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Identifying various personality organizations can be useful in so far as it creates a framework around a set of experiences that can be orienting and validating for some. For others, it can feel pathologizing and reductive. The following questions are not meant to replace a clinical diagnosis.
Do you make desperate efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment? Does the thought of an ordinary period of separation from your partner make you feel frantic? Is it difficult to tolerate being alone?
Does your view of others shift suddenly and dramatically? Do you idealize others and then become easily disillusioned when they let you down? Are your relationships characterized by intensity and drama?
Have you had sudden shifts in your outlook, the way you view yourself, what you value, who you aspire to be and who you associate with?
Do you impulsively put yourself at risk by spending, gambling, binge eating, abusing substances, self harming, engaging in unsafe sex or other potentially damaging behaviors?
Are you prone to self-destructive acts, suicidal gestures and/or self-harm?
Does your mood shift within a few hours between feelings of sadness, irritability and anxiety with intermittent periods of anger, panic and despair - but rarely experience a feeling of well being or contentment?
Are you constantly trying to find a way to fill a void inside by using distractions, alcohol or substances, sex or relationships? Are you easily bored, perpetually seeking something to do or somewhere to go?
Does your anger get triggered in situations that wouldn't ordinarily call for it? Do you become extremely sarcastic, bitter and verbally abusive towards others followed by feelings of shame and guilt?
Have unusually stressful events made you suspicious and paranoid? Have your thoughts and feelings seemed unreal or not belonging to you?
It is important to remember that the above criteria are all experiences of being human that many of us can relate to at different times in our life. Having a few of the above traits does not mean that you have borderline personality disorder. This diagnosis refers to a persistent pattern of behaviors seen over the course of a lifetime across a multitude of circumstances. Such a diagnosis should only be made by a licensed professional who has had direct experience with you in a clinical context for an extended period of time.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Borderline personality disorder. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
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