Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Borderline Diagnosis in Men

I have an obsession with Celebrities and particularly celebrity gossip; I like the juicy overly personal stuff;  Britney Spears shaves her head, Lindsay Lohan drunk driving, Mel Gibson calls a cop "sugar tits" while drunk driving.  I try to stay away from the speculation gossip, the who is dating who and especially the who has mental illness part?  Even that seems off bounds to me, although I do like it when someone (especially someone outside of the norm) comes forward.
Brandon Marshall, the Miami Dolphins receiver, today announced that he suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The mental illness affects 2 percent of the adult population and is less well known than other disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is characterized by mood swings, unstable self image, troubled relationships and fears of abandonment.BPD diagnoses are overwhelmingly more common among women. Nearly 75 percent all BPD diagnoses are made in women. There is speculation that both Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana suffered from BPD. 
The mental illness -- which may arise from childhood issues of abandonment, trauma and sexual abuse -- is also characterized by a high incidence of self harm and suicide. Nearly 80 percent of those diagnosed with BPD report having suicidal tendencies. Other typical symptoms include disproportionate anger, impulsive sex, periods of alcoholism and binge eating. BPD often occurs in conjunction with other mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.Perhaps the biggest issues for those suffering from BPD are low self image and constantly shifting relationships. People with BPD quickly swing from idealizing a loved one to hating them over a perceived slight. 
BPD is usually treatable although it often goes diagnosis or gets mistaken for another mental illness, most typically bipolar disorder. Treatment includes talk therapy, dialectical behavior therapy Article
I must admitt I don't follow sports either this just came across my google alerts, but for full effects this is what he looks like:

Simply put he doesn't fit the profile we typically hear about (or see in my office) with Borderline Personality Disorder.  He is a 28 year old African American male, standing 6' 4" and weighing 230lbs.  The most common image we have from media about BPD is Girl Interrupted, where a waify white female who chain smokes is in a mental hospital for 18 months for her Borderline symptoms.  Recent articles are now saying the split for diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder is 50/50, where in the DSM IVr it was stated at 75/25 with an overwhelming amount of diagnosis as female.  I personally have had a handful of men in the DBT groups I have ran (the groups were not diagnosis specific, but the agency was 50/50 male/female.)  I never had a male complete the program, and they were more likely to listen, be quiet, pay attention then drop a few weeks in under the radar so I never had the opportunity to ask why.  Being I have yet to work with a male diagnosed with BPD and couldn't find much research,besides this brief article that lists traits men with BPD have:
1. Initially comes on very strong and romantic. Borderline men tend to be very sensitive and romantic. In a sense they are addicted to the notions of romance and love. Initially this can be one of the more alluring qualites of these men. 
2. Quick to declare his love. A borderline man will sometimes profess his love on a first or second date. In truth borderline men either have a very distorted sense of love, or simply don't know what genuine love is. 
3. Substance abuse issues, including alcohol, and perhaps drugs like cocaine, marijuana, and pills. Chemical addiction among borderlne men is very common. This male is essentially self-medicating himself in order to soothe his deep emotional pain and feelings of being unlovable. 
4. Overly jealous. Bordeline men are very insecure despite their apparent confidence. In relationships they will react with hostility and jealousy around other males. 
5. Grandiose. Borderline men tend to be very boastful. They are grandiose in the way they think and talk about themselves. They will brag, exaggerate, and lie about their accomplishments and their abilities. In reality this narcissism is an attempt to compensate for a very fragile sense of self. 
6. Great lover. Borderline men tend to be hypersexual or even sexually addicted. Women describe them as fantastic and very giving in the bedroom. Borderline men will use sex as a replacement for true intimacy or love. In addition a borderline man will use sex as a way of winning or securing a woman. 
7. The suggestion of a breakup sends him off the "deep end". At the heart of borderline personality disorder is the issue of “abandonment”. Any indication of a breakup, whether real or perceived, will activate fear, anger, and incredible sadness in him. This male will even preemptively end a relationship if he feels that a breakup is coming. 
8. Impulsive and reckless. Impulsivity is a hallmark feature of this disorder. This can include gambling, promiscuous and unprotected sex, reckless driving and speeding, driving while intoxicated, excessive spending, etc. 
9. Bad temper. This male being very insecure is highly sensitive to perceived slights or criticism. His anger can be explosive and well out of proportion for the situation. 
10. Frequent mood swings. Rapidly changing moods are very common with borderline disorder. This male can go from feeling confident and arrogant to insecure and depressed within hours. 
 Being I have zero experience any males with Borderline Personality Disorder want to speak about how their symtpoms manifest oppose to females with BPD?


