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Angelina Jolie and Borderline Personality Disorder (again)

OK, so Angelina Jolie's hotI recently stumbled over this quote about Angelina Jolie. I have written about Angelina twice concerning BPD: here and here. This quote is from a mental health professional that understood that Angelina was actually diagnosed with BPD in the 90s. I don’t know who actually posted this message, because the profile seems to be gone, but it backs up some things I said about Ms. Jolie:

It is my understanding, and I am a psychologist, that Angelina Jolie checked into (volunatarily not a forced commitment) to the Neuropsychiatric Institute in the late 1990’s due to self-reported suicidal and homicidal ideation, no intention or plan for carrying out was reported. She was diagnosed with presumptive Borderline Personality Disorder which in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-IV) for is an Axis II Personality Disorder. Axis I diagnoses are mostly mood disorders and can be transient (i.e. major depressive disorder, adjustment disorder, etc). Axis II disorders are thought to be characterological disorders, more ingrained and ego-syntonic and therefore, more difficult to “change.” Since that time, I believe AJ has managed this much better and less self-destructively. There are a few people with BPD who do get better and stop doing crazy and self-destructive things. I think that motherhood was a big adaptive “glue” for her and she has pulled herself together since adopting Maddox. She seems to have found a “bigger purpose” and is not acting out with drugs, etc. Of course many of these patients are vulnerable to stress and loss. Grief or any loss tends to run a more complicated course with persons who have Borderline Personality Disorder. I have never met, evaluated, or treated Jolie, but one of my expertises is BPD. I go to tons of conferences on this and several presenters as well as I recall that she said in a legitimate news source that she was hospitalized by her choice at a particularly chaotic time in her life. That was almost ten yeas ago and I think with age and motherhood along with finding a purpose she found new and more adaptive ways to deal with old demons (and we all have those). That is probably all I will say as a professional because I am on this forum just to goof off but did what to add this given the previous posts.


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25 comments to Angelina Jolie and Borderline Personality Disorder (again)

  • Considering that she probably is/was borderline, I think Jolie was very lucky. I know a lot of borderlines who completely broke down after becoming parents.

    I’m now considered a “recovered” borderline (I’m still not 100% sure you ever really recover from it), but I honestly think that if I did get pregnant and have a child, I’d probably lose it again. No matter how much better I’ve become, I’m not sure I could handle the stress of parenthood.

    Plus, I think switching from being a non-parent to a parent would trigger the identity issues. I’m not sure how it would be easy for any current or “recovered” borderline to switch identities suddenly like that.

  • Bon/All –

    I am the Manager for the BPD Resource Center at NY Presbyterian Hospital. We are a free service that has listings of treatment providers throughout the US (and access to those outside of the States as well) at all levels who specialize in treating BPD. This can include, but may not be limited to, inpatient and residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient programs, and private therapists. In addition, I have listings of resources and groups throughout the country who support families and those suffering.

    Please contact me at, or toll free at 888-694-2273.

    I am in the office Tues/Thurs/Fri.

    Bon, please add me to your resource listings. I am the only person in the country who has access at this level and with a scale as broad as this. I want people to know I’m here to help.

    Stay safe and healthy this holiday season.

    Jen Fisher

  • Jen,

    Thanks for the message. I would love to talk to you in the new year. I will add you to my resource list and give you a call in a couple of weeks.


  • Jenah

    First off, I HAVE Borderline Personality Disorder.. actually was said to have “an extraordinary case of it” and was diagnosed by many different doctors (mostly through all of my hospitalizations). And I do agree with OKC on people probably never fully recovering from this disorder. I’m not “recovered” (not even close to it) but it just doesn’t seem like something that’ll go away completely. How you are is how you are and it must take a long journey to see differently, feel differently.. especially to be different in your every day relationships with people. That seems to be the toughest thing with me.

    SECOND OFF, I don’t give an EF about Jolie or any other celebrity. BUT just for the record, Jolie IS a TYPICAL Borderline. I can obviously spot it in others very well. One celebrity who had Borderline Personality, who is actually worth caring about because she actually made an impact on peoples’ lives, was Princess Di, there is no doubt in my mind she suffered from this.. she was also thought, as well, to have a very extraordinary case of it.

