Do people with borderline personality disorder have stalking behaviours?

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In this blog post, we shall answer the question, “do people with borderline personality disorder have stalking behaviours?” and look at what borderline personality disorder is, the symptoms and treatment options available.

Do people with borderline personality disorder have stalking behaviours?

Yes, almost half of the people who engage in stalking behaviour have a borderline personality disorder. However, this is not the only symptom that should determine whether one has borderline personality.

There are many myths surrounding borderline personality disorders. To be sure of what is true or false, let us look at the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-V) criteria for diagnosing one with a borderline personality disorder.

Characteristics of borderline personality stalkers

The two main reasons people become stalkers are a lack of social skills and mental health problems. We will be putting our focus on the latter and understanding what motivates this problematic behaviour. The characteristics can be divided into the following categories;

Motivated stalkers

They believe that their object of stalking is the only person they can ever love. people with borderline personality disorder can become obsessed and clingy and tend to react impulsively when abandoned. This can lead them to stalk the other person.

Obsessed stalker

People with borderline personalities can fall prey to erotomania delusions. They tend to fall in love with someone with a higher social status than them, i.e., celebrities or famous people. They also believe that the person loves them back and spend most of their time idolizing them. They constantly picture a life with their idolized lovers and have a hard time imagining a life without them.

Rejected

People with borderline personality disorder are not able to handle rejection the right way. They might  End up stalking their crushes due to constant volatile and unstable relationships. 

Relationship

These kinds of stalkers follow people they had previous relationships. People with borderline personality disorder have trouble letting go and may end up stalking their exes. 

Other characteristics include;

  • Inability to cope with rejection
  • Selfishness
  • Narcissistic behaviour
  • History of trauma like domestic violence
  • Other underlying mental illnesses
  • Impulsivity
  • Jealousness
  • Isolated
  • Low self-esteem
  • Temperamental
  • Depends on others for validation
  • Sexually maladaptive behaviours

Diagnosis of borderline personality disorder

For one to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, they must present with five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Have a pattern of intense or unstable romantic relationships, and connections with friends, family or work colleagues. They shift from treating others well and with awe to devaluing them like being passive-aggressive.
  • Anxiously avoids being separated from or abandoned by people they care about. Some dislike being alone and hence end up coming out as being needy/ demanding all the time, stalking people they care about and bombarding loved ones with messages and calls.
  • Have impulsive behaviours like buying, gambling, dangerous driving, substance use, quitting a job or making drastic life changes. These behaviours exclude suicidal behaviours.
  • Have an unstable/ distorted sense of identity. How they view themselves can be distorted from reality i.e. being easily influenced in changing their political views, and becoming confused about their own values, goals and beliefs.
  • Have repeated thoughts or threats about killing themselves. They might engage in long-term damage to their bodies through self-mutilation, cutting themselves or burning their skin with matches.
  • Becoming paranoid when they are stressed. They might start believing that people are after them and are plotting against them.
  • They might feel empty. They might not find meaning in relationships, achievements, interactions, and emotional bonds. They make loved ones feel like nothing makes them happy.
  • Become irritable. They might have inappropriate anger and find it very difficult to control anger.
  • Have mood swings. They can shift from being extremely angry to being extremely anxious or happy.

Let us now look at what borderline personality disorder is, the causes and symptoms.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder that affects how you feel about yourself and other people and can cause problems in carrying out normal day-to-day activities. People with BPD have a negative self-image, find it difficult to control emotions, and have a series of unstable relationships.

People with BPD dislike being alone and have an extreme fear of abandonment. However, their negative traits of irritability, mood swings and impulsiveness tend to push people away, including those who love and want to have a meaningful relationship with them. 

The symptoms of BPD start in early adulthood and seem to worsen in young adulthood, however, the symptoms tend to improve with age and one can function normally with BPD.

Signs and symptoms of BPD

The signs and symptoms of BPD include:

  • Sorrow
  • Shame 
  • Terror
  • Rage 
  • Feelings of sadness and emptiness (long-term)
  • Severe mood swings. Some people feel suicidal and then feel better after a few hours. Mood swings vary; some feel better in the morning and some in the evening
  • Having upsetting thoughts, i.e. thinking that you are a terrible person
  • Auditory hallucinations. Some people hear voices in their heads telling them to harm themselves.
  • Prolonged episodes of hallucinations, i.e. hearing voices and delusions, i.e. believing that your family members want to kill you
  • Self-harm, i.e. cutting yourself with a razor, burning your skin with cigarettes. The symptoms might go to the extreme of trying to commit suicide.
  • Engaging in reckless behaviour, i.e. having unprotected sex with strangers, binge drinking and extreme use of drugs, and going on shopping sprees.

