11 Hidden Signs of 'Quiet' Borderline Personality Disorder
What is “quiet” borderline personality disorder?
According to Mighty contributor Matthew Gemma Karamozov, it’s all about how it presents. In his piece, “When You Don’t Fit the ‘Classic’ Definition of Borderline Personality Disorder,” he wrote,
The perception of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one who “acts out.” That’s the “classical” definition, but like every disorder, the condition manifests itself in different ways… So what does being the “quiet” borderline mean? “Quiet” BPD is acting in, rather than acting out, but internalizing all the emotions they feel. The fears of abandonment, mood swings, anxiety, self-injurious behaviors, impulsiveness and even suicidal tendencies and black and white thinking (splitting) are all part of being a quiet borderline. But those emotions are typically acted against ourselves.
Because BPD doesn’t always present outwardly like we think it does, we wanted to shine light on the experiences of people with “quiet” BPD. Just because something isn’t as visible doesn’t mean it’s any less painful to live with. We wanted to know what the “hidden signs” of quiet BPD are, so we asked members of our Mighty BPD community to share with us one “sign” that typically goes unnoticed.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
“I usually blame myself for a lot of things, even when it isn’t my fault. And a lot of the time I think my friends could do better than me. I feel like I annoy them too much or I’m too much trouble to bother with.” — Prue I.
“I take every little thing really personally even if there’s no connection to me. Like if my friend got mad at something, I would automatically feel like it’s my fault and they are mad at me even if I have nothing to do with it.” — Erica L.
2. Mentally Retreating
“Mentally retreating and feeling myself go down the spiral, while being able to maintain a good outward appearance. Nobody notices the change… Having to deal with depression and anxiety along with my BPD. People think I’m ‘doing better’ whereas I’m just good at hiding the hard things.” — Shana S.
3. “Beating Yourself Up”
“I internally attack myself. Like a wolf attacking its prey, my mind rips me to shreds.” — Haley F.
“I replay all of the day’s conversations and beat myself up for them. I never answer well enough or I said something that made me look ‘stupid.’” — Shawna H.
4. Being a People Pleaser
“I get attached to someone almost immediately and I spend 90 percent of my day trying to make them like me. If I think they are a little mad at me or dislike me, then my world crumbles and I feel like the worst human being alive.” — Kimberly B.
5. Being Afraid of Emotional Intimacy
“Most people wouldn’t consider [I have] borderline just because I never get that far in the relationship where they can see me truly. When I go out with ‘friends’ and I feel my emotions are going over the ‘standard levels,’ I take some moment to watch my breathing so I can lower my euphoria or bring myself to my center again. Nobody knows this. People regularly think I am ‘normal.’ I’m constantly working with my breathing when I’m around people without getting noticed.” — M.L.
“If me and my husband had an argument, I’d start shutting down and dissociating. I wouldn’t be ‘there’ because in my mind, it was either, ‘Oh god I was wrong and he’s going to leave me, I better shut up to not make it worse’ and I would sit for hours in my head, going over why I wasn’t good enough… But I’ve got a great husband who understands, and knows if I get that way it’s not the silent treatment, it’s me not being there and he helps pull me back to reality and ground myself.” — Aspen A.
7. Experiencing Internal Rage
“Internal rage and a racing mind. The things that go through my head are so distorted and it leaves me trembling inside some days.” — Michaela S.
8. Fear of Abandonment
“It’s not the typical fear of being left alone. It’s more like a constant fear I’m going to push people away.” — Amanda M.
“I’m excellent at self-sabotage. Consciously or unconsciously, it’s always ‘me vs. me.’” — Mi C.
10. Feeling Suicidal or Wanting to Self-Harm After Social Interactions
“I get set off and then just get mad at myself for it. Like I will get triggered, and instead of dealing with whatever my problem is, I just take that as a last straw and I just release the flood gates of emotion in my head. I’ll go from there to hating myself to whatnot and ultimately end up with suicidal ideation. Even when I don’t feel particularly suicidal.” — Alyssa D.
“If somebody makes me really mad, I almost immediately internalize it and want to self-harm over it because I feel it’s always my fault.” — Allison M.
11. Shutting Down
“I shut down rather than blow up. I’ve always internalized things, especially as a kid, so talking about/expressing my feelings aloud is still really difficult.” — Cecilia C.