Borderline Personality Disorder,  Celebrities,  Odds and Ends

Are Borderlines Evil?

This post is a response to my last post about Demonic Possession and Borderline Personality Disorder. OK, maybe responding to my own post is “navel gazing” on my part, but I have been thinking about that post since I wrote it. I certainly didn’t want my readers to believe that I am anti-religious – I am not.

What irked me so about the “Mrs. Treasures” article about Demonic Possession and BPD was that it was indicative of a cognitive distortion that people with BPD often exhibit and one that can be transmitted to the Non-BP over time. That cognitive distortion is black-and-white thinking. It is the tendency for someone to think that something or someone is all good or all bad – good or evil. Framing BPD as analogous to demonic possession puts the borderline in the evil category and infers that the BP is a non’s enemy. People with BPD are not evil; they have a serious mental illness with areas of dysregulation, including behavioral dysregulation. Calling them evil is about as judgmental as one can be and being judgmental is counter-productive when it comes to supporting the healing of a loved one with BPD. That sentence brings me to another point. Mrs. Treasures uses the term “loved one” (and lover) several times in her article, but she expresses little love or sympathy for someone with BPD. If this person is your “loved one” aren’t you inclined to exhibit love toward them? The example that she cites in her article is from “Patrick” who is, of course, an ex-husband of a manipulative borderline woman. Since he is an ex-husband, I suppose he no longer considers his ex-wife a loved one.

And that brings me to another point that I have trouble with – especially in the online support community for nons. It is the fact that many people like to cite Hitler as an example of a historical borderline by stating something to the effect of “you know, arguably the most evil person in history was a borderline.” First of all, although some ex post facto psychological researchers have decided Hitler had BPD, others state that his mental disorders most likely arose from NPD or from an addiction to amphetamines. Certainly, considering yourself the savior of your nation, your race and the world would seem narcissistic to me anyway. Even though “narcissistic behavior” is stated in “Stop Walking on Eggshells” (SWOE) as a symptom of BPD, it is not really a primary symptom. It instead arises from black-and-white thinking and as a counter-balance to shame. It is not mentioned as one of the nine features of BPD in the DSM-IV. It is however mentioned as a primary feature of NPD.

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Hitler’s evil arose not from his supposed borderline personality disorder. It arose from his “will to power” and his setting up an enemy (or several: the Jews, the Poles, the Allies, People with Mental Retardation, the Communists, etc.) that deserved death. He viewed these groups less than human and as an evil plague to the German people. Eradication was the only answer in his mind (or in the mind’s of those around him). That will to power is at the root of all big, historical evils in my opinion. You see it in Pol Pot, in Stalin, in Mao and in many others. The key point is that Hitler set up an “us vs. them” situation in which the German people had to fight to the death with their sworn enemies. If you consider a person with BPD evil (demonic) and yourself as good (Godly), you are setting up the same sort of dynamic with this other person. (OK, I’m not calling anyone Hitler here).

Technically, Hitler couldn’t be diagnosed with BPD (at least by American standards) because the diagnosis didn’t exist in the DSM until 1980. The word “borderline” has been around for a lot longer than that, but the actual diagnosis didn’t get codified until 1980. The diagnosis was still used though – as it was used for Susanna Kaysen (author of “Girl, Interrupted”) in the 1960s.

Did Princess Di have BPD?The historical example of BPD I like to reference (instead of Hitler) is Princess Diana. According to one of her chroniclers, Princess Di had BPD. Based on what I’ve read about her behavior (including bulimia, raging and cutting), if anyone was a likely candidate for BPD in history it’s Princess Di. What is extraordinarily sad about Princess Di was that she had to live much of her life in a fishbowl. That had to be extremely stressful for her. She was also capable of compassion for those in difficult situations, although ultimately Princess Di was a tragic figure and, in my opinion, more representational (than Hitler) of what the experience of a borderline is like.

Before you (as a non) decide that your “loved one” with BPD is evil, I suggest taking a step back and considering how tragic and painful the experience of BPD can be. Think of Princess Di, not Hitler.

30 Comments

  • R Wenner

    I take issue with the first poster on this page protesting a perceived lack of love by the “loved ones” of BPDs. One only has to consider the terrorized and brutalized children of the BPD parent to see that while these may wish to have affection and respect such a parent, it is impossible because the BPD parent (most often the mother) is emotionally treacherous, jealous, and manipulative; such that adult children are either completely cowed by them or else “divorce” (cut all contact and communication) with the BPD parent merely to salvage their own sanity or normality.

