BPD Subtypes

When searching for information on BPD, I came across a set of subtypes that describe the various features of BPD. These subtypes are:

  • Discouraged: this type of borderline is either avoidant, believing no-one will like them anyway, or overly dependent on others. They have an intense fear of abandonment. Borderlines of this type may also suffer from depressive symptoms.
  • Impulsive: this is the most hated BPD type among professionals. People who are primarily impulsive tend to act before thinkign. This includes violence or other antisocial behavior. Conversely, they may also engage in constant approval-seeking.
  • Petulent: borderlines of this type use passive-aggressive behavior, including emotional or physical self-abuse, to get their needs met by others. They have an intense fear of abandonment,, unstable self-image, and inability to express their needs properly.
  • Self-destructive: this includes depressive and self-harming tendencies. People of this type may not have many BPD traits other than self-injury and affective instability, so they may not technically meet the criteria of BPD.
Please note that people with BPD may have some features of one type and some of another. I, for one, have features of the discouraged and petulent types.

All types except for the petulent borderline operate in an abandoned child mode. Petulent borderlines operate in an angry child mode. I do see this point, but I want to stretch that the angry child usually masks the needs of the abandoned child, as my therapist explained. I myself cannot feel sadness unless I’ve first expressed intense anger or rage. Yesterday, I found myself in such a situation. I had had a minor conflict with my husband which led me to fear abandonment. As I got back to the ward, the nurses were assuming I’d had a good day – after all, it was my anniversary -, and were encouraging me to think positvely. Now I could and maybe will at one point write up a whole post on the positivity paradigm, but suffice it to say I snapped. I had a rage that, after a lot of back-and-forth screaming between me and the nurses, led to me running off and wandeirng around grounds screaming. I could only start to feel the sadness and fear of abandonment after I’d blown off some steam and calmed down again.

1 thought on “BPD Subtypes

  1. I think I tend to experience parts of all the sub-types. I think – I hope – most people with BPD feel bits of each type, rather than just the one.It's interesting how you deal with anger and sadness, I do a lot of that myself, although my anger explodes inwardly and then I feel exhaustion and then sadnessHope everything is sorted with your husband


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