I was much happier before I though i suffered from this disorder. I am literally sitting here crying right now, feeling sorry for myself, and then hating myself for doing that, wishing I was stronger, and not such a wimp.

    are there some insights you can share with me? some tips? about therapy maybe?
    I've been reading about hypnosis and nlp, and from what I understand dbt and all the rest behavioral treatments are not as effective for the "quiet" borderline.

    thank you.

    1. Hello Inbar,

      Like you, I'm what they consider a Quiet Borderline. Most of my friends never would have believed I was Borderline either. The only reason it's "harder" to treat Quiet Borderlines, is because Quiet Borderlines often don't seek treatment or aren't recommended for treatment because the people in their lives don't see them as a problem so they don't think anything is wrong. However, the fact that you think something is wrong, and that you want help, means that you know something is wrong, that you are likely to get help, and that you can absolutely heal and live a healthy and productive life. Don't worry!
      You've recognized that you need help, that's the only hard part and the only difference!

      Don't bother with hypnosis. Find yourself a good therapist and look into dialectical behavioral therapy. I personally haven't done the classic DBT therapy route, and I've made significant and enormous strides with my Therapist that does know DBT techniques as well as Schematherapy and a variety. Just be honest with your therapist. The key to successful therapy is to be as honest and upfront about yourself and about your goals as possible.

      Write down your problems and your fears, and what you ultimately hope to achieve. Keep in mind that therapy is a long process. It took a lifetime of trauma to get you to how you are now (through no fault of your own!!!!) so it will take time and effort to heal your mind but you can ABSOLUTELY heal. It is no harder to heal for a quiet Borderline than a loud one. If you want to change, than you can and you will. It's all up to you. You can do it. Trust me. It isn't always easy, and therapy can sometimes be hard because you have to work through the things that keep you from healing, but ultimately you will become a stronger, healthier person. A person capable of holding a job, and having long lasting healing relationships. I know so many people that never thought they could heal from BPD and have healthy relationships, and they have. It will be okay. Just take it one day at a time. You'll get there.


  13. Hey, I stumbled upon this blog and it's amazing. I've been thinking I have BPD for a few months but wasn't sure because I don't have the outbursts of anger and tantrums in front of people, however when I'm alone I'll scream and my head starts to get sore and my veins pop out, cause I get so angry. I feel so extremely alone in the world and there's no possible way for me to fit in. I've lived in 2 different countries and I've been to 4 different schools and still can't seem to find a place to fit in or someone who understands me. I really don't know who I am or who I'm suppose to be or how to be me. Cause I don't even know who 'me' is. I also binge eat on and off.. I either a load of junk and don't stop until I feel sick to my stomach or I eat very very little at all..there really isn't much in-between. I went to the doctor a month ago and he said he thought I was depressed and sent me to see a psychiatrist. I'm afraid that if I go see another psychiatrist that they'll completely rule out BPD because I don't show any 'out-ward symptoms' but I really do feel as though I am a 'Quiet BPD'..I have had delusions like hearing noises, voices and people calling my name. I can go from hyper and grandiosity and I am sure of who I am and I like I hate myself, who am I, I'm worthless piece of trash in a matter of minutes, hours or days. I have self-harmed but haven't been able to properly because I'm afraid my parent's will find out, I've been terrified of them finding out what goes on in my head ever since the psychiatrist told my parents stuff I didn't want them to know, but apparently she had to because I'm under 17 and it's considered child health care if you are under 17..anyways I haven't gone to school in nearly two weeks excluding the 2 week holidays so nearly a month in total. I feel like I won't ever be able to go back. I'm starting to cry as I type this because I feel so hopeless. It's 3:20 in the morning where I am (Ireland) and I haven't gone to sleep before 4 in the morning since about a week I'd say and I'm exhausted. All my friendships are collapsing because I want to text and talk to them one minute and want to tell them everything and get their attention,and then I hate them and not even wanting to be friends with them the next. The problem is I'm 16 and they say you have to be at least 18 to be diagnosed, but I don't want to spend the next two years like this not knowing what's wrong with me. I get panic attacks and I always look calm and collected as stated above but inside I'm falling apart and I'm slowly shredding myself to pieces. Because over here we don't have the best Mental Health treatment, I'm pretty sure I'll just be diagnosed depressed.
    But I know deep down that it's much more than that. I would break down at the smallest things especially when I was younger, I remember crying over homework and being depressed for days just because of that one thing. My mind is like a mine-field or 'mind-field' as I'll call it. I can never get a break from my mind. Even having a bath doesn't help and it feels like my mind takes over my whole life. I over-analyze every little detail. I see the world much more complicated and deeper than everyone else. I feel like everyone looks at me and sees me as a quiet, calm, shy , happy and no troubles kinda person but the thing is I'm not. If only they knew what went on in my head and what I felt inside. I know it's late and last comment was from October but I'm desperate and the 'Quiet Borderline' does seem so like me and I feel like I can really relate to it. Please reply as soon as you can, thankyou for listening to my whining, feels great to be able to talk to someone who has it and be anonymous, so I don't feel exposed to the world.

