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Advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) do exist. This may be a surprise to many, but BPD as a diagnosis has been far too misunderstood and stigmatized. Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is one of the most stigmatized conditions there is. Having ‘symptoms’ of BPD, such as emotional outbursts or suicidal thoughts, can be extremely painful, but it does not take over your entire identity. This article addresses some of the positive aspects or even advantages of BPD. Unfortunately, the majority of research literature and internet resources focus on the negative aspects of BPD, often forgetting that behind the symptoms is a whole person.
People assume that when you are diagnosed with a ‘mental illness,’ it is a bad thing. The truth is, behind the diagnosis, there is a whole person who, alongside their intensity, has creative gifts, empathy, deep love for the world, and infinite potential.
BPD is the target of more than its fair share of stigma by mental health practitioners, the media, and the general public. Many resources on the internet focus on the negative aspects of BPD, perpetuating the misjudgment around it. When people focus solely on the negative symptoms, they forget about the person behind the label and the existence of any potential advantages of BPD.
But behind the label of BPD is a unique individual with their own strengths, resilience, and positive characteristics. If we focus solely on the negative symptoms, we risk diminishing the person’s value and neglecting their potential for growth and positive contributions.
Many people with BPD are deep thinkers, intuitive feelers, and many are intellectually gifted. Contrary to popular belief, most BPD sufferers are highly introspective and self-aware. With a process of healing and transformation, they can be the most empathic leaders and visionaries.
This is not to glorify mental illnesses or invalidate the pain of living with emotional storms. As someone who has been given the BPD label, what you need is not more judgment. What you need is a deep understanding of what has caused these symptoms, to know it is not your ‘fault’ that you suffer, and to harness the positive aspects of your personality. Again, on the flip side of the shadow, advantages of BPD do exist.
“seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
7 Potential Advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder
You have deep empathy
One of the most salient advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder is the unique ability of the afflicted to understand and empathize with others’ emotional experiences deeply.
Indeed, you may temporarily lose perspective or act erratically when an emotional storm takes over. Because of your struggles in relationships, the push-pull pattern, and chaotic attachment style, some people might misunderstand your nature and say you lack empathy. This is, however, an unfair and faulty assumption. Many people with BPD identify as being an ‘empath’. An empath is someone with so much empathy that they feel others’ pain as their own; they sometimes cannot separate their own emotions from others. Certain psychological theories may explain why this is: It might be due to the overactive activity of your mirror neurons, the unique wiring of your brain, certain hormones in your physiology, or a volatile childhood environment in which you were ‘trained’ to become hyper-vigilant (you might have had to detect early warning signs of your parent’s anger to protect yourself and your siblings).
Furthermore, your personal experience with emotional pain has granted you a profound understanding of what it means to suffer. This understanding allows you to offer solace and support to those who are sad, anxious, or grieving. Without uttering a word, your presence conveys a deep empathy and an unspoken understanding of their struggles. Psychologically, just being in the presence of someone who understands their grief can be extremely comforting. Your ability to connect on an emotional level, to truly see and acknowledge their inner turmoil, provides a sense of validation for them.
Spiritually, those who are suffering recognize that you speak their language. In the depths of their anguish, they find solace in the knowledge that you understand the intricacies of their inner battles. This recognition can foster a profound sense of connection and shared humanity, offering a glimmer of hope and a reminder that they are not alone on their journey.
It is important to honor and embrace this gift of understanding because it enables you to be a beacon of compassion and support for others. However, you must also take care of yourself and set healthy boundaries. The weight of others’ pain can sometimes be overwhelming, and knowing when to draw a line is important to maintain your emotional well-being.
May you continue to be a source of understanding and comfort to others while strengthening your own inner peace and resilience.
You are highly perceptive
One of the surprising advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder is the ability to see beyond surface-level interactions, detecting subtle shifts in moods and emotions.
