Q: I’ve experienced quite a few traumatic events growing up involving abuse from my father and stepfather. My mom knew what was happening but didn’t stop it. She’s always resented me because she thought children got in the way of her career. Other things happened but I will not get into them. I have really low self-esteem. I feel like I’m a bad person and that I’m helpless. When I get in relationships with people I get attached very easily. When they leave me because of my low self-esteem I’ll fly into a rage and then cut myself. I feel empty. I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself. I feel powerless and like a burden.

A: I cannot diagnose you through an email but I strongly encourage you to seek therapy. You have listed some of the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder but it appears you have done some research in this area. On one hand this is good but on the other sometimes people can be too quick to self-diagnose. Having an abusive childhood can certainly lead to relationship and self-esteem problems as well as a poor ability to handle emotions. Once again, I encourage you to find a good therapist in your area so you can begin to feel better about yourself and understand your past. This needs to be the first step… then you can work on having a healthy relationship with another. It’s always worth doing the work. I wish you luck.