BPD in France


It is refreshing to read something other than what I am beginning to call the “cliche” or “hollywood” version of BPD. I sometimes feel like some kind of a BPD fraud because i don’t have the angry outbursts and had begun to draw my own conclusions about (what I called) “internal” and “external” versions of BPD.

I’m not really sure who AAPEL is, other than its stated mission to support those with BPD and their loved ones; and, judging by the grammatical condition of this translation, I can assume that this is not written by a trained professional. None the less, I still feel relief that any organized body of bpd experience is making similar observations that help me (and maybe some of my readers) to not feel like a fraud any more.

I just don’t agree with the statement that the perception of friends and family is a criteria of mental illness; not with bpd anyway. I believe and understand how a person can be mentally ill without anyone suspecting it and how this is, in some ways, more painful and isolating.

The document is taken from the website of AAPEL (France): The formatting below is clunky because i couldn’t get the bullets to publish correctly …

NOTE: I didn’t translate this, but I have made grammatical corrections to the translation that appears on the website above, for clarity, and have omitted some sections in what I am posting below. In red are the aspects I have not read or heard talked about outside of my own head before reading this.


  • It is a true and studied disease, not a myth; it is neither a psychiatrist “fancy” nor a “garbage” diagnosis. It must thus be taken very seriously. The disease is frequent and affects approximately 3% of the population and would be indicated in about 10 to 14% of “mental Illnesses.”
  • In the mental health scale, it is a serious illness lying between neurosis and psychosis (the original “broad” psychoanalytical definition).
  • Almost 90% of the patients suffering from a Borderline disorder are also diagnosed with another personality disorder or a serious psychosis. Eg. Schizotypal, histrionic or dependent disorder.
  • The error of diagnosis, or rather an incomplete diagnosis, seems sadly prevalent, due to lack of bdp knowledge and experience on the part of the psychiatrists and therapists who are on the front lines of diagnosis.
  • Borderline patients have a problem controlling their emotions. They suffer from frequent, intense and unpredictable sudden changes of mood (mood swings up and down). It’s like you’re in the back seat of the car and your emotions are driving. The impulsive behaviors are a strong facet.
  • Borderlines are born with an innate biological tendency to react more intensely to lower levels of stress than others, and to take longer to recover. They peak “higher” emotionally with less provocation and take longer to come down.
  • The patients suffer a lot in this situation. They are fully aware of their problem (their “difference”) even if they are unable to explain it and even less able to solve it. It doesn’t matter if they show their suffering or not. (Someone who puts on a front to others is aware of what’s going on for themselves inside.)
  • The patients are at a disadvantage in their relationships, unable to have “normal” human relationships. They sometimes give a misleading appearance to not feel the whole range of human emotions. It is often too much to feel.
  • Rage, inappropriate anger or tears are common behaviors to all Borderlines along the borderline scale (see below). For example, the patient can suddenly change from an “angel” into a “monster” without seeming to care.
  • Their life is very often full of anxiety and sometimes even panic attacks. Between discouragement, suffering and the unknown, they sometimes choose defeat and renouncement. They often have problems concentrating. Of course, they can “function” normally; but under stress, they become exhausted.
  • They suffer from dysphoria, a period during which they are “negative,” and have unpleasant feelings, often driven by a chronic sense of emptiness and loneliness with “docompensation.” These patients are able to control their emotional flow “when it is needed,” in order to avoid going to a psychiatric institution.
  • They are terrified by the idea of abandonment, but at the same time, unable to prevent their disease from destroying their relationships. Since Borderline people are emotionally hypersensitive, imagine what the consequences of abandonment or heartache is like for them. It would seem that their way of dealing with abandonment varies with different patients:
  • Some will be often very alone, undoubtedly because they try to avoid their emotions – the “best” way to avoid abandonment.
  • Others will create a cocoon around themselves that includes, for example, a spouse or their parents.
  • And others will consistently move from one partner to another in order to avoid feeling abandoned. More often than not, they will be the ones to end the relationship.
  • The patient does not like him or herself and cannot trust others. A patient declared “I couldn’t trust him to love me enough, and I couldn’t trust him if he loved me too much.” They have a large love / hate ambivalence. They are often on the defensive and function reactively (they cannot read between the lines) and this can lead to paranoia.
  • Questions a Borderline might ask: Who am I? What’s wrong with me? Why am I always alone? Why doesn’t anyone care (worry) about me? Why doesn’t anyone understand me? Why doesn’t anyone love me? How could anyone love me?
  • Some Borderline patients oscillate between adult and disturbed childish behavior (dissociative?). They have black and white thinking. X or Y is either “all good” or “all bad,” and there is no inbetween.
  • The patients are often very disorganized and subsequently may make a mountain out of a molehill. There is often the same “mess” going on in their heads as in their everyday life (some hide this by a “precarious” over-organization).
  • We don’t become borderline during adulthood, even if it is at this point that the symptoms can become acute. The disease draws its roots from very early childhood when the construction of the child’s personality is blocked by external factors (symptoms close to PTSD, which can also occur during adulthood).
