Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder. A person living with BPD has moods that change a lot. The patterns also affect how they feel about themselves (self-image) and other people. It can also affect how they act (behavior).
More women are diagnosed with BPD than men. However, researchers think that many men living with BPD do not know that they have it.
There are a few ways that BPD is different for men than it is for women, including:
- Men living with BPD might feel or act differently than women living with the condition.
- People living with BPD can also have other health conditions. These are called comorbidities. The other conditions that men with BPD have might not be the same ones that women have.
- Men and women living with BPD tend to get different types of treatment.
This article will help you understand what living with BPD is like for men. It will also talk about why men living with BPD are not diagnosed as often as women.
This article will talk about what it's like for men living with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It will also help you understand why men are not diagnosed with BPD as often as women are.
What Causes BPD?
What Is BPD?
About 1.6% of people in the general population is living with BPD. Among people who are in the hospital for a mental health condition, about 20% are living with BPD.
People living with BPD have a hard time controlling their feelings and behavior. They may feel intense anger, depression, and anxiety. They might feel like this for hours or days at a time.
People living with BPD may do dangerous or harmful things like driving in an unsafe way or taking risks when having sex. These actions can make it hard for people living with BPD to have relationships.
Is There a BPD Test?
People with BPD may have mood swings. They may not be sure about how they see themselves and may not know what their "role" is in life. Their interests and values can change quickly.
People living with BPD often see the world in extremes. For example, they think people are either "all good" or "all bad" with no middle ground. This is called splitting.
A person living with BPD might change their opinions about people often. For example, a person who is a friend one day might seem like an enemy the next. This is one reason why people living with BPD can find it hard to keep up with relationships.
Other symptoms of BPD include:
- Impulsive and dangerous behaviors such as:
- Buying a lot of things even if they do not have the money ("spending sprees")
- Having unsafe sex
- Misusing substances (such as alcohol, medications, or illegal drugs)
- Driving in a dangerous way, like going too fast (reckless driving)
- Eating a lot of food at once (binge eating)
- Hurting themselves on purpose (self-harming behavior such as cutting or burning)
- Thinking about suicide a lot
- Taking suicidal actions or threatening suicide
- Intense moods that change a lot (these feelings may last a few hours or a few days)
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Anger that is not appropriate for a situation or troubling controlling their temper
- Having a hard time trusting people or thinking that people want to hurt them
- Feelings of dissociation (feeling "cut off" from themselves, seeing themselves outside of their body, or feelings of "unreality")
What Are the Signs of BPD?
Signs of BPD in Men
BPD can be different for men living with the condition than it is for women. The signs of BPD in men are not always the same as the signs in women.
For example, men living with BPD may get very angry all of a sudden. They may yell or break things. They might be so mad they feel like hurting themselves or someone else. People might say they have an "explosive" temper.
Sometimes, people expect men to act "tough." They might not realize that when a man living with BPD gets very angry, it's a sign that they are having a hard time.
Men with BPD may get bored easily. They might feel the need to look for new things to do or see a lot. This is called "novelty-seeking behavior." Women with BPD can also have this trait but it's more common in men.
People living with BPD can have intense emotions that change often. Even though more women are diagnosed with BPD than men, it does not mean that men do not have BPD.
Men may take longer to find out they have BPD because it does not feel or look the way it does in women. The way that men are expected to act can make it harder to see the signs of BPD.
Comorbidities and Complications
A person living with BPD may have other mental health conditions, too. They can also have medical conditions. Sometimes, these conditions affect each other. When a person has more than one condition at the same time, they're called comorbidities.
Can You Have BPD and ADHD Together?
If a person has other conditions, it might affect how they get diagnosed with BPD. It can also affect BPD treatment.
Women living with BPD often have eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When women get treatment for these conditions, they are more likely to find out that they have also BPD.
On the other hand, some of the conditions that are common in men with BPD can make it harder for them to get diagnosed and treated.
Men living with BPD may have substance use disorders, especially with alcohol. One study showed that about 75% of men with BPD also have a substance use disorder in their lifetime.
This might be one reason why men do not always know that they have BPD. A man who misuses substances might get into trouble with the law. They could go to prison instead of to a place where they could get help for BPD (like a hospital or mental health facility).
Between 60% to 85% of people living with BDP hurt themselves on purpose. It's called non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI).
In one study, researchers looked at the type of self-harm that men and women with BPD did. They looked at 22 self-harm behaviors. Only 2 were more common in men than in women: head-banging and losing a job on purpose.
The researchers said that there might be some differences in self-harm between men and women with BPD, but many of the actions are the same.
