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Borderline- Life on the threshold
"Life is a curse. It won't let me go. " Sophia, border liner
Borderline syndrome denotes a mental disorder that was defined as a gray area between neurosis and psychosis. Borderline is now considered a form of emotional instability. Borderline is often associated with other disorders, including anorexia and bulimia, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Three percent of people in Germany are affected, women as well as men. Every second Borderliner tries to commit suicide at least once. So therapies are vital.
Borderliners alternate between euphoria and the end of the world, love and hate, self-devaluation and omnipotence fantasy, their soul shattered. Sleep disorders, concentration and language problems, multiple personalities as a result of mental splits, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or feed addiction, deja vus and flashbacks of terrible experiences, a lack of body awareness, phobias and panic attacks are everyday life for Borderliners.
They are accompanied by chaos in lifestyle, regressions to toddler behavior, sudden aggressiveness, raging anger and powerless anger, dissociations and distorted perception. The breakdown of outside and inside, closeness and distance. Hopelessness and depression, intense but rapidly changing relationships, self-loathing and isolation, devastating feelings of guilt, compulsive self-destruction and weeks of grief are normal for her. Addictive behavior, whether alcohol, drugs or gaming, is also part of the self-harm of the Borderliners.
Provocative role-playing in society, secrecy and distrust also characterize subcultures such as punk that have had bad experiences with parents, the police, the judiciary or school. Borderliners are often attracted to such subcultures; For her, being different is not a consciously accepted identity, but a painful experience. Borderline is a striking feature of our time and is closely linked to turbo capitalism and its compulsion to self-exploitation.
The demons of the unconscious
"Hell is sitting in front of you." A Borderliner above her
Borderliners split off pictorial perceptions and deny them, according to psychologist Nathan Schwartz-Salant - this pictorial thinking is then no longer available, or, worse, becomes a demon. L. Grinberg observes an inability to deal with disappointments and defeats, aggressive impulses, fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience as well as idealizations that can be seen as a defense against a perception of permanent threat.
Identity disorders and diffuse fears are conditional; contact with reality is disturbed, but - unlike open psychoses - remains, which enables borderliners to function until the next breakdown occurs. There is also a "let yourself go", a loss of drive control, which also acts destructively, in addition to depression and dependency on objects, infantile needs prevail. A transference psychosis in which Borderliners locate their own drives in others and either attack them or attack themselves is part of social behavior.
Nathan Schwartz-Salant realizes that borderliners live directly in unconscious processes. Her inner images force themselves on the outer forms and thus offer the opportunity to see what "you normally do not want to see".
Borderliners maintain the child's visionary view, but it is the view of an injured child, says Schwartz-Salant. "There is a tremendous amount of affect released, but it has no renewing power - so there is no creation of" legitimate goals and values. "According to Schwartz-Salant, the union between two people leads to a new archetype, that forms in the unconscious - in the suffering of the Borderliner these unconscious processes dismember; the person concerned experiences the dark aspects of this association, but not its life-giving components.
Life on the threshold
"There is an empty shell in front of you." A Boderliner
These phases of physical development merge with the Borderliner with biographically acquired structures, which leads to chaos: Am I celibate or nymphomaniac, a child or an old man, saint or whore, man or woman? Have I been a raped woman in a previous life? Borderliners can go into the truths that convey role-playing games, but are unable to distinguish myths, historical figures or characters from their real life and act like covers through which a creature speaks from a foreign world. Images of the subconscious that people experience in their dreams live in the Borderliner without being able to control them. Without realizing it, the cross-border commuter fluctuates between internalized characteristics of the parents, feelings of absence - which is due to the failure from one development stage to the next - and split-off complexes that are negatively occupied: images of hell. Every development towards a new phase of life that changes him means fear of death for Borderliners.
"The terrible thing is so familiar to me that I keep looking for situations that are terrible." A border liner
Borderline is mostly the basis of traumas in childhood. A lack of basic trust in the parents and a disturbed relationship between father and mother, divorce or broken marriages, unreliable contacts are part of the biography of those affected. Parents who do not empathize shape the cross-border commuters, as well as conflicting expectations that parents place on them.
