Do people with Borderline Personality have childlike behaviour?  

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In this article, we will explore how people with borderline personality disorder act childish/juvenile. Besides this, we shall look at the causes, symptoms and treatment options for borderline personality disorder.

Do people with Borderline personality have childlike behaviour?

Yes, people with borderline personality disorder can exhibit childlike behaviour in the following ways;

  • Emotionally dependent on other
  • Childlike mischief
  • Manipulating others to get their desired outcome.
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Failing to take responsibility for wrongs done.
  • Faulting others for their wrongs and mistakes.

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:

Emotional symptoms

The emotional 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

Cognitive symptoms

  • 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

The cognitive symptoms of a worsening condition show the need to seek medical help.

Behavioural symptoms

  • 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.

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.

5 ways people with Borderline Personality Disorder act childlike

Emotionally depending on others.

People with a borderline personality disorder may act childlike by idealizing their partners and believing their lives are less meaningful without them. It is not uncommon for them to feel like they cannot live without their partners and have a constant need for assurance.

Childlike mischief

People with borderline personality disorder can show annoying qualities associated with children. Pranks, white lies and irresponsible behaviour are some of the childlike behaviour exhibited by persons with BPDs.

Impulsive behaviour

Unplanned action, a preference for immediate gratification and disregard for consequences, are hallmarks of impulsive behaviour exhibited by people with a borderline personality disorder.

Failure to take responsibility for wrong done.

Because of emotional instability, people with borderline personality disorder are unable to accept responsibility for actions done even in the face of glaring evidence.

Faulting others for wrongs done

As a result of emotional instability, people with borderline personality disorder often blame others for personal mistakes and wrongs done instead of accepting their role in the said situation.

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.

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.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored how people with borderline personality disorder can exhibit childlike behaviour. In addition, we also discussed the causes, symptoms, treatment options and coping strategies for borderline personality disorder. 

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

Frequently asked questions: borderline personality disorder childlike behaviour

What are borderlines like as children?

Teenagers with BPD are often angry, impulsive, and quick to believe that other people have wronged them. Young people with BPD often harm themselves and have a high risk of suicide.

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.

Citations

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

Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault. (28th November 2021). Romantic Relationships Involving People With BPD. Verywellmind. Retrieved from:https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-romantic-bpd-relationships-425217

Zambon, V. (5th November 20020). Borderline personality disorder and relationships. Medicalnewstoday. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/borderline-personality-disorder-relationships#social-media-relationships

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