Signs of Self-Harm
There are some signs that could mean someone you know is self-harming, such as:
- Scars, scratches, bruises, or burns on their body
- Having sharp objects around
- Wearing long sleeves or pants
- Trying not to show their skin
Other Mental Health Disorders
Men with BPD are more likely to show a lot of anger than women with BPD. They are also more likely to be paranoid, passive-aggressive, narcissistic, or sadistic. People with other mental health conditions may have these traits. For example, antisocial personality disorder is also more common in men living with BPD.
People living with BPD can also have other mental health or medical conditions. Some of these other conditions can also make it harder for a person to get diagnosed with BPD or get treatment.
For example, many men living with BPD also have substance use disorders. Misusing substances can get someone in trouble with the law. If a man goes to prison instead of a place where they could get mental health care, they might not find out they have BPD.
Learn About Personality Disorders
Women living with BPD look for treatment more often than men. Women are also more likely to take medicine or go to therapy to help with BPD symptoms. When men living with BPD get help, it is usually for substance use disorders.
How to Get Help
If you are having suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect with a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition. A person living with BPD can have intense feelings that change often. They might feel very sad one minute and very angry the next. Sometimes, they do dangerous things or hurt themselves.
People living with BPD can have a hard time in relationships. They might not trust people. They might think that people want to hurt them even if that is not true.
Men living with BPD may not know that they have it. The condition is not diagnosed as often in men as it is in women. However, that does not mean that men do not have BPD.
People with BPD can also have other conditions. Some conditions, like substance use disorders, are more common in men with BPD. These conditions can actually make it harder for them to find out that they have BPD and get treatment.
A Word From Verywell
It might seem like BPD is more common in women than in men, but there are many reasons why getting a diagnosis and treatment for BPD is hard for men.
BPD does not feel or look the same for men and women. Sometimes, the way that men are expected to act covers up the signs of BPD.
People living with BPD may also have other conditions on top of it. The treatment that a man living with BPD needs might be different than what a woman needs.
If you or a loved one has signs of BPD, reach out for help. You can talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. If you have BPD, these people can make sure that you get a treatment that will work for you.
What Does BPD Feel Like?
How does a man with borderline personality disorder behave? ›
Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship. Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection.Who are borderline men attracted to? ›
Those who have BPD tend to be very intense, dramatic, and exciting. This means they tend to attract others who are depressed and/or suffering low self-esteem. People who take their power from being a victim, or seek excitement in others because their own life is not where they want it to be.What is it like dating a guy with BPD? ›
People with BPD may move quickly from feelings of idealization to devaluation regarding their partner and are more likely to terminate relationships than people without BPD. If you are dating someone with BPD, you may find it easy to blame yourself for your partner's erratic actions and symptoms.How do borderlines feel in a relationship? ›
People with BPD often have patterns of intense or unstable relationships. This may involve a shift from extreme adoration to extreme dislike, known as a shift from idealization to devaluation. Relationships may be marked by attempts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
Often, the borderline person is unaware of how they feel when their feelings surface, so they displace their feelings onto others as causing them. They may not realise that their feelings belong within them, so they think that their partner is responsible for hurting them and causing them to feel this way.What is the seduction phase of BPD? ›
The Vulnerable Seducer Phase: This phase depicts the person with Borderline Personality Disorder as a “victim of love.” They will use their previous experiences to denote a feeling or desire to be saved, noting how you are the only one who understands them.Do borderlines love their favorite person? ›
For a person with BPD there are significant fears of abandonment and they will attach to a favourite person and rely on this person for emotional validation and security. Their favourite person becomes the source of their comfort and devotion.Are borderlines clingy? ›
Manipulative. Untreatable. Clingy. This is how people (even mental health professionals) describe those who live with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).Do people with BPD fall in love easily? ›
People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing that each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, without any middle ground.Why is it so hard to date someone with BPD? ›
How does BPD affect romantic relationships? Some of the more common symptoms of BPD — like self-worth issues, intimacy and trust difficulties, mood swings, and more — can be understandably damaging to a romantic relationship.
