BPD is the most commonly diagnosed personality disorder. It is mainly characterized by moods, behaviors, and interpersonal relationships that are highly unstable. A person diagnosed with this disorder usually experiences an identity disturbance, which is characterized by a distinct and persistent unsteady sense of who they really are. People often find such an individual highly unpredictable. The unstable mood swings that quickly switch from one intense emotion to another make such an individual highly irritable, a behavior often manifested through angry outbursts. Since such a person has difficulty in controlling anger, he/she can engage in recurrent physical fights. The unstable mood swings are largely responsible for the individual’s affective instability. A BPD diagnosed individual will tend to stick to very damaging relationships, as he/she is constantly afraid of abandonment, which may be real or imagined. The individual will also display a pattern of unsteady and strong interpersonal relations, which are usually characterized episodes that alternate between the extremes of admiration and disrespect. The person will also tend to engage in potentially damaging behaviors, such as substance abuse and reckless driving. He/she can also have feelings of emptiness that are quite persistent and can display signs of recurrent suicidal behavior, threats, gestures, or even self-mutilating behavior.
I have interacted severally with such individuals, an experience that was quite challenging because the individual’s behavior was highly unpredictable. I often avoided engaging in hot debates with the individual because his high irritability could easily turn violent. In our interpersonal relationship, the individual strived to establish an intense relationship, mainly through maintaining very close physical and social proximity. With such an intense interpersonal relationship, I often felt that the individual is intruding into my personal space. I attempted to maintain a healthy interpersonal relationship with the BPD diagnosed individual by understanding his patterns of unsteady behavior, actions, and moods to respond appropriately.