People who suffer from borderline syndrome were often subjected to verbal and emotional abuse, be it deprivation of love or neglect. A broken relationship with at least one parent is typical. Mental illnesses of the mother or father and the associated unpredictability mean that those affected do not develop a stable identity. There are also alcohol problems and drug abuse by parents. Parents who show borderline symptoms themselves are classic - paranoid schizophrenia and manic depression are also common.
Every second Borderliner experienced violence from at least one parent, classmate or neighbor. Some borderliners even experienced extreme violence in the family such as scalding, punching, injuries with objects and weapons. Violence with justifications such as "if you always have contradictions" leads to feelings of guilt.
They are so familiar with the terrible that these children seek situations that are terrible and provoke the violence they fear without even knowing it. If there is no terror, there is no identity.
Borderliners develop sensitivity and a kind of “seventh sense” for threats. This intuition is ambivalent, because the mentally unstable not only smell formally when there is danger and are able to act in extreme situations, but they look for these situations and bring them about themselves. Some borderliners could survive in the civil war, but fail to cope with everyday life.
Sexual abuse as a cause
Sexual abuse is typical of borderliners - especially women. Promiscuity combines with self-loathing and disgust at the partner, prostitution is a consequence. A Borderliner said that she "let herself be pulled off by the very types she was disgusted with." On the other hand, men who behaved kindly ridiculed, criticized or ignored them; she allowed herself to be sexually humiliated and at the same time reported her father.
One consequence of the abuse is the change and abrupt termination of sexual relationships. Borderliners assume low motives for their partners, but are bored if and because their partners do not have them; they long for affection, but if they experience love, they suspect that there is a hair in the ointment, and if they do not find this hair, they think their partner is ridiculous, thinking that he does not know them.
They force proofs of love because they don't believe in declarations of love; however, when they do, they feel threatened in their freedom. In the process, they do not find it a lie to demand the opposite of what they requested the evening before the morning after; They recognize that it is absurd to do the opposite of what they have previously represented, but they do not know why they behave in this way. They present their partners with tried and tested combat situations against the abusing parent, and power games break out, especially when the partner does not correspond to the hated and beloved image. "Never tell a borderliner that you love him. He will destroy you for it, ”said one concerned.
Despite various sexual contacts, they react aggressively to tenderness, so that someone who does not know their other side thinks they are sexually distant. Only every fourth Borderliner has no experience of sexual assault by superior people, every second victim of abuse has experienced this assault in a narrow social environment, every fourth as an incest relationship with a parent. Sexual abuse usually started before puberty, threatening sexuality tears apart the childhood self.
Deny borderliners to maintain the division between good offenders and abusers. They hide facts that speak against idealization on the one hand and devaluation on the other hand so much that they cannot call them up.
Borderliners often look like children to outsiders. Attachment deficits, an inhibition of the individuation process in early childhood are essential. Melanie Klein recognized that borderliners fail in the depressive phase, i.e. when the child adapts his magical world to the outside world and becomes frustrated. Due to injuries during this time of magical thinking, the dreaming child, Borderliners withdraw into the unconscious world of childhood, which does not go hand in hand with their mature body and the changing demands of the outside world.
Borderline personality disorder is often treated with psychotherapy in combination with medication. The following forms of therapy are often used in this context:
- Scheme-focused therapy (Scheme therapy): This therapy tries to find deeply rooted action schemes that are connected with traumatic childhood experiences. The aim is to replace such schemes with more appropriate action in order to be able to react appropriately to events.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy: This form of therapy is a mixture of behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, Gestalt therapy and hypnotherapy. In the course of treatment, skills should be learned, trained and used, which should help those affected to solve problems. In addition, problems of lifestyle and emotional experience are examined in more detail.
- Transference Focussed Therapy: This therapy focuses on the lack of empathy of borderline sufferers. The aim is to learn to better recognize and understand the inner processes in other people. In the course of therapy, an attempt should be made to transfer the disturbed object relationship to the therapist in order to process the process in this way.