    1. I don't know if you have any specialists in your area, but I know the DBT center I go to has several skills groups for adolescents (because whether BPD or not, so many teens benefit from DBT). DBT didn't really exist when I was a teenager, but I think if had a class on mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills like I do now, I could have avoided 12 years of absolute confusion - who knows, maybe I could have developed enough skills before I was 18 to avoid the whole diagnosis altogether (!). DBT has been recognized to treat much more than just BPD, so you should still be able to get in without the diagnosis. Before I went to the DBT center for the skills group, I was doing a DBT workbook that was helping me feel hopeful.

      I guess my point is that I'm thankful that now, in 2014, DBT is so prevalent. When I first googled my symptoms and found Borderline Personality Disorder, I was terrified. The general opinion was that this was a lifelong battle and a stigmatizing diagnosis you never want on your record. Now the tune is "I no longer meet the criteria because of DBT!"

  14. This spoke to me on so many levels. My tendency towards acting-in and keeping up appearances on the outside has definitely gotten in the way of getting my BPD recognized by therapists, my peers, and myself for years. Because my trauma history is so apparent, I've been convinced by 4 therapists that I only have PTSD, maybe complex-PTSD. While this is gratifying to a degree - the degree to which I can blame all of my difficulties on my childhood and toxic parenting - it didn't get me the help that I needed to make my life worth living.

    It wasn't until my therapist of 2 years finally suggested I check out the DBT center (though she made it very clear that yes DBT was developed for BPD, I do not have BPD, and it's helpful for those of us with childhood trauma). The DBT center, however, openly embraced my suspicion of of qualifying for BPD and explained the biosocial theory, that BPD arrises from a combination of being an emotionally sensitive person via genetics and growing up in an invalidating environment (whether that's abusive parenting or just the fact that Western culture in general is not supportive or validating towards emotions). This, of course, brings me back to the conclusion that BPD truly is Complex-PTSD. I feel like PTSD explains the origin, and BPD is what happens when the symptoms of PTSD have been with you your entire life - it manifests in many different behaviors, thoughts and patterns, but deep down we share this incredible fear of abandonment and desire for unconditional love.

    While my trauma therapy helped me understand how my feelings today were rooted in my past and learn how to set boundaries and start protecting myself, it in no way helped me put words on those feelings or understand the depth to which they protruded every aspect of my life that I despised. My trauma therapist and I have since had several discussions on PTSD, DESNOS/Complex-PTSD, and BPD. I’m happy to see how her perspective has changed since I first came to her self-diagnosed with BPD, officially diagnosed with PTSD from my college. Her initial reaction was similar to my college therapist’s “you don’t have BPD because it doesn’t affect every aspect of your life, it stays behind closed doors and is reserved to those closest to you.”

