Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD is an emotional dysregulation disorder accompanied by emotional intensity, black and white thinking, and impulsivity. While BPD is a widely known and one of the most misunderstood personality disorder, Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder or Quiet BPD is something not everyone might be aware of.
A lot of us might ignore and assume it to be just a temporary phase, but if not diagnosed and worked upon, it can become life-threatening as well.
What is Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder?
Quiet borderline personality disorder is an extension of the classic form of borderline personality disorder. Therefore, to understand what quiet borderline personality disorder is, we need to understand what the classic form of borderline personality disorder is.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5, Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed based on (1) a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and (2) marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by at least five of the following:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; this does not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
- Markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging. ( eg. Spending, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating, etc.); this does not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood. (eg. Intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
- Chronic feelings of emptiness.
- Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger. ( eg. Frequent displace of temper, constant anger, or recurrent physical fights.)
- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
This is what this manual tells about this disorder, and it helps the mental health practitioners to identify and diagnose it.
Coming to Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder, it is, as the name implies, a quieter form of the disorder. It means you suffer the disorder quietly without acting out externally. The quieter form of BPD is more intense because the person goes through the adversity without letting other people know about it. People tend to self harm themselves and do not outburst their anger. In order to take out the negativity, they hurt themselves, and their bodies are usually covered with scars. The reactions are not loud, and they suffer without showing and react when alone. The quiet borderline personality disorder is present inwardly.
How is it Different from Borderline Personality Disorder?
The classic form of borderline personality disorder or simply borderline personality disorder differs from the quiet borderline personality disorder. Although both do not vary entirely, often, these two can overlap each other. It becomes challenging to differentiate the two due to similar characteristics that both have.
The main difference in both disorders is how the patients react. In BPD, there is an outburst of reaction. Other people can see the response that many times occur in a violent form. The frustration of emotional imbalance can be seen as it is in an outward way.
Patients of classic BPD tend to show others how they feel, and they usually get their emotional responses out on other people. They throw things, and their family and friends can easily see their frequent mood swings. They can harm others too.
In a way, it is easy to recognize the classic form as otherwise, the patients keep their reaction to themselves. The silent version of borderline personality disorder entails the reactions due to the emotional imbalances that go on in the patient’s mind do not get outburst.
In daily life, they may seem absolutely normal because, with other people, they do not react in front of them. Therefore, it becomes difficult for other people to realize whether it is something wrong or something adverse is going on in their minds.
When these patients feel something, their reaction is not instant. They wait till they are alone, and then they may harm themselves. Their hands or other body parts are usually covered with scars. One instance through which the difference will become clearer is:
For example, when a sufferer of classic BPD is in a relationship, and the other person leaves them, then they may tend to blackmail the other person that they would harm themselves if they leave them.
As opposed to that, if the same situation occurred to someone with a Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder, their reaction would be different. Instead of blackmailing the other person, they would just let the other person go, but they would suffer themselves when alone.
Signs You have Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder
There can be symptoms that you might have quiet personality disorder, but these signs in no way confirm your mental status to be disordered.
If you have gotten a majority of these signs or you feel uncomfortable mentally, it is highly recommended that you should go and get yourself diagnosed by a certified psychiatrist. Since it is more of an invisible disorder, it becomes difficult to diagnose it, but these signs that are given below may help:
Extreme mood swings
You might experience a sudden change in your mood. For instance, you are enjoying a party and in a normal mood, and then all of a sudden, you become distracted as if you’ve gone to some other world. You are no more mentally present there and, all of a sudden, feel yourself to be disconnected from your surroundings, and this may remain from a few hours to a few days. But you do not react on this mood swing outwardly.
Bottled up anger
In quiet borderline personality disorder, you constantly get angry, and you get easily irritated, but you do not, at all, show this anger to anyone. You do not react upon that anger, and therefore the other person cannot know whether you are angry.
But you wait till you are alone, and then you react. This reaction might be in the form of crying. You cry out, or you might even harm yourself, unlike otherwise, where the reaction of anger is instant, and everyone gets to know about your anger. In this, even if someone asks you whether you are angry, you tend to deny that anger and not accept it in front of the other person.
You cut people off your life
You tend to cut off people from your life so that they are not able to hurt you because you always have this constant fear that people might hurt you and leave you. Therefore you distant yourself from your loved ones as well and also from those who genuinely care about you.
You have a constant fear
There is always this constant fear that is running through your mind, and almost all the time, you even do not know what this fear is about. You always have a tightly clenched jaw out of anxiety. This fear can be related to your relationships with other people or your career or anything that you see or are related to in some way or the other.
You do not talk about your problems to anyone and rather keep it to yourself and to take out the frustration you harm yourself.
People with Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder have very low self-esteem. You are not at all proud of yourself, and you constantly blame yourself. You feel that you are a burden upon your loved ones, you consider yourself as a black sheep. want to be in your comfort zone or the way you are rather than talking about it to someone because you are too scared.
As a result of it, you might also be suffering from eating disorders like eating too much or too little, and it is showing on your body. You also tend to have casual sex without caring about protection and stuff. These are the outbursts of your frustration.
How is it Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of quiet borderline personality disorder can be more difficult as compared to the classic one. Even the classic one is more difficult than the other such mental disorders because many times, the symptoms can be confused with depression and anxiety. But with regular observation and going to a professional might lead to the right path.
Quiet borderline personality disorder is a hidden form, and also the sufferer usually does not get ready to speak everything out to their therapist. They are given a form to fill about the questions about their past and present.
It is said that there can be two main reasons for the occurrence of the quiet borderline personality disorder – the first one being genetic and the second one being past or childhood trauma.
Talking about the first one, if someone in the family has been diagnosed with quiet borderline personality disorder, the chances are that any person from the family is more likely to have it. Coming to the second one, childhood trauma, dysfunctional family, or any such intense past incident which has left the patient traumatized can be other such reason.
All these factors and the observance are used to diagnose quiet borderline personality disorder in a person.
How to deal with it?
It is essential to know that seeking a psychiatrist or a therapist is important. Without professional assistance, it can be complicated to deal with this disorder. The professionals know how to manage your emotions and what to do with your mind so that you do not feel the way you do.
The patients are given two choices, one of therapy and the other of medication. The patient can choose either one, but the therapy can heal and untie all the knots that are there in the mind of the patient. But those with a quiet borderline personality disorder often choose medication, but it is recommended that later on, they should also start with their therapy.
Surround yourself with positivity, practice meditation, reading books related to their disorder can be of great help. You can also search for BPD groups in your area and join them.
Quiet BPD can be crippling, but with the right diagnosis and care, it can be managed. There are people out there who have won against it, so listen to their story, talk to people, and overall practice self-care because your mental health decides your life.