Borderline personality as self-other representational disturbance

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York State Psychiatric Institute, USA.
Journal of Personality Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.31). 11/2007; 21(5):500-17. DOI: 10.1521/pedi.2007.21.5.500
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A great deal has been written about the nature of borderline personality. We maintain that borderline psychopathology emanates from particular disturbances in mental representations-impairment in the ability to maintain and use benign and integrated internal images of self and others-and that these troubled ways of thinking drive the troubled interpersonal relations, affective instability, and impulsivity associated with borderline. Aspects of borderline self-other representational disturbances are present across a wide theoretical spectrum, and a number of research methodologies already exist to assess the phenomena. We conclude that borderline attributes exist on continua, and summarize important features as: (1) unstable mental images of self and others, often marked by self-loathing and attributions of malevolence to others; (2) interactions with others organized around a fundamental need for care that is felt to be necessary for basic functioning; (3) fear of others based on expectations of being mistreated and disappointed and/or terror of having one's identity subsumed by another person; (4) difficulty considering multiple and/or conflicting perspectives, with a tendency toward concrete, all-or-none, or black-and-white, thinking and distortion of reality; and (5) sadomasochistic interpersonal interactions in which a person alternatively inflicts suffering on others and suffers at the hands of others.

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    • "Because of poor mood regulation strategies, boring situations are proposed as triggers (Linehan, 1993), particularly for identity symptoms and impulsivity. Because of a chronically unstable self-image, identity threat has been proposed as a trigger (Bender & Skodol, 2007). Identity threat refers to events or others' behaviors that threaten cherished self-images of BPD sufferers , and may lead to loss of self and a sense of emptiness. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article tested a contingency-oriented perspective to examine the dynamic relationships between in-the-moment borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptom events and in-the-moment triggers. An experience sampling study with 282 adults, including 77 participants with BPD, obtained reports of situational triggers and BPD symptom events five times daily for 2 weeks. Triggers included being rejected, betrayed, abandoned, offended, and disappointed; having one's self-concept threatened; being in a boring situation; and being alone. BPD was associated with increased situational triggers. Multilevel models revealed significant within-person associations between situational triggers and BPD symptoms for the average participant in the study, with significant individual variance in the strength and direction of trigger-symptom contingencies. Most trigger-symptom contingencies were stronger for individuals with greater borderline symptomatology, suggesting that triggers are meaningfully related to BPD. These findings highlight possible proximal mechanisms that maintain BPD and help explain the course of a disorder often described as chaotic and unpredictable.
    Journal of personality disorders 08/2015; 29(4):486-502. DOI:10.1521/pedi.2015.29.4.486 · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    • "A mother with these symp - toms might seek excessive reassurance and soothing from her adolescent daughter that she will not abandon her , leading to role reversals and at - tempts to control the daughter ' s behavior through guilt . Theorists have long suggested that one key difficulty related to identity disturbances in BPD is a failure in the development of a differentiated self ( Adam , Gunnar , & Tanaka , 2004 ) exhibited through a struggle to balance intimacy and autonomy in relationships ( Bender & Skodol , 2007 ) , in which emotional reactivity emerges in the face of separations ( Bowen , 1978 ) . Accordingly , because adolescence represents a time of increasing autonomy from parents , it may be a particularly stressful developmental period for parents with BPD to effectively navigate , possibly manifested through parental attempts to control through guilt and more intrusive behaviors . "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms are associated with poorer parenting. However, most studies conducted are with young children. In the current study, the authors examined associations between maternal BPD symptoms and parenting in an urban community sample of 15-to 17-year-old girls (n = 1,598) and their biological mothers. Additionally, the authors tested the impact of adolescent temperament on these associations. Mothers reported on their own psychopathology and their daughters' temperament. Adolescent girls reported on mothers' parenting methods in terms of psychological and behavioral control. Results demonstrated that maternal BPD symptoms were associated with aspects of psychological and behavioral control, even after controlling for maternal depression and alcohol use severity. After examining specific BPD components that may account for these associations, the authors found that affective/behavioral dysregulation, but not interpersonal dysregulation or identity disturbance, uniquely accounted for parenting. Adolescent temperament did not moderate these associations. BPD symptoms, particularly affective/behavioral dysregulation, are important targets when conducting parenting interventions.
    Journal of personality disorders 04/2014; DOI:10.1521/pedi_2014_28_131 · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    • "One might even argue that probing the brain function using socially relevant behavioral tasks is a preferred way to unlock the mystery of “high-level” cognition in highly social species. Furthermore, a failure to accurately represent self and others can result in atypical social behaviors like those that are striking in autism (Baron-Cohen, 1988) and Williams syndrome (Jones et al., 2000), as well as in schizophrenia (Jeannerod, 2008), borderline personality disorders (Bender and Skodol, 2007) and psychopathy (Hare, 1999). Investigating the neural mechanisms underlying social interactions will therefore provide critical clues toward characterizing the neural basis of a surprisingly large number of neuropsychiatric disorders that are accompanied by social deficits. "
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    ABSTRACT: A coordinate transformation framework for understanding how neurons compute sensorimotor behaviors has generated significant advances toward our understanding of basic brain function. This influential scaffold focuses on neuronal encoding of spatial information represented in different coordinate systems (e.g., eye-centered, hand-centered) and how multiple brain regions partake in transforming these signals in order to ultimately generate a motor output. A powerful analogy can be drawn from the coordinate transformation framework to better elucidate how the nervous system computes cognitive variables for social behavior. Of particular relevance is how the brain represents information with respect to oneself and other individuals, such as in reward outcome assignment during social exchanges, in order to influence social decisions. In this article, I outline how the coordinate transformation framework can help guide our understanding of neural computations resulting in social interactions. Implications for numerous psychiatric disorders with impaired representations of self and others are also discussed.
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