Symptom: Overwhelming anxiety
We all get anxious from time to time, but for those with BPD, anxiety is all consuming, characterized by intense feelings of nervousness, tenseness, or panic. These emotions often arise as a hypersensitive response to other people’s actions, says Dr. Oldham. People with BPD have an extreme desire to be needed and liked, and it can be debilitating. As a result of this heightened anxiety, people with borderline may express their emotions in explosive, inappropriate ways.
Symptom: Constant fear of abandonment
The fear of being alone, rejected, or abandoned is a telling sign of BPD. These insecurities breed irrational reactions and jealous, paranoid behaviors, such as checking a partner’s email for clues he or she might bail, says David Mattila, a New York City-based licensed clinical social worker and cognitive and schema therapist. “This insecurity can even lead to more extreme and manipulative behaviors,” says Mattila, such as telling a partner, “If you don’t call me when you say you will, I’m going to kill myself.” For the person with BPD, it all folds into their desperate desire to avoid abandonment.