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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: BPD?/tragic past HELP


 Rustyrider7272 - Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:46 pm

Id like to explain my boyfriend in a very in depth description in hopes that I can have some advice on how to handle him, and to determine if he has BPD, which I have "diagnosed" him with. This is going to be extremely long but I really need some answers and im determined to help him, so if your willing to analyze what im going to type i'd be immensely grateful. Ill refer to him as "Danny" for the sake of privacy. Here goes:
My BF never knew his biological father because he left him and his mother as a baby. His mother married when he was 3 and his stepfather took him in and treated as his own son (which my BF is very grateful for). His mother and stepfather had two children of they're own but he always points out how he never felt like an outsider in the family and he saw his stepfather as his real father. His mother is alchoholic and has always been a little unstable, she has never been formally diagnosed but her family members believe she is either bipolar or borderline. Danny describes his stepfather as an "amazingly loving man who always made me feel loved, comfortable and guided". Danny's belief about his mother on the other hand is that she was always distant, and used him to prove something to her ex (his biological father). He says he loves his mother, and "lived to please her" but that he never seemed good enough for her. His step father and mother always had a "rocky" relashionship due to her own personal struggles,although most of the relashionships struggles were caused by his mothers insecurity with herself. Danny is extremely intelligent both socially and academically but partly because of his intelligence he has always felt different from others which isolated him as a child. He describes himself as bieng a loner with very few friends. His mother always involved him in activities that she used to "mold him into the perfect child" and she pushed him very hard even at a young age. In 7th and 8th grade Danny's parents began getting in increasingly intense fights and sleeping in different homes and Danny began living with his uncle for long periods of time. He always looked up to his uncle and enjoyed living with him but he felt abandoned by his mother. His first year of high school Danny went to a boarding/prep school because he was so gifted. He once again felt abandoned and given up on by his mother and strived even harder to make her happy (during this time his entire family was in turmoil due to his mother, and his parents were on the verge of divorce) At boarding school he took advantage of his independance and became extremely involved in the party scene as a freshman and sophmore. Alot of the incentive behind his excessive drinking and drug binges was a deep seated feeling of worthlessness/hoplessness/depression/emptiness. He had numerous incidents where he was hospitalized for alchohol/drug overdoses yet he continued his downward spiral. Sophmore year he unsucessfully tried to kill himself twice by throwing himself into traffic and overdosing. He was got in constant vicious fights with other students and became extremely promiscuos. All the while he maintained his grades somewhat amazingly, althought he went from top of his class to mediocre. He learned to become a "social chameleon" of sorts. His skills at bieng socially changeable suceeded in making him incrediblly popular with girls, (although most people have an immediate hatred for him and he doesnt seem to see this). Partway into his sophmore year at prep school he was kicked out after almost killing another student in a rage driven fight. He was labeled homicidal, suicidal, and depressed but refused to cooperate or see a psychologist and so he was never diagnosed with a personality disorder. After bieng kicked out of prep school his parents filed for divorce and he moved straight in with his uncle where he started going to public school. He was secretly hated by everyone at his new school but still was very promiscuos (his promiscuity boosts his ego and makes him feel powerful...It gives him a sort of control which he loves because with control or percieved control he feels safe and secure). He became part of a popular social group but still was/is a total outsider becasue of his unusual intelligence and way of seeing life (Thats part of why we connect but thats off the subject) A few months after his move his mother signed the divorce papers and dropped them off with Danny's step father for him to sign. She was going to collect them the next day. In an unbelievably cruel twist of fate, THAT NIGHT Danny's stepfather (his hero,mentor, and one stable parental figure) DIED OF A HEART ATTACK in his sleep. The next day his mother went to collect the divorce papers, but he was dead, There was no foul play, it was no suicide, it was just an insanley cruel coincidence. Danny's uncle informed him of his death that morning and Danny reacted with typical disbelief and sorrow. After his fathers death he was suicidal once again and went into a deep depression and intense grief, but in order to give his mother less to handle he tried to tuck away his grief. He remained living with his uncle. It has been a little over a year since Danny's father's death and Danny has still not dealt with it. He never really accepted it, and he has become a hardened person who puts on a front to protect himself. His step father's death was utterly devastating to him and it put him over the edge. Danny now says he is "dead inside" he is extremely angry at the world. He blames his mother for his step-dads death becasue he feels as if he died of a broken heart. His mother does not want him back and he feels as if she gave up on him and hates him, and he now permanatly lives with his aunt and uncle. He is always angry at his uncle for percieved injustices. He is a bad student, he doesnt even try anymore. He once was aiming to get into Oxford university, now hes doomed to go to a comunity college. He feels Hopeless, worthless, Depressed, anxious all the time, hypersensetive to how people act towards him, lonely, bored with life and things in general, and he always has a terrible feeling of guilt even for things that are beyond his control. He will be (fasely) happy and confident to the point of cockiness one moment, and the next he is depressed and self-loathing. He pushes has a TERRIBLE and overwhelming fear of abandonment, to the point that he has broken up with me before in order to "push me away" becasue he cant "allow himself to fall in love". He admits that he is terriblly afraid of attachment, but he is also very dependent on me for support. He can be utterly cruel towards others, in fact he is usual so selfish and uncaring of how he treats others that I considered him having APD. He believes that he is an "evil person" and he has totally resigned himself to this belief. My relashionship with him is very complex, stormy, difficult,and frankly often rather unfair to me, but the details of it are unecesarry for this post...all I know is that EVERY SINGLE thing I have read about BPD is an exact description of him..he even seems to have issues with his sexual identity (hes admitted to bi-...bi since he likes me and women.) The only stereotypes/criteria he doesnt fit is the fact that he is a male,and he doesnt self injure by cutting. Could he be borderline due to..or as well as have huge issues from his tragic life? Any advice, comments, ANYTHING would be appreciative. Questions are welcome. He and I are both 17. but please don't allow that to hinder any advice or comments you may have for me on this topic. This post isn't about me or my relashionship with him...its sole purpose is to better understand and hopefully help a very troubled guy who is not just my boyfriend but also my best friend. Im not looking Responses GREATLY appreciated. Thanks for your time.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:19 am