  • The disease is “particular” because it is also biologically based, with genetic predispositions. The patients have chemical deficiencies. Memory and vision may be impaired. Epilepsy, ear trauma, childhood abuse or simply a genetic disposition could trigger the onset of the disease.
  • It’s also been shown that the patient can’t recover without help. It is not just a question of will. It is not possible without medication and suitable therapy. Support is essential, especially when it is known that suicide is also a common and significant characteristic of this disorder.
  • There is a cure for this illness in the sense that all the symptoms can diminish substantially or completely, which is not the case with all personality disorders and even less so with psychiatric illnesses. The treatment consists of specific drugs (eg. Antidepressants) and specialized therapy, in order to restore normal functioning to the brain.
  • The adult part of the Borderline patient appears fine, but is “temporary,” a façade, or role, or illusion. Many patients and close relations think that to really communicate with the Borderline patient, it is necessary to speak to their child and not to the adult. This is not to say that they are simple-minded; they most certainly are not. It is a disease that affects behaviors, NOT the “nature” of a person.
  • It’s also been shown that Borderline patients are rather intelligent people, even if they often think that they are “retarded persons” or “morons,” despite a university degree. They often have a very low self-esteem (externalized or not). On the whole, we can say that they do not like themselves.
  • There is a whole range of people with BPD – From “high functioning” to “low functioning:”
  • Those who are “high functioning” are able to fool everyone, to dupe people closest to them; because from the outside, nothing seems to indicate that they are suffering of a disorder. They are able to have a family, children, hobbies, hold down a rewarding job, etc. …
  • Those who are “low functioning,” on the other hand, are unable to control their impulses. Suicide and self-injury are common, either as daring behaviours or to “hurt themselves to stop the suffering.”
  • The self-destructive behaviors may be: Shoplifting, Bulimia, Alcohol or Substance Abuse, Gambling, Domestic Violence, Self-Harm, Suicide, Sex Addiction, Road Rage, etc. … Treating only the behaviors is, however, a waste of time and effort.
  • There are also two categories; each patient is more or less in one of the categories or both. It is also possible to fluctuate between them according to the moment.
  • The “exteriorizing” or “acting-out” Borderline uses direct anger towards others to calm their inner rage and suffering; even if, after a demonstration of anger, they generally hate to be like this.
  • The “interiorizing” Borderline, also known as “the quiet Borderline” acts in the same way, but anger turns inwards. They self-inflict their angers, be it psychological or physical. The suffering of the quiet borderline is even more terrible and much less known about because it is invisible to the people around them.
  • The danger is when a patient who is in the habit of acting out gradually becomes a quiet borderline. In this event, his friends and family think they can leave him in peace because they believe that he is doing better. However, the real suffering of the Borderline has not gotten better, but exactly the opposite.
  • A patient who is “high functioning” and “a quiet borderline” is able to mislead 100% of those around him.
  • High functioning Borderlines may rage only in front of their significant other. In fact, many keep it so well hidden that Non’s (non-borderlines) are not believed when they tell their friends and family what is happening. Job instability may or may not be present in the lives of high functioning borderlines, but it is usually present in the lives of low functioning borderlines.
  • Another common characteristic is lying and denial. The patient has a great ability to make others believe that all is okay, which may be interpreted as manipulation. No doubt, if those closest to them had actually “seen” the problem, then the borderline might not be in such a situation today.
  • Borderlines lie (t is one of the common characteristics), BUT they are not the same as pathological liars. They use lies “selectively,” to protect themselves, not in order to hurt others.
  • The Non’s may also lie in order to prevent the borderline from acting out. Of course, this is the worst thing to do. It doesn’t help them to overcome their problems or to take care of themselves. The Non’s may also lie because they don’t want to face up to the reality of what is really going on.
  • The Borderline should not feel shame. They need to feel that they can talk to their friends, parents and family. There is definitely nothing to be ashamed of in being sick. Are you ashamed of having the flue or cancer?
  • Borderlines should not be blamed. They are not bad, malicious, without heart or egocentric; they are not bad tempered. Implying that they only do something when it suits them is equally and completely wrong, naïve and unfair. They require empathy and compassion. However, this is not to diminish the fact that people around the Borderline are also victims of this extremely painful disease.
  • It is not necessary to look for reasons why and say that it’s “my fault,” because that is pointless. What matters is support and help for the person who suffers from a borderline disorder. The most important thing is the treatment for the cure. When the treatment works; the patient, the therapist and those closest to the patient will realize it is worth the effort of seeing through to the end.

Author: innerlight

A capricorn horse. Creative dreamer, over thinker. bpd, insecure attachment and any other labels for deep and chronic wounds and other gifts of brilliance that propel intense and eclectic lives and make for good art. We are high needs and high return, all the way, all the way. Surrender, integration, repair, rebuild, connect, create, evolve. Deeply.

2 thoughts on “BPD in France

  1. Pingback: the concept of the high-functioning borderline « underground

  2. Hello, I read this article on the original page hoping for some advice on finding someone in France to help treat BPD. I haven’t heard back from them, but am wondering if perhaps you could point me in the direction of help and support in France? Thank you.

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