    I am not a parent ( only recently married =] ) but I am very motherly by nature and I even dream about having a baby of my own to love and care for – I also want to feel like I have a purpose.. everyone does, but Borderlines even more-so.

    People do not understand this illness.. they look at us like we’re “crazy” and we’re not.. just simply struggling on the inside even though it may not always show on the outside. We suffer in silence a lot of the time…

  • Jenah,

    I agree with everything you say here. It must be a struggle for you to have BPD, it can be so painful at times. Still, I also believe that people with BPD are not “crazy” – they have merely adapted to how they are in a society that is very emotionally invalidating. My wife has BPD (although she is “recovered” for the most part) and one of my three daughters also has BPD traits (she just completed 2 years of emotional skills training and is doing much better as well). I feel for you and for my family that has been affected by BPD. I am not angry (anymore, I was 3 1/2 years ago), I understand this disorder MUCH better than I did way back then. Congrats on getting married. Perhaps you new husband would like to read my book “When Hope is Not Enough” which outlines my acquisition of effective skills and attitudes for “dealing” with a highly emotional person (like someone with BPD).

    As for celebrities, I only post that stuff to draw traffic to my site in hopes of helping a person or two with BPD (or the loved ones of people with BPD). It actually HAS happened a couple of times and for that I am proud and grateful.

    Take good care and don’t be a stranger!


  • meg

    I too think she has BPD. I too have BPD and see a lot of the same traits and life choices in her. I have kept up with regular news reports on her, and whilst I understand that a percentage is simply “gossip”, there are overwhelming signs that would point toward a high possibility of having this disorder or something similar. I often wonder if the decline in mood of her husband (and obvious unhappiness) is due to the stress of living with her BPD. I hope that she has sought help if this is the case. Thank you for your information, as it was very interesting.

  • Hidden Black Queen

    I have BPD and I’ll tell you one thing… It’s not fun. I recently started dating someone wonderful and made sure to let him know about my condition so he could understand my “hot and cold” moods. But I feel like if I continue to act this way, I will sabotage my relationship. Any advice?

    Also, my negative self perception is so hard to overcome. I have low self esteem and feel self conscious all the time. I always feel fat, even though I’m not, and set unrealistic weight loss goals. I go through bouts of being so “good” and stable/balanced but then suddenly I go on excessive spending sprees or binge eat out of control. I have a great relationship with my family and friends but I subtly limit the time I spend with them so they won’t see me for who I really am. I would love to meet others with the same condition and hear some coping strategies to live a more stable life and overcome these obstacles.

  • Dear Hidden Black Queen,

    I see and put forth in my book “When Hope is Not Enough” a view of BPD that includes 3 key features: emotional dysregulation, impulsiveness and shame. The “negative self-perception” and “not wanting your friends and family see you for who you really are” springs from shame IMO. Shame comes from core worth being devalued, by others in your life and by yourself. The emotional dysregulation, in combination with the impulsiveness, is probably what drives the spending sprees. That is, you do that to make yourself feel better when you’re feeling emotional pain. The best way to combat this is learning to self-soothe and choosing another, more effective, outlet for this pain. One site I have found to be invaluable for DBT skills is – although I am currently investigating mentalizing and how that can help in relationships.

    It is very painful to have BPD. I can see that in the people that I know with the disorder. Being more effective in your life can build upon itself and once you have mastered effectiveness, the pain will likely subside. However, it is a road that you will have to walk and it takes time and patience.

    You might recommend my book to your loved ones. It is decidedly different than the old stand-by books (i.e. SWOE).