- Mentalization-based therapy: Here too the focus is on the so-called subject-object differentiation. However, the focus is more on the control of impulses and affect actions.
Borderline therapy is often supported by medication. Mood stabilizers are often prescribed to reduce the risk of relapses. Atypical antipsychotics are also used. These alleviate stimuli and reduce psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and associative relaxation. If there are additional anxiety disorders or depression, antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can also be used.
Borderline has become a fashion concept, says Schwarz-Salant. Accordingly, therapists who work with these “difficult patients” feel sorry for one another and free themselves from making mistakes. These patients can have a very manipulative effect on the therapist, and borderliners often cannot take the psychologist seriously. Because a psychologically stable therapist can only ever approach the intermediate world in which the Borderliner lives.
The cross-border commuters move in the world of imaginal seeing in its destructive form; this radiation creates fear and guilt in the therapist. It is not the patient, but the therapist who feels X-rayed, as if sensed with an inner eye. His professional distance collapses because the patient senses what the psychologist is trying to hide or is not aware of. Changing roles, who analyzes whom, is part of the basic experience with borderliners. The analyst is seized by the feeling of being caught in what is forbidden: "Part of the patient watches the therapist in desperate hope of being seen, but is always ready to attack him hatefully if he is ignored," says Schwarz-Salant.
The defense of the injured soul is a struggle for life and death for the Borderliner in everyday life and also puts the therapist on the ready. While he wants to heal the patient, he triggers a mortal enemy by triggering the necessary psychological processes.
The same applies to the relationship partner: love and hate, idolization of the loved one and the need to destroy him in an act of self-defense have merged for the Borderliner.
The borderliners are not aware of the feeling, they themselves suffer from it, they curse themselves for their outbreaks of hate, often do not know what they have done. According to Schwarz-Salant, the development is hidden in this imaginal seeing. The visual worlds that the Borderliner hides in his soul cave carry the potential for positive transformation.
Borderliners are uncooperative. The closer the therapist approaches the core of their problem, the more they shut themselves off, remain silent, lie or attack. This questions the traditional understanding of psychiatry, in which, like in prison, the cured patient is the patient who submits to social constraints. For Borderliners, adapting to this standard means destroying their identity. This is not because he sees himself as an opponent, but because he has learned to recognize his hidden truths as dangerous.
Most of the time, Borderliners have teamed up with a parent to endure their violent pathology. The feeling of being led around by the patient comes from the fact that the patient is a master at covering the cruelty of normality over every cruelty. A shadow of fear, anger and hate lies over this normality. At the same time, it urges the patient to reveal the dark secret. The therapist is found in a rabbit and hedgehog or cat and mouse game.
According to Schwarz-Salant, the psychologist has to get involved with the three-dimensional symbol worlds without automatically dissecting them, analyzing them and without wanting to put them into a normally functioning framework. According to Harald Welzer, there are “social relationships in which meaning is completely suspended in our understanding, but in which people still act and social relationships exist.” The Borderliner lives in a world of experience that is absurd for outsiders.
Since Borderliners transfer their shadow to their counterpart with overwhelming energy, the therapist has to draw boundaries in order not to become obsessed with feelings of hatred. The defense mechanisms he develops are access to the patient's inner life. Imaginal vision, in which the therapist does not evaluate the inner images that the patient triggers, but sees them as a narrative of the unconscious, can trigger a positive development in the Borderliner.
The Borderliner feels hatred and self-loathing that merges; he despises himself because he feels that he cannot influence his life positively; he is ashamed of his impotence. He flees into sex, alcohol, risky behavior, suicide to avoid the familiar feeling of hating and being hated. This is how he behaves towards the therapist. He realizes that the patient is lying to him, looking for a vanishing point, changing the subject, making fun of himself, denying himself, doing the opposite of what he is saying, playing absurd theater.
The problem is that the Borderliner fears abandonment and tries to avoid it, from consumption frenzy to changing sexual partners. But this absence, this mental emptiness, being locked in belongs to the threshold personality. This state, which the Borderliner tries to escape, has to be reached in order to find authenticity.
