Aisha had an appointment with her good friend at 2:00pm, but owing to certain circumstances she could not make it at the slated time. “Could she have refused to show up in good time because she does not want to be friends with me anymore?”, one of the many thoughts Aisha had. That delay made Aisha see her friend in a different way, giving her a feeling of self-doubt and inferiority complex. This impulsive action and feeling displayed by Aisha can be linked to character traits of individuals living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) show a wide range of behavioural and psychological characters such as extreme fear of being abandoned or rejected, unpredictable mood swings, prolonged depression often associated with suicidal ideation, self-harm and suicide attempts. People living with BPD tend to understand who they are from their relationship with others. So, for them, every new relationship means learning about themselves all over again, which can be really hard especially if people mistreat them or are not constant in their lives. The way they perceive the world often tends to make them quite impulsive, hence acting out their feelings without careful thought on the consequences of these actions.
Splitting is a defence mechanism exhibited by people with BPD. It is an act of viewing people, and the world in general, as black or white; grey areas do not exist in their realm. This can be associated to the problems they face in their relationship with people. One action towards them can switch how they perceive a person from being good to being bad. Such behaviour can also change how they perceive themselves.
There is a form of psycho-dynamic theory called Object Relation Theory. This theory explains how people respond to the world through the perspectives they have learnt from people around them. The theory has been used to conclude that individuals with BPD tend to have a history of receiving inadequate love and support from people close to them when they were younger which has resulted into the feeling of insecurity, low self-esteem, surge dependence on others, and fear of rejection.
People living with BPD try to protect themselves from getting too attached to people because of the fear of rejection and abandonment. To most people, they might come off as people that love to quarrel and make trouble, but to them those negative acts are coping mechanisms to help with how they feel.
So, before you judge your friend, sibling, parent, child or even an acquaintance on being too clingy, or as someone who takes things too personal, take some time to think first because you may have no idea what the person may be going through. Many have the habit of judging people and writing them off for doing things that do not just sit well with us, but a few take the time to find out if the person is fine or not. If not for anything else, we should avoid judging people without knowing them or putting ourselves in their shoes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Saratu Abubakar is a young lady who majors in Journalism and minors in Psychology at the American University of Sharjah. She is passionate about Mental health and aims to pursue a masters in Social psychology after her undergraduate. She loves writing and that has led her into writing a fictional novel.