“If Looks Could Kill: Anatomy of a Borderline”


People with BPD, like all the Cluster B disorders, can at times seem demonic, especially when raging. I used to have these episodes of uncontrolled rage, in which I’d dissociate pretty severely. It was as if an actual demon inside me was unleashed and I couldn’t control my actions or my words, even though I knew I’d wind up regretting it and apologizing profusely hours later, hanging my head in shame. I think these rage episodes scared me as much as they scared everyone else, but there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about them. They were far too big for me to handle. Although no one ever told me I looked “evil,” I probably did during these episodes.

DBT and mindfulness tricks helped me get things under control, but I do seem to have mellowed in general with age. That seems to happen with some BPD women (some even become spontaneously “cured” after their childbearing years end), which makes me wonder if BPD is really a personality disorder at all, or something more biochemical. Since abuse or neglect in childhood is almost always present in Borderlines, maybe abuse causes brain chemistry to change for people who develop it, and this affects the female hormones in some way.

The emotional numbness is still there, but that’s nothing new–and it could be my PTSD rather than BPD. “Zombie” used to be my default setting in between rages so severe I seemed possessed. With increasing self awareness I’m becoming more able to access real emotions without losing control. The emotional numbness is lessening but the rages of my younger years have not returned. I’m not sure which emotions are still under wraps but I think it’s closer to sadness over some undefinable loss than rage.

This article accurately describes the Borderline’s ever-shifting emotional extremes and just how black their dark moods really can be.

If Looks Could Kill: Anatomy of a Borderline

By Shari Schreiber, M.A.

There was once a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good–but when she was bad, she was horrid.

My other articles on Borderline Personality Disorder speak to elements in the Borderline that seduce you and keep you enraptured, despite their push-pull emotional gymnastics, disruptive come here/go away cycles, and confusing, crazy-making behaviors. This piece exposes the volatile, frightening dark side of this individual who has gotten you under their spell and won’t let you go, but also uncovers the root cause of these issues. There’s a comprehensive list of features/traits at the bottom, which can help you determine if you’re involved with someone who has BPD–or it may serve as a self-diagnostic tool.

While many BPD people have killer looks, not all Borderlines are beautiful or handsome–but that doesn’t make them any less seductive or diabolical. It’s much easier for a great looking man or woman to find continuous streams of narcissistic supply via adulation and romantic pursuit from others, and until this ego fuel isn’t obtainable, they won’t consider therapy. Why should they? Humans don’t change, until what they’ve been doing doesn’t work for them anymore–or they’re in enough pain, to re-direct their energies and efforts toward seeking the help they need to get truly well.

Read the rest of this article here.


7 thoughts on ““If Looks Could Kill: Anatomy of a Borderline”

  1. Pingback: Cluster B | kiasherosjourney

  2. Whew. I just read the entire article and it seems to me like she is describing malignant narcissists, for the most part.

    This statement in particular sent a chill up my spine:
    “Many higher-functioning Borderlines become psychotherapists (yikes!) due to never having resolved their own core trauma issues.”

    Yikes, indeed. Like the psychiatrist who raped me when I was fifteen? But, like I said, that seems more like malignant narcissist or even psychopathic behavior.

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  3. That describes me to a T, apart from being male and still having the issue of going into a rage and scaring myself in the process. I’ve been told it’s down to an imbalance between the fluids in the brain causing the neurons to misfire. Still doesn’t help stop the rages when I turn green and lash out at everyone close enough at the time.

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  4. “some BPD women (some even become spontaneously “cured” after their childbearing years end), which makes me wonder if BPD is really a personality disorder at all, or something more biochemical.” This notion was food for thought for me, or more probably some reinforcement for my continuing obsession to try to determine the effects of nature vs nurture on personality and emotional and mental developmental differences.
    Don’t know if I was diagnosed as BPD or something else when I was in therapy 40 or so years ago or recently, though the recent bout with depression and mood swings did rear its ugly head when I moved beyond the childbearing years. This event coincided with a cross country move, early retirement (which didn’t help so I went back to work, which in the long run didn’t help either) and the beginnings of empty nest syndrome for me. The cure this time was and has been more drug than therapy related.

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    • I’m sorry you’re having these mood swings. They could be purely situational or biochemical. If drug therapy is helping it may be biochemical. You may not have BPD but I can’t say for certain.


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