The Temper Tantrums Of Borderline Personality Disorder


temper tantrums of borderline personality disorder

People suffering from borderline personality disorder are sometimes more prone to temper tantrums, and the reason for this can be traced back to their childhood and upbringing.

Key Points:

The borderline personality is desperate for connection and support when alone, often idealizing potential partners or friends.

Once the yearned-for relationship begins, the cycle of disappointment, rage, and avoidance repeats.

The borderline patient is help-resistant because the therapist’s interventions spark temper tantrums.

James Masterson has written extensively about borderline pathology. He believes that the mothers of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) patients were deeply attached to their babies and responsive to them in infancy but discouraged the individuation that happens between 18 months and 3 years.

The outcome of such parenting is that closeness is comforting briefly but soon feels like engulfment and control. The borderline personality is desperate for connection and support when alone, often idealizing potential partners or friends. But once the yearned-for relationship begins, the cycle of disappointment, rage, and avoidance repeats.

People with BPD come to therapy for specific complaints such as panic attacks or depression. When they are not in a regressed state, they can present themselves as high functioning and elicit the therapist’s empathy. However, when the therapist makes an interpretation, the borderline is likely to experience it as an attack.

Related: 7 Surprising Positive Aspects Of BPD

The therapist may try to create an alliance with the patient’s observing ego, but the borderline patient does not have one when triggered. The borderline patient is help-resistant because the therapist’s interventions spark temper tantrums.

Explosive periods of anger and frustration make therapy as well as daily functioning difficult. Borderlines fall in and out of love because idealization briskly turns to contempt; relationships are turbulent. It is difficult for them to stick with romantic partners but also career choices and friends. It is also difficult for their partners and friends, living with a person who sees you one way one day and another way the next day can be painful.

These extreme fluctuations in ego states make successful therapy with borderline patients complicated and challenging.

My patient, Danielle, is a 26-year-old lawyer. Danielle’s history fits Masterson’s description. When she was very young her mother tried to keep her in a bubble to protect her from frustration and disappointment, preventing the development of tools to calm and soothe herself.

Later, when she was older, Danielle developed an avoidance strategy when she was frustrated or disappointed. Retreating to her room during mealtimes and family occasions, Danielle became increasingly isolated from her family and her parents did not intervene.

Danielle sought treatment because she suffered from long-term depression. It took years of psychoanalysis to make it clear that her depression was the result of decades of temper tantrums. She doesn’t hit her head against the wall or throw things, but she either retreats or gets into a rage.

Danielle has a temper tantrum every time she is frustrated or disappointed, but it takes different forms depending on her closeness to the person. When she is dealing with strangers Danielle’s tantrums are sometimes acted out with physical confrontation and yelling. For example, if another car cuts her off, she will shout at the other driver or make obscene gestures. Later when she recovers from the disturbing intensity of feeling, she is horrified at her loss of control and risky behavior.

When the person is a friend or co-worker, Danielle does not act out her rage but denies it and retreats. She tells herself: “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter.” That is the adult version of kicking down a sandcastle. When Danielle is disappointed by a colleague at her law office, she pushes the hurt aside. She thinks: “I don’t care, I don’t want to be a lawyer anyway.”

If I say something Danielle does not like, she crosses her arms and says, “You’re not helping me. I don’t want to do this anymore.” “You aren’t listening to me, you just want to follow your own agenda.” “You always blame me, everything is my fault.” She walks out of my office after that. It has taken years of analytic work to get to the point where Danielle recognizes these reactions as temper tantrums and is able to stop, calm herself, and then examine what I have said that triggered her.

Related: How Parents Cause Mental Health Problems In Children

Temper tantrums are common for people with BPD and managing them is an important part of building a sense of self-control and stability. For those who did not have help developing a centered sense of self, working with a psychoanalyst can help create it.

Developing a relationship in which hurt and disappointment play out and then are worked through over time, the patient internalizes the dialogue with the analyst and is finally able to develop an inner dialogue that is consoling and rooted in reality.

Written By Roberta Satow Ph.D. 
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today 
temper tantrums of borderline personality disorder pin
The Temper Tantrums Of Borderline Personality Disorder

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Eggshell Parenting Meaning: 5 Signs You’re Making These Mistakes!

Eggshell Parenting: Signs You're Making These Mistakes!