  • Gord

    Not all borderlines are monsters. Some people that exhibit the obnoxious behavior might just be mean nasty people

  • Jessica

    As someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder I find the article comparing BPD to demonic possession to be both disturbing and sadding. The author shows a vast ignorance of BPD and mental health conditions in general. I am not a violent person and I have never been suspected of demonic possession (or any other kind of supernatural phenomenon).

  • kelly

    I empathize with BPDs that don’t show any of the signs of the word possession but I can’t dismiss the consideration. I have seen very strange sequent of events that seem other worldly – manipulation at a supernatural level. She’s been adept at tarot cards and I’ve seen her make jaws drop with her readings..several times. Part of her is rather orthodox in her Christian Faith though and has expressed reservations as to the danger of tarot cards and the likes. Her spooky side has subsided significantly since she’s been off Meth, another part of the possible mix for a bpd – the first being the possession part There is something like 10 possible symptoms with something like 5 require for a BPD diagnosis. Most bpds don’t exhibit these trait. But too many do for this to be ignored.

    Maybe one answer is that some bpds are more susceptible to evil gateways like tarot, which seems to be another not so insignificant part BPD literature out there as a trait for some bpds; ie clairvoyant.

    The spiritual dimension should not be ignored and distinctions should be investigated between mental illness and obsession ( heavy demonic influence) and possession. St. Matthew made the distinction “they presented to him(Jesus) all sick people that were taken with divers diseases [poikilais nosois] and torments [Basanois], and such as were possessed by devils [daimonizomenous], and lunatics [seleniazomenous], and those who had the palsy [paralytikous], and he cured them” (iv, 24).

    The evangelist discerned between lunatics and possessed, Why can’t Psychology?

  • kelly

    …and maybe a new disordor should be separated from Bpd. It could be called MALadjusted Clairvoyance Disorder. :o}

  • michael

    yes. bpd is short hand for evil. what else would you call it? mean. abusive? cruel? my wife has bpd. she almost killed me. it took me four years to figure it out. bpd. borderline personality disorder. run.

  • jim

    Very difficult person to have in your life. They are never happy with any person, place or thing. That includes you. It is never about any one person but them. They will make you sick to be around them. They suck the life out of everyone they are with. They don’t change. They never want you to do well. If you are hurt or injured they will never ask you how you are. God forbid you marry this person. To have a friend or family member with this its more then most can handle. They will always disappoint you. Cut your losses and move on. You will always loss. Move if you have to. This is the worst. Pray all the time. Get new friends, no call no write or txt. It is poison to you. Dangerous.

  • jim

    Yes, they are people too. God loves all of us. Dangerous is too hard a word. Each of us has so much to offer on this earth. Treatment is the answer with gods assistance. It takes a special person to be able to understand this person and stay healthy. Only thing that will work is unconditional Love to that person.

  • jim

    Zero-negatives are the pathological group. These are people with borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. They are capable of inflicting physical and psychological harm on others and are unmoved by the plight of those they hurt. Baron-Cohen says people with these conditions all have one thing in common: zero empathy.

  • Bon Dobbs

    Baron-Cohen also says that that there is a difference as to WHY these groups display little/no empathy. BPD is because of over whelming emotions that can be assuaged.

  • Tina

    As a Borderline female who is happily in love, it makes me sad to see that people refer to us as “evil” and unable to feel things like love or compassion.

    I may have my off days but I try to do well for myself. I respect my boyfriend’s choices as well as my own. I am happy a lot of the time. I don’t just think of myself.

    We are people too, not monsters.

  • Sabrina

    I’m 41 yrs old, and I have BPD. I’m a missionary, loving the Lord Jesus Christ and devoted to serving others. I had a sad and traumatic childhood, which left me with BPD. Before I gave my life to the Lord, I was in constant pain, grief, and emotional and mental agony. I felt deeply hurt and abandoned. I was responding with intense anger to any signs of rejection, neglect or disrespect. My life was a pure misery full of intense emotions, fear, and loneliness. I desperately needed love, unconditional, perfect love, the kind of love I did not receive as a child, but I could not find it in another human being. I found healing in the love of God and a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m still healing, but thanks to that parental unconditional love I have received from God, which I missed as a child, and unconditional love, support, and patience from therapists and friends, I have been growing. My personality is developing, and I feel more and more like a healthy adult who can control emotions, judge things rationally and respond to others in a healthy way. The abandoned child that I was for years could not do this. It is normal for children to show intense emotions, think black and white, and act irrationally. The childhood trauma stunted my development and I walked into my adulthood with a mind of a 3 year old. Life is very hard when you are developmentally 3 or 4 but everyone else sees an adult. That’s what BPD is about.

