7 responses to “The myth of the “Manipulative Personality Disorder”: taking the blame out of the illness”

  1. Very useful information, to help understand the borderline personality and recognize the emotional trauma contributing to the emotional disorder, including adverse childhood events.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this, and it will definitely help we re-adjust my approach with certain patients. Thank you.

  3. This is a well-written, very helpful article and will have an impact on my care of patients as a physician psychotherapist.

  4. I absolutely agree with the article.
    I had another thought, that of the inheritability of these behaviours, emotional dysregulation / personality disorder.
    In my practice I had a woman who met all the criteria for BPD. She had been adopted shortly after birth when her mother died. Her adoptive family were wonderful people, she was nurtured, treated identically to the other children and other adopted children. They paid for law school, etc.
    Being clever, later she managed to track down her natural father. She had had no contact with him ever. She introduced him to her “family”. He was manipulative, volatile ,self-centred and only seemed happy when he was causing trouble. Who do you think he is like – I asked? OMG, and this was the start of her agreement to enter therapy, with which she has done well.
    Paradoxically a colleague had four children, all of whom were treated identically. Number three, for no known reason, had BPD /emotional dysregulation on steroids. Go figure!

  5. Thank you for this well written article, Joanna. I will file it and likely revisit it the next time I notice reactivity in my response to someone with BPD.

  6. As a Director of the Borderline Personality Disorder Society of BC … I thank you very much for this article, and for the approach you are using with your patients. Stigma surrounding BPD is still rampant throughout the health care system – developed and/or perpetuated by teachings within the medical curriculum. It is well past time these teachings are revised to reflect current, more effective approaches that benefit both the patient and the physician, as your article so aptly demonstrates. Thank you.

  7. Personally I do not think that there is a myth behind manipulative behaviours within BPD, those behaviours are still manipulative regardless of intent or control: the action is still the action regardless of intent. There is a stigma around BPD for a reason, and that’s mainly from the effects of manipulation and covert narcissism on those closest to the person with BPD, sometimes this behaviour needs to be challenged, and of course in a supportive environment.

    Despite this I think there’s a lot that can be done about that stigma without sweeping these behaviours under the carpet and removing them from the DSM. We have to remember that people with BPD don’t live isolated in caves, they also come with partners and children and other family members with their own mental well being to think of. It is their relations with other people which are the crux when it comes to the disorder.

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