Some would suggest that borderline personality disorder is hereditary. There were five empirical studies conducted on children who had mothers with BPD. Three of the studies were based on a wide age range, while the other two studies were based on children of the same age in their infancy years, but from a developmental view. The research showed that children between the ages of four and eighteen with mothers who have BPD are more likely to experience changes in household composition and schools attended, removal from the home, and exposure to parent drug or alcohol abuse and mother’s suicide attempts.
Another key finding was that they were “diagnosed with more attention and disruptive behavior than their comparisons” (Macfie, 2009). This was seen to create an environment where aggression and trouble were more likely to occur. Lastly, compared to children of mothers with depression or other personality disorders or no disorders at all, they were “more likely to experience higher anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem” (Macfie, 2009).
In the studies that took on the developmental view, it was reported that “infants at two months old experienced more intrusiveness and insensitivity from their mothers with BPD and demonstrated more dazed looks, more looks away from mother, and less responsiveness than do infants of mothers without a disorder” (Macfie, 2009). When the infant was around thirteen months old, “80% experienced disorganization in their attachment with their mothers. After separation form the mother, the infant was shown to be stuck between a desire to approach and a fear of doing so” (Macfie, 2009).
This study shows that experiences from as far back as infancy can start to alter our perception of the world and how we are supposed to cope with it as well as what we think is seen as acceptable and unacceptable based off of our own childhood occurrences. This can be troubling because it teaches the child that the parent is not dependable, which in return forces them to realize they can only depend on themselves to grow which could lead to a negative effect on relationships, themselves, and the social aspect in their adulthood years.
Although genetics seem to play a role in the development of borderline personality disorder, could there be other family interactions or environments that are just as important? When we are young, we are extremely dependable on our parents and look up to them as role models. As mentioned above, the way we interact with our parents and the bond we have with them can impact us in many ways. When we have a good connection with our parents, we are more likely to reciprocate that towards other people.
What happens though when our bond with our parents aren’t exactly positive? It is suggested through social-cognitive theories of borderline personality disorder that “disturbances in interpersonal relationships are related to poor social-cognitive functioning and dysfunctional mentalizing capacities” (Courtney-Seidler, Klein, & Miller, 2013). This simply means that the lack of interaction with our parents or others impedes our social and mental functioning. This could cause one to have very few friends or know friends at all.
It could also affect our ability to understand and learn the human behavior such as “goals, needs, desires, and beliefs” while also lacking the ability to understand how other people act as well (Courtney-Seidler et al. , 2013). According to the social-cognitive theory, those with a “safe and close attachment to their caregiver have a higher chance of being able to denote the situations that they experience and other’s situations as well” (Courtney-Seidler et al. , 2013).
So on the other hand, those who have a rocky attachment with their parents are less likely to learn how to understand their mind and its different states. This is seen most commonly with those who have borderline personality disorder. A good and healthy bond with your parents is essential to the development of a child and can prevent problems from happening later on down the road and can prevent symptoms and signs of BPD. Although these events, environments, and experiences are known to be potential risks for developing Borderline personality disorder in the US, are the causes the same from other places in the world?
In a study on childhood trauma and parental bonding among Japanese female patients with borderline personality disorder, the major sources that played a role in BPD in North America were examined in Japanese females to see if they were important indicators in other cultures as well. The factors that were studied were childhood sexual abuse, other childhood traumas, parental factors, and parental bonding. This study mentions that recent research has led to the conclusion that childhood abuse might not be a primary factor for borderline personality disorder.
When parental factors were taken into account, those with BPD stated that “their parents were less caring and more protective which means they were controlling with little affection towards their children” (Machizawa-Summers, 2007). It was also noted that “those with BPD more likely reported separation from their parents during childhood” (Machizawa-Summers, 2007). Many of the other factors were also found to contribute to BPD development.
Overall, this article proved that “Japanese borderline personality disorder patients present approximately the same set of symptoms as their American counterparts, but still have some differences” (Machizawa-Summers, 2007). One main difference was the parent relationship with the child. It is more acceptable and common for children to be dependent of their parents in Japan compared to the United States. This obviously could create a problem later on down the road when they become adults because they won’t know how to be independent and do things on their own.
This could create many awkward social situations and cause them to become disconnected with the world around them when they are adults. Those with BPD sometimes have a connection with dissociation as they age. Could childhood trauma have a part in developing this type of problem? Is there a reason that those with borderline personality disorder often develop dissociative behaviors? A study was conducted that include both males and females with BPD. They were all given a self-report questionnaire and then were put through an assessment to make sure they were diagnosed with BPD.
After they were given two questionnaires that asked about childhood trauma and dissociative experiences, which were then used in finding the results. It was discovered that “overall levels of dissociation increased with levels of childhood trauma, providing support for a recognized causal relationship between traumatic experiences in childhood events and dissociative experiences in BPD” (Watson, Chilton, Fairchild, & Whewell, 2006). This means that they could have developed problems with their attachment to others and themselves creating the perception that the world has no importance.
This as well as the other factors can be a scary thought, experience, and situation. This realization could cause may people with this disorder to seek help or to see what type of treatment is out there. There are currently many forms of treatment surfaces the world right now for borderline personality disorder. It is important when deciding on a treatment to make sure you tailor it specifically for that person. A treatment that works for one individual might not always work for the next, so you want to make sure you take the appropriate steps to find out the best form of treatment.
It has been shown that borderline personality disorder is a challenge to treat. One type of treatment for BPD is psychotherapy. The key to psychotherapy is to have an intervention that focuses on one of the following domains “affect regulation, behavioral impulse control, cognitive clarification, and dynamic understanding, while also developing more adaptive coping skills to aid symptom remission” (Merced, 2015). The more the therapist makes the patient aware of his or her feelings, the more likely they are able to learn how to tolerate them.
Another strategy is “mood monitoring, in which the patient is taught to become more aware of their feelings throughout the day and identify patterns associated with their mood changes” (Merced, 2015). Those who have BPD often struggle with controlling their impulsive behavior. They often act on things that could cause danger or harm. Helping a patient “identify potential dangers and possible courses of action, as well as anticipate potential consequences, is believed to develop more adaptive responses” (Merced, 2015).
When it comes to the cognitive clarification, it can often be a tricky situation. Although individuals with BPD tend to function fine day to day, sometimes their cognitive abilities can diminish due to certain factors. When making the patient aware of their cognitive problems, it is important to project the topic in a sensitive way to avoid hurting the patient. The goal of dynamic understanding is to get “the patient to become aware of patterns and to understand how underlying schemas contribute to their emotional dysregulation, behavioral impulsivity, and distorted cognitions” (Merced, 2015).
Although this is not the only approach for treatment, it seems to be an effective one. When determining which approach is the best for treatment, it is hard to eliminate down to one type because there is not a lot of research that proves one approach is the best. In fact, “evidence from direct comparisons and meta-analyses indicate that no single borderline personality disorder is more effective than another” (Merced, 2015).
This brings us back to the point that every treatment has different effects on an individual. Although all these factors play a role in potential development of borderline personality disorder, none of these alone are the primary cause. Those with borderline personality disorder struggle in many aspects of life. By preventing certain factors in childhood like negative family environment, abuse, neglect, and trauma, we can avoid or possibly prevent the child from developing this disorder.
BPD can be a scary thing to live with, but with the right steps many people can get help. There are several forms of treatment out there that can help to deal with borderline personality disorder. It is important to make sure that help is available for those who want it and to continue to get them more involved with society. This could potentially make their lives more manageable and enjoyable. Continuing research on this disorder can help to understand this disorder better and how it works.