The relationship between borderline personality disorder and stalking

Stalking is an irrational obsession with someone else. A study done showed that stalkers have 4-15% of borderline personality disorder traits. Those with felony cases due to stalking are believed to have severe symptoms of borderline personality disorder.

As discussed earlier, people with BPD have difficulty separating from the people they love so they can end up tracking their phones or stalking them. They might also end up bombarding their loved ones with many text messages and calls as a way of connecting with them.

They have a pattern of insecure and volatile relationships with coworkers, family and romantic partners. Many of their loved ones stop communicating with them and cut ties with them as they are treated with reverence one time and then devalued.

Causes of BPD

There is no single cause that can be identified as causing BPD. However, there are factors that predispose you to get BPD. They include;

Genetics

There is a likelihood of BPD genes being passed from one generation to another. Research has shown that if a twin is diagnosed with BPD, there is a likelihood that the other one will have it too. There is no gene for BPD, so these findings should be treated with caution.

Problems with brain development

An MRI showed that people with BPD had a problem with the development of parts of the brain that regulate mood. They include; 

The hippocampus; regulates behaviour and self-control

Amygdala; regulates emotions

Orbitofrontal cortex; involved in planning and decision making

Brain chemicals

Altered levels of the neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, have been linked with depression, aggression and failure to control destructive urges.

Environmental factors

Common environmental factors common in people with BPD include exposure to long-term fear or distress, experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse, parental neglect, and growing up with a family member with a mental illness.

Unresolved fear and anger from childhood can make you put unrealistic expectations on other people, like expecting people to be like a parent to you, expecting others to bully you, idolising others and behaving like others are adults and you are not.

Treatment for BPD

Medication

There is no medication for BPD but medication can be given for the symptoms that manifest, i.e. antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiolytics

Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy will help you respond to emotional situations with positive coping mechanisms and with reason and proper judgment. This will reduce seeing things in white and black.

Hospitalization

This is necessary if you are experiencing extreme symptoms like suicidal thoughts and attempts, or hallucinations and delusions that are affecting your daily functioning and relationship with others.

How to cope with borderline personality disorder

The methods to cope with BPD include:

  • Learn the grounding techniques that can help you focus on the present and divert your attention from harmful thoughts. Grounding techniques include counting from 0 to 10, 10 to 0, clenching and unclenching your fists, curling and uncurling your toes, or remembering the names of everyone in the room.
  • Avoid alcohol and substances abuse as they can destabilize your emotional state
  • Listen to calming music when feeling low
  • Eat healthy balanced diets
  • Practice gratitude. This helps to inspire positivity in life.
  • Have sufficient sleep
  • Keep in touch with your feelings and emotional states by journaling.
  • Keep a positive company that will encourage you.
  • Share your feelings and fears with your friends
  • Visit your therapist regularly.
  • Identify your anger triggers so that you can stop early.
  • Engage in physical activities that can divert your mind away from harmful thoughts.
  • Take a warm shower when experiencing a borderline episode
  • Express yourself through art.

Conclusion

We have looked at whether stalkers have a borderline personality disorder. We have also looked at the diagnostic criteria for BPD, what it is and the symptoms. Finally, we have looked at the treatment disorder and how to cope with it.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.

Frequently asked questions: borderline personality disorder stalking

Are borderlines emotionally immature?

In compensation, people with borderline ‌often blame others and act in emotionally immature ways.

At what age does borderline personality disorder develop?

According to the DSM-5, BPD can be diagnosed as early as at 12 years old if symptoms persist for at least one year.

Are borderlines obsessive?

Yes, people with BPD can become obsessive. Their shift in moods can become difficult to handle and can lead to unpleasant impulsive behaviours.

Citations

Kamau C. (October 26, 2020). When Borderline Personality Disorder Becomes Stalking. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-mental-health/202010/when-borderline-personality-disorder-becomes-stalking

NHS. (July 17, 2019). Causes- borderline personality disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/causes/ 

Mayo Clinic, Borderline personality disorder. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237#:~:text=Borderline%20personality%20disorder%20is%20a,a%20pattern%20of%20unstable%20relationships.

Psychreel, (March 24, 2022). Borderline Personality Disorder and Stalking (The relationship). Retrieved from https://psychreel.com/borderline-personality-disorder-and-stalking-the-relationship/ 

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