Indeed, research suggests that people with BPD often have an increased ability to detect facial expressions and subtle mood swings compared to people without BPD. This heightened perceptual ability has led to many joking comments among people with BPD and their friends about their “psychic abilities,” But this perceptual ability brings both blessings and dangers.
On the one hand, the ability to detect hidden emotions and perceive subliminal dynamics can be very valuable. It enables you to navigate social situations better and understand the true intentions of those around you. This perceptive ability can also contribute to your personal and professional success, as you can make astute observations and decisions based on your keen intuition.
However, this gift also comes with challenges. Your ability to recognize hypocrisy, injustice, and deception can make life difficult, as you may find it hard to ignore or tolerate such behaviors. It can be disheartening to repeatedly witness the discrepancy between people’s words and actions, leading to increased frustration in your lifelong quest for authenticity and fairness.
In addition, your perceptive nature may make others feel threatened or uncomfortable, especially if they prefer not to be seen through or held accountable for their actions. Finding the balance between using your intuition and respecting the boundaries of others can take a conscious effort and a fine sense of diplomacy, as well as developing some ability to mentalize rather than just following your intuition or reacting to your overly-active mirror neurons’ activities. In other words, you must practice shifting from mere ‘Emotional Empathy’ to what is known as ‘Cognitive Empathy.’ To harness your natural instinct and turn them into strengths, you have to learn how to communicate your observations effectively and constructively without unintentionally hurting or alienating others, and that can take time and practice.
However, once you master the art of using your intuition skillfully and carefully becomes a powerful tool that can bring you much personal and professional success. Your ability to read between the lines, anticipate needs, and understand the unspoken can foster deeper connections with others, enhance your problem-solving skills, and enable you to navigate complex situations with grace and insight.
Remind yourself to embrace your perceptiveness as a valuable quality and see if you can develop mentalization skills along the way so you can turn it into an asset. It is also important to find a balance between paying attention to the emotions of others and caring for your own well-being. You can harness your intuition’s power while maintaining your emotional balance by cultivating your self-awareness, setting boundaries, and seeking support when needed.
(If you are interested, please check out this short clip where I expanded on my thoughts on the Paradox of BPD Empathy and the difference between Emotional Empathy/ Cognitive Empathy)
Others may not see it, but you love deeply
Others may not always see or understand it, but people with borderline personality disorder do have the ability to love and care for others. Behind the emotional turmoil and violent mood swings lies a heart that feels exceptionally deeply. Love for someone with BPD is not superficial or fleeting; it is a deep and all-encompassing experience.
When someone with BPD loves, they do so with their whole being. Their love extends to every fiber of their being. They invest themselves fully in their relationships and embrace the intensity and vulnerability that comes with it. They are not afraid to express their feelings, often wear their hearts on their sleeves, and show genuine care and affection for their loved ones.
Someone with BPD often loves in a way that transcends conventional definitions. Since they know what it is like to be atypical, they know how to embrace the uniqueness of each person. They can often see beyond the surface, connect with others on a soul level, and appreciate the inner beauty that lies within.
And since they have been deprived as a child, they do not take anything for granted. Thus, they have the ability to appreciate the small gestures, subtle nuances, and unspoken words of their partners that can go unnoticed by others.
Indeed, for someone with BPD, their love can also be accompanied by fear and insecurities. The fear of being abandoned or rejected can lead to problems in maintaining stable and healthy relationships. However, despite these difficulties, the love that people with BPD show is genuine and profound.
To be loved by someone with BPD is also a unique experience. They have an innate ability to understand and empathize with the pain and struggles of others, having experienced emotional turmoil themselves. This empathy allows them to offer unparalleled support and compassion to their loved ones in times of need.
Even loving someone inflicted with emotional storms brings unique challenges; it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the depth and sincerity within those with them, and together you can harness the many advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder. By nurturing and understanding their emotions, others can experience the beauty of their love and create meaningful connections that withstand the tests of time.
In short, although others may not always see it, people with BPD have the capacity to love deeply, passionately, and wholeheartedly. Their love is a testament to their resilience, strength, and the deep capacity of the human heart.
