Denial. All initial stages of awareness begin with a defense mechanism such as denial. It is far easier to reject a problem, issue, death, or divorce than it is to confront it. Admitting to a disorder requires accepting responsibility. This in turn forces a person to acknowledge the string of broken relationships, repeated conflicts, an inability to handle stress, and some type of work history impairment. Denial is a far easier response in the beginning.
Confusion. After a while, it becomes impossible to ignore life’s difficulties, especially when others seem to not have the same level of daily frustration, conflict, or intensity. This leads to seeking out help to figure out what is wrong which results in the first exposure of BPD. Many quickly return back to dissociation as a defense mechanism. One of the defining characteristics of a person with BPD is the ability to slip outside of themselves during a traumatic situation. This frequently results in a temporary memory gap which only increases the confusion.
Resistance. The increasing awareness of memory gaps returns a person to learning more about BPD. But the resistance towards diagnosis is strong because another defining characteristic is impulsivity in dangerous situations. Accepting responsibility for a disorder coincides with accepting responsibility for high-risk behavior. This is uncomfortable for anyone but for a person with BPD, this can be overwhelming and traumatic. Instead it is easier to resist the disorder and continue to blame others for the damage.