Traits.

BPD can be a difficult diagnosis because of similarities to other conditions and comorbidity. Five or more of these symptoms may be present.

OneFear of abandonment.

TwoUnstable relationships.

ThreeUnclear or shifting self-image.

FourImpulsive, self-destructive behaviors.

FiveSelf-harm.

SixExtreme emotional swings.

SevenChronic feelings of emptiness.

EightExplosive anger.

NineFeeling out of touch with reality.


Due to the hundreds of possible combinations of these traits, there are many differences between sufferers. One researcher suggested four subtypes — impulsive, discouraged (quiet), self-destructive, and petulant (angry). Others use different terms for three subtypes — core BPD, extrovert/externalizing, and schizotypal/paranoid. However, there is no presumption that a person will suffer the symptoms of only one subtype.


BPD traits can be managed. All subtypes of borderline personality disorders are treatable. If professional help is accessible to you, please seek care that best helps with the traits you experience. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive therapy that may help change negative thinking patterns. Free workbooks available online.

DBT Skills Workbook (PDF)

Maximizing Mindfulness (PDF)