Men with BDP


"She'll be sorry."

“She’ll be sorry.”

The Predator

Most people are familiar with the characteristics of violent men, either by first-hand experience or through news and true crime books and TV shows. We all know what they look like: fearless, callous, thrill- and pleasure seeking guys who take what they want and who get easily frustrated if someone gets in their way. It’s the familiar antisocial person ranging from the neighbourhood thug who gets into fights when he is drunk, to the full-fledged psychopath that entirely lacks empathy and uses other people for money, sex or other benefits.

And the Prey?

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are a completely different breed. Their core features are their desperate need for love and lack of interpersonal skills. They fall head over heels in love with people they don’t know the first thing about and then become disillusioned and deeply resentful when the other person fails to match their fantasies. They are emotionally unstable and vulnerable and they feel very hurt and betrayed when people, as they see it, let them down. They fear being abandoned and often threaten to kill themselves. Another typical behavior is self-harm, cutting or burning themselves.

Borderlines can often come across as poor and misunderstood – perhaps because they genuinely feel that way – and being vulnerable they hardly evoke any fear in others. Their melodramatic gestures are sometimes pathetic or tragic, but again, nothing that will scare anyone. But it should.


Despite of the soap opera-type behavior found in psychiatric literature, between 25-50 percent of people with borderline are boys and men, and males who are angry, jealous and hateful tend to be dangerous. Women may think these guys, with their frailness and tragic personas are intriguing and good projects for improvement. A typical example of what they may look like comes from the musical genre called Emo. As the name suggests it deals with emotionally intense feeling of romantic nature, often tragic and bitter themes. And like borderlines they are often interested in self-harm and suicide.

But bitterness and hate isn’t just expressed by self-destructive gestures. In the emo lyrics you can often find passages that would suggest violence towards partners as well. Here are some excerpts from one of the more popular emo bands Fall Out Boy’s song Chicago Is So Two Years Ago,

My heart is on my sleeve
Wear it like a bruise or black eye
My badge, my witness
Means that I believed
Every single lie you said

You want apologies
Girl, you might hold your breath
Until your breathing stops forever, forever
the only thing you’ll get
Is this curse on your lips:
I hope they taste of me forever

With every breath I wish your body will be broken again, again
With every breath I wish your body will be broken again, again
With every breath I wish your body will be broken again, again
With every breath I wish your body will be broken again

Lashing Out

While the emo isn’t the only borderline male it seems like a pretty good example. And like the lyrics above suggest, borderline violence isn’t just directed at the self. A study on correlates of personality disorders conducted by clinical psychologist Joshua Miller and colleagues confirms this violent aspect of BPD. They had students fill in self-measures of personality disorders as well as other measure of for instance crime and violence. As expected, they found that crime was most strongly associated with psychopathy (which is a dimensional trait that to some extent can be found in the normal population). Also as expected, borderline was linked to self-harm. But perhaps more surprisingly, borderline was also strongly correlated with intimate partner violence, even more so than for psychopathy and narcissism.

Self-measures may of course be exaggerated, especially when we are talking about people with a taste for drama. But other research confirms that this is for real. One study from 2007 by psychiatrist Donald Black found that around 30 percent of new inmates in Iowa met the criteria for borderline and another study from this year by psychiatrist Marc Schroeder and colleagues, again looking at actual offenders, found a similar pattern with borderline being the second most common personality disorder after antisocial personality disorder. Of offenders who had committed both sexual and non-sexual violent crime half were antisocials and a third were borderlines as compared to third most common category of narcissistic disorder at a mere 3 percent. Given that borderline is rare in the general population, around 1-2 percent, it’s clear that these individuals are very violent.

The Hidden Threat

So it seems the borderline personality is a large and rather hidden threat to women (and probably some men too although women are usually less violent). No one seems to talk about these men. They rarely feature in the media or public debate. Maybe it’s just because they are so fragile and look more like victims than perpetrators. Pointing the finger at these guys may feel like kicking on someone w-ho is already lying down. But they are not victims of anything but their own shaky grip on reality, and excusing them or looking the other way will only make for more violence.

Reblogged from:

Staffan’s Personality Blog


2 responses »

  1. I don’t think it’s a fair assessment to say men with BDP can get violent. I have BDP. I know what my issue is just like most people with this disorder. And I will tell you that the only person we feel like harming is ourselves. We feel emotions very very intensely. Think how you feel and times that by 100 and these feelings linger for large amounts of time. When it comes to relationships I have an intense desire to be very intimate and I want so bad to be special to someone because to me she is irreplaceable. When I come across rejection I point the finger at myself and always feel if was my own fault that she didn’t love me. I think it was because I didn’t say the right things or do the right things and that’s when I start to lose my grip. I start to not feel anything at all, and not just emotionally but also physically. It makes me feel like a zombie and I find myself having a hard time remembering things about her or the relationship and also general things that happen in my life. I get completely disconnected and it’s like I’m in a constant day dream yet I’m not thinking about anything, my mind becomes completely clear. The I want to feel things because I feel like I’m not normal. Now this is where some start to
    Cut them selves because that intense pain is the closest they can come to any sensation altogether. I personally start doing extreme sports and I get into these patterns where if I don’t ante up the risk every time I’m not feeling anything, like I’m building a tolerance or something, so things start to get very dangerous here because I’m not in control even though I do know what it is I’m doing. I’m not delusional, but I can’t see myself going back to feeling the pain that I felt before so in my mind I have no choice but to partake in this crazy risky behavior because if I don’t my emotions will get the best of me and I’ll be right back where I started and not feeling anything again to deal with the pain I felt in the first place. I also find that I don’t mind getting a little banged up because when I get cuts or broken bones I feel normal. So add the risky behavior to a desire to get a little hurt from the activity and you get someone like me that BASE jumps and races motorcycles and cars and people think I am an adrenaline junky and admire me. They have no clue why I do what I do. They think I’m brave or something. Or fearless. I don’t want to die. I just want to feel loved and give love and be happy and normal and respected and appreciated. So no, a woman is not in any danger with me. In fact she’s safer because id literally take a bullet to my head for her gladly. We know what our problem is and we deal with it. This type of propaganda against people with my disorder is what causes misunderstandings and prejudice and violence towards us. We are not violent people. Our entire motivation for life is love.

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