Do you find yourself desperately wanting love and attachment yet once it’s in your hands, you start sabotaging things? Is the chaos of unstable relationships with others becoming too painful? Individuals who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often have difficulty maintaining relationships while also struggling with a coherent sense of self and impulsive behavior. This is a disorder of immense pain; you may be seeking to navigate a world filled with conflicting messages about self and reality where intimacy seems to be so easy for others, but near impossible to maintain for you.
The diagnosis of BPD describes a pattern of instability and impulsivity, which is seen in many clients with a traumatic &/or insecure attachment history. BPD affects the way one thinks about her/himself and others; it leads to dysregulated emotions (and often, behavioral outbursts when triggered), difficulties coping with stressors, and unstable relationships. Individuals suffering with this disorder are at a high risk for self-harming and/or suicidal behaviors due to the intense degree of pain they are living with.
While everyone experiences BPD a little bit differently, here are the symptoms outlined in our diagnostic manual (DSM-5), many of which may sound familiar to you:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by extremes between idealization and devaluation (also known as “splitting”)
- Identity disturbance: Markedly or persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
- Impulsive behavior in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-harming behavior
- Emotional instability in reaction to day-to-day events (e.g., intense episodic sadness, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder can help with your relationships with others and yourself. Many clients come in believing that they are so inherently damaged as to be “worthless,” and do not believe they even deserve help. Beliefs like this are common after being raised in pervasively invalidating and insecure environments. It’s no wonder relationships would feel chaotic or unstable if you’re not even sure what’s real or who you can trust sometimes. Within the secure client-therapist relationship, however, you can learn boundaries, skills to regulate and calm your emotions, and ways to make emotional intimacy with others feel safe.
Katie Plumb’s approach to Borderline Personality Disorder
My therapeutic approach includes Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which is a modality for gaining skills to deal with triggers and stressors. Within this framework, you will learn how to regulate emotions, deal with intense distress, gain skills to be more effective interpersonally and, my personal favorite, learn and practice mindfulness. These skills are designed to add safety and stability to your life in preparation for deeper exploration.
Building skills is the first step on the path to a more secure life, but just as important is the attachment relationship we will form. Early experiences with our primary caregivers (and later, peers) provide the foundation for relationships in adulthood. When a child experiences his or her caregiver as consistently nurturing, attuned, safe and validating, a secure attachment style is likely to develop. When caregivers are inconsistent, cold, rejecting, invalidating or outright abusive, a child does not have the opportunity to develop the internal sense of safety and security that is necessary for healthy adult relationships. Within the secure client-therapist relationship, however, I can help you express and reshape your communication, emotions, perceptions and behaviors that were impacted by misattuned caregiving.
Begin Therapy for the above symptoms over Telehealth, or in Long Beach, CA.
You don’t have to live with the internal and external chaos anymore. Therapy can help you find stability, and open your capacity for intimacy. Contact Katie Plumb MA, MSW, LCSW and start living the life you’ve wanted and deserve.
Other Therapy Services
Borderline Personality Disorder therapy is not the only service I offer. Other mental health services I provide include therapy for Complex-PTSD and other Trauma-related disorders, Grief and Bereavement services, Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and Identity Formation.