The Private Life of the Borderline Personality

August 6, 2010

I ran across an article in The Daily Beast, that portrayed women with Borderline Personality Disorder as the “femme fatale of the new millennium”.  The author talked about the allure of a woman prone to wild behavior, and mentioned the most famous of Borderlines (reputed anyways), Marilyn Monroe.

It was one more reminder that the public image of a BP is very different from the private life of a BP. As a society, when we think of people with mental disorders, we think of a sickly person wrapped up in a straitjacket and frizzy hair. But the reality is BPs (at least the highly functioning ones) live amongst us. Some lead, what seem to be, very glamorous lives.

They may be the most put together person you’ve ever met- graceful, beautiful, refined and yes even seductive.  But for most BPs, this is an act. Inside the BP may be falling apart at the seams. BPs (especially those with histrionic traits) love to be the center of attention, and you can often find them surrounded by admirers. It is no wonder that most BPs seek out very public lives as actresses, models, singers, dancers, etc. This is their way of seeking out the love and acceptance that they feel is missing. Their attention to their outward appearance is not just a flair for fashion or drama, it is a cover-up operation that has been perfected over a lifetime.

The BP’s intent is to distract the audience from the pain that they are sure no one else can relate to.  Which is why a BP can be in a crowded room and still experience profound feelings of loneliness. Look into a journal of a BP, and you might find pages and pages of dark poetry filled with rage and sadness. Look into their past, and you will probably find tragedy after tragedy. The public life of a BP can all seem very glamorous from the outside. But those who know the private side of a BP, also know it is anything but glamorous.

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