A new study found that people with BPD may have lowered or limited empathy, and that it may be biochemical. I sometimes think I’m a bit empathy challenged, though not in a general sense. For example, I feel just awful when I see or read about someone’s suffering (especially if it’s an animal or a child) but it’s hard to me to empathize on an interpersonal, emotional level with another person (which could be due to my introversion and social awkwardness, and also my complex PTSD). I do have cognitive empathy (KNOWING how another feels), even if its sometimes hard for me to feel WITH someone else. This is something I want to change and am working on in therapy.
I’ve known other Borderlines who seem to almost have too much empathy, and are very profoundly affected by the moods of those around them. The problem for BPDs, whether they have too much or too little empathy, is that we get so caught up in our own problems we can seem to be oblivious to what others are feeling. Usually when we’re called out on our selfishness though, we feel pretty badly about it and try to make up for it.
I think a lot more research needs to be done on this matter before any blanket judgments are made. Unlike people with NPD or Antisocial Personality Disorder, I don’t think lack of empathy is a defining characteristic for Borderlines.
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I know a woman who I believe is Borderline. I try to help her out but its not that easy. She’s all obsessed over this one guy who plays games and toys with her. Meanwhile she has husband and a boyfriend. She compartmentalizes them all. One day she’ll tell the lover she’s done. Then he ropes her back in. (I think the lover must be some kind of a Narcissist because he enjoys the crazy making).
She has self-empathy. She’s constantly crying over her own drama. I never see her shed a tear for others.
Today I asked her to tell me what her biggest insecurity was, because I believe her Narc has assessed her well and is playing that cord like a pro. She responded by telling me that she has no insecurities. Not even one, and that she was perfect in everyway. You should of seen the smile on her face. It was so arrogant. She believes it.
Can you imagine? Believing you don’t have any insecurities. I don’t think I’ll ever get her to self-reflect.