Episode 74 – Borderline Personality Disorder

Aug 29, 2019


While psychiatric diagnostic labels often reify the complexities of psychological dynamics, they can also orient us to the essential qualities of a particular emotional and behavioral field. BPD is characterized by difficulty with affect regulation, intense and unstable interpersonal relationships, impulsive behavior, and a tendency toward highly polarized emotions: idealization / elation versus devaluation / despair. BPD is associated with early relational deficits, especially in caretakers’ capacity to maintain connection when their child is angry or aggressive. If intense early emotional states have not been well moderated, they can take on the force of emotional tsunamis, overwhelm the ego, and lead to impetuous and self-harming behaviors. A deep therapeutic and human process can re-inspire the possibility that one can find one’s center in a human relationship.


“A dog-like creature is climbing on my mother’s shoulder, wounding her ribs with its claws. It is trying to hug her shoulder while she is attempting to get rid of it. The brown dog is crying desperately. I am there as well and turn around to avoid seeing the scene. My mother pulls the creature to the floor, violently opens its mouth and pours poison into it. The brown dog is crying desperately. I am there as well and turn around to avoid seeing the scene.”


Blog: Lifeinabind.com

Book: Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder; Paul and Randi Kreger

Book: Understanding the Borderline Mother; Christine Lawson

Check out this episode!


  1. Laura

    This was great, thank you. I would be interested in hearing more on having a BPD mother.

  2. Adriana Lesemann

    I am at a loss . My 27 year daughter seems to fit into this disorder almost too well . I have gone to hell and back . She is a very accomplished just graduated from Law school and is extremely popular wit her professors. But when she exhibits complete emotional brakedowns whe she drinks even a little and I am around . Only god knows the things she has pulled on me that have left me emotionally devastated. She is reckless with driving, impulsive, fairly to severely moody , etc . Yet NONE of the childhood elements that can create BPD fit . I was extremely close to her . Gave my own law career to stay home with her , never for one minute could she have felt a sense of any mother abandonment . Yet after being this close to her she broke up a long time relationship with her BF and out of the blue had blocked me from her phone , email and messenger. I have no way to reach her . It seems she is blaming me in some way … but I am a complete loss …. so I don’t know why she fits so well into the BPD and yet not at all into what is believed causes it in early childhood. I need a Jungian psychologist ASAP .

    • Brad Connor

      I notice you didn’t mention her relationship with her father at all. Are you SURE she doesn’t have any abandonment trauma?? If it wasn’t a literal abandonment, she likely frequently felt dismissed and not taken seriously as a child. My family loved me very much, but my father wasn’t around, and my mother and grandparents treated me like some kind of teddy bear my whole life, which was nice in some ways, but very dismissive and invalidating of me as an individual with my own point of view and my own experiences. The abandonment can be “real or perceived”, she doesn’t have to have literally been abandoned if she frequently felt that way. That said, some people get BPD when everything was right at home.

  3. kurt

    A funny story about BPD. Firstly, I am a BPD male, 50, I began imitating other children’s voices, clothing and gestures at age 7 or so. This continued into my 40s with switching my favorite cigarette brand to that of someone I admired.

    I self-diagnosed in 2015 and this was confirmed in 2 lengthy sessions at NY Presbyterian. I asked “so what do I do now” and the MD said “you’ll need a lot of money”.

    He was right. All the BPD therapy programs in NYC were full. These are intensive group programs requiring treatment 4 full days a week, the cheapest being approx $4500 weekly, none accepting insurance. I did visit 4-5 of these group programs and saw them packed with wealthy female Manhattanites who seemed to think BPD was an exotic indeed prestigious diagnosis.

    Of course I know BPD is very real and as a BPD guy I can say your podcast comments on therapists being ‘real’ are very healing to a patient. I just need to know that we are human together.


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