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Is it possible to live a normal life with Borderline Personality Disorder?

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Updated: April 12, 2007

Question: Is it possible to live a normal life with Borderline Personality Disorder?

I have borderline personality disorder. Will I ever get to live a normal life? It seems that I cannot “get it together.” Should I lower my expectations? I keep thinking that maybe my BPD is going to hold me back in my job and relationships. Perhaps if I lowered my expectations and accepted that I was limited, I wouldn't be so disappointed. I just want to be normal, have a sense of purpose, and have someone who cares about me. Is this possible?

Answer:

Absolutely, a “normal” life is possible for those with borderline personality disorder (BPD). People with BPD have jobs, careers, families, and relationships just like everyone else. However, BPD can have a significant impact on those experiences, often providing BPs with more challenges than those without borderline personality disorder. It is important to remember that the symptoms of BPD are manifested differently in each individual and often in each situation.

Relationships

For some with BPD, relationships--no matter how intimate--are difficult. As a result, they are full of conflict, sometimes even physical violence. For others, the level of relationship conflict increases with the level of intimacy.

However, BPs can have successful relationships, but the anger, fear of abandonment, rejection senstivity, poor self-esteem, and other symptoms can challenge even those most committed to caring for them. The BP should look for a partner who understands her illness and supports her efforts to heal.

Therapeutic intervention can help the BP and partners address issues in their relationship. It is also important for the BP to deal with compatibility and emotional health in his relationships with an objective and qualified person. Sometimes the desire to be in a relationship causes the BP to focus on maintaining a relationship with someone who is incompatible or abusive, which can aggravate the BPD symptoms.

Job/Career

Having borderline personality disorder does not limit your job choices. However, BPD can create challenges.

Some BPs have trouble identifying life or career goals and/or some will find that their BPD makes if difficult to function on the job. Issues with identity, feelings of rejection, and self-esteem can result in a lack of a sense of purpose and direction for the BP. Instead he may intensely focus his energy on one goal only to suddenly lose interest, or he may, at times, be unable to make or follow a plan.

Many BPs determine and stay within a field easily. Some BPs will even excel at their career, assuming positions of authority. However, BPD can create challenges even here, in that, the BP may continue to doubt her abilities and successes despite successes.

Examples

One example of a BP living a “normal” life is found in the book, Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery From Borderline Personality Disorder , by Rachel Reiland. Although throughout much of the book the author is often severely impaired as a result of her BPD, she is a married mother of two young children who is using her college degree in her own accounting practice. On paper this sounds like a normal life; however, her writings give some insight how a BP can find even the most “normal” of life tasks to be difficult.

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