    Take care,

  • Simona

    ..I have never been diagnosed fully but i believe that i have BPD.
    I have tried to hide it and to carry on with my life ( also for lack of external support), i have picked up my pieces endless times and many times over and over again i have tried to be resilient, to find solutions, coping mechanisms, from therapy, to emotional isolation (in order not to trigger), to yoga, to meditation, to diet, ect.
    I am almost sure that BPD is incurable.
    It can perhaps be monitored and it is possible to learn how to cope with it and how to prevent its worst peaks, but when you are alone, misunderstood and with a lot of other responsabilities on your shoulders, it is extremely hard!
    I find my BPD traits and efforts to move away from those same traits, have somehow slowly decreased my hope for a normal life at least.
    I also find that whenever you think you have everything under control and you almost forget you suffer from it and therefore you think you can cope with a relationship (romantic i intend!), then slowly the scars open up again and again and the terror rollercoaster begins.
    You spend 4 years rather reasonably with your own silent and private disfunctions but still manage to cope with life and duties, then as soon as you are very close to someone
    the same broken part of me is comes out and slowly eats all again.
    My energy, my partner, my slowly built self image are all deleted and this prooves me that nothing has been done, that inside of me there are yet again all these wild animals, which are ready to ravage because they are angry and filled with a destructive energy because noone ever listened to or dealt with them…

    the other times all the energy goes to keep this cage closed, to hide this from humanity, life gets smaller and smaller, skin is soft and i seem to be more and more afraid of all those thousands of small behaviours, gestures, words from people who are going to hurt me, from environment, from the tiredness of pressure of routines i dont like, from the eternal loneliness to which i feel destined to.
    of all the misuderstanding for feeling different ( and not only because of bpd)
    for feeling abandoned (imagined yes, but also realistically)
    for not being able to fit in really into any scheme or structure
    for my father who refuses to acknoledge any of my feelings or to have a dialogue in which i can be myself
    for the confusion and for constantly forgetting what my goals are,
    for the loneliness that i have to bear for being with this condition and the fear that i have to open to others and the fear of those wild animals coming out.
    and what makes me more bitter, is that all of this i have to cope with by myself,
    because of money to get a serious teraphy, because my family are not only far away but also unable to understand or to constructively help me.
    because i feel gifted, intelligent, sensitive and also beautiful and i see my life
    pass in front of my eyes forever volatile and forever all those qualities i have are wasted, because i have noone that can help me to bring them out except from my fragile self.
    , and i am angry that not even the purest of heart can create a miracle if things are not meant to be,
    and that sometimes we just have to endure the weight of our problem and cope with it,
    at times those same problems destroy our dreams
    other times they are those same problems that become gifts and allow us to achieve dreams.
    i say this because in my case, i consider this bpd also a tool which helps me in my art, music and writing but also makes it painful for me to produce work if i am lonely because i dont feel connected to others..
    it is so weird. i know that external deadlines help me
    but i also know that all this is an illusion and that each time i have had my good periods, and done things i felt, all this drama, pain, cuts, disfunctional relationships were not only remote to me but also just an idea in mind, and that i could be any other idea i created.
    but then …well..
    you see i am confused about what i say..

    anyway. i never lose hope and i haven’t now but it is hard to go around with something of this weight and to having to pretend it isnt there because there are no the structures, or the situations to cope with it.

  • Meg

    From my experience in relationships, I have learned that suffering in silence and not understanding the BPD, past partners have actually come to dislike me because of my BPD and my behaviours/reactions. The love drifts away, and they just don’t want to be with me. I guess the saying that “noone will love you until you love yourself” reigns true here. It must be very frustrating to see someone with so much self hatred and try to love them, whilst being rejected. I wonder if this is the case with Brad and Angelina. It certainly fits. He seems unable to produce a genuine smile at times, and the pain is in her eyes for the world to see. I was wondering, its fine to talk about mind/skills/emotional training, but what is being done about the actual brain abnormalities of BPD sufferers. There is overwhelming evidence that certain parts of the brain (and hence chemicals/reactions) are not functioning properly. Does anyone have some good info about this, and do you know what is being done about it. Maybe, like diabetes, in years to come, we will just be issued with a quick injection and we are “normal” again. Whoops, sorry dear, just a little sugar high. All fixed now, lets go cuddle on the couch. One can only wish………

  • Tripolar

    I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder, OCD and PTSD. I find that, they are very very similar traits within me, as the so-called Borderline. They say I don’t have BPD but, I use to be very impulsive, see black or just white. At times, I still feel totally estranged from people, I have terrible self esteem, horrendous mood swings and when I as young, i cut my self to shreds. But, I’m not the same as you people, you have “personality disorders”
    I mean come on, what the bleep is the difference? “Some” people with BPD, will lie and be manipulative, and do have socio-pathic traits but NOT “all” people with the diagnosis, of BPD are like this. I will meet the
    personality disorder tag, with those who will lie, manipulate others and who posesses socio-pathic traits but, what about those who don’t? Do they really have a personality disorder? I don’t think so, they have the EXACT same condition as I do and should be treated and
    RESPECTED in the same fashion, As I am and NOT tagged as some terrible person. In my opinion, It is EMOTIONAL DYSREGULATION that is brought on either from childhood abuse and/or genetics. I really do understand and have empathy towards those who SUFFER from BPD.