  1. Most of the 10 symptoms you listed fit me too a T. I can go from 0 to hey-lets-move-in-together in about 2 days. Honestly the only thing I do markedly different is never ending a relationship, provided that its with someone that I actually cared for and not some poor girl who I selfishly used as a rebound :/. But yeah, if I feel a breakup coming I'll usually try to overcompensate by latching on waaaaay too hard or attempting to seduce her because I felt as if that would keep us together, the only times I've ever felt like ending a relationship were when I felt like said relationship was secure. But I suppose even that's typical even, strong reactions to the thought of abandonment are a hallmark of BPD, as is pushing away those you feel are truly "there."
    A quirk of mine, and I call it a quirk because I've yet to hear of another BPD male doing this though I don't doubt it happens, is that when I do end relationships, be they physical or not, I do so by complete avoidance. It's the only way I feel comfortable doing so; out of sight, out of mind certainly applies here, at least at first. Eventually, my conscience kicks in and starts to eat away at me, at which point I feel terrible until I begin to hate or demonize the person with whom I've stopped contact with. This cycle can go on for a while, at any given time I'm either hating myself for leaving, hating them for being so worthy of being left, or doing god knows what kind of impulsive activity.
    I've read that alot of BPD males engage in relationship abuse of the physical nature; at least here I can claim to be innocent, though I can't deny that I can be very abusive. However, I'm a remarkably non-aggressive person, to the point that I'm uncomfortable showing anger towards another or even hearing a sincere apology (I suppose it's a feeling of unworthiness), so to circumvent this I tend to take a very passive aggressive or blatantly manipulative approach. Most of the time I do this without even realizing it or for no clear purpose.
    I've tried to be blunt and frank about my shortcomings, however there's a fair amount of inner pain that comes with being a borderline male as well; mine goes something like follows:
    1. Extreme jealousy of other males who I perceive to posses something (typically charm/better looks/superior intellect) I don't
    2. Horrible self image. A 4 year period of my life was spent celibate because I lacked the confidence to approach a member of the opposite sex due to in part my perceived bad appearance and awkwardness. Though this was also due to...
    3. Insane fear of being rejected- the 4 years I spent celibate, I also made very few connections with ANYONE, due to the fact that I was afraid of being perceived as awkward/not good enough/whatever. (I've been told I also have some avoidant traits, though not enough for a diagnosis but interactions with teh BPD :/) Approaching anyone is a very involved process with me, though paradoxically I can be one of the most charming people on earth; in fact, every girl I've been with was shocked to hear of how afraid I am of approaching people.
    4. Disgust with your actions. Things like binge/purge cycles, cutting/burning, or other forms of self harm are less "okay" for males to do (though in no way am I attempting to devalue the suffering of females who indulge in said behaviors) and the feeling of not being a real man is common after such endeavors. Which leads me too..
    5. Self harm. I'll burn or cut rarely, but binge eating, starving, forcing myself to throw up, or overexercising I do frequently.
    6. I'm really not sure who I am. I've defined myself as a chemist, cook, junkie, partner, and a million other things, but they never lasted. At times I've emphasized my labels of BPD, bulimic, or whatever in an attempt to have SOME sort of identity. Usually a crash is associated with these definitions, the most recent of which landed me in a state hospital.

  2. The picture I just painted likely sounds bleak or scary, and while I don't mean to take away from the sincerity of it, I'd also like to add that there are plenty of times where, action wise, I'm completely normal and functioning. Inside, however, there's almost always a storm, and sometimes I can't help but make one. I say this with guilt, but it's true; I want my world to be as chaotic as I feel inside. I hate what it does to others, but I must own it. I'm currently in therapy (CBT/DBT) and hope to get better. I want to be normal, to not hurt others, to not hate myself, to be secure, to love, live, and all of those nice things..

    1. One last thing- we're defensive as fuck.
      No one is supposed to get close to us, we get close to you. As sad as it is, we keep our defenses up so that no matter how close you feel like you are, we feel safe and secure behind a nice thick wall. My main defense is intellectualization, but it can be anything and from humor to promiscuity.
      Case in point is my previous two posts: while everything I said is true, upon rereading them I see a fair bit of dry humor and intellectualzation. This I did basically to detach myself from the emotions that come from such revelations and make sure that anyone reading didnt know how I no point did I say "I'm binging as I eat this, I want to throw up, I feel like a monster, I hate myself so much sometimes, oh man I cant believe I'm telling even random people this, what if they find out who I am and blackmail/hurt me, oh god I hope this actually helps someone.'
      Even in the middle of turmoil, we can come off as normal, because weve got a defense tailor-made to do just that.

  3. Thank you.... You exposed everything that I wanted to know about bpd to help someone who im so truly in love with. Im certain this man is my natural soul mate without even trying I needed to hear this for awhile now and i cannot thank you enough.

    1. Im so determined to cure this mans pain his in the military now going to be stationed in korea for 18 months... his worst fear is me fucking someone else... something I never even thought about before. I wanna marry this man someday.

    2. He is so naturally perfect to me he doesnt even have to try I wish that he could realize how perfect he truly is via my eyes... he would live himself in everyway possible and would never doubt us. he hates the separation too... I mean I do to, im never going to let him down as he imagines I will. He is seriously the best friend that completed me 360 someone who I always needed in my life that I couldnt imagine to be real so naturally.

    3. I wanna destroy bpd by all means I fucking hate it. Nobody deserves to live with such pain, nobody deserves the factors that contributed to the pain of bpd. You sound just like mon parfait amour the man who ill never doubt or second guess in my lifetime. :)