What are the red flags for borderline personality disorder? ›
Intense episodic irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours or more than a few days). Recurring feelings of emptiness. Frequent intense, inappropriate anger or issues controlling temper. Severe dissociative symptoms or stress-related paranoia.Do borderlines feel remorse? ›
Only remorse leads to a real apology and change. One of the hallmarks of people with Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (BP/NP) is that they often do not feel truly sorry. Even though a BP/NP may say he or she is sorry, there is often something lacking.How do people with BPD treat their partners? ›
Their wild mood swings, angry outbursts, chronic abandonment fears, and impulsive and irrational behaviors can leave loved ones feeling helpless, abused, and off balance. Partners and family members of people with BPD often describe the relationship as an emotional roller coaster with no end in sight.How long do relationships with borderlines last? ›
Results found in a 2014 study found the average length of a BPD relationship between those who either married or living together as partners was 7.3 years. However, there are cases where couples can stay together for 20+ years.How do you know if someone with BPD loves you? ›
- Being Asked to Take a Nap. ...
- When Someone Comes to You for Support. ...
- When You Accidentally Insult Someone but They're Chill about It. ...
- Being Asked to Rate Your Mood. ...
- Your Wedding Ring. ...
- When Someone Asks If You've Eaten. ...
- When People Respect Your Desire to Be Alone.
We're loyal partners and friends
Though there's often an assumption that we have unstable relationships – and in fact this is listed as one of the main symptoms of BPD – we are extremely loyal. As mentioned above, we tend to put ourselves last. Relationships are truly important to us, and our loyalty is strong.
Often, the person with BPD will react towards loved ones as if they were the abusers from their past, and take out vengeance and anger towards them. When the person with BPD feels abandoned, they can become abusive or controlling as a way to defend against feelings of abandonment or feeling unworthy.Do borderlines use Gaslighting? ›
Gaslighting is by no means unique to individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but certain symptoms make it more likely for people with BPD to feel gaslighted by others and create circumstances where others feel gaslighted by them. Gaps in memory result from dissociation.Why do borderlines push you away? ›
If someone has a borderline personality, they will always push people away, in fear of getting hurt. This is extremely difficult and painful for the people around them, as the sufferer can seem cold and angry, attention seeking, or not wanting help.What are the best jobs for someone with BPD? ›
Many people with BPD feel emotions deeply and find working in a caring role fulfilling. If you are an empathetic person, consider jobs such as teaching, childcare, nursing and animal care.
What attachment styles do borderlines have? ›
The types of attachment found to be most characteristic of BPD subjects are unresolved, preoccupied, and fearful. In each of these attachment types, individuals demonstrate a longing for intimacy and—at the same time—concern about dependency and rejection.What is hypersexuality in BPD? ›
Hypersexuality is known to present itself as a symptom in connection to a number of mental and neurological disorders. Some people with borderline personality disorder (sometimes referred to as BPD) can be markedly impulsive, seductive, and extremely sexual.Does BPD cause promiscuity? ›
Promiscuity. In addition to engaging in reckless or impulsive sex, there is evidence that people with BPD are more prone to promiscuity. 2 This differs from impulsive sex in that promiscuity is the act of intentionally having multiple sexual partners (rather than having casual sex on a whim).Do borderlines have empathy? ›
People with BPD score low on cognitive empathy but high on emotional empathy. This suggests that they do not easily understand other peoples' perspectives, but their own emotions are very sensitive. This is important because it could align BPD with other neurodiverse conditions.Can people with BPD be abusive? ›
Those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or those with BPD who may not even know they have it, are more likely than the general population to be verbally, emotionally/psychologically, physically abusive.Do borderlines have friends? ›
People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often have a difficult time maintaining friendships because of their tumultuous personalities. But these friendships can offer a source of stability in the midst of emotional turmoil.What are weird traits of BPD? ›
Intense, often unreasonable fear of being abandoned. Recurring involvement in turbulent relationships. A recurring sense of emptiness. Paranoia or loss of touch with reality, especially in stressful situations.Do borderlines create drama? ›
The Drama Triangle is commonly exhibited by sufferers of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is typically characterized by the intense emotional turmoil experienced by the individual and those around them.How do people with BPD think? ›
People with BPD are often affected by several types of distorted thinking. Some ways that a person with BPD thinks include having paranoid ideation, dichotomous thinking, and dissociation. If you believe that you might be experiencing thinking associated with BPD, talk to your doctor.Do people with BPD love or infatuation? ›
Borderline personality disorder can cause people to feel unbridled love or infatuation, to regard someone as an infallible savior. This dichotomous nature can make maintaining relationships exhausting.
Can someone with BPD have a happy relationship? ›
With treatment and continual support from family and partners, people with BPD can have successful relationships.Why do people with BPD attract narcissists? ›
In the case of the borderline sufferer, when they first encounter the narcissist, they see everything they are not and cannot do. They're amazed by their confidence, as they recognise its absence in their own life. They find being involved with them validates their character, boosting their self-esteem.