  • melissa

    I spent two years with a BPD boyfriend and the only words that can describe my life with him are, hell on earth. Its not the raging, the blaming, the storming off and break ups that rip you apart. Its the vicious cycle of controlling your mind leading you to actually start questioning your own sanity and start believing you are the problem. are they monsters – evil? thats a word choice. I do believe that the psych community will eventually reclassify this mental illness to something much more severe and catastrophic than it is today. when I read a post by a BPD telling me they are hurt by these words and they are victims, my stomach turns. I have been lied to so man times by a BPD I will ever trust a word they say. Intertwine your life with a BPD and you will be damaged. Period.

  • John

    I have had my fill of Borderlines jumping on forums and whining “we are people”. NO YOU ARE NOT!! Of course I know that BPDs are not all the same, nor are individuals the same throughout their lives. So What? Bottom line is this. You spot a nice guy and suck him in because you need somebody to hold you. You know exactly what he needs to hear to fall so deeply in love that goes blind because you know he is just as afraid of abandonment as you are. Then, just when you get scared – BOOM – and you are gone. Leave town, leave the state, go to Europe or jump in bed with his best friend. You have destroyed another human being. What do you have to say for it? “Look at me – I’m in pain – look at what I just did and you will realize just how much pain I am in” –“somebody please hold me”.
    Here are the facts.
    Pain? Yes, we know you are in pain. Your father did terrible and unspeakable things to you and your mother let him do it.
    Compassion? You think that the nons that come to these forums looking for some glimmer of reason and insight into why you do what you do not have compassion. Wake up; these are the people that have compassion for you. You want more people to have compassion for you? Why, so they can end up emotionally mangled or is it because you need a fresh supply?
    This message is for all you Nons. Guess what? We were abandoned too; our daddy’s did things to us, our mommy’s through things at us too. We were neglected and abused and betrayed and used, so we know how you feel. Now, do we have any reason to believe, and evidence or even any theory that states or suggests that Borderlines were hurt more than the rest of us? The answer is NO. It is not your pain that makes you different; it is how you choose to deal with it. Now, chew on this, do not think for a moment that your pain is any worse or more unbearable than the pain you have inflicted on the people who chose to love you and give you compassion. It aint.
    When I drank, I hurt people. I drank more and I hurt people more. One day I stopped. I looked around at the damage and I wept. I cried for a year. Once I forgave myself, I apologized to those I hurt. I do not hurt people now. I felt my guilt and shame, and I earned freedom.
    You are just like a drunk or a drug addict. The only difference is your drug is a person. So, to every BPD that says – “I’m BPD and I am in a loving relationship” – says you.
    Unless you have gone through treatment and faced the pain of all the pain that you have INTENTIONALLY inflicted, you are using. You have no business in any type of a romantic relationship at all. If I woke up tomorrow morning and realized I hated myself because of all of the wounds I had inflicted on innocent people, my first thought would not be “hey, there is a nice young girl – she looks a bit insecure and bet she will hold me until I forget how much I hate myself.” No wonder you all hate yourselves, you should hate yourselves.
    Get your heads out of your butts and get some help. Change, grow up. Stop whining about your father because he aint gonna see the error of his ways and come hold you.
    NONE of you were born unlovable. Nor did your parents make you unlovable. You are the one that has done this to yourself.
    Every now and then we see a BPD that is honest. They usually say something like “run now while you can” or “she is in pain, but that does not give her the right to give that pain to you”. She has faced herself, done what it takes, felt the pain and is now able to love. I commend you. You are lovable, and YOU ARE A PERSON.

  • chaz

    My expirence with a diagnosed borderline ex who I have a child with has been hell. They are incredibly abusive , selfish and entitled. There is a reason people struggle with respecting them, its because of there horrible expirence with them, and its very hard to have a relationship with someone who will not reciprocate any respect back.

  • Heather

    I was told that Reactive Attachment Disorder is a prelude to Bpd.my stepson’s mother has bpd/npd and my stepson was diagnosed with Rad…

  • louise

    i believe its vaccine damage. neurological damage from infancy. absolutely as with so many strange disorders. i had a wonderful childhood. grat parents. supportive and caring. i have borderline. i dont cut myself or stuff like that but i feel im just from another planet. i am constantly anxiety plagued. stressed out in social situations etc. empathy? i do have empathy. the problem is that we either focus too much or too little on what goes on around us. i wonder if its a female form of autism or on that continuum overlapping somewhere.
    im not evil but surely i know how to hurt someone deeply but only if i get attacked. and not out of sich pleausure.it is true that in relationships in the beginning were very sweet and caring. trouble sets in once we get comfortable with someone and know they are here to stay. suddenly we get very confident and that shy little bambi turns potentially into a very clued up manipulative demon if the inner turmoil takes overhand. its absolutely not neuro typical and the brain does not control emotion and impulses in the right way. its a wire problem up there. not a problem of being evil and of rotten charakter.

