Hi everyone! This video is going to be about borderline personality disorder. Specifically, the two types, as in the almost textbook, ‘acting out,’ ‘classic’ borderline, and then the ‘acting in,’ ‘quiet’ borderline. I have a video dedicated to personality disorders, which includes borderline, so I’ll have a link to that specific part for anyone who is interested. [Borderline] While that describes the more textbook case of borderline, there are different variations.
Now, as with any disorder, everyone experiences it differently. Just because someone doesn’t fit the exact criteria doesn’t mean that they are not struggling with the disorder. Two people with the same exact disorder can be total opposites in terms of their past experience, the severity of the symptoms, and how they cope with it. So, there are always exceptions to the rules no matter what.
The criteria for BPD is when an individual has intense mood swings, problems with self-worth, unstable interpersonal relationships, and impulsive, self-destructive behavior. They can have black and white thinking, meaning something is all good or all bad and this can change very rapidly. In addition they can have intense fears of abandonment which will lead to fears of loneliness and perhaps even paranoia and delusions.
Generally those with borderline have had a childhood of abuse and/or abandonment. So, as they develop, they will reference their past experiences when trying to form new relationships. Which, since they may have been abused and abandoned, they will often have that intense fear of being abandoned and try to avoid it in someway. How these two types approach it is very different.
Furthermore, again due to their past experiences, as with PTSD as well, if they are not able to go back to those traumatic memories of abuse and abandonment and face them, they will continuously repeat and relive them. This is, of course, all subconscious. They choose someone that will abandon them because their abandonment issues from the past have not been resolved so they will end up reliving it over and over again.
With that being said, most people only know about the classic type of borderline. Most are not aware of the other type, the quiet borderline. So, I will discuss both of these and how they handle things differently.
The Classic Borderline (Acting Out)
The classic borderline is mostly described as the textbooks case. There can be exaggeration in what they say and do, malingering, attention seeking qualities, as well as denial. Many times they will seek attention to gain sympathy from others so they don’t feel alone. But, they are not always aware of their attention seeking ways, which can lead to denial or even them being mendacious. I will have a video dedicated to attention seeking that will go into much more detail about this and what to do about it. [Attention Seeking]
But anyway, the intensity of these symptoms will often indicate how dramatic they are with their behavior. For instance, when it comes to fears of abandonment, they may always want someone around to fill the emptiness they feel when alone. They may not be able to be alone. To a severity, they can even threaten people who will leave them or even harm the person or themselves so the other person feels bad for them and stays with them. Again, the more severe the abandonment issues they have, the more frantic and dramatic their behavior will be to keep someone around. They may make many, many friends so they do not feel alone. Maybe none of them will be close friends, but just knowing that they have tons of people around will make them feel better.
They may lie and manipulate others to gain control over the situation and person they feel will leave them. This is their frantic attempt of avoiding abandonment. It’s often dramatic and will often be seen as such. Many people may not want to be around them because of their fears of abandonment as well as their paranoia and delusions they have about someone abandoning them, since they may accuse the person of going behind their back and doing them wrong, when they never actually did. In addition, others may view them and their behavior as attention seeking, dramatic, and try to avoid them altogether.
Again, all of this is the classic borderline, generally at a more severe degree. Not everyone with BPD expresses themselves this way or has all these issues with abandonment and attention seeking. Another type is the quiet borderline, which I will discuss now.
The Quiet Borderline (Acting In)
The other not as well known type of borderline is the quiet borderline. Unlike the classic borderline which mostly directs its behavior outwards towards others as we saw in the previous section, most of the behavior of the quiet borderline is directed inwards. Instead of ‘acting out’ like the classic, the quiet ‘acts in.’ In other words, they direct their negative emotions and behavior to themselves and hide it from others, which is the opposite of the classic borderline that will often involve others in their intense emotions and self-destructive behavior.
The quiet borderline can struggle greatly on the inside and no one may even know. They will still exhibit the main symptoms of the disorder and meet the criteria, such as black and white thinking, intense mood swings, problems with self-worth, and impulsive, self-destructive behavior. However, the difference is that they will hide their emotions and how they feel from others and project it onto themselves.
Their approach is quite different from that of the classic borderline. Instead of seeking attention and sympathy from others because they think they deserve it, the quiet borderline is generally the opposite. They will often think they are not worthy or deserving of being loved or having friends. So, instead of seeking out many friends, they will often stop a friendship before the person gets too close to avoid that fear of abandonment that they have.
If they lie or manipulate others, it’s generally not for malicious reasons to control them, but rather to distance themselves from the other person to, again, avoid the perceived abandonment. So, instead of people abandoning the quiet borderline, they will abandon the other person, which in turn means they are abandoning part of themselves and what they would really want, which would to not be abandoned.
On a personal note, this is the one that has defined me the best. Now, I’m not saying I have borderline personality disorder. I don’t know, care, and it’s not important to me and doesn’t matter. But, I can relate to much of the characteristic, more so of the quiet borderline since I hide my true emotions from everyone and no one knows. Most of my behavior is directed inwards instead of outwards.
I had so much self-hatred and always directed that inward because I didn’t want people to know how much I was suffering. I was able to hide it so well that it was even hidden from myself. I was not even aware of how much I was struggling or who I was until more recently when I could reflect back and see how things were. This is how much I masked it from everyone, including myself. But, this certainly has improved as I’ve been learning how to express myself better.
I’ve thought my whole life, and still do struggle with the fear of abandonment and that no one loves me. I don’t feel as though I am deserving of being cared about or loved because I’ve never felt it because I always push people away when they get too close. And, it’s always the same, they always end up lying to me and deceiving me, which is why I do it. So, I stay away. Now, I have gotten a lot better in this area as well since I do communicate more personally now. However, I still do not let anyone get close to me, and don’t want them to be. So, I’m not as bothered by it anymore since I have accepted it.
And, that is just a bit of my personal experience on how I relate to this but your experience could be completely different.
So, the two types of borderline are the ‘acting out,’ ‘classic’ borderline and the ‘acting in,’ ‘quiet’ borderline. Please remember that everyone deals with these things differently and has a unique experiences so it’s best to not group individuals into categories or makes a diagnosis of yourself or others based on this criteria. Thank you for watching and I hope this was informative and helpful!
These two types of borderline personality disorder tend to be the two extremes, almost like the extravert and introvert borderline. Many people questioned if it was possible to have a mix of both, and that certainly is the case as these are the two extremes.