Borderline Personality Disorder And Autism

Wow. This is a loaded gun you do not want to have to deal with. Hopefully the person with borderline personality disorder isn’t the same person with autism, but either way, it’s not a good situation for the person with autism.

Personality disorders are tricky to diagnose, because much like the symptoms of autism, they look like they could be something else. They are the masqueraders of the psych world, always pretending to be something they aren’t and hiding from what they are or have. They are also in total denial about their personality disorder and will react violently or negatively to being pushed to find psychological help.

It would be next to impossible for most children and adults on the spectrum to have a personality disorder because personality disorders originate in a place of trauma where to insulate oneself one gains dysfunctional coping mechanisms that work for them once so they keep applying them all of their lives. Since most that are diagnosed with autism don’t have coping mechanisms to begin with and need to be taught how to cope, a personality disorder is kind of out of the question. I say kind of, because kids with Aspergers have a remote chance of developing a personality disorder, given their ability to disassociate from people and situations around them and put themselves first. They are the only group on the spectrum that could possibly develop a personality disorder.

The flip side of the coin is an autistic child who has to deal with a parent with a personality disorder. Parents who have a personality disorder impact their autistic children in a very negative way. Their completely irrational behavior doesn’t make sense to other adults and is definitely confusing to children. Children may have their own fanciful way of looking at the world, but even the world of someone with borderline personality disorder is too bizarre and twisted to make any sense to a child.

Those with BPD have several of the following characteristics:

  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions and will actually accuse someone else of any wrongdoing that is their own.
  • Don’t remember situations the way everyone else does. They will replace negative reflexive memories with memories that make others the “evil” ones.
  • Claim to not remember anything at all.
  • Not engage in communication in an adult fashion.
  • Project their own faults, shortcomings, negativity, poor self esteem, and other issues onto others, including their own children.
  • Might be physically violent, but more often are very hostile and aggressive when cornered or called out on the rug.
  • In extreme cases, will play a very unpleasant and malicious “blame game” that causes extensive emotional and psychological hurt to someone one else, but then tell that person “it’s for your own good” or “it’s your fault this is happening”.

There’s a lot more that earmarks someone with BPD, but these are the most noticeable when living with them. They show a very positive mask to the rest of the world and can even be extremely charming to the point that everyone else who doesn’t live with them thinks they are absolutely glorious human beings, which only feeds the cycle o the BPD.

When you place a child with autism with a parent who has BPD, it’s a nightmare for the child with autism because they will never learn to cope with what’s going on. Everything is just overwhelming and way too much for the autistic child and the parent with BPD has no way to help them or teach them how to cope.

9 Comments

Filed under Autism Versus/And

9 Responses to Borderline Personality Disorder And Autism

  1. Sharon

    Please do research before posting articles. I read this in hopes of understanding the conection between the two disorders. Being part of the Bpd community I know many people who suffer from this difficult condition. Your opinions do not reflect thier or the ones who love them’s reality. I’m as people will read your article and you will further the stigma that our hard work is attempting to negate.
    Respectfully,
    Sharon

    • Sharon,
      I apologize if I have hurt your feelings. As I have mentioned in my previous articles, I only share whatever is out there. Some times information that I get from other sources may not the most updated one. So if you think any article needs correction, please do let me know.

      Thank you for your time and concern,
      Kylie.

    • maryellen

      Sharon Thank you for this comment I am the wife of a BPD and have to heartwrentchinglly divorce for my own safty but more in formation needs to get out about how many people struggle with this…Thank you again and my Best to you Mary Ellen

  2. Mina Carlsson

    As a psychologist I have to agree with you that having Aspergers syndrome makes you vulnerable for personality disorders. I would say this is mostly happening to them who have a late diagnose and are hence left to have led a life where people have not understood you and have not been able to explain what is happening to you. In my opinion everyone who are diagnosed late in life with autism are somehow traumatised since they have not been understood for many years and left out of control. This means the vulnerability for personality disorders is enhanced and closing your eyes for this fact is just making things worse for the individual that suffers from it.