Channeling the advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder into art
Many people with BPD channel their pain visually, poetically, musically, or otherwise. Historically, gifted and talented artists, writers, and actors/ actresses have made meaning out of their mental distress and existential anxiety.
The pain experienced within BPD can be immensely profound, often defying the limitations of verbal expression. In these moments, the arts can become a powerful channel through which your soul finds its voice. By tapping into your creative essence and using artistic mediums to express your innermost struggles, you reclaim your power and refuse to be confined by victimhood.
Through creative expression, you extend a heartfelt reaching out to the world. In sharing your artistic creations, you become a beacon of connection and understanding for others who may be grappling with similar emotions. There is solace in knowing that somewhere out there, someone awaits the reassurance that they are not alone in their pain, that there is another individual who can truly comprehend and empathize with what they feel.
When you find a language for your emotions through creative outlets, you embark on a journey of inspiration. Your art becomes a bridge, capable of evoking profound emotions and stirring the depths of the human experience. By bravely sharing your creations, you have the potential to touch hearts, spark conversations, and build communities- even just virtual communities.
In inspiring others through your art, you plant seeds of hope and resilience. You offer a glimpse of possibility, reminding those who witness your work that healing and growth are attainable. Through your vulnerability and the raw authenticity of your creative expressions, you provide a space for others to explore their emotions, find solace, and discover their creative outlets for self-expression.
Here is an interview with Alessia, who has transmuted the advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder into great art that connects the human spirits:
“Sometimes people put up walls, not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”
― Banana Yoshimoto
You know what it means to have invisible trauma
The advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder can manifest as a unique perspective on life, enabling individuals to challenge societal norms and advocate for social justice.
Unlike a physical injury or disability, BPD is invisible. It is, nevertheless, one of the most painful conditions anyone could have. You might also have suffered from other invisible trauma such as childhood neglect or emotional abuse.
The suffering of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often dismissed or overlooked, particularly when they appear fine on the surface. However, you understand firsthand the depth that can lie beneath a facade. Your experiences have granted you profound compassion and insight into the complexities of human emotions and struggles.
Many people with BPD are gifted activists who are passionate about the rights and voices of others. Their personal experiences with pain and injustice can spark a burning desire to make a positive difference in the world. This advocacy work is often driven by a deep understanding of the importance of acknowledging and recognizing the suffering of all people, regardless of how it may be masked or hidden.
Through their own journey through the depths of emotional pain, people with BPD develop a unique perspective and sensitivity to the suffering of others. They know firsthand the impact of social and systemic factors on mental health and well-being. This understanding drives them to fight for social justice, make marginalized voices heard, and create spaces of inclusion and acceptance.
Through their advocacy work, people with BPD can make a real difference by using their own experiences and empathetic nature to uplift and empower others. By transforming their pain into meaningful action, they strive to create a more compassionate and understanding society where the voices and experiences of all people are valued and respected. This is when they channel the advantages of borderline personality disorder into a gift for not just themselves but humanity.
May you continue to use your own compassionate spirit and join those who use their personal stories to inspire change and advocate for the rights and well-being of others. Please trust that your empathy and commitment have the power to impact the world around you significantly.
Kayla, who I interviewed here, is someone who has turned the advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder into her unique form of activism through Youtube:
You see beauty in the world
As a naturally sensitive person, you have a deep capacity to sense and empathize with the collective pain of our world. While this sensitivity can be trying at times, it also gives you a deep understanding of beauty. You do not take love for granted, and even the simplest gestures or expressions of affection can evoke overwhelming feelings in you. The “little things” in life, such as a single line in a song or a sincere gesture from a romantic partner, can make a deep impression and leave a lasting impression.
Your heightened sensitivity allows you to experience the world with a different vibration, vividly perceiving the nuances of despair, deep love, and ecstasy. Although the intensity of the emotions can be challenging, it is important to realize that this sensitivity is also a gift. It opens you up to a world of richness and depth, where you can experience moments of deep connection, joy, and awe in ways that others may not fully comprehend.
