Symptom: Uncontrollable anger
It’s common for people with BPD to react in a way that seems exaggerated or disproportional to an event. For example, explains Mattila, if your partner was supposed to pick you up at 7 and didn’t arrive until 7:30, the appropriate response would be irritation. Someone with BPD will react by saying something like, “’I’m breaking up with you, you don’t love me, I hate you, you’re never there for me,’ and so on,” says Mattila.
People with BPD also frequently project their problems and emotions onto others, says Dr. Oldham. “They can’t tolerate to acknowledge that they’re the ones with the problem, so they blame others instead,” he says. “It’s virtually toxic for them to own that their rage and anger is not justified by another person, but actually coming from inside.”
Symptom: Inability to control actions
People with borderline are impulsive: they’ll drop thousands of dollars on a new television without considering how it will impact their finances, have unprotected sex with multiple partners, or engage in other risky behavior. Dr. Oldham says they can’t help it—their minds work like hyperactive motors in cars with broken breaks. They just can’t stop.
At times, risk taking tendencies can even lead to cutting or other extreme self-harm, says Dr. Oldham. “It helps them turn off their emotions and produce release.” This generally happens when people with BPD feel extremely dissociated, detached, or numb for too long.