Does My Friend Have Borderline Personality Disorder?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

First, I would like to explain that I am a Psych major and have been in counseling for years for PTSD and now ADD, among other issues. I believe this person I will describe does have BPD, but I’m not a professional and can’t diagnose.

MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HER
Her boyfriend left her to date my ex, which led to us talking. We both attached quickly, started having sex, and two months in started dating others at her insistence. I told her I loved her, but she only “liked me a lot” and three weeks later she broke up with me. During this time, I was reading a book on ADD and caught a section about BPD, and thought “wow, that’s her”. We didn’t talk for nearly three months, then she comes back to school where I am. Since then, we’ve been having sex and seeing each other almost daily. While being “just friends” I have learned much more about her personality, and strongly believe she has BPD.

BEHAVIOR
She very quickly attaches herself to new people. She hates to be alone, and sleep alone – she sometimes sleeps with a particular stuffed animal. Also shows signs of anxiety when around unfamiliar groups. She is prone to mood swings, and seems to almost have multiple personalities. She was neglected by both parents, and shows ambivalent attachment qualities. She smokes marijuana daily, shoplifts, and has unsafe sex. She was a cutter, history of depression. She “hates herself”, and sees herself as ugly despite being very attractive. She has medical problems, including possibly never being able to have children. Lies and keeps secrets almost effortlessly.

RELATIONSHIPS
She was date raped as a teenager. Physically abused by another ex boyfriend. She has a hard time letting go of ex boyfriends (including myself) insisting on remaining friends with them. She quickly attaches herself to new people, seemingly having a new “best friend” every few months.

To me, it seems clear that she may have BPD, but I could be wrong. How can I best approach her to get her considering treatment?

A: While I admire your desire to help I am also aware that there are too many possibilities to consider when trying to diagnose a person. The list of symptoms and issues listed here could be a variety or combination of concerns. The question I would have is: “Why are you in this relationship”? Why do you want to be with a person with so many issues? Why do you “love” a person who only says she “likes you a lot”?

Since you are both in college I would encourage you to go to the counseling department together and ask to have a couples session. The therapist can then see and ask questions that would be helpful to the relationship, and if your friend needs help they can make the recommendation.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Does My Friend Have Borderline Personality Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/12/22/does-my-friend-have-borderline-personality-disorder/