    on the lighter side,

    speaking of Angelina Jolie, I am a man and I wouldn’t care if she lied and was manipulative, or even socio-pathic, I still want to marry her!


  • Wayne

    WOW was reading a short article on Jolie and Pit, did I ever hit it correct. Was married to a BPD for 11 yrs, short way into the article I was convinced base on what I read Jolie is BPD>

  • Daniella

    I dislike Angelina. Brad should take his three biological children with him and run as fast as he can. Good luck Brad!!! Do something for your children before it’s too late!!! D. xxx

  • Diane

    We have an adopted daughter who began this behaviour when she was about 13. She is now 25, with 3 children. She does great – for awhile. And then for whatever reason, seems determined to hit the “self-destruct” button. She recently started punching her ex-boyfriend and was arrested.

    My question is – she almost always denies, seems to not remember that she did anything wrong. Even in this latest episode, she is swearing up and down that she didn’t hit him – that the whole thing was a set-up so he could get the baby away from her.

    Is this part of the illness – this denial, or not remembering, or whatever it is. Because even as a teenager, she would go into rages and/or erratic behaviour, and then come out of it and look around and say, “Why is everyone so made at me – I don’t understand”.

    Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this for us.

  • trish

    I have certain family members who are that way, a lot of the time it was an excuse for their behaviour. They did know what they were doing, as soon as the ‘episode’ was over, their words belied their actions. It is what they tell you after the fact that tells you all you need to know. It is the same with drunkards, they always have a reason or excuse and they are quick to tell others. I noticed this with my now ex husband, he was so quick to make his excuses and to blame this or that, it did not take him a few seconds to come up with it, just like many others and your daughter do. They do not show confusion at all, but as with a epileptic fit, the confusion lasts for a while and they are not aware of what happened at all, that is the difference.


    Did Angelina Jolie use (steal) this book (The Soul Shattering in English) written by the Bosnian-Croatian author James J. Braddock a.k.a Josip J. Knežević, as the story platform for her movie In The Land of Blood and Honey?

    Did she totally miss the truth and core of that genocidal war against Bosnia and her people?

    Why was she banned from filming in Bosnia by the most influental organization of women – victims of the war?

    Did she rewrite history and offended thousands of women and other innocent victims of the Serbian aggression on Bosnia & Herzegovina?

    Should American women and human rights organizations get involved?

  • To Simona above…

    If you ever come across this reply to your post (it’s now 2012 and you posted in 2009), I just want to say that I really connected with what you wrote and how you describe all that you feel inside…not only the fears and “wild animals” but the knowing that you are beautiful and sensitive as well. I think you have a lot of amazing gifts that you need to share with the world to help others…and to break free from your loneliness. You have a gift for writing and expressing yourself.

    Please check out my new personal blog and site. I’m hoping to bring together individuals who are likeminded so that they can see the amazing beauty in themselves, darkness and all. I get the struggle and I get beautiful, sensitive you! Don’t beat yourself up. You are more powerful than you even realize and your light shines bright. Please check out some of my posts (only five so far as I just got up and running in Spring 2012). I think you may find you relate. I’d love to connect with you. If you get this, please send me an email which you will find on my site. I will read and personally respond!

    With love, Shawna

  • ….and further to my last post to Simona (and all others reading this)….be careful in labelling yourself. The world has a dangerous habit of constantly putting labels on people…for everything. In my opinion, labels are limits and stunt growth. Screw labels. Strive to understand yourself yes, but also focus on all the amazing gifts that come with being highly emotional.

    Highly emotional = Highly sensitive

    Think of all the gifts that come from being highly sensitive. Compassion, empathy, the ability to relate deeply to the pain of others. Your system is often bombarded and overloaded because you are soooooo sensitive. With the ability to feel intense, fear, anger and sadness comes the ability to feel love on an intense and high level. One could not exist without the other.

