Is BPD Common?


After my first relationship with a confirmed Borderline Personality Disordered woman, I began to see her characteristics in many people. It seemed that so many people around me were potentially disordered… I suppose that’s one of the factors that makes diagnosing a Borderline so difficult.

So really, how many people have Borderline Personality Disorder (or BPD)?

The fact is, not even professionals know the answer for sure. BPD is often misdiagnosed and/or confused with Bipolar depression or other personality disorders. Many people with Borderline Personality Disorder never seek treatment and do not even recognize that they have a problem (even though, in many cases, people close to them can clearly see there is a problem). Some Borderlines have an uncanny ability to hide their disorder from the vast majority of those around them. They are able to carry on with what, from the outside, appears to be a normal life. These folks are often referred to as High-Functioning Borderlines.

It is estimated that nearly 1 in 50 people or 5.4 million in the USA (2% of the population) have BPD. Many psychologists, counselors, and doctors believe this number is on the conservative side due to the reasons listed earlier in this article. 5.4 million people in the USA alone!

So why is it that I feel I have come in contact with so many people with this disorder?

There could be few reasons… One reason, I believe, is that I have become ultra-sensitive to my ex girlfriend’s BPD characteristics and that troubled me greatly. I am on the lookout for these types of behaviors and red flags now. Once you’ve experienced the craziness a Borderline brings into your life, you become vigilant in your avoidance of such behaviors.

Another reason is that something in my behavior and personality is drawing-in, or attracting disordered individuals to my life.  It is said that narcissists are the perfect match for a BPD.  Though I would agree that I may have some narcissistic-tendencies, I do not believe I am a text-book narcissist.  However, another type of personality is known to draw-in BPD’s…  People who have codependent personalities are often prone to getting involved with Borderlines.  I am a recovering codependent without a doubt.

How do you stop attracting disordered individuals?

We have to take a good, hard look at who we are and what it is in us that is allowing these repeated encounters with disordered individuals.  We need to evaluate and learn from our past mistakes or we will continue to repeat them.  Be objective about it.  Look at yourself objectively and question your behaviors.  It is okay to accept some blame for getting involved with these people.  We can learn and grow from the insight and introspection.

Borderline Personality Disorder is out there in at least 2% of the US population.  It is important that we know what to look for in them, and in ourselves.  If we do not take the time to learn from our past BPD relationships, we very well may attract another… and another.

Comments 4

  • i found this entry especially relevant. i’ve been in four relationships, all of whom i strongly believe to be borderlines.

    i’ve also had a number of close friends who i strongly believe have dated borderlines.

    sometimes i feel like the boy who cried wolf. surely they cant ALL be borderlines, can they? there are only a couple i have any doubts about at all.

    well, the fact is, for all or most of my life, i’ve attracted troubled, needy, or disordered people. my very two best friends are from broken homes.

    this is why i strongly believe that 2% is very conservative. that, or i live in an area with an unusually high number. i’ve read that a majority come from lower economic backgrounds. the area i live in is at least average, and two of my exes have been wealthy.

    i certainly believe having been with one makes you a great deal more susceptible to another, unless you learn what you’ve been through and what this is all about, then, as you say, those behaviors actually repel us.

    i also think there are a few other qualities that attract a borderline. narcissistic traits, like you mention, can be one of them, as the borderline is supposedly attracted to narcissistic traits. another, i believe, is a high level of empathy. most of the people that end up on these sites or support groups seem to possess that. there’s no accounting i guess, for the BPD that winds up with a ‘trashy’ person of low-iq.

    i couldn’t figure out what snared me, for the longest time, and to some extent i still dont. i dont have a lot of the classic childhood issues so many that have dated a pwBPD have. i had a very happy childhood, in fact, and im very hard pressed to find any fault in my parents and their bringing me up. there was some bullying in 8th grade, which wasn’t anything terribly out of the ordinary, but may have had more effect on my self esteem than i’d given it credit for. which brings me to the next trait. i read someone on BPDfamily say they believed a typical victim of a pwBPD is “a non with self esteem issues at their core”. makes plenty of sense, because a pwBPD often seeks to fill this. it would also likely suggest weak boundaries, and/or an inability to know and understand they deserve better, or to stand up to abuse.

    i also read up on codependency, and although i surely share some traits, as probably most people do, i just couldn’t identify myself as one. there were too many defining characteristics and common beliefs that just weren’t me. the reasons that i stayed didn’t line up exactly, although they were similar. it made some sense to me when someone suggested that in some cases, a tendency to get with a borderline can actually stem from a sort of first love model. this hit home with me.

    frankly it seems silly. this dates all the way back to 9th grade. but i had a female friend. its important to mention i do NOT believe this person to be a borderline. although, there are some traits. some of the childhood stuff. some seeming lack of identity. instability in relationships, although nowhere to the extent of a borderline. but you know, the kind of person who has had 1000 best friends. not the wisest chooser of partners, and not all that successful in love. a history of self mutilation. substance abuse. if she’s disordered, it’s likely something like bipolar. i know the two are commonly mistaken for each other. but there’s definitely a core identity with this person, and too many crucial traits and characteristics missing. anywho, i decided i was in love with this person. got clingy and needy. had her push me away, and pull away. ultimately lashed out at me. i romanticized all of this in my head and agonized over it. i can see where it would make SOME sense that i was recreating this dynamic. it certainly makes more sense than the FOO stuff, or codependency.

    i still dont know if theres more of them out there than reported, or if im a magnet. it seems to me that it may be a bit of both. i do like to think i have a discriminating mind. and i abide by what i’ve been told. “BPD is like pornography, you know it when you see it.”

    • The narcissistic stuff interests me. I have to admit that it was intoxicating to me when my ex-bpd idolized and adored me. I loved the feeling of being adored. I don’t view myself as a narcissist, but that adoration certainly does boost your ego. I think my caretaker/ codependent personalty was a bigger contributor in ignoring behavior that other women probably would not have tolerated. I’m trying hard now to listen to my gut and see and react to red flags earlier in new relationships. I have no interest in dating anymore wounded souls. I will run as fast as I can if I even suspect something isn’t right. It’s more important now for me to take care of me, than to fix the wounded. I’m a nurse,and my new philosophy is that I get paid to fix the wounded at work– but I don’t want them in my personal life.

  • MANY THERAPISTS WONT TREAT BPD CAUSE OF ABUSE,LYING,MANIPULATION ETC….THESE PEOPLE BLAME EVERYONE BUT SELVES….AVOID THEM AT ALL COST

  • My heart is broken – MILLION OF PIECES. What shattered my heart are hatred, extreme sadness, anger, anxious. I am completely lost. I dont know who I am. Those day before i met her, I know I am complete a different person. Full of confidence, egoistic and ambitious. Now …. Im lost. I have nothing, no money (everything had been spent on her), all my mental strength (push and pull of her BPD, completely drained)

    I left her about a month ago, going onto NC. I want to forget her and everything. But it seems so hard because when I consider the things I had sacrificed for her are too much to repair. I cannot hope into another relationship as I am not BPD. I need to heal and to be confident before I can look for another love. But i know, my next relationship would be very different.

    Who I used to be before i met her? I am quite narcissist, but indeed a true histrionic which I cannot deny. I love to gain lots of attention, my power and egoism. My narcissism is not longer there, but still I am a histrionic.

    Narcissism (ego, grandous), fully histrionic and codependent made me who I am today being hurt by my ex-vixenBPD.

    I changed, and I want to change for more.
    I believe BPD are more attracted to histrionic than narcissist.

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