Borderline Personality Disorder and Self Awareness

I am 24 years old and therapists have gone back and forth about whether or not I have Borderline Personality Disorder. The diagnosis was initially on my file, but then was taken off. More recently I discussed the diagnosis with my therapist, and she said I couldn't possibly have a personality disorder because I'm aware of my issues. Is it true that if a patient has some self-awareness they no longer fit the diagnosis of a personality disorder?


Ben's Answer:

No, this isn't really true. While many people with personality disorders (borderline, narcissistic, hystrionic, etc), may often be in a state of denial, in which they have no conscious awareness or acceptance of their own issues, it's not always the case. Some of the most insightful and "self-aware" people I've met have Borderline Personality Disorder.

But there are degrees of how severe a personality disorder can be. We can have borderline features and not really fit the full diagnosis. One of the main traits of Borderline Personality is a chronic feeling of emptiness (in the negative, vulnerable sense), and also the tendency to idolize and then demonize, or alternatively love and then hate significant people in your life.

As a therapist I hate labeling people. Maybe your therapist does too. Use a diagnosis only if it helps you understand yourself better. Otherwise, they often do more harm then good.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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