Ask Bon,  Blame,  Borderline Personality Disorder,  Shame

Ask Bon: Why does my loved one with BPD fear judgment so much?

Judgment Hurts those with BPD

A person with BPD fears judgment almost to the point of being allergic to it. She is extremely sensitive to judgment from other people, even if that judgment is merely perceived. Because of the shame (the belief that she is a bad person and deserves to be deemed as such) and the rejection sensitivity, a person with BPD avoids situations in which her actions can be judged by others. When I say “judged” here and “judgment,” what I am referring to is not “using one’s better judgment” in a situation, but rather it is the sense that a person’s actions or the person herself can be judged as “right or wrong” in a given context.

Interestingly, even with a strong fear of judgment of herself and her own behavior and self, she also tends to judge other’s behavior and character harshly. How many times has your loved one with BPD told you that you were doing something “wrong” or that you are a “mean” or “bad” person?

Fear of judgment and emotional reactions to judgment (real or perceived) is a major issue for a person with BPD. Judgment of her actions causes emotional pain and to avoid judgment, she might lie or avoid social situations in which she feels she will be judged. If she is consistently concerned with doing something “the right way” or she feels that you think she “does everything wrong,” it is likely that she suffers from a fear of judgment.

Additionally, there is a stigma associated with being “crazy” when a person has BPD. A person with BPD might feel “not normal” inside and might have felt that way most of her life. However, if the outside world labels as “crazy” or “not normal” or “mentally ill,” it becomes an external validation for what she might already feel. The fact that others “know” about her can make her feel exposed. It is a form of judgment and fear of it that reduces the likelihood that the person will “admit” she has a problem.


  • Katie

    Hey, I really enjoy your articles, but one thing always irks me. Why do you always use female pronouns? I mean, I think a female close to you is borderline, right? But you write for everyone, no? So, I mean… males can be borderline too. It’s not always women who are the crazy ones 😉

  • Bon Dobbs


    Hi. I started writing about BPD way back in 2005 when it was assumed that 75% of sufferers were women. Since then, a study has come out that shows that it’s basically 50/50 men/women. I used the female pronoun consistently when it was thought that there were far more women than men. So, your being “irked” has been noticed and in the future, I plan on using he/she, rather than she.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  • Katie

    Hey, thanks for the reply!

    Wouldn’t “they”, “their” etc work too? I’m not sure, because English is not my native language. It’d just include even more people I guess.

    But anyways, keep up the great work. I’m learing immensly from your writing.

  • Bon Dobbs

    I am going to focus on “he/she” instead of “they”. I don’t like the idea of creating an “us vs them” dynamic. Thanks for the compliment! Take care.

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