This sensitivity can fuel your creativity and allow you to express yourself through various forms of art, writing, or other forms of expression. You will be able to see the beauty in the seemingly ordinary and find meaning in the smallest details.
I hope you allow yourself to enjoy these moments of deep love and ecstasy and allow them to inspire and nourish your soul.
Finally, one of the most important advantages of BPD: You may not feel it, but you are exceptionally resilient
The advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder encompass the potential for individuals to develop exceptional resilience and adaptability in the face of life’s challenges.
BPD does not break you; it shapes you, forces you to look inward, and makes you a stronger human.
Like a resilient tree, you may bend under the weight of challenges, but you do not let them get you down. The pain and despair you have experienced have given you a deep understanding that each day is a precious gift.
As you navigate life with BPD, you discover a reservoir of inner strength and resilience. With each passing day, you grow stronger and develop into a warrior who not just grapples with the symptoms of BPD, but also survives the inevitable trials and tribulations that life brings. Your journey has shaped you into a resilient being, able to weather storms with grace and determination.
Your identity goes far beyond the superficial fluctuations of mood swings. There is a core of yourself within you that is unwavering and determined to embrace life in all its vivid complexity. You are defined not only by the challenges you face but by your unwavering commitment to live, grow and embrace your authentic being.
Your journey has equipped you with a unique perspective that can inspire and encourage those struggling with their own issues.
As you continue to navigate the terrain of BPD, remember to nurture and care for yourself. Practice self-compassion, seek support when you need it, and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem.
Embrace your journey as a fighter, knowing that you have the strength to overcome any challenge. Your inner self, determined to be alive and vibrant, shines brightly beyond the surface fluctuations. Continue to nurture your resilience, for it is a beacon of hope and inspiration to others walking a similar path.
“it is being honest
makes me invincible.”
― Nayyirah Waheed
Embracing the Advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder: Your Right To Be Fully Human
Whether you’re a BPD sufferer yourself or have a friend or loved one with the condition, I hope this article on the positive traits of BPD has given you hope. While the advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder may be unconventional, they contribute to a rich inner world, fostering introspection, self-discovery, and personal growth.
Coming to terms with a diagnosis can be daunting, but please don’t believe all your gifts could be taken away from you just because you were given the label.
The next step for you now is to find ways to celebrate and harness your strengths. You may decide to make a piece of music that tells your life story or use your deep empathy to offer a friend consolation.
Being misunderstood all your life is painful and never justified. While we cannot control external judgments, it is on us to go from surviving to thriving, to not let the past haunt us, and to stand up for our rights and shine as a dynamic humans.
You do not need your friends or family to understand you in order to move forward. Unlike the situation you were in as a child, you are no longer powerless. If people insist on scapegoating or gaslighting you, you have the power to walk away. If you think about all the trauma, suicidal spells, and relationship wounds you have bounced back from, you will know how strong you are at your core. Walking away despite our society’s pressure is not easy, but it is what you deserve.
Absolutely, you do not need anyone’s approval to embrace and own the advantages of Borderline Personality Disorder. The uniqueness and differences that come with BPD are what make life rich, diverse, and worth living.
Recognizing that a diagnosis does not define your entire being is essential. Beyond any diagnosis, a vast expanse of your true self is waiting to be discovered. Embracing your journey of self-discovery and exploring the wholeness of who you are is a beautiful and empowering endeavor.
As you navigate your path, remember to honor and celebrate the qualities that make you unique. Embrace the positive aspects of BPD, such as heightened sensitivity, empathy, and depth of emotional experience. These traits can be sources of strength, creativity, and connection with others.
May your journey lead you to a profound understanding and acceptance of your whole self beyond any labels or diagnoses. Embrace your individuality, celebrate your differences, and continue to discover the beauty and richness that lies within you.
Wishing you well on your path of self-discovery and embracing the fullness of who you are.
With the warmest admiration for your strength and beauty,