    I never had words to explain how nothing rings truer to me than the words of fellow BPDers, and I can’t for the life of me find any support for PTSD - not all of my trauma is so singular-event related, my issues aren’t simply flashbacks and avoidance and triggers. In our last conversation she agreed with the perception that BPD is what happens when you’ve been invalidated/abandoned your entire life, but the diagnosis serves a purpose because so many people with subtle emotional trauma or even no trauma could never meet the criteria for PTSD. She went on to say that she doesn’t like the words Personality Disorder or Disorder in any diagnosis, because all it means is that you’ve adapted to life circumstances outside of your control and those adaptations and patterns are getting in the way of your life enough to seek therapy for it. You are not flawed, you are not disordered - your way of coping with difficulties in life is no longer working for you and you are seeking new skills to take care of yourself.

    And I’m certain that when my life is stable and resembles more what I want it to be, I can go into BPD “remission,” which is why I think it’s so easy to keep my official diagnosis in the PTSD bracket - even when my interpersonal life is seemingly stable, I still have avoidance, nightmares, and triggers involving events from my childhood. But I swear, deep down there, it’s never in remission - I’m just holding it in so tight it’s no wonder I always eventually explode.

  15. My psych doctor won't diagnose me as BPD because I don't fit the 'normal' definition. As a result of being ignored and not helped, I am self-harming more and more and I fear I'm going to do something extreme.

  16. I was diagnosed bpd in the army. They never told me what my diagnoses was. It was on my discharge paper. I attempted to hurt my self. That was seven years ago. I looked it up back then but was offended by the "personality disorder“part and never read to much up on it. When I looked it up last week I started crying and thinking this is me. It said in this article that many times people with bpd turn it inward. I was just shocked how out was like reading my life story. I come from a dysfunctional family, father was distant harsh, and a traveling salesman. We moved every six months to a year. Mother was a cheating druggie with good intentions. I was always shy and emotional. I was always going to be the person I wanted to be in the next place. Things got worse and harder as I got older. I would go through periods of having friends and then being a hermit. I got into a relation ship which lasted 8 years that should have been over after one. I was cheated on often and just blamed my self thought who else would love me. I purposely conceived a baby with her on an impulse.

  17. This is how I've felt being a "Quiet Borderline" I wrote it before my diagnosis in 2005:

    I Am The Shadow

    I am the shadow,
    I exist in a world of light,
    Blending into the darkness of night.

    My face you cannot see,
    My expressions, sometimes misleading.

    If you hear a whisper in the wind,
    It may be me.

    I am the shadow,
    I exist in a world of sounds, good and bad.
    Of laughter,

    You think that I feel nothing,
    No love,
    No hate,
    No anger,
    No fear,
    No pain.
    But you are wrong.

    You think that I do not cry,
    But I weep silently.
    You cannot see the tears that slide down my cheeks,
    But they are there.

    I am the shadow, you cannot touch,
    Always within sight but never within reach.

    I am the shadow, afraid to trust the light for it distorts me.
    Please forgive me if I trick you,
    I cannot control it.

    I long to live in the light,
    To be held and loved,
    But I am only a silent shadow,
    Watching but unable to take part in it all,
    What others do, I can only dream of.

    So I lurk in corners,
    Always waiting for the night to come,
    Always dying but never dead.

    I am the shadow, I have no friends,
    Even in a crowd, I’m all alone.
    Existing in somber shades of gray,
    A lonely shadow,
    I’m doomed to stay.

    By Joyce Savage, 1990.

  18. Quiet bpd here, thought they had made a mistake with their diagnosis as I don't act outwards

  19. I think Iv become a mix of both. When younger I used to be classic borderline (and let me correct one thing, "classic tend to cause pain in other, quiet to themselves" not true. just because classic acts our it doesnt mean they dont suffer inside) but since some years by now Iv becoming quiet borderline. I still rage and cry desperately but those are my only acting out , Iv becoming so distant from everything, I used to want people around them, I need them and would do anything for them not to leaving me and now I shut them off before they even think to abandon me. I dont make friends anymore, I suffer in silence.. I think if a classic borderline starts to develop depression she/he can relate also with quiet borderline in many ways without turning exactly one (for example I still have anger acting out episodes) . Kinda a mix


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