People with BPD look to others to provide things they find difficult to supply for themselves, such as self-esteem, approval, and a sense of identity. Most of all, they are searching for a nurturing caregiver whose never-ending love and compassion will fill the black hole of emptiness and despair inside them.
Some people with BPD may play the role of victim because it draws sympathetic attention, supplies an identity, and gives them the illusion that they are not responsible for their own actions.
Another role common among people with BPD is that of helper or caretaker. This more positive role may help provide them with an identity, heighten feelings of control, and lessen feelings of emptiness.
Borderline rage is usually intense, unpredictable, and unaffected by logical argument. It is like a torrential flash flood, a sudden earthquake, or a bolt of lightning on a sunny day. And it can disappear as quickly as it appears.
Borderlines may need to feel in control of other people because they feel so out of control with themselves. In addition, they may be trying to make their own world more predictable and manageable. People with BPD may unconsciously try to control others by putting them in no-win situations, creating chaos that no one else can figure out, or accusing others of trying to control them.
Acting-out behaviors are attempts to alleviate pain by dumping it onto someone else-for example, by raging, blaming, criticizing, making accusations, becoming physically violent, and engaging in verbal abuse. Acting-out behaviors cause direct anguish for friends, family members, and partners.
People with BPD, however, may do the opposite. When their feelings don't fit the facts, they may unconsciously revise the facts to fit their feelings. This may be one reason why their perception of events is so different from yours.
Some adults who enter into relationships with borderlines feel brainwashed by the BP's accusations and criticisms. Says Benham: "The techniques of brainwashing are simple: isolate the victim, expose them to consistent messages, mix with sleep deprivation, add some form of abuse, get the person to doubt what they know and feel, keep them on their toes, wear them down, and stir well."
Memorize the three Cs and the three Gs: I didn't cause it. I can't control it. I can't cure it. Get off their back. -Get out of their way. Get on with your own life.
When people don't have healthy limits, they need defenses such as control, withdrawal, blaming, rationalizing, intellectualizing, name calling, perfectionism, black-and-white thinking, threats, fighting about false issues, and excessive concern for the other-all defenses that damage intimacy.