Parenting is one of the most sincere tasks in every individual’s life that should be done with utmost care and coherence. However, the relationship between parents and their children is often tampered by the mental, and behavioral issues of the parents.

Thus, mood disorders and the violent nature of parents can affect the child’s life. Eggshell parenting is one such consequence. In this blog, we will guide you to understand eggshell parenting and show you the risky spots you should avoid.

What is Eggshell Parenting?  

Up Next

The Role of Childhood Trauma in Serial Killers: A Deep Dive Into 5 Serial Killers and Their Upbringing

Role of Childhood Trauma in Serial Killers: Case Examples

The public’s fascination with the mystery surrounding serial killers has long sparked conjecture regarding the motivations behind people’s horrific behavior. The role of childhood trauma in serial killers has received a lot of attention, despite the fact that the reasons underlying their actions are complex.

In this blog, we explore the childhood experiences in serial killers to gain insight into their terrifying world. We aim to uncover the intricate relationship between pathology and upbringing by delving into the trauma in serial killers and unfavorable conditions that shaped these individuals’ early years.

This will illuminate the shadowy pasts of some of the most infamous murderers in history. Come along with us as we venture into the darkest recesses of the human brain, where the roots of violence are planted.

Up Next

What Is A High Functioning Sociopath And How To Identify Them

What Is A High Functioning Sociopath? Common Traits

Have you ever come across the term “high functioning sociopath”? But what is a high functioning sociopath? Do they suffer from some mental disorder? Can they pose a threat? Should you be wary of them? Let’s find out.

The mysterious allure of sociopaths has captured the attention of popular culture, with characters like Sherlock Holmes and Hannibal Lecter captivating our imagination. However, in reality, encountering a high functioning sociopath can be a complex and challenging experience. 

Today, we will delve into the depths of this enigmatic personality type, exploring high functioning sociopath traits, and how to navigate relationships with them.

What is a High Functioning Sociopath?

Up Next

Understanding The Hidden Depths Of Superficiality: Shallow Personality Meaning And Its 6 Identifying Signs

Shallow Personality Meaning: Six Signs To Spot A Shallow Person

Do you know someone with a shallow personality? Someone who seems to prioritize superficiality over substance? Someone who appears to lack depth in their thoughts, emotions, and interactions? Let’s explore shallow personality meaning and how to deal with shallow people.

Shallow Personality Meaning

A shallow personality refers to a set of traits and behaviors that exhibit a lack of depth, authenticity, and genuine emotional connection. 


Up Next

Red Flags of Rage: 10 Characteristics Of An Aggressive Person

Ten Characteristics Of An Aggressive Person

Aggression is a powerful force that affects our relationships, workplaces, and communities. Understanding the characteristics of an aggressive person is crucial for navigating human interactions, especially when it’s done with clarity and compassion.

Aggression can take different forms, from explosive anger to subtle manipulation. Misunderstanding it leads to strained relationships and conflicts. By shedding light on these signs, we aim to demystify aggression, promote empathy, and improve communication.

We should remember that these aggressive personality traits are not meant to label or stigmatize individuals. Instead, they increase awareness and support personal growth. By understanding aggression, we can break the cycle and promote pos

Up Next

11 Common Myths About Narcissism Debunked

Alarming Myths About Narcissism

We’ve all heard the term “narcissism,” but did you know there are certain myths about Narcissism? Yes, and let’s face it, it’s often wrapped in layers of misunderstanding and exaggeration. Time to untangle the misconceptions about Narcissism!

Research on narcissistic personality disorder has substantially increased in the last 20 years, and the public discourse on narcissism has exploded, but it is often inaccurate.

Many social media spokespersons (both narcissists and their victims) generalize their personal experiences to all narcissists.

As an au

Up Next

What Is All Or Nothing Thinking? How To Break Free From A Rigid Mindset

What Is All Or Nothing Thinking? Seven Steps To Overcome Rigid Mindset

Have you ever found yourself thinking in absolutes? Believing that things are either completely one way or the other, with no in-between? This type of thinking is known as all or nothing thinking, and while it may seem like a black-and-white way of looking at the world, it can actually be quite limiting. 

Let us explore the dangers of thinking in absolutes, how it can affect your life and relationships, and how to stop all or nothing thinking. 

What is all or nothing thinking?

All or nothing thinking, also known as “black and white thinking