  3. blank

    Hmm that makes so much sense to me. My mother acts like she has bpd I mean really, I’m sure she has it. She is always right, her point of view is always right, and she can’t see any other point of view. She can get violent when drinking all because no one will see her point of view. I thought I had bpd, even my doc said I might have it. Now two years later I found out I have autism. If you have the time ,please wright back I have things I really want to figure out. email Lindseyhodson55@yahoo.com

  4. Ashley

    Okay, I am one that believes that Borderline Personality Disorder and Autism are the same disorder. Autism is looked at as an illness that is not the fault of the person, they are innocent, etc. (more positive/no blame illness and accepted by society). Now, Borderline Personality Disorder is viewed by society as the person is manipulative/evil/stay away from them/it is their fault, etc. and it is stigmatized by our society. That being said…. Make a list of all the positive traits people with Autism have. Then, make a list of all the negative people with BPD have (do not be biased, be realistic and use situations/factual evidence, not emotion and hatred toward them). After you do that, make a list (again no bias, just factual situation) of all the negative about Autism. After that, make a list of the positive traits in people with BPD. Compare them….they are same. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with Autism and girls are more likely to be given a BPD diagnosis for the same behavior. I have a BPD diagnosis (per an MMPI by a well known hospital and psych professionals; I am a girl) and I meet every criteria for Autism, including the GI problem (I have Lymphocytic Colitis), large pupils (mine are large even with normal light overhead and not drug induced), and I have a history of migraines, seizures, and I have porencephalic cyst in my brain (I possibly have the MTHFR gene mutation, I haven’t been tested for it, but my sibling has it and they want me to be tested for it). On my bad days, I can be just as “evil” as every person who hates people with BPD thinks. On my good days, I can be just as smart, happy, energetic, cute, funny, “innocent” as every person who loves/thinks Autistic people are not to blame thinks an Autistic person is. It is the same behavior. As a matter of fact, DBT was created for BPD. They are starting to think that DBT will help people with Autism because the behavior is the same. People need to be careful with the labels because when you say people with BPD are all bad and nothing about them is good, you are doing the very thing you are accusing them of doing, which is splitting. It is the classic sign of Borderline Personality Disorder (all good/all bad). So, you are no better than they are. And please, stop labeling people if they have never been to a psych professional. Just because you think they have it and that’s your opinion, does not mean they have it.

  5. Ester

    As stated by Sharon, the information on BPD shared here is 1) Completely wrong and 2) Doesn’t even include the main symptoms of the disorder. What’s worse is that this is basically contributing to the stigma that people with BPD have that we’re simply bad people, drama queens, and reckless just because. This is not true.

    BPD is a disorder that consists of:

    – Unstable self-image and/or identity: The first consisting of going from loving yourself and thinking you’re great to the next second hating yourself or thinking you’re scum most of the time over very silly happenings or even no happenings at all.

    – Unstable interpersonal relationships: This is not due to people with BPD being manipulative, immature, or cruel. This is due to the hyper-sensitivity to all POSSIBLE signs of rejection and abandonment. People with BPD suffer from a huge fear of abandonment and rejection, and this fear often causes us to push people away before THEY can push US away. The other reason why we have unstable relationships is because just as we go from loving to hating ourselves, we go from idealizing the people in our lives to demonizing them INTERNALLY over very small things that to us feel hurtful or are threatening. This often leaves us with a sense of our feelings being invalid because we know they’re too unstable, and also many times puts us at risk because if we’re in an abusive relationship we’re never sure if we’re over-reacting AGAIN or if we’re right this time, so we suck it up and stay. (In fact, this is because most of us develop BPD through the trauma of abusive situations; bullying, sexual abuse/rape/molestation, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, etc. Our fear of rejection and abandonment is also tied to the roots of each patients BPD, often having very strict and demanding families, or completely neglectful families, or a mix of the two, failed relationships, and bullying is an aspect related to the fear of rejection too).

    – Self-sabotaging, self-destructive behavior, recklessness, suicidal ideation: This is something that is TRIGGERED and not a constant. Self-sabotaging can go from pushing people we love away in an episode of intense anger (To later regret it to the point of self-punishment for it), to doing everything necessary in order to get fired from a job we need if we’re having am episode. Self-destructive behavior includes self harming (Cutting, burning, scratching, biting, or hitting yourself, pulling your hair), putting yourself in danger (Reckless driving, high risk taking, etc), compulsive promiscuity and unprotected sex, eating disorders, reckless spending of money, or substance abuse (Drugs or alcohol). Not all of those have to be present in the same person, but there can be patients with BPD who show all those signs at the same time. As for suicidal ideation; the big majority of us have suicidal thinking, many even have a record of attempts, but not that many of us actually kill ourselves.

