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What is BPD?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is identified in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual V as a Personality Disorder. This is often misconstrued by non clinicians to mean the same as schizophrenic or psychopath. It is not related to either of those. Theorists have believed for decades that BPD is learned in childhood and dictates how we respond to situations as adults. There is new research that suggests BPD may actually be genetic as well. Approaching this from the learning theory, as a child we observed a principle figure in our life (usually the main caretaker, often female) and how she reacted to different situations. We learned to copy those behaviors (imitation + observation = learning) according to Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory.
When something tragic happened, we reacted the same as our early role model; if she wailed and fell to the floor upon hearing news, we did the same. When she/he became angry, what action followed? Crying, yelling, cursing, hitting…? We learned to do the same. As time passed, we may have added to the repertoire; yelling, cursing, plus blaming someone close to us. Perhaps displacing the anger on an item or person who did not “cause” the situation? As we learned how to REACT (not respond) to specific cues, we often began to add our own “flavor” into this toxic mix. This is the beginning of the learned Borderline behavior.
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