An Interesting Mix: Male Borderline Personality Disorder
By: Christine Hammond LMHC
Typically Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is viewed as a female disorder but it is not. Just like their female counterparts, males also have an intense and persistent fear of abandonment that permeants nearly every relationship. It could manifest in a marital or partner relationship, a father to a child relationship, or an employer to an employee relationship.
Early on in life, male BPD is often confused with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, conduct disorder, or bi-polar depression. One of the determining factors in accurately diagnosing BPD might just be that they have been previously diagnosed with most of these other disorders over the course of their life.
Most male BPDs also display signs of other personality disorders. They look narcissistic when they attack others and make nearly every discussion about them. They appear anti-social in their risk-taking sexual behaviors and have a desire to shock others with their extreme behaviors. They seem avoidant when they push back on intimate relationships for fear of abandonment. They act obsessive-compulsive when they obsessively repeat how they are feeling in an exaggerated manner. They perform at a passive-aggressive manner with no follow-thru and procrastination.
Here are some other indications that a male might have BPD:
- Their fear of abandonment in any relationship is a driving force. Whenever that fear seems real, they might react with belligerence, hostility, assaults on the other person’s character, ranting, and rages. This is not always expressed with the person whom they are afraid of losing, sometimes it projected onto a safer party.
- At first they are extremely charming and come on very strong but later spark a fight to justify pulling back. This is due to the nearly constant fear of abandonment. The second it appears they will be abandoned, they push the person away with angry outbursts.
- In an effort to demonstrate their intense feelings, they might threaten a partner with an affair or intentionally act out sexually with others to get the attention of partner.
- They are willing to place boundaries on other’s behavior but refuse to self-regulate or agree with boundaries being placed on them.
- In close relationships, they are emotionally needy and draining to the other person. One minute they are excited and the next they are depressed with nearly no indication of a reason for the switch. There is a lot of blame-shifting in relationships.
- They love a person, than they hate the same person. One minute they are saying the person is their whole world and the next they tear them to shreds. Because they are able to dissociate, they frequently don’t remember the hate part and often rewrite it to minimize what they said.
- Unlike their female counterparts, many males are not emotionally intelligent. Therefore, all intense emotion such as anger, fear, disappointment, loneliness, or surprise comes in the same form of aggression.
- They receive pleasure from shocking others with their high risk behavior as they thrive in crisis environments. But they frequently take it too far by threatening self-harming behavior.
- It is common to see this person with an addiction to sex, drugs, drinking, shopping, and gambling because their lack of impulse control.
- This dramatic behavior is not stereotypically male and therefore comes as a shock to an employer. There will be a string of broken employment for a variety of reasons. Some are firings for outbursts at work others are the BPD impulsively quitting siting the “craziness” of the workplace.
- Threats of suicide are regular occurrences. It is usually down in an antagonistic manner which is very confusing for a partner.
- They frequently project their extreme behavior onto others and fail to see when they do the same thing they accuse others of doing.
- There is extreme jealousy with a partner. It is not uncommon for them to threaten to end their life if the other person leaves.
- It is very likely they had a BPD mother with an on/off relationship. Usually there is a history of neglect and/or abuse from their mother.
- Their memory recall is terrible because of their ability dissociate.
Sadly, the healthier a partner is, the worse the response from the BPD. At their core, they know they do dysfunctional behavior and want a partner who is equally dysfunctional to justify their actions/reactions. Many of these relationships end in divorce.
To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.