Part of the drama of the Borderliners is to ask for help but at the same time not to be able to accept it. If this contradiction between "absolute self-sufficiency" and the amalgamation were integrated, they would dissolve themselves, so their fear: "My life is hell, but I only have this life," says one affected person.
Putting on masks is the Borderliner's specialty, and the patient often plays a “good” relationship with the doctor. Role play is part of the problem and not the cure; the injured self remains in its den while sending an imago outside. It can be as convincing as a real person; however, the therapist is required not to get involved.
While he feels comfortable because the patient is cooperating and it is in the psychiatric's endeavor to create functional adaptable patients, the Borderliner is at risk. He behaves as he always does outside, he plays a role. If the therapist agrees, the patient may go home with a smile, tell how he has integrated his personality, lay down in the bathtub and tossed the hair dryer into it.
However, if the patient is open, his feelings are so intense that he feels hit to the core if the therapist is careless. The doctor only has the opportunity to maintain his imagination and not to dissect the hate, the horror, but also the grief that the Borderliner presents, but to perceive it as a picture story that must not be torn out of shape. Thereby the therapist sees himself challenged by the patient until total defeat. He is faced with the Herculean task of getting involved in the staging without taking it personally. This includes a sensitivity that very few psychologists have.
The doctor has to get involved like an actor in a role in a horror film. The patient's unconscious showered him with negative aspects, threats and insults. The injuries that are triggered in the therapist continue - these are the affects to which the patient is exposed.
Behind the intelligent woman who describes helplessness, behind the enlightened boy who reports of his attempted suicide as from a distant past, a picture emerges from which the injured soul looks, hidden under a thousand masks. The therapist can come up with these inner images, which the Borderliner denies, through his own dream work, and in these figures, as bizarre, grotesque and gruesome they appear, there is potential for transformation.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) offers therapy for borderliners. This tries to break the division of the Borderliner by leaving the polar aspects without evaluating them and integrating them in their interaction. In the long term, a new stage of autonomy is to be achieved. The Borderliner fluctuates between incompatible ideas, values and attitudes. Explaining to him rationally that these contradictions are insoluble and he would have to make a decision increases his suffering because it is not about the content, but about the lack of integration of negative and positive feelings. This form of therapy is about making the border liner think that these feelings are not good or bad, but that they form a synthesis beyond morality.
After each hour there is homework that the patients keep a detailed record of. The DBT assumes that borderline sufferers want to change; that they are not responsible for their problems but have to solve them themselves; that they have to work harder than others to come to a conclusion that their lives on the border with suicide are unbearable. You have to learn new behavior in every area of life. Therapists should not be left alone when working with borderliners.
Love and hate
"Love can quickly become hate, love can quickly lead to self-destruction." A border liner to her partner
The poles of a fusion with another person and isolation characterize the Borderliner. In a moment he feels safe because another person is taking him in, in a moment the panic triggers because the patient feels defenseless. Borderliners also show this behavior in relationships. Total devotion follows weeks in which he cannot see the partner. The Borderliner dampens his emotions because he is afraid of their explosions; the patients see a beast raging within them that cannot be tamed. The Borderliner is defenseless against his feelings. This results in catastrophic, self-fulfilling prophecies. Convinced that he is unlovable, the Borderliner interprets any opposite statement as a lie and destroys the relationship he longed for.
“In psychoanalysis, the alternation between idealization and devaluation is called a split. Borderliners separate good and bad, black and white. The cause is the early secession. The father who hit the daughter is split into a good and a bad father, so that only the bad has to be hated, but the good can be loved. The price is distortions of reality, people become gods, real people disappear, the person concerned falls from one distorted picture to the next; he overwhelms his partners and kicks them in the dust; he sits in his inner cage because the distortions make it difficult for him to build stable relationships.
