Friday, March 22, 2013

Borderline Personality Disorder versus Bipolar Disorder: Differences Part 2

On and on we push we will! There are yet still more seemingly similar problems that Borderline Personality Disorder shares with Bipolar Disorder.

#6 Difference and Similarity – Destructive Behavior and Self-harm

Borderline – I’ve written a ridiculous amount on self-destructive behavior with BPD. What it’s not, is an attempt to kill ourselves. This is something that it typically shares in common with Bipolar. For Borderline it’s a way to feel connected, a way to feel, a way to establish a connection to the world, a way to stop the pain or re-direct the emotional pain into a physical pain that we can control, or even a way to punish ourselves for something that we feel we did wrong. Then of course individuals may have their own reasons. This is the very short abbreviated version.

Bipolar – From what I gather with Bipolar self-destructive behavior and self-injuring behavior occur when individuals experience feelings of invincibility and being all powerful. They engage in behavior so dangerous or so extreme because they don’t recognize the extent of the damage that can be done to them. Perhaps this is during a manic phase? I feel like there needs to be a distinction made between destructive behavior engaged in during mania, depression, and mixed episodes. During depressive episodes I know for a fact that the reasons for destructive behavior and self-harming behavior can be for exactly the same reasons as the ones expressed by those with BPD.  And when some with Bipolar is having a mixed episode they may be so depressed, yet so impulsive due to their mania that they act rashly and destructively in a way that is more personally destructive than they would have normally meant to.

#7 Difference – Impulsive Behavior

Bipolar – Impulsive behavior can occur for lengths of time spanning the length of entire manic episodes.

Borderline – Impulsive behavior occurs spontaneously and erratically.

I actually think Impulsive Behavior can be more dangerous for people with Bipolar, especially during times of mania. Why do you ask? Because when I get impulsive, I act on it, and then it’s usually done, or at least by the next day I’m usually done. When you’re bipolar and manic and impulsive… those behaviors becomes SPREES of impulsivity. Remember Friend? His wife bankrupted them, literally, because she was such an impulsive spender when she was manic. Maybe this happens with Borderline too, but not my particular brand of Borderline.

Maybe ‘more dangerous’ is the wrong word, but longer impacting depending on the type of impulse. Obviously if your impulse is reckless driving, then it only takes getting it wrong once to get it wrong forever fatally… but if you have long term spans of manic impulsivity your risk factor is exceedingly higher than if you are just occasionally impulsive.

Bah, who am I kidding. They’re neither is any good.

#8 Difference - Relationship Basis

Bipolar – The trouble that people with Bipolar Disorder experience tends to be less relationship-based. People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder often display cycles of mood which are more inwardly self-focused and have less to do with how they feel about the relationships they are involved in. While Bipolar Disorder certainly effects a person’s relationships, a person’s relationships usually aren’t what directly effects a person’s disorder.  

Borderline – Well we know the exact opposite to be true. While there is some inborn biogenetic temperament for BPD, environmental effects and our relationships are what effect and shape our maladaptive personality traits and turn them into disorders. BPD is often described as a disorder of relationships and the nature of our relationships can be the thing the directly triggers our disorder.

#9 Difference -  Dissociation

Borderline - Borderline Personality Disorder comprises both psychotic & neurotic thought processes. This gives rise to the name "Borderline" because it is thought to be on the "borderline" between psychosis & neurosis. The thinking and behavior of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder includes more mental departures from reality, known as Dissociation or "feelings create facts".

Bipolar - In contrast, Bipolar Disorder tends to be more neurotic in that the mood swings tend to be based more on extreme exaggerations of fact.

There is one thing that Bipolar and BPD do share in common though. There is still a lot of stigma and misinformation floating around out there. I can’t give a full account of Bipolar because I don’t suffer with it, but hopefully I’m not providing any false information.


  1. Hello there, Haven. I'm kind of baffled about what you wrote in #9 Difference - Dissociation. I used to think that bipolar was neurotic and psychotic since they have psychosis characteristics like hallucination and delusions and whatnot, whereas that is rare in borderline. I also thought that borderline is more neurotic because of the absence of mania or hypomania which bipolar has. I've also read on many websites that the belief that borderline is "on the border of neurosis and psychosis" was proven to be wrong and the term borderline is not accurate to describe this disorder, whereas Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder is more fitting.

    So could it be that, when it comes to thought process, borderline tends to be psychotic whereas bipolar no? But generally bipolar is psychotic + neurotic whereas borderline is just neurotic? Or could it be that this issue is related to the bipolar/bpd patient and their own combination of symptoms?

    Also, what did you mean by "mental departures from reality"? Don't bipolars experience that as well in mania? I have a bipolar friend who has experienced periods of dissociation. And what does the mood swings tend to be based more on extreme exaggerations of fact mean? Doesn't that occur in BPD as well?

    Thank you for this post, I'm a huge fan of yours :))

    1. You could very well be correct! Maybe Dissociation is really more of a similarity than a difference. I'll make an Edit/Note in this article concerning the information you have brought to me. All I really know of the bipolar experience is what I've read or been told. So I'm certainly capable of not having a completely picture. I'll update soon! Thank you =)


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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