9 Signs You Have Borderline Personality Disorder (And May Not Know It)

It doesn't take much to trigger a huge emotional reaction.

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Does your life sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride, with everything from your emotions and relationships to your sense of self constantly going up and down? You could have borderline personality disorder (BPD) if everything in your life seems unstable.

People with BPD tend to be very sensitive, and small things can trigger intense and overblown reactions. Once someone with BPD is upset, it's extremely difficult to get them to calm down. This emotional imbalance and the inability to chill out afterward leads to relationship drama and reckless behavior.


When you're going through powerful highs and lows, you're unable to think straight and make rational decisions. You may say things that cause you and others pain, and you may act out in scary and inappropriate ways. 

Two percent of the population has BPD — that's more than individuals who have bipolar or schizophrenia. Luckily, BPD is treatable with therapy and medication, and the chances of recovery are good.

For some men and women with borderline personality disorder, they are insatiable when it comes to sex. For the woman with BPD, their symptoms intensify their sexual magnetism. Though having BPD may give you intense emotional and sexual highs, they will come crashing down and your life will end up in emotional disarray. 


RELATED: Do I Have Borderline Personality Disorder? BPD Symptoms & Signs To Look For

Here are nine signs you have borderline personality disorder.

1. You're terrified of being abandoned. 

You absolutely can't stand to be left alone. If your partner comes home late from work or a loved one goes away for business, you panic and try frantically to keep them close. You may beg, cling, start a fight, cyberstalk their every movement, or even physically block them from leaving. Instead of bringing them closer, this kind of behavior has a tendency to have the opposite effect and drives them away.

2. You have intense but short-lived relationships.

You fall in love super-fast because you think that this new person is perfect and will complete you. It doesn't take long for them to disappoint you. All your relationships are either perfect or awful, with nothing in between. Almost everybody in your life feels like they can't keep track of your emotions, as you speedily go from idealization to devaluation, anger, and hate. It's nearly impossible to stay off your sh*t list.

3. Your sense of self is especially unstable. 

There are days when you think you're awesome and other days when you think you're the devil. You don't have a very clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. Everything is constantly in flux with you and so you're always changing jobs, social circles, lovers, religion, values, goals, dreams, and even sexual identity.


RELATED: Why People With These 3 Personality Traits Are The Hardest To Love

4. You behave in impulsive, self-destructive ways. 

People with BPD act in harmful, sensation-seeking ways, especially when they're upset. You may impulsively spend money, overeat, drive too fast or recklessly shoplift, engage in unsafe sex, drink too much, or do drugs. You engage in these dangerous behaviors to feel better, but the negative feelings return quickly.

5. You consider self-harming yourself. 

Suicidal behavior (which includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal threats, or attempting suicide) and deliberate self-harm (like cutting or burning) are common in individuals with BPD.

6. You have extreme emotional swings.

One moment you're deliriously happy and the next you're completely down in the dumps. Things that most people would just brush off send you into a spiral. Your mood swings are intense but they do tend to pass fairly quickly.


7. You feel empty inside. 

People with BPD often feel as if they're nothing or nobody and that they have nothing inside them. You try to fill up the emptiness with things like food, drugs or sex, but nothing really feels satisfying.

8. You have a short fuse and get angry quickly. 

You can go from 0 to 100 on the anger scale very easily, and once that fuse is lit you have trouble controlling your anger. You will yell, throw things, and become completely consumed with your rage. As angry as you may get with other people, you can get just as angry with yourself.

RELATED: How To Know If An Undiagnosed Personality Disorder Is Ruining Your Relationship


9. You struggle with paranoia. 

You get extremely suspicious of other people's motivations and are convinced that people are out to get you. When under stress you experience dissociation and like you're outside your own body.

If you think you might be suffering from borderline personality disorder, please see a mental health professional. It's the first step to feeling better and becoming more in control of your emotions and your life.

Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day.