"A (...) defense mechanism in borderline patients is projective identification. In doing so (...) aggressive parts (...) are projected, but at the same time a feeling of being one with the person concerned is felt. As a result, the borderline patient has to control and (...) attack the other person to whom he has projected his aggressions and with whom he feels at one with all means. Your own hatred is subordinated to the other, who (...) is made to experience the projected hatred on your part and act accordingly. The victim can see himself as a victim of his hatred and thereby protect himself from the guilt feelings due to his own aggressiveness. “(Birger Dulz and Angela Schneider, 2004, p.38).
“People with borderline personality disorder live in a constant dilemma. They have great difficulties and fear of being alone, they want to be close quickly and that they are cared for lovingly. If they get the longed-for closeness, it quickly becomes too tight for them, they are afraid of being devoured. (…) A friend or therapist can very quickly be a savior, an angel on earth with only good qualities, but shortly afterwards the devil in human form. So they always have very intensive relationships that can end just as quickly. ”(Ingrid Sender)
A person affected describes the problem: “One of the feelings (…) is loneliness. You always have the feeling of being alone, even when you are with others, (...) you feel alone. One (...) longs for the closeness of the others. But as soon as someone gets too close to you, you block yourself immediately, you distance yourself, you exclude yourself from being overwhelmed by fear and shame and the feeling of being too close, even though you have longed for it. "
Borderliners are sadomasochistic about their self-harm. It can be a way of living out what is part of their identity. You will find a status quo, a mode Vivendi, but you will not develop and the incompatible remains incompatible.
"I sit in my cave all the time, and the panther lurks outside, and I only go out when I'm absolutely sure." A border liner
The personality splinters, but the ego can temporarily differentiate itself, psychoses are not a permanent state of tragedy. Object differentiation is lacking in schizophrenics, but borderliners cannot differentiate in relationships and fluctuate between idealization or contempt. You don't experience that a person is "good" and "bad" at the same time.
The division serves to reduce anxiety in borderliners and enables mental survival at a young age. Black and white, good and bad can be classified and promise orientation in chaos. In relationships, a “wrong” word, a little misunderstanding leads to an angel becoming the devil, the love of life for the anti-human and vice versa. This condition can only be treated if it is understood as the inner condition that the Borderliner needs and that fear drives him.
For borderliners, thrill is the normal state, combat or flight is the basic situation - like a predator that is cornered. When there is danger, fear is vital; The drama of the Borderliners is that they developed this fear from life threats, but the mechanisms continue to work and destroy relationships that are based on trust. Borderliners cannot separate violence and loving sexuality. Your existential insecurity does not accept the insecurity that is part of life.
The cross-border commuters develop a distorted perception of risk. The fear of the fear of being afraid drives Borderliner in situations that are fearful. If the situation does not exist, then assume it. Attacks of anxiety, hallucinations, feelings of suffocation, weak knees, sweating, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath capture Borderliner in circumstances that pose no danger to others.
Problems are inevitable, at work and in relationships. Borderliners have a reputation for being unreliable because they don't come to meetings or don't meet deadlines. Those who run away when they want to be intimate with their relationship partner hardly get any understanding. Experiences with positive connotations carry the shadow of the fear of death in themselves through abuse - like in a horror novel.
The familiarity of fear means that Borderliners avoid things of modern life, but even seek destructive situations, even though they maintain that they fear these situations. Fear gives a kick, shows them to be alive. Avoiding fear triggers escape reflexes and paralyzes the Borderliner. Suicide becomes the way to escape fear.
Self-harm and boderline
Borderliners injure themselves and others. This includes sadism and masochism in sexual relationships, but also cutting with knives or broken glass. Borderliners scald and burn themselves, beat themselves or can be beaten.
The pain from the cuts is a bloodletting to drain pent-up energy and prevent implosion or explosion, a way to enter the body. This can be seen as an inverted orgasm. A Borderliner reports that if she dissociates, she cuts herself. Only through pain does she feel as a body in the world.
In doing so, they take risks that view so-called normals as torture or breaking a taboo. Borderliners have often been raped. This is another reason why they often provoke situations that resemble this experience. It is difficult for outsiders to judge whether it is a creative process to playfully implement this injury. Borderliners would not be borderliners if their assessments did not fluctuate themselves. Tormenting or being tortured is also associated with fear and pain, but this fear and pain are part of their identity.
