Intense, inappropriate anger is one of the most troubling symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD); it is so troubling and intense that it is often referred to as “borderline rage.” While borderline anger has long been a topic of debate and speculation among BPD specialists, it has only recently become a topic of careful research. Researchers are now examining how borderline anger is different than normal anger and why it occurs.
For example, a recent study examined anger in people with BPD compared to people without BPD (healthy controls) in response to an anger-producing story. This study found that people with BPD reported the same level of anger as the healthy controls in response to the story, but that the healthy controls reported that their anger decreased more quickly over time than the people with BPD reported. So, it may not be that people with BPD have a stronger anger reaction, but that their anger has a much longer duration than other people experience.
Jacob GA, Guenzler C, Zimmermann S, Scheel CN, Rusch N, Leonhart R, et al. “Time Course of Anger and Other Emotions in Women with Borderline Personality Disorder: A Preliminary Study.” Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 39:391-402, 2008.