The Male Borderline Waif

This is a good article about an overlooked subject–the male borderline. BPD is usually associated (and diagnosed) in women; men are more often diagnosed with NPD. But they aren’t the same disorder, and this article explains what a man with the introverted/fragile sort of BPD can be like. (The more aggressive types of male Borderlines are often mistaken as having Antisocial Personality Disorder due to their impulsivity and acting-out behavior, which sometimes gets them in trouble with the law). There’s a lot of gender bias in the diagnosis of mental illness and BPD is one of the most stigmatized and misunderstood of all the disorders.

Out of the Mire

I’ve written a lot on borderline personality disorder (BPD) on this blog largely because my mother has the disorder.  It is not something I wish to vilify, and I don’t want to verbally mistreat people who have been diagnosed with it either.  Of all the personality disorders, BPD is the most stigmatized.  Many therapists refuse to treat it or see clients who carry the diagnosis altogether.  That is a hard road to walk when one has the disorder, and it’s also a very difficult situation if you love someone with it.  Where do you turn? What resources are available to you when there are so little available to your loved one with BPD?

Another inherent problem is that of diagnosis.  Many people struggling with BPD are never diagnosed and, therefore, never treated due to 1) treatment resistance 2) refusal to seek help.  The other factor? Gender bias within the clinical…

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4 thoughts on “The Male Borderline Waif

  1. I have a BPD friend online (woman) who has issues with Sherri Schreiber’s approach, as does this blogger, I notice. I have an adorable waif-y husband who’s not borderline, understands I’m neither afraid of men or deviating from the boring socially constructed gender binary (what does an ability to act like Barbie & Ken have to do with BPD anyway?) but can still throw a mean punch when the situation calls for it! 😀

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    • I dislike Sherry Schreiber’s approach too. I’ve read some of her articles about BPD and was put off by the vilification of it, as if we’re narcissists or psychopaths. We are not demons. But it’s not an uncommon sentiment. I guess because we’re “Cluster B” we are automatically “evil.” Yes, it’s true there are a few who are. (Joan Crawford, Jodi Arias, and Jeffrey Dahmer all had BPD–but I’m pretty sure they also had NPD, psychopathy, or ASPD comorbid!) BPD by itself isn’t going to make you a killer or a sociopath. There’s a lot of misunderstanding. Borderline bad behaviors aren’t premeditated and the manipulation isn’t really conscious. They’re usually due to obliviousness, severe mood swings and desperation. BPDs don’t know any better and don’t lack empathy either. Some even have too much of it. But they get so caught up in their own drama they forget to think of how others feel. Usually they feel terrible when it’s pointed out that they’ve hurt someone.
      As for the waif thing…I’ve been told by many people I’m rather waif-y myself, especially when I was younger. I take it as a sort of compliment in a weird way. Waifs are cute.

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  2. oh dear, i found a friend,,,hello otter… very much like yur blog…bpd is by its nature quite the bullshit, to cover various birth autism aorsened by abuse,,,
    and bordeline basiclaly means cant quite tell if has conscience,,,,
    yu aint bordeline ,,its poop…
    antisocial personality disorder is what it is,,its either severe or it aint,,cluster A or cluster B, its like that and thats the way it is.
    psychopaths are literally wired this way…callous conduct disorder in kids they callit.
    there is aliterally a tunr on circuit they are born with that makes em like to hurt stuff.
    i have two for parents, and two siblings with primary psychopathy, one would be borderline maybe two and the yougenst is a really nice kid who has fgrown mean since i left the kingdom…and im now guilty for abandonement,,,,the alien uncle like my uncle was, absent derided and feared as “antisocial” because expressing emotion in any honest or unmetered negotiatory way in our family is verboten , as are the words, insight, psychopath, narcissist, borderline antisocial, autism aspergers avoidant,, yes t=i habve been demanded to not use the word avoidant…
    ive tried very disorder or label under the sun to get them to even introspect for a moment,,,
    but its poure unmitigated socially approved and ebnabled high fucntioning narcisstic psychopathy ,,,
    and theres 7 oof em..
    i legged it 4 years ago but they keep ringing up…
    but theyve got spouses and “friends” who they have all conned,,,
    and they coo and leer at the little new ones who i know they will soon boreof..
    im out of it but id like people to know?
    to warn those around them that their cooing and conning and caring front was tolen and copied echolalically ,methodically from me…till they learned arepetoire of emotion and didnt need to abuse me anymore..
    purest unmitigated conspiratorial arefaced evil , and at the moment they are gettng away with it…

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    • Hold on…I’m confused. You’re saying people with BPD are really psychopathic or sociopathic? I beg to differ. I definitely have a conscience and so do most borderlines. The problem is, many borderlines act out without thinking because they are not in good control of their overwhelming emotions. So yes, some of what they do can be antisocial or even criminal, especially younger ones or males. But that doesn’t mean they have antisocial personality disorder, which means having no conscience, no empathy (most BPD’s do have some empathy, even if it’s limited), or not caring if you hurt others. Most borderlines don’t want to hurt others and feel a lot of guilt and shame if they do. ASPD means having no guilt or shame. They are both cluster B disorders and both disorders suffer from impulsive behavior (and some say a lack of empathy, although I disagree that borderlines don’t have empathy), but that is where the similarities end. You should read up more on these disorders because they aren’t the same at all.
      I am aware that some famous killers and criminals have a BPD diagnosis, but I think in the case of heinous murderers and serial killers like Jodi Arias or Jeffrey Dahmer, they also had comorbid ASPD (they sometimes occur together).

      Now, I can kind of understand the confusion with autism or Aspergers, since both suffer from a kind of social obliviousness in which they can act out against others or act in socially inappropriate ways because they simply don’t know any better. However, social awkwardness isn’t a characteristic of BPD, although they certainly can be socially awkward. In fact, for many years I thought I had Aspergers, when really what I have is a combination of BPD and Avoidant Personality Disorder. Combined together, a person can seem very much like someone on the autism spectrum (covert narcissism can also look an awful lot like Aspergers), but again, they really aren’t all that similar. BPD is an emotional disorder caused by abuse or neglect, autism is a developmental condition one is born with because they are wired differently.

      Thank you for your comments, though. I’m glad you like my blog and hope you keep reading. 🙂


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