May 13

“I hate you – Don’t leave me!”

Often, they are sexually attractive, highly passionate and exude mysterious depth and savagery … but so-called ‘borderline personalities’ also tend to mood swings (from panicky fear of loss to anger, often leading to hatred arguments or even physical fights), they find it difficult to consistently follow through their plans, and sometimes show self-destructive tendencies (eg self-harm or piercings, attraction of drugs or gambling). Relationship partners often find themselves in an emotional roller coaster ride: repeated alternations between periods of great passion and intimacy followed by harsh rejections, withdrawals and energy-consuming ‘dramas’. Over and over one finds him/herself on the ropes, pulls himself back, exhausted – only to embossom each other passionately on the very next day.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) most probably results from a combination a traumatic childhood, a vulnerable temperament and stressful maturational events during adolescence or adulthood. My practical experience supporting couples with one partner having borderline tendencies is that these relationships often suffer from a very tense atmosphere with the idea of a permanent separation as a last resort – even though in fact neither of them really wants to end them. Remarkably, many of the women working in Pattaya show borderline patterns, which is perhaps related to the very difficult social conditions many of them have grown up in. However, it is anything else than advisable to hurl this idea as yet another insult at your partner – but rather to interpret the signs correctly and get early support by seeking individual or couples counseling.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010)

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