68 Comments to
Why Do Therapists Stigmatize People with Borderline?

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  1. HELP! My county has taken away my children, 14 years and 1 year, because I have BPD, claiming I am a risk to endangering them.
    I raised my 14 year old without incident, and have been a breastfeeding mother of my now 17 month old, who has been in foster care for over two months. There are no issues of neglect, abuse, drugs, alcohol…nothing. But, in Juvenile Dependency court, in order to have your child(ren) removed, you don’t need to have committed any wrong, just the risk of committing a wrong based upon their subjectiveness.
    This all began from a false allegation from my baby’s biological father in a custody dispute, and the County has since dropped the original allegation but ran with my BPD, claiming that within the next 16 1/2 years, I could pose a risk of neglect to my child. They have already returned my 14 year old, but are keeping my baby.
    No one ever told me that because I was diagnosed with BPD that it was against the law to have children.
    I hope this story, on behalf of my baby, reaches the heart of someone who may know recourse. I cannot find any support out there anywhere. No organizations to fight discrimination, as this is the worse kind. To lose your precious child is like a daily death sentence.

  2. I know i have Bpd i am embarrassed ashamed and helpless.. I’ve struggled through life physical verbal emotional abuse. My mind and emotions are reckless i feel bad at times then un emotional.
    I’m suffering silently. I have no friends un able to keep friends fall in and out of love. I want to feel normal not bizarre or erratic just normal i feel cursed. I’m very intelligent but flawed by bdp it makes no dame since. I could either laugh scream cry or end it all to no avail.What’s a girl to do!

  3. I was misdiagnosed with bipolar for 25 years. Now I have be fortunate to have an awesome psychiatrist who not only pinpointed my problem, has given me direct and consistent attention to my issues, but has been very generous with his wisdom. I’m blessed. My problem? I cannot find a program or consistent theraputic venue that deals with BPD. I have completed COG,DBT and a 30 day inpatient stay. Where do you go to continue what you are learning?

  4. DBT is a great therapy as is patience and mindfulness with clients experiencing BPD. A therapist must also have good boundaries and sometimes let the client flounder or move on. As a previous post mentioned, …I know first hand of therapists/licensed people who had their careers destroyed by character defamation made by clients and former clients.

  5. Treatment seems like such a catch-22. My college psychology professor was also a clinical psychologist and would tell us about his patient that was borderline. He said one time he innocently had to cancel the session due to having a minor surgical procedure done….he said this patient flew off the handle and told him how hated he was by this patient(he didn’t give out the patients name or sex for obvious reasons when he would tell us stories about is patients/former patients). This patient also tried to get my professors license revoked(the patient failed of course because you don’t get your license revoked for canceling ONE appointment(with ample notice ahead of time). But everyone is different and no one size fits all approach exists to treating BPD patients. Personality disorders are notorious for being refractory to standard treatment…ever try treating someone with anti-social personality disorder? It’s hard to get them in help because a good portion of them are in jail…and the others don’t think they have a problem at all.

  6. i find most therapists and psychiatrists do not tell clients they have a personality disorders.
    The anxiety, depression and coping skills are addressed but not the underlying diagnosis.
    I also find therapists say “why bother, as the person is not going to change” but feel that they are ethical in continuing to accept money for therapy and ongoing medication.
    I personally find this strange; out of respect I inform clients about their disorders- no matter what they are. i think this gives them power.

  7. My best friend of eight years, Shelby, has been in and out of therapy throughout her adolescent life. She has seen multiple therapists and was written off by most as simply bipolar, which was not the case. Because therapists couldn’t correctly diagnose or treat her, they just labeled her as “untreatable”. The stigma against BPD is huge, therapists are not taking enough time or enough care in their patients. They’re making quick diagnosis’ and when the treatment isn’t working they just let their patients go. Shelby is currently nineteen years old and is finally getting the correct treatment. She is going through DBT and group therapy. She says she feels better than she ever has before and it’s all because she finally received the treatment she should’ve gotten a long time ago.

  8. As Patty Fleener writes of so well, when one has BPD he or she is not listened to. The clinician often pre-decides (usually incorrectly) how the pt. will act based on the BPD label itself. In fact, they sort of wait for “evidence” to “prove” themselves correct. The patient is powerless as any evidence to the contrary is quickly ignored to maintain the original position of how “bad” people with BPD are.
    There are 256 ways to meet the criteria for BPD. Some share only ONE trait; and most have other diagnoses such as an eating disorder, depression, PTSD, a separate PD, etc. How on earth can they all be the same? They are not!
    The name itself is ridiculous as the theory behind the name was debunked decades ago. Yet when I said that to John Gunderson, he said he didn’t think “the research” would stil apply if the name were changed. Huh? They did with multiple personality disorder and manic depression just fine.
    Until clinicians are willing to open their eyes and get into the heart and minds of these suffering people there will be no therapeutic alliance and the treatment will do more harm than good. And to think many are seen as trying to get attention when in fact one out of ten ends up commiting suicide. (No doubt some of those suicides are in large part due to the discrimination and abuse by those that were supposed to help.)
    It’s well past time to stop blaming the victim here. People with BPD are suffering enormously. The stigma and misperceptions do not help.
    I highly recommend Alex Chapman’s The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide. He wonderfully and humorously debunks the most common myths around “BPD.” As far as I can tell, it needs to be read by anyone who considers themself part of a helping profession.

  9. Why don’t therapists like treating borderlines? I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but here goes.
    1. Unlike depression, bipolar or other conditions, borderlines can have the nasty habit of lashing out at their therapists. One day we can be the best therapist ever and the only person to ever help and understand them. The next day we can be the most horrible, useless and incompetent clinician ever with no business holding a license. Sorry, but I’m not going to be anyone’s verbal punching bag or whipping boy.
    2. I have a solo practice. I also have a family and I like having a life. I do not have the resources to handle habitual crisis calls in the middle of the night, on holidays, etc.
    3. From a liability standpoint, their propensity for self-harm makes them too high risk. And given their vindictive rages, if you get on their bad side they are Dept of Professional Regulation complaint or lawsuit waiting to happen.
    4. Unless someone is a skilled DBT practitioner, the prognosis for a borderline is poor. I’d rather devote my time and energy to people I have a good chance of helping.

    • I’m sorry, WHY are you a therapist exactly?

  10. I was recently diagnosed with BPD. I would have preferred AIDS.
    When I was diagnosed the psychiatrist asked me what I thought of or new about BPD.

    I explained that the diagnosis meant I might as well have blown my fucking brains out because I’ll NEVER be happy and bring NOTHING but chaos, destruction and misery to everyone unfortunate enough to be around me, ESPECIALLY loved ones. No hope, no treatment, no future, only pain.

    Apparently that’s changed and there’s actually treatments for it, but it took the psychiatrist and my social worker about a half hour to try and convince me there’s even a chance of hope.

    But yeah.. that’s the perception of BPD.

  11. I have BPD. I dont think that I could say anything that hasn’t been said here except that what I have found is the most frustrating part of this stigma, for me, is being told that my search for a higher standard of care (beyond those with huge prejudices against me) is a symptom of my mental illness. Im having a very hard time with this diagnosis and the ridicule that I am feeling from mental health professionals. I feel as though the way im being treated is making my condition worse.

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