    Anyways, please check out my article “Inside My World” and see if you can relate. I think it may offer a lot of comfort. I GET YOU…I LOVE WHOEVER MAY BE READING THIS AND STRUGGLING).


  • anne

    you can fully recover with schema mode therapy and I am, so please don,t think the choas can,t go to calm, I,m living proof, 42 years of sheer trauma and choas and then after 9 months of mode therapy, yes I am getting stable- can see myself truefully and have choice can regulate my splitting of modes and yes can see the light slowly shining through and the lovely warm feelings of inner security

  • Unknown

    All I could say is that it’s a tough illness (for the person diagnosed and the people that care for them- because your love for a BPD person could easily turn into hate). I had dated someone that had borderline personality disorder and watching Jolie’s interviews, I saw the same type of traits my ex had. To my surprise, I Googled away and found a “supposed psychologist” who saw what I saw in her.

  • bubba nonuthin

    C’mon…she is BPD…dont believe what they say…”that those who suffer, without long long therapy, support etc” magically get better in their 40s…they dont. They just lose the gas to run the engine like before…and choose more insidious methods.

  • aNette

    i love angelina

    she is is my SOULSISTER

  • Max

    Angelina is too sexy, whenever i seee her, i want to kiss her

  • cheryl

    I have been diagnosed with bpd my life has been from chaos to crisis I am multi talented and there are days I am ready to go I want to accomplish all my dreams however I fall into this dark hole this has been happening since I was a little girl unable to focus .my mind not being able to function depression’ anxiety’ I want so much to be able to just have days where I can wake up and see normal however my mind does not want to see things it’s a fog of confusion .I want to run away ;disappear . where no one can find Angelina I really understand it’s hard however I really need to focus because my dreams are slipping away and that’s killing me also because it’s hard to be me when this condition raises it’s ugly head .it takes away the things I love the most.

  • Draga

    I’m surprised that nobody so far has talked about the BPDers intense fear of abandonment (real or perceived) as a major aspect of this particular personality disorder. “I Hate You Don’t Leave Me” is a classic book written about BPD as is “Understanding the Borderline Mother” by Christine Lawson. I know some very successful and wealthy people with BPD; the ability to move around the planet at will is (to me!) a typical coping style for those who have the $$$ and seek a “do over” with people on demand. There is also a highly narcissistic component at play with any BPDer because, not unlike a drug addict, the BPDer is constantly self-checking to make sure “Am I o.k.?” “What do I need now to feel o.k.?” “Did this encounter with “X” this morning make me feel o.k. or not?” “Why did “B” look at me that way this afternoon?” “Am I safe with “J” in general or not?” etc. etc. etc. Instead of allowing one’s anxiety over this “I hate you don’t leave me” abandonment-based drama to take over…BPDers really need to realize they will NEVER ever find God in human form for themselves in this lifetime. There is a God, but He/She is NOT your boyfriend or your girlfriend or your spouse or your child or your sister or your best friend or YOU either! To spend a lifetime expecting other people to just “know” who you are and what you need like its their job is ludicrous…and vice versa. And as is true in Lawson’s book, there are subtypes (Diana was the “Queen/Waif”…Joan Crawford the “Queen/Witch”…as two examples). Getting better and recovering from BPD status is possible, but it requires IMHO true humility and gratitude as foundational to this process. My own mother was a borderline; she experienced tremendous hardship as a kid and was abused every which way but sideways by her own mother and the adults in her life as she grew up. She also was the Queen/Witch subtype; it took me years to figure out what was “up” with her (for a long time I thought she was bipolar or PTSD, both disorders which are very similar symptom-wise to BPD). As she grew older and before she died, she morphed into the “Waif/Hermit” subtype after losing her looks and her health. Tragically, my only sibling is a lot like her, but he has had the additional struggle with drug and alcohol abuse throughout his life. My thing is don’t give up if you have BPD and don’t ignore the fact that your behavior really does cause others to walk on eggshells around you if you DON’T make recovery a top priority of your life from this day forward! Good luck and keep working your recovery day by day!

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