Helping loved ones with Borderline Personality Disorder in Pakistan

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that involves difficulty in ‘relationships’. Building relationships, rapport and maintaining them is nearly impossible for such people. As healthy relationships involve accepting other’s weaknesses in the ‘grey’ zone, this quality is alien to Borderlines. A person can either be all good or all evil — and nothing in-between. Everyone eventually lands in the evil category — when emotions are going haywire.

BPD has its roots in bad parenting at an early age (1-2 years old). There several patients with this illness that swear they had a wonderful childhood. There is also research which says that it is mostly genetics. All in all, genetics is the cause and bad parenting is the trigger.

Mosty people in Pakistan are unaware of mental illnesses and BPD patients are largely ignored as trouble makers. It’s the family around the borderline that suffers in silence, some with scars too deep to show to the world.

The borderline is stuck emotionally in his childhood and its unfulfilled security. Every subsequent relationship is sought to fill that emotional and security void. All adult roles are supposed to be handled by their partners, while they wallow in their imagined misery.

Borderlines are emotionally volatile and fear abandonment like the plague. They would automatically get rid of any relationship that steps on the minefield that is their insecure self.

The worst are the borderlines that have not been diagnosed. They coast through life, destroying relationships around them and leaving a trail of damaged personalities in their wake.

Most borderlines can’t hold on to long term jobs as they don’t have a steady self-image and can’t relate normally to their work colleagues— that involves the boss too.

Because these people never grew up emotionally, their characteristic traits are gaslighting, blame shifting, burning bridges, intoxication, drug use, promiscuity and extreme sensitivity.

Don’t get me wrong they have some admirable qualities as well — the one’s that cause the most damage. Borderlines are high on charm, energy, attractiveness, passion, empathy, intuition and quickly picking up on people’s needs.  They are excellent with animals.

In trying to fit in with their new environment, they would mimic you personality, likings and values because they never developed their own.

Besides the traits mentioned above here is a check list for you all to spot one:-

  • Wildly fluctuating emotions and uncontrollable negative thoughts and manipulation.
  • black or white ; all good or all bad thinking about everyone
  • Dissociations with their current environment
  • Boredom that leads to impulsive adventures and abrupt changes in the environment and people.

Now that you know how to find them, this is how to handle them :-

  • Protect your soul by dissociating selectively
  • Understand that this is incurable but manageable
  • Constantly encourage their positive initiatives
  • Constant reassurance for not abandoning them
  • Give them the true impression that they are needed in your life
  • Find them a low intensity, 30 hours a week, structured job
  • Let them pursue their creativity every day.
  • Do not every say they are wrong — they know it themselves
  • Let the reach to a conclusion on BPD themselves
  • Let them get rid of people that trigger their negativity
  • Allow them to build a routine, structured life — everyday
  • Exercise for 30 minutes everyday
  • Use naturally occurring mood enhancers like HTTP-5, Valerian root and Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Let them come back from their blackout phase, on their own terms
  • Keep a pet dog
  • Tell them everything will be alright eventually — which is the truth.
  • Try to find a steady income for them, with little people interaction involved
  • Try Dialectic Behavior Therapy, with a specialist — not a quack.

People in Pakistan don’t care enough to recognize these injured souls. This information will mean a lot to the people that have to live with and build a life with these tortured souls. Remember, they are good people, dealt with rotten cards in life.

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  1. Anon Guest says

    Wali bhai, can you please suggest the best clinical psychologists in Pakistan that can help diagnose and manage BPD?

    I have read/listened to some doctors but not all of them seem to have same grip over this illness as some doctors in the west have.

    Can you help in this?

  2. Ishmael says

    I second the first comment. Dr Mawaddat Rana is the best psychiatrist I know.

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