Borderline personalities with mental health issues are often viewed as the most troubled individuals, and for good reason.
But what they might not know is that they’re also the most vulnerable to abuse, according to new research published in the Journal of Research in Personality.
“They’re the ones that are going through the most traumatic experiences,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Julie A. Lippman, a clinical psychologist at the University of Utah.
“It’s like a ticking time bomb that’s being triggered by an external event or situation,” she said.
“So what you see is the people that have these difficulties have these external events that are triggering these problems, so that can create these symptoms.”
In the study, Lippmans team collected data on 1,071 people with borderline personality disorder, or BPD, from their own interviews and from online research.
They found that while they’re often misunderstood and dismissed as mentally ill, their personality traits and the way they express themselves are far more nuanced than people think.
“What I saw is people have a lot of empathy, they are really good at socializing, they can empathize with others, they’re really good with their family,” said Lipps, a graduate student in psychology at the university.
But when it comes to their interpersonal relationships, they have a hard time understanding what’s going on.
“I think it’s not that they have trouble communicating with their partners, they do,” said Dr. Daniela S. Venezia, an assistant professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, and the author of the study.
Instead, people with BPD struggle with relationships because they can’t see the other person as a partner, she said, and they see themselves as less than a person.
“When you think of it, it’s like when someone has a problem with their spouse, they see it as someone else, and when you think about it, you don’t see it that way,” she explained.
That doesn’t mean that people with mental illnesses don’t have problems with relationships, but the data clearly shows that they tend to be more aware of and deal with it when it happens, she added.
The research also revealed that people who have BPD have a harder time understanding their emotions and often struggle to be compassionate, which can lead to isolation.
“In a lot in life, you get caught up in the emotions and then it can become very hard to feel compassion, because you’re just going through it, and you don,t really see it, or you don do,” Venezias said.
But people with Borderline Personality Disorder can often see through their own feelings and emotions, said Dr