More than others, your partner with BPD may be especially good at delighting you with spontaneous adventures and surprises. Many people with BPD enjoy being with others and making them laugh. Their high energy and spontaneous nature make being with them a great pleasure.How to break up with someone who has borderline personality disorder? ›
Gentle: Don't attack, threaten, or lay guilt trips. (Act) Interested: Listen to what your partner has to say, don't interrupt them, and be sensitive to what they are feeling. Validate: Be non-judgmental and validate their feelings and problems. Easy Manner: Try to be lighthearted and ease your partner along.What does severe borderline look like? ›
A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. A distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self. Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating.What do BPD episodes look like? ›
Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving and binge eating. Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting. Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days.At what age does borderline personality disorder usually manifest? ›
The symptoms of borderline personality disorder usually first occur in the teenage years and early twenties. However, onset may occur in some adults after the age of thirty, and behavioral precursors are evident in some children.Do borderlines have narcissistic traits? ›
Narcissism is not a symptom of BPD listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, as many as 40% of people with BPD may also have narcissistic personality disorder,4 so people with BPD may also show signs of narcissism.What not to do with borderline personality disorder? ›
But with some individuals with BPD, you don't want to get into the habit of allowing certain things such as calls after hours, visits to your home without announcing it, borrowing your things and never returning them, driving your car and keeping it longer than they should, etc.Can borderlines turn off emotions? ›
Many people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) will report that they spend a lot of time and energy suppressing emotions. If you have ever had an intense thought or feeling that you couldn't handle in the moment and tried to push away, you have experienced emotional suppression.
Do borderlines ever forgive? ›
These results suggest that patients with BPD report becoming more accepting and forgiving over time. Additionally, recovery status is significantly associated with increasing time in these states.How do I know if my husband has borderline personality disorder? ›
Formal symptoms of borderline personality disorder
intense, unstable relationship patterns of idealization and devaluation. persistent and unstable sense of self or self-image. potentially self-damaging impulsive behavior. recurrent suicide attempts, suicide ideation, or self-harm.
- Remember this emotion is temporary. ...
- Ride the emotions like a wave. ...
- Don't expect others to feel as strongly as you feel. ...
- Take a step back before reacting. ...
- Be kind to yourself.
A favorite person is the center of attention of an individual living with BPD. This means they consider this person as a trusted friend, confidant, and counselor all wrapped in one. Dr. Roberts notes that the person with BPD demonstrates an “anxious-preoccupied attachment style.”What are the traits of someone with borderline personality disorder? ›
- Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. ...
- Unstable relationships. ...
- Unclear or shifting self-image. ...
- Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. ...
- Self-harm. ...
- Extreme emotional swings. ...
- Chronic feelings of emptiness. ...
- Explosive anger.
being a victim of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. being exposed to long-term fear or distress as a child. being neglected by 1 or both parents. growing up with another family member who had a serious mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder or a drink or drug misuse problem.
“Clinicians should know that people with BPD can successfully marry or live with a partner in a stable relationship and become parents.What are the main early signs of borderline personality disorder? ›
- emotional instability – the psychological term for this is "affective dysregulation"
- disturbed patterns of thinking or perception – "cognitive distortions" or "perceptual distortions"
- impulsive behaviour.
- intense but unstable relationships with others.
If left untreated, the person suffering from BPD may find themselves involved with extravagant spending, substance abuse, binge eating, reckless driving, and indiscriminate sex, Hooper says. The reckless behavior is usually linked to the poor self-image many BPD patients struggle with.What are the traits of a borderline boss? ›
They're demanding, flamboyant, intimidating and feel entitled to invade the boundaries of others. They can appear all-powerful provided no one questions them. They want others to comply.
Are borderlines aware of their behavior? ›
People with borderline personality disorders are aware of their behaviors and the consequences of them and often act in increasingly erratic ways as a self-fulfilling prophecy to their abandonment fears.What are the best jobs for BPD? ›
Many people with BPD feel emotions deeply and find working in a caring role fulfilling. If you are an empathetic person, consider jobs such as teaching, childcare, nursing and animal care.Do borderlines deserve love? ›
They are often criticized, marginalized and stigmatized, but the truth is that they deserve love and understanding like anyone else. BPD, or borderline personality disorder, is a psychological diagnosis that indicates a person has difficulty regulating their emotions.What are the weaknesses of borderline personality disorder? ›
These types of impairments might include an unstable or poor self-image, excessive self-criticism, chronic feelings of emptiness, and stress-induced dissociative states. This might also include instability in goals, values, career plans, or general aspirations. Impairments in interpersonal functioning.