Unfortunately, most laymen's ideation of Borderline Personality Disorder is rather childlike. It's based solely on extremely volatile, stereotypical aspects you might read on the Web, or even in a diagnostic manual.
In short, the general public AND far too many psychotherapeutic professionals, hold this naive, very negative "monster-like" view of Borderlines, that's akin to The Big Bad Wolf from our childhood Goldilocks fable!
Part of the reason this exists to such a broad extent, is that most people who write about BPD have no idea about its etiology, how to effectively work with it, or help these poor souls finally grow and HEAL. Psych schools don't teach you anything meaningful about BPD, and most don't even include this topic in their curriculum!
I accidentally fell into learning about BPD in all its intricate forms, well after I graduated with my Masters in Psych. Never was it mentioned while I was still in school, but the people who kept finding my intern practice and becoming clients, exhibited almost identical symptomology. Below is only a cursory list, but this is a much more complex disorder than what's stated.
1. They had suicidal ideation.
2. They could not sustain harmonious relationships.
3. They were self-destructive/self-sabotaging.
4. They were acutely depressed.
5. They had no sense of boundaries or impulse control.
6. They were incapable of feeling or exhibiting genuine empathy.
7. They were grossly neglected and emotionally abused as kids.
8. They all felt a deep sense of shame over being sad/depressed.
9. Many were pathologically Codependent, but devoid of self-care.
10. They feared intimacy and real attachment.
I guess you could say, I learned 'on the job' about the distinct emotional and behavioral patterns associated with BPD, and these indelibly etched themselves on my brain. Given this is such a wide-spread issue among societies all over the globe, you'd THINK it would be addressed during the course of one's graduate and post-graduate classes, would you not?? I STILL find I'm incredulous that it's a topic that's BYPASSED in colleges that offer psych degrees!
You've heard me say, Borderlines are NOT (as a whole) bad people. Some are far-end-of-the-spectrum, vile, pernicious, volatile and abusive (like my next-door neighbor), but most come across fairly benign or even, "normal," except when they act-out SELF-destructively.
Most of the Borderlines I've helped are affable, talented and bright. Some are highly accomplished~ they're simply afraid to attach. Attachment fears play out one of two ways:
1) Either one routinely does the constant push/pull dance with a partner, or 2) one consistently CHOOSES partners who do. It's so easy to tell ourselves WE are "emotionally available," as long as the other periodically keeps retreating! We then experience the painful LONGING for their love, so we think WE'RE actually capable of loving! This is pure folly, my friends.
If you keep engaging people who cannot/will not love you back, you are as core damaged as the person you're enthralled with and chasing~ which means You as well, have BPD traits. It doesn't matter if you're a People-Pleaser, fixer or rescuer. Your control issues are every bit as blatantly BPD as the lovers you want so desperately to help.
Borderline Personality Disorder and Codependency represent two different sides of the SAME core trauma coin! If you are the narcissistic codependent, you've simply built better defenses against feeling fragile, than your BPD lover could~ and by the way, MANY Borderlines have a Guru Complex, so please don't assume THEY are any healthier or more grounded, than all the rest.