As someone who was saddled with the label of Borderline Personality Disorder, I know firsthand the humiliating experience of dealing with both the mental health industry as a patient AND the reactions from those who love to use Google to get all their “facts” about people with BPD. The DSM’s label of BPD is very stigmatizing and not even accurate. The original thought was that it was on the border of neurosis and psychosis which is incorrect. Marsha Linehan, the creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) has said the name she thought was appropriate was more descriptive is Emotion Dys-regulation Disorder. The only reason I use the term BPD on my website and in my work is to attract those who need my help.
In Pete Walkers book, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to thriving, he quotes the world renowned traumatologist, John Briere, who quipped that if Cptsd were ever given its due, the DSM used by all mental health professionals would shrink from its current dictionary size of nearly 1000 pages to the size of a thin pamphlet. In other words, the role of traumatized childhoods in most adult psychological disorders is enormous. I was working with an Energy Psychologist to neutralize traumatic events. She is a highly trained diagnostician who determined that Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was a more accurate diagnosis. The cool thing is when I google Complex PTSD, no one has written that I have soul cancer, so I'll pick that as my diagnosis.
My experience and that of many people I work with, including family members is that empathy and compassion, which are the most needed components of anyone’s healing is replaced with “expertise” and drugs which over the long term does more harm than good.
People with the diagnosis of so called BPD are some of the warmest and kindest people I have ever known. I happen to think of myself that way as well. It’s just a little tougher when your nervous system is on hyper alert and you don’t have as much access to the rational section of your brain. The signals just pass right over the pre-frontal cortex and straight to the limbic system. Almost any event feels like a crisis and that is what those of us afflicted are responding to.
I have a client who was at a party with her boyfriend where he was discussing a big social event involving his company set for the following weekend with a neighbor. He had not brought it up to her. He instantly took this to mean he wasn’t going to include her and how thoughtless that he was telling someone else about it before he told her and on to, “I don’t matter at all to him”, a huge childhood trigger. Her brain went straight to code red high alert threat mode and her behavior responded accordingly. He was stunned that she got so upset, when the fact was, he just hadn’t heard much about it and it came to attention the day before so it wasn’t a big deal to him.
Once loved ones understand this process, they can learn and use the DBT skills of mindfulness and validation to instantly calm the situation down. It’s not only the most loving thing to do. It's the most effective.
Loved ones are a very large part of the therapeutic pie. The bigger issue though is the medicalization mode of fixing a broken person so prevalent in current mental health practices. What is needed is the empathetic mode of healing the emotional wounds I love the amazing psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggins work on empathy. After having suffered through decades of what I call the mental illness industry’s inept and destructive “treatments” sucking up to the requirements of the insurance industry and the high pressure marketing of big pharm, he is a clean, refreshing breath of air.
Once someone has a diagnosis, it seems that every behavior is pathologized when a lot of it is just part of a normal personality. A lot of people with so called BPD have so much emotional intelligence and dramatic style. We can be extremely passionate and lively. These are wonderful traits but we are so shamed for our intense sensitivity that we can’t see the beautiful parts of our personality. That brings up another point. Calling it a “personality disorder” is rather insulting and stigmatizing as well.
In order to move things in a good direction, we must be seen as partners in our recovery with our providers, linking arms together with them. The current system largely seeks to shame, isolate and put people on a dangerous cocktail of drugs. Compassion, empathy and loving support are key components for healing and recovery. We must be proactive in finding the ones whose philosophy aligns with that truth.

Author's Bio: 

Teresa Lynne is a Dialectical Behavioral Skills trainer and life coach. Her passion is to link arms with people suffering from BPD and issues with complex emotional trauma and walk beside them as they gain a sense of mastery of their emotions. She believes we can all turn in the direction of building a life of self- reliance, personal responsibility and post traumatic growth. Teresa is equally passionate about working with loved ones in the healing of the family. She suffered for many years with out of control emotions before discovering that she had Borderline Personality Disorder due to chronic childhood trauma.
Teresa spent close to two years with Tami Green, learning DBT, Martha Beck Life Coach Training , intensive Transformational Coaching as well asa certification in Heartmath. She is currently working on her certification through ACEP for Energy Psychology. These are all modalities she has used in healing her own trauma . Learn more at her website,