Borderline personality disorder is somewhat unfamiliar to most outside of the manosphere, as men who have been in relationships with borderlines often arrive on one manosphere blog or another attempting to pick up the pieces of themselves from such a relationship. By some viewed as the female variant of psychopathy  and by some as a far cry from the cold, unflinching psychopath, considering their often highly emotional and erratic nature. Borderline personality disorder is characterized by various behaviors related to emotional regulation or lack thereof, most aptly captured in the book title “I hate you, don’t leave me” (link at the end of the essay).
It has received much less focus than the two other mainstream disorders within the cluster B spectrum of the DSM-5, narcissistic- and antisocial personality disorder , one must wonder if this is because that unlike other two, it is a disorder that affects mostly women. The name comes from the observation that a person with this disorder exists on the borderline between sanity and insanity. Prone to imaginative interpretations of events, magical thinking, perceiving slights where none exist, and intense reactions it is an understandable observation. Coupled with highly emotional outbursts, and a tendency towards gas lighting and manipulation, this creates a picture of a person with very little tangible connection to reality. Perhaps the reason why this is often referred to as female psychopathy is that it appears to 3:1 female to male when it comes to being diagnosed. While people with borderline personality disorder only make up about 1.6% of the population, this means that in the U.S alone there are over 4 million people with BPD, out of which 3 million are women.
For a disorder that creates such level of turmoil in close relationships, it is surprising that it has not received mainstream recognition of the same level that narcissism and psychopathy has over the past few decades. While there are hundreds of sites out on the internet, and countless books to help people escape relationships with its cluster B brethren, borderline personality disorder flies under the radar compared to the other cluster B disorders. Where the distinction between socially acceptable behavior and psychopathic behavior is quite clear, where the cardinal aspects of narcissism, namely grandiosity and self-absorption is known to most, the distinctions in borderline personality disorder appear less tangible.
For instance concept of instability of self-image, appears related to the idea of a “make-over“. Idealization and devaluation are common traits in most people, and the distinction between “excessive” and normal is in many ways a relative one. If one compared the diagnostic criteria for Anti-Social Personality Disorder  with those of Borderline personality disorder  the former are more concrete and exist on more of a binary “Yes or No” type, rather than a “Dial it to 11” scale. In this manner, the diagnostic criteria for BPD are probably one of the better examples of the criticism presented by the British Psychological Society about the DSM-5, that it was overly relative .
Impairments in Personality Functioning
The manifestations of impairments in borderline personality disorder come in the form of either instability of self-image and instability in goals, values or career plans or both. This may manifest in her trying on identities, moving from career girl, to mother, or from Bernie-Chick to Trump Babe. Another example would be in the form of the woman who loves to dress up, often in different styles. This is perhaps best embodied by the “Eat, Pray, Love” author, who left her husband, went on a quest of self-actualization, married the guy she fell for, only to realize that she was a lesbian.
One useful heuristic is that people with borderline personality disorder wear identities like other people wear clothing. They are transient, superficial and rapidly switched between at the convenience of the borderline. She is the strong independent woman one second and the damsel in distress a second later. This is often also used as a methodology in order to ensnare victims, as they portray themselves as perfect partner for their victim. While most people try on identities as a teenager, the borderline never appears to stop doing so.
Instability in goals, values, career plans or all three, are often exemplified as changes in sexual identify, going from victim to raging avenger or rapidly changing friends. For instance, one may change their opinion about what career direction to take, which political party to support, go from church girl to raging slut or many others. What characterizes these are not that changes take place, our personalities, goals, values and aspirations change constantly. The difference comes in speed and intensity, for instance on Sunday she was a stripper who banged you on the first date, on Monday morning she has found Jesus and is shipping out to a nunnery in Paraguay. On your first date she was a goth chick, on the next date she is dressed like you’re going to church, on the third she dresses like a businesswoman.
One must take into account the old proverb that it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, whereas men must honor their word. Thus, it follows that when a psychologist sits down to diagnose this disorder, the woman will be able to waver more in her life without this necessarily fitting the diagnostic criteria. This is also a significant cultural component, in that some countries and cultures are more accepting of switching jobs, career paths or interests than others. When combined these two criteria form an instability in both her own personality and her own goals, thus while she may be talented, intelligent and have many positive traits, it is not uncommon to see her make little progress in life. However, this also aids them in putting on the perfect show for their future partner, as his goals become hers, her personality becomes complimentary to his, and so on.
Impairments in Interpersonal Functioning
Empathy – Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others combined with interpersonal hypersensitivity.
The past 40 years or so since the dawn of third wave feminism, has been very focused on the needs of women. This translates into a cultural narrative of gynocentrism , and perhaps one of the clearer examples of this would be the quote by current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
“Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, more frequently in today’s warfare, victims. Women are often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children.” 
