Borderline Personality Disorder Myths
by Patty E. Fleener M.S.W.
Many myths about the borderline personality disorder are prevalent
in our society not only among lay people, but mental health
professionals as well. These myths are a great obstacle in BPD
treatment and some can make the condition worse. What are some of
I sat down and wrote out some common myths about the BPD but I
would imagine there are at least hundreds more that are prevalent -
things we hear from our Drs. and therapists, from our friends and
families and some from old material written about the BPD before more
People with BPD normally do not make sure of the mental health
People with BPD can never have a normal relationship.
As people with BPD age, they get worse or stay the same in every
It is unusual for a person with BPD to begin to avoid others and
not invest as much emotionally in others as they age.
It is usually always easy for someone with BPD to find adequate
Families of people with this disorder overall are generally unaffected
by the disorder.
There is no formal treatment or programs for families of people
People with BPD experience normal REM sleep.
A person with this disorder can just stop doing BPD behaviors if
they try hard enough.
A person can get better only by reading about this disorder.
BPD is a psychological disorder only.
It is agreed by experts that the BPD is truly a personality
disorder and not something else.
Therapists should provide therapy for their BPD clients the same
as all their other clients.
People with BPD self-mutilate only for attention.
People with BPD regulate their emotions normally.
If people with BPD would just make an effort their moods would be
Usually the first medication a person with this disorder takes
works the best.
It is uncommon for these folks to take more than one medication.
- Having this disorder is permanent and you will always have it to
the same degree that you do now. After all, it is an Axis II
disorder and that alone means borderlines don't get better.
- You have a problem with your personality. You are flawed. The
very name "Borderline Personality Disorder" is ALL
reflective of what this disorder actually is.
- The BPD is caused only by abuse (physical, sexual or emotional).
- Those of us with the BPD need to go into psychotherapy and try
to "remember" that trauma and feel the pain in order to
- All borderlines are the same. They act the same way, feel the
same way, etc.
- There is no such thing as the BPD. Borderlines are just
manipulative, "bad" and hurt other people on purpose.
- Reasoning with a borderline about their behavior, thoughts or
feelings will make a difference.
- Partners and families have some control over their loved one’s
- Medication will not help borderlines. All psychotropic
medications are addictive and borderlines are "weak" for
- All prescribers know how to treat this disorder.
- All prescribers agree on how to treat this disorder.
- All clinicians agree on the etiology (cause) of the BPD.
- Everything is known that needs to be known about the BPD. No
more research needs to be done.
- It is the borderline’s fault for having this disorder or it is
always the parent’s fault.
- Borderlines shouldn’t forgive themselves for the
"awful" things they did while in a rage or in
depression. They were in total control during these episodes.
- Having the BPD means the person is "crazy."
- The BPD means you have more than one personality.
- All borderlines need is medication. Therapy is not necessary.
Or, the opposite. All the borderlines need is therapy as
medication will not help.
- It is rare that borderlines will have other disorders such as
AD(H)D, OCD, panic disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, migraines,
irritable bowel disorder or other personality disorders.
- There is one set or combination of medications that will treat
all people with this disorder. Every one with the BPD will improve
on the same medications.
- You have to be a "cutter" to have the BPD.
- You have to have all of the criteria listed in the DSM IV.
- BPD's are manipulative.
- BPD is truly an Axis II Disorder just like it says in the DSM
- BPD is not a medical disorder. Research is not baking this up
- Research is not finding genetic links to the BPD.
- Every person with the BPD goes on a "distortion
campaign" against others.
- People with the BPD are known to lie.
- People with the BPD can't love.
Other Today Websites
Mental Health Matters for information
and articles. Get
help to find
a therapist or list
your practice; and Psych
Forums for message boards on a variety of MH topics.
Copyright © Patty Fleener, M.S.W. All