Do you have borderline personality disorder or complex PTSD?

First of all, obviously borderline personality disorder is very real.
But the majority of people I know who think they have BPD (past me included) are really suffering from complex PTSD and confusing the symptoms.
Especially in the 12-step fellowships I have come across so many people who are convinced they have BPD, only to seek help and find that their problem is untreated trauma.
So apart from seeking professional help, what are the different symptoms between C-PTSD and BPD?
Please note this post contains mentions of self-harm and su*c*dal idealisation.

Both C-PTSD and BPD can be diagnosed in someone, but their causes and expressions are different.

First of all, this post is not meant to help you diagnose yourself. Only a professional can do this.
But this might give you a guidance of what reading to do ahead of that.
The first pointer is that C-PTSD only develops if you have been exposed to repeated trauma, for example prolonged abuse as a child. This is not necessary for a BPD diagnosis.
Again not unique to one, but self-harm and suicidal idealisation are more common with BPD than C-PTSD.

In BPD, there is usually a fear of being abandoned by someone else.
With C-PTSD, individuals believe they are unlovable or broken.
These might feel like they overlap, especially once we examine our attachment styles.
But ask yourself, what is at the very core of our relationship issues:
a fear surrounding others or us?

Our self-image also varies with these different mental illnesses.
If you have BPD, you might struggle knowing who you truly are and feel lost.
Your interests might change depending on who you hang out with.
C-PTSD on the other hand is associated with shame and the sensation of being ‘damaged goods’.
Here you might not feel as confused about your identity, but feel it is wrong.

So no matter what illness you believe you have, your best bet is to seek a mental health expert who can help you heal and devise the best treatment plan.
With search engines right at our finger tips, its tempting to play psychiatrist ourselves.
After all, who knows us better than the person who spends the most time inside our brains?
But our view is biased and narrowed by our illnesses.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.

3 thoughts on “Do you have borderline personality disorder or complex PTSD?

Add yours

  1. I was raised by a mother who has undiagnosed BPD and I myself was misdiagnosed with it. I however have CPTSD and a big difference for me is that those with the more trauma induced disorder have insight. It’s a real challenge for those to modify their behavior who are termed borderline yet I can say having undergone DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) a few times in an intensive outpatient program, it helped me make major changes. It’s important to find good therapists and routines that align best with each individual’s own belief system. I have since shifted to a more holistic and spiritually based healing process that has profoundly impacted my life. These two disorders often get misdiagnosed and mismanaged though. Great post. Important information throughout that you articulated and shared.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your helpful comment, and I’m so glad to hear you found the treatment that works for you! I also believe a spiritual and holistic approach is most useful, but it seems like we have to go through the medical route first to then believe we don’t always need pills! But as you said, a good therapist is a must to help us understand and choose our routes! All the best to you x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, I agree. I went that route for 15 years and now that I’ve become a shaman, I have found my soul’s purpose. This was the healing that awakened me, cleared the wounds energetically and opened me wide. I became a shaman this year and now assist others in their own soul’s healing. It’s why I was born with the gifts I tried for years to ignore. Now that I’ve decided to live as a writer and a healer my life ❤ is content, peaceful and full of unconditional love for myself. I wish you all the best on your journey my dear🥰🙏🌠

        Liked by 1 person

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