What this quote reveals is not only an extreme inability to empathize with men, or even consider that it is perhaps worse to be the dead rather than the bereaved. It also demonstrates that from her perspective, the worst thing is not the males losing their lives, but the women losing their appliances. This is not to say that borderlines are unable to empathize with other human beings. As a psychopath is capable of cognitive empathy and thus, improving their capacity for manipulation due to understanding how they are supposed to feel. A borderline has such internal emotional turmoil, that this makes them incapable of considering how anyone else feels unless it is in their self-interest. To them, it becomes like trying to hear a whisper at a death metal concert.
When it comes to interpersonal hypersensitivity, perhaps the best examples come in the form of the majority female driven third-wave feminism, that has made it into sport to point out how everything is sexist, homophobic and racist regardless of how inconsequential. This trait in borderlines manifests most often in the form of running feuds with family, friends and co-workers, and the person rarely being without an enemy for long. If a person has a history of near constant feuds with loved ones, bosses, authority figures in general and especially a history of “abusive exes” this is a sign.
Intimacy – Intense, unstable, and conflict-filled close relationships, marked by mistrust, neediness, and anxious preoccupation with abandonment. Close relationships are often viewed in extreme idealization and devaluation. Alternating between involvement and withdrawal.
An example of the idealization and devaluation dynamic in practice comes in close relationships between women and men, referred to in the manosphere as “branch swinging” where a women will devalue her present lover in favor of a new lover who is at present in the stage of idealization. The major issue with this diagnostic criteria is that they are all scale-based, and one would be hard-pressed to come up with an objective definition for “intense” or “conflict-filled“.
If one looks at the relationships that are sold in woman-centric entertainment, for instance romantic comedies or longer-running drama series, these are often marked by many of the different diagnostic criteria outlined here. Relationships are portrayed in the manner of the “soul-mate” myth, instability highlighted by the female overreaction to a perceived slight by her beau, to which his reaction is to humble himself in a grand gesture. The relationships swing from deep love, to burning property and mementos. If one argues that the male view of a relationship is nudged towards the psychopathic by pornography, then one must also argue that the female view of relationships must be nudged towards that of the borderline by romantic comedies.
Pathological Personality Traits
Emotional liability – Unstable emotional experiences and frequent mood changes. Emotions that are easily aroused, intense and out of proportion to events and circumstances.
This is reflected in the Marilyn Monroe quote from the start of the essay, a lack of stability and frequent mood changes, are very hard to handle for most people, especially if they are excessively intense. Perhaps the most common joke about this tendency is the answer to “Does this make my butt look big?” However, this challenge with this trait is its dependence on a degree that is highly subjective. What is a frequent mood change or unstable emotional experience? What are easily aroused emotions and what would be a reaction that is out of proportion to events and circumstances?
Anxiousness – Intense feelings of nervousness, tenseness or panic. Often in reaction to interpersonal stresses.
Unlike the former, this is a bit more concrete. Not in the degree as it still adds “intense” but in that nervousness, tenseness or panic, are more observable and out of the ordinary. However, it is not uncommon to have such emotions, therefore again, it comes down to them being out of proportion to the stress that is actually taking place. This again means that this depends on the subjective interpretation of each person.
Separation anxiety – Fears rejection and or separation from significant others.
This is also a fairly normal emotional experience. The manosphere is filled with men who fear rejection, which manifests as approach anxiety. There are also many men that experience this in relationships and thus feel a need to mate guard. This is again a question of “how often“, “how loud” and “how pervasive“.
The major issue in all four of the preceding point is anxiousness, and instability. The person in question lends more credence to their own experience of reality, rather than objective reality. This string of interpretations is what is likely to fuel to anxiety, tenseness and panic, which in turn leads to a volatile perception of reality. Rather than viewing reality as a scale from 1 – 10 on quality, they rate it as either paradise or apocalypse. However, every one of the pathological personality traits are subject to a high degree of subjectivity as they are “how intensely are you feeling this” rather than “like this or not“.
Disinhibition, Risk taking and Antagonism
As the person has an unstable grasp of both their own identity and their perception of reality, it manifests through disinhibition, which further drive the former. Risk taking often takes the form of substance abuse and sexual promiscuity. Antagonism from a borderline is frequently experienced by those who have a close relationship to the person, ranging from verbal to physical abuse, gas lighting and manipulation often stemming from the perceived reality of the borderline.
The borderline will attempt to shape external reality to their perceived reality, and utilize their close relationships as means to this end. However, the issue within the western world is that, the hen-pecking wife, who is domineering and has a “honey do” list for her husband at all times is approaching a cultural norm. If one looks at Carrie from “The King of Queens” and Debra from “Everybody Loves Raymond” they match many of the personality traits one would expect from a typical woman, just at a higher volume.
The diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder
In reviewing the pathological personality traits, they do appear on the surface to be stereotypical female behavior on steroids. Expecting her emotional experiences to be validated. Easily aroused emotions, that to you are way overblown, such as hating you for a week because of what you deem trivial matters. However, the pattern of emotionalism displayed by the borderline form an interesting catch 22, in that their behavior stems from never wanting people to leave them, yet their behavior ensures that nobody can stay around them for long. They are extremely sensitive to interpersonal relationships and behavior, feeling extremely anxious and depressed with the emotions frequently out of proportion with the actual event they are ruminating about. Their reaction to their own internal experience of the world is to lash out at other people, often their significant others, or other family members. There is always tension in a room when a borderline is in it.
Their risk taking often takes similar forms as that of their psychopathic brethren, substance abuse and sexually promiscuous behavior being two major outlets. Borderlines crave external intensity in order to distract them from their inner turmoil. The relationship with a borderline has a common cluster B progression in that it is often intense and rapid, often moving from just having met to moving in together in the span of week. Unlike psychopaths, borderlines have a capacity for empathy, however it is shouted down by their own inner abyss. Their inner noise shouts over all external input.
The image of the borderline is an actress. She switches roles very rapidly from “Strong Independent Woman” to “Victim” to “Warrior” very rapidly and for very little apparent reason. If one of them elects to tell you their life story, you should not be surprised that it has no coherent narrative. Their stories take an interesting form in that they are always cast as the hero, and everyone else as the villain. They are always the oppressed and the others are the oppressor. Unlike most people who act characteristically of themselves a majority of the time, borderlines frequently make drastic changes not only to their appearance but also to their personality. Like many of the other cluster-Bs, they adopt their presented image to fit what their target wants or needs. As a result, their life narrative frequently lacking the consistency of other narratives, and a coherent “this, therefore” structure.
Their penchant for acting is useful as they tend to alter their goals very frequently, without cause and often with little concern for the implications. For instance, she may decide that she wants to be a nurse, but fail to consider that she faints when she sees blood, or decide to abandon a family she has spent years raising to pursue a new career in the peace corps. Borderlines require stability, yet they are unable to live with stability.
Certain behaviors are common among borderlines. The tendency to “split” people and themselves as either all good or all bad, is a frequent occurrence, where the borderline idealizes people in interpersonal relationship until a transgression takes place, at which point the other person is devalued and “split black“. This points to the issues a borderline has with nuance and the ability to view people as a combination of good or bad. You are perfect, until you are suddenly not. Thus, it is not uncommon for them to go on hate-campaigns against former lovers or friends.
Summary and Conclusions
I touched on some of the common pitfalls relating to borderlines and cluster b’s in general in “The Methods to Female Madness” however, the major issues relating to the borderline relates to their instability and volatility. Glenn Close played a borderline in the movie “Fatal Attraction“, which is where the expression “bunny boiler” comes from. While the diagnostic criteria are well and good within a clinical setting where impersonal observations of behaviors can be made, and hypotheses about a patient’s reaction can be evaluated. They are not always applicable and useful outside of this setting. One of the major issues to look for is the intense love-bombing that takes place initially, where the borderline will shower their target with affection, love, gifts, amazing sex and where the relationship moves forward at an extremely rapid rate.
As with all cluster B’s the borderline utilizes masks where they conceal the negative parts of their behavior until they have secured some form of investment, usually in the form of a pregnancy (real or imagined) or legal contract such as marriage. The greatest problem with the behavioral patterns of the borderline is that as her behavior is a case of female behavior on steroids, it is very easy to rationalize such behavior as “this is just how women are“.
This in the same manner that surgeons and lawyers often have a social image of being narcissistic or psychopathic to some extent. The trouble with this type of conditional diagnostic is that a man who is in a relationship with a borderline, will not see her go from 0 – 60 in 3 seconds, but over months and in some cases years. With the cultural narrative of “how wives are” this is a case of socially programming men to accept certain unacceptable behaviors. In essence, how can one know when a woman is acting crazy, if the cultural narrative is normalizing crazy behavior in women?
Perhaps the most apt analogy, is that of a frog being placed in a pot of boiling water, and when the water is slowly heated the frog fails to realize that he is being boiled alive. While the scientific merits of this is perhaps lacking, it paints a very accurate portrait of how many of these relationships are. When the onset of something is very gradual, the person becomes desensitized and the abnormal becomes normal. Rather than utilize the DSM-V I would recommend “Dangerous Personalities” by Joe Navarro, where the borderline falls under “Unstable Personality“, as a more practical guide.
I hate you don’t leave me by Jerold J. Kleisman & Harold Strauss
Dangerous personalities by Joe Navarro
 BPS Response