The boundaries between the need for suicide pain to end and the pleasure in pain dissolve. With a Borderliner who bangs her head against a concrete wall, it is difficult to say whether she is harming herself or going to the pain to feel it. It is difficult to draw the line between attempting suicide and seeking risk. Lying on the tracks and jumping away, choking yourself until the tongue comes out of your neck can be a suicidal act, but it can also be a kick - and for borderliners the line is blurred.
"I'm a ghost, not a human." A border liner
Unlike open psychotic people, borderliners can work for a while. For them, dissociations are typical that other people do not notice. The Borderliner looks normal, even in conversations. Then he gets up, walks away and knows nothing of the conversation the next time he meets.
Borderliners assume new identities, appear convincing and charismatic, yes, "as if I had known this person for a lifetime". Dabei reagieren sie als Kanal für Symbole, Bilder, Werte und Normen, Haltungen und Anschauungen, deren Energien im Raum kursieren.
Ein solches Verhalten sehen Zeugen als opportunistisch an; das wird dem Borderliner nicht gerecht. Ebenso wie seine wechselnden Denkmuster nicht notwendig bewusste Lügen sind, gilt dies auch für die Rollen. Da das Unbewusste durch ihn fließt, ist er in dem Moment das, was er verkörpert und morgen etwas anderes. Borderliner können sich in einem sozialen Umfeld einbringen, da sie äußere Identität von ihrer in die Höhle zurück gezogenen verletzten Seele trennen. Sie wirken extrovertiert, obwohl niemand an sie herankommt.
Borderliner leiden unter einer fragmentierten Identität und zeigen ein Als-Ob-Verhalten. Sie verhalten sich, als ob sie ein Männer fressender Vamp, eine von der Welt zurückgezogene Nonne, ein Geschäftsmann, ein Rebell, ein Lehrer, ein was auch immer wären. Sie spüren, dass sie das alles sein könnten, aber es nicht sind, dass sie das, was sie erreichen wollen, nicht erreichen können. Was sie erreichen wollen, wechselt derweil ständig. Therapeuten fühlen sich bei Borderlinern in der Minderzahl! Ein Borderliner ist nie allein, denn in ihm spuken viele Personen zugleich.
Auf Fremde wirken die Patienten faszinierend, wie starke Persönlichkeiten, auch anmaßend oder arrogant, selbstbewusst, wissend und überlegen. Zum Leiden der Borderliner gehört, dass die Zustände psychische Zentren sind, die differenziert und entwickelt wirken, bis der Borderliner in ein anderes Zentrum wechselt und zugleich diesen anderen Teil seiner Persönlichkeit verliert: Er ist keine ausgeformte Persönlichkeit mit vielfältigen Interessen, sondern eine fragmentierte Persönlichkeit, die ihre Splitter nicht unter einen Hut bekommt.
Dabei lebt der Borderliner in Angst, dass ihn jemand sehen könnte, wie er ist und wünscht sich zugleich nichts sehnlicher. Er spaltet seinen Exhibitionismus ab, statt, wie der Narziss, damit zu verschmelzen. Die Rolle, die er einnimmt, ist nicht er. Darüber schwebt das Gefühl innerer Leere. Die Ursache liegt darin, dass seine Gefühle nicht ernst genommen wurden. Sich selbst zu erkennen, bedeutet für den Grenzgänger seelischen Tod, sich selbst zu verheimlichen aber Betrug. Die Schwellenmenschen bewegen sich als neutrale Wanderer zwischen beiden Polen, „es hat ja nichts mit mir zu tun“. Der Borderliner glaubt an die Unmöglichkeit, sich selbst gegenüber neutral zu sein. Was er tut, ob positiv oder negativ, war „nicht ich“. Die exhibitionistischen Anteile führen ein Eigenleben und kommen als Alptraumfiguren zurück. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
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ICD-Codes für diese Krankheit:F60ICD-Codes sind international gültige Verschlüsselungen für medizinische Diagnosen. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.