User avatar Dear Rusty:

Your boyfriend has experienced a lot of tragedy. My heart goes out to him.

I can see why you thought of Borderline Personality Disorder. However, people under the age of 18 years are never diagnosed with a personality disorder, and most psychiatrists (including myself) won't diagnose a personality disorder until the patient is at least 21 years old.

The reason why is because young people have not yet fully matured in many ways, not the least of all is their personality. Until the personality is solidified, the individual could be seen as having the traits of nearly any personality disorder.

Even if your friend were over 21 years, I would not be looking for a personality disorder just yet. It sounds to me like Danny is terribly depressed and is crying out loud for help. Until this crisis is resolved, his personality traits cannot be fully appreciated.

The fact that he is having issues with his sexual identity attests to the inner turmoil that is happening. It sounds like the turmoil is fairly deep-seated, and may indeed be the underpinnings for a personality disorder later. He is also very angry, and considers himself evil. It sounds like he has some problems with impulse control as well, which is not that unusual in high-school-aged kids.

Based on your description, I'm sure that his trouble has a lot to do with his mother and her chronic rejection. I think probably he wants more than anything to love her and be loved by her, but has given up. This makes him angry, so he rejects her (and tentatively other females), giving him a great deal of insecurity about his sexual identity. As a society, we still expect boys to like girls and vice versa, and the opposite is not particularly encouraged. His wonderful relationship with his stepfather and its unfortunate premature demise has him reaching out to other males to replace the relationship that he needs so badly (because of his mother's rejection). Since that relationship can never be replaced, he is angry. Thus, he is angry at females as well as males. This would lead to great turmoil, i.e., confusion.

If at all possible, try to get Danny to see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other counselor. Like you, I think he is very troubled and needs help.

I hope this is helpful.
 Rustyrider7272 - Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:48 am

Hi, thank you for your help on my last question concerning my boyfriend. To simplify the story I called him my boyfriend when in fact we are best friends that have on and off dated...and act like a couple even when we arent officially in a relashionship (this all relates to him bieng unable to commit/be a good boyfriend but ive been happy with the situation anyway). Last night "Danny" told me that he wants to cut back drastically on how much time we spend togather (from everyday to twice a week) because 'he needs space". Just days before we had been planning our future and been getting increasingly closer and more affectionate with him saying things like well be married one day (with him initiating all of this closeness). As I said previously he has a terrible fear of attachement/getting close to people and I believe that his sudden pulling away is related to this but I just do not know how to handle it or reason with him. Im terrified to lose my best friend and I fear that this will end of our relashionship altogather. How should I act in this situation in order not to lose him? What do you believe is going through his head? Is there hope for us to get back to the way we were? Please no "move on" responses. Im looking to understand and work through this and I don't plan on giving up on him.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:57 pm

User avatar Rusty:

Danny has a terrible fear of abandonment. He has recently been feeling "conflicted" over sexual orientation. In your last post, it sounded as though he were also very depressed.

He made big plans for a future with you. I think that scared the h*** out of him after he realized what he'd done. Danny essentially stuck his neck way out before checking both ways.

Until Danny undergoes some psychotherapy, he will break hearts wherever he goes. You don't want to hear "move on," so I won't say it, but you'll have to be prepared for a roller coaster ride.

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