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

Click here to post comments

Return to Ask a Therapist.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.