themighty logo

17 Habits of People With Borderline Personality Disorder


There are individual “quirks” and traits that make you, you. There are also the things you do because of borderline personality disorder (BPD). While personality traits and personality disorder behaviors can blend together sometimes, to an outsider it’s not always clear which of these “habits” are driven by BPD and which aren’t.

Whether a habit makes you seem “manipulative” (asking for constant reassurance, giving ultimatums) or “dramatic” (having intense emotional responses, struggling with your identity) — it can be hard when others judge you based on these actions without knowing what’s going on inside your head.

To find out some habits of people who have borderline personality disorder, we asked our Mighty BPD community to share one thing people might not realize they’re doing because of BPD.

Here’s what they shared with us:

  1. I wake up every day and wonder if my friends have all decided they are done with me. It’s like living in the movie ’50 First Dates.’ Until I get a text or hear from each of them, I think they’re all gone. Sometimes I’ve even mentally started to move on and accept they aren’t coming back by 10 a.m. Every. Single. Day. Abandonment fears at its finest.” — Julie J.
  2. “Obsessing about whether you are a totally good person or an incredibly horrible one without finding a balance.” — Jojo V.
  3. “My main reaction to nearly everything is anger. It’s almost a self-defense mechanism. And the thing could be so harmless, but I’m so used to having everything shatter in front of me, I prepare myself for the ‘in case it happens.’” — Jazzie M.
  4. “Always asking my husband if he’s OK, and if I did something wrong, and if he’s mad at me, and if he still loves me or is still attracted to me.” — Lulu B.
  5. “I have a habit of having no motivation to try to achieve things. There are things I’m super passionate about and things I want to do, but I inevitably end up doing none of them and then feeling guilty about it which enhances the problem. Vicious cycle that is so hard to get out of.” — Peter W.
  6. “Pushing people away the second they do something that hurts me. Because of the intensified emotions, everything stings extra hard and I instantly believe they only want to hurt me so I try to push them away before they get another chance.” — Nina F.
  7. “Feeling constantly guilty over every decision I made, every word spoken, just always being guilty and apologetic.” — Lauren D.
  8. “Questioning everything I do because I have a hard time making decisions or trusting myself. Even the simplest thing like making a salad. I wonder if the salad I made is good enough…” — Alea D.
  9. “Constant obsessing over all the wrong I have done and then trying to clean and organize anything I can just to feel as if I can get rid of all my negative thoughts.” — Jenny L.
  10. “I ask permission for everything. I’ve been with my partner for three years now, and still I’m always running to him for permission. ‘Is it OK to change the radio station? Can we change the heat? Do you mind if I turn the volume down? Is it OK if I paint my nails? My ‘better to be safe than sorry’ mentality runs my life.” — Nat C.
  11. “Isolate myself when I have problems. In my younger years, I dealt with a lot of trauma on my own. I used to bombard people with my pain later on for years but now I keep people away from it as best as I can which sometimes makes it worse [during] times I need support. I still struggle to maintain friendships and initiate socially (lack of mindfulness for the most part day-to-day).” — Kirsty M.
  12. “Obsessing. I replay words and sentences over and over in my head. To ensure I haven’t missed any hidden meaning or subtle hints from that person. It stems from my childhood of constant fear I was ‘bad’ and needed to constantly be whatever everyone needed in order to be worthy of life.”  — Kirsty D.
  13. “Spiraling the instant I perceive even the slightest change in someone’s tone, body language or facial expressions. ‘They seem annoyed, they hate me, they’re going to leave.’ It’s so painful and even though I’m aware of it, it’s hard to think rationally and correct the thought process.” — Meghan G.
  14. “Performing. I get stuck in a loop that’s based on the fear that if I’m not producing or performing, I lose my usefulness and will be discarded. It’s resulted in some beautiful moments and lessons, but it is beyond exhausting to constantly feel my worth is attached to my usefulness.” — Kara D.
  15. “The constant switch from everything is sunshine to everything is terrible through the day. One thing going wrong is enough to go from I’m a good person to I’m the worst mom who ever lived.” — Kayla F.
  16. “Not being able to take criticism as I try to be tenacious in every aspect of my life, but when I face criticism, I subconsciously over-think, and see the relationship between that person and I as a form of abandonment, etc.” — Liam M.
  17. “My sense of identity is constantly in flux. I never know who I’m going to wake up as tomorrow.” — Kat R.

Can you relate?

Unsplash photo via Steve Halama