    – Unusual high intensity of emotions, volatile and reactionary emotions and moods, “inadequate” emotions: The first one is self-explaining. We feel too intensely, plenty of the time even if we KNOW we’re blowing things out of proportion and how irrational what we feel is, but the thing is that even if RATIONALLY we know that, we still can’t stop feeling like that and by consequence we have a hard time controlling impulses or reactions. What’s more, we’re constantly overwhelmed by our own emotions and we basically just can’t make it stop. We have reactionary moods and emotions, which differentiates BPD from Bipolar Disorder, because Bipolar (When is not co-existing with BPD in the same person, which is also highly common) has CYCLIC moods; there’s periods of depression, then periods of mania, and in some patients they can even be predicted if they’ve been studied (By a doctor or themselves) long enough to see a pattern. BPD doesn’t have a mood pattern or cycle. Our moods change violently due to what’s happening to us or around us, ergo, our moods are reactionary and unpredictable even by us (And having both BPD and Bipolar is just… A huge mess). As for “inadequate” emotions, it’s basically when we feel too intensely about something that really isn’t that big or relevant, or sometimes not caring at all about things that ARE important (Usually this lack of care and interest is related to the patients own well being, future, and relationships with others).

    – Black and white thinking, perceived or real failure, perceived or real rejection: With us it’s either all or nothing in the way we perceive others, ourselves, and the world. It’s a very rigid way of seeing things, and we’re often told we lack flexibility in some aspects of our lives (In ways that alienate us from others, that stop us from functioning in a pragmatic sense, or from leading less stressful lives). Just as we’re terrified of abandonment and rejection, we’re terrified of failure and embarrassment, and many times it’s not even *real* failure of embarrassing situations, but we’re a little (Read as: very) paranoid over how we’re being perceived and very self demanding over the standards we set ourselves to. For example; for me needing psychiatric/psychological help and meds for my disorder was a huge failure (Despite how I don’t apply that same standard to anybody else).

    – Dissociation: While not a symptom exclusive to those with BPD, when our emotions are overwhelming us past what we can take without literally throwing ourselves into the traffic or screaming until we tear out our vocal cords, we dissociate. It’s one of the most common coping mechanisms we use for the extremely high emotional stress we’re sometimes under.

    – Fragmented identity or persona: This one is hard to explain unless you’ve gone through it. It can sometimes take shape of having different SIDES of our personality (NOT different personalities, just different aspects of one personality) severely unlinked for the other sides or aspects of that personality, or in my personal case, how the emotional me, rational me, and physical me experience the world and react to it so differently from each other, I know something rationally but can’t get my emotions to go with my reasoning, or how I can be feeling like crying like a baby but my body won’t react. It’s a disconnection between the fragments of who I am.

    People with BPD very rarely have ONLY BPD. Most of us suffer from at least one secondary disorder, which are usually:

    – Mood disorders (Depression, bipolar, etc)
    – Anxiety disorders (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one that is highly common in people with BPD, there’s also social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, etc)
    – Other personality disorders aside from BPD
    – Eating disorders
    – ADHD or ADD
    And so on…

    BPD is thought by most people to be caused by trauma. Bullying/peer abuse, any form of sexual abuse (Especially if endured during childhood), abusive relationships, and abandonment are usually cited as shared history by people with BPD. Brain abnormalities, genetics, and such have sadly not been researched enough to have any solid conclusion about them as causes or predisposition for BPD. Many times siblings and twins share the diagnosis but it can also be attributed to living within the same family environment.

    Since the root of BPD remains unknown and is usually pointed to be trauma, the disorder itself can not be treated, but what can be treated is the symptoms. This is why those with BPD usually take the same meds that those who have Bipolar, Depression, or PTSD take, plus being treated with therapy.

    As for us being violent… That is for the biggest part just a myth, since usually the violence we partake in is against ourselves instead of against those around us. We can be verbally aggressive and we are very prone to irritation and explosive anger at times though.

  6. Nicole

    My child is 20 and has been through mental health services repeatedly over the years with no clear diagnosis, after the 4th suicide attempt she has just been given a diagnosis of ASD and BPD…..I have lived with what you suggest is a ‘loaded gun’ for 20 years and I am still no further forward in being able to help her

  7. anna

    As a child up to the age of 23 I was diagnosed with ptsd which got changed with in two weeks of me changing to a different cmht in a another brought to bpd which I have been challenging now for 8 years I was also diagnosis with adhd at age 26 to go on and have 3 children one being aultistic we’re social workers question my ability to look after her which was not my first child all because of the bpd diagnosis and her aultism which I passed every test there throw at me and is meeting every complex need that my daughter has now to be told that it is very likely that I have asd and no bpd also to be told the reason that I got given it was all because I was a child of abuse and it was a easy label other then ptsd the reason I’m writing this is I get really mad when people make comment that they no nothing about and say thing like asd child and bpd parent is not good for child I am living proof that people with bpd diagnosis can do just as well a people with out the label and that people need to remember sometime them labels are wrong want I would like people to thing about is if a child come to u and told u they were being abused u won’t blame them if they acted out or had problems dealing with it so why treat people with bpd as if they to blame when u have no clue what has happen to them in they life’s more so as a child sorry rant over .

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