  • JC

    People with BPD cause nothing but pain and destruction to anyone that gets close to them. They cause permanent emotional and psychological lifelong damage to others. They are evil because they rationalize and whitewash their sins with malignant narcissism and if they are diagnosed they use the diagnosis as a rationalization to whitewash their sins.

  • c

    why do you think that people with BPD are any more evil than the people who judge and condemn them? Why are non-BPD’s so innocent and everyone thinks people with BPD actually come outa hell? All people are people. I’m sure you have a few demons hiding in your closet somewhere. Don’t keep poking your finger at people who you think are hurting you. Look neutrally at the enormous pain people with BPD have suffered.It usually includes sexual abuse (yes, an old man screwing a little girl, face it)and physical abuse (yes, being whipped and beaten with a stick and a leather belt until they’re black and blue and screaming for mercy) If you wanna be Dean Winchester and take a holiday in hell, go ahead, its called BPD.

  • AJ

    Unforgiveness causes mental turmoil and opens the door to demonic control. People with BPD have indeed been hurt greatly. However they have chosen not to forgive the perpurtrator. They have such a passion for “justice” and since they are unable to unleash their anger upon the person who deserves it, it will come to the surface regularly. Those close to the BPD will expereince that anger. I have expereince being engaged to a borderline. They are very manipulative. They will misinterpret your words to make you look bad. They are not amenable to reasonable discussion. In my own opinion, the look in their eyes when the anger rises to the surface seems supernaturally evil. They know how far and how far not to go to keep you hanging on. They know how to “strike below the radar”. They are masters at being subtle. I stayed in the relationship believing I could help her. I really would love to help people with BPD but I believe that until such a person exercises forgiveness and gives up the anger within, their is no hope. As a plea to the borderline person. Forgive your abuser. Not for his/her sake but for the sake of your partner and yourself. I know you desire justice. The way you are tretaing people close to you is not justice. Your abuser, as well as me and you, will have God to answer to. God’s justice will always be right.
    aj

  • profling

    Sickness is an evil. BPD people do not bring good into the world, do they? So why not consider their character disorder an evil? Dr. Scott Peck does.

  • Shelley

    True borderlines hate themselves and all their destructive coping mechanisms evolve from a base of deep shame and a sense of worthlessness bc they feel incapable of thriving emotionally like a “normal” person. They’ve lost hope bc meds don’t work (unless they are bipolar as well) and therapy has failed time and time again. Telling them they might be possessed is kind of counter productive to healing. That being said, I think people who are depressed or hopeless are ripe for negative spiritual energy – which compounds BPD symptoms. Get the BPD sufferer DBT (dialectic behavioral) therapy and teach them how to stop attacking themselves and once they start getting out of their destructive negative headspace, they’ll be able to let go of any lingering negative energies as well.

  • Hugh

    BPD sufferers deserve no empathy. They must quickly and decisively be unmasked, isolated and shunned. Being the most evil of humans, they can never be trusted by spouses and never allowed to predictably abuse and damage any children unfortunate enough to be burdened with one as a parent.

  • Bon Dobbs

    They must quickly and decisively be unmasked, isolated and shunned.

    This seems to indicate that you believe that people with BPD are in complete control over their minds, emotions and behavior – that it is not a mental illness. I wonder how this statement would be taken if it was applied to people with epilepsy or autism? Should those people, say people with high functioning autism, who exhibit many of the social interaction issues as those with BPD, be unmasked, isolated and shunned as well?

  • Oregon Haze

    IMO, the article is hyperbolic on purpose to evoke that end of the spectrum response. After 17+ years of a roller coaster relationship through hell, I almost went from one bpd relationship, to another. I didn’t even know what this term/condition was a week ago and feel like a new lease of life (yes, i get it its temporary) but it’s like being released from that mental prison that yes i put myself in, but the bpd holds the skeleton key. and to answer the one ? – the difference between the personalities is one channels their suffering toward themselves and the bpd channels all anger onto others in perpetuity. hard wired into their mind. never to change. now i know which gives one a lifeline out.

  • Matthew D

    It’s so comical that this article is so classic BPD – avoidance of responsibility and denial of abuse.

    Dating a borderline is no different than dating a narcissist or psychopath. Outcome is the same – post-traumatic disorder.

    INTENTIONS DON’T MATTER IF THEY DON’T REFLECT THE ACTIONS.

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