BPD is linked to paranoid schizophrenia

BPD symptoms explained | N ° 9

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What are they all looking at? "-" Who? "-" Well, everyone! "

Last but not least symptom: paranoia and dissociation. You may not expect exactly what you expect here.

In the series BPD Symptoms I would like to explain to you step by step based on the "official criteria" of the DSMthe Symptoms of borderline personality disorder to introduce. As with all contributions on my side, the following applies: this is about my world, my experiences, my views. Today it isCriterion N ° 9:

Temporarily paranoid imaginations or dissociative feelings such as self-alienation as a result of stressful situations

The 9th and last symptom on the "official" diagnosis list is again one that (luckily) only half affects me. I know the paranoid ideas very well. On the other hand, hardly any dissociative feelings. You can now read here what exactly is to be understood by this and how I experience things.

Paranoia who?

Paranoia - what a difficult and harsh word. The first time I skim through the classic list of symptoms literally overlook this point. I'm not paranoid. Ha! Think. Because especially with regard to borderline, I had a very wrong view of the matter.

By paranoia, I mean not leaving your own apartment for fear of people, aliens, bacteria or radiation. Or turning around every two steps for fear of persecution. And so on. Somehow everything is correct, or can be correct. But Paranoid ideas can also be much "smaller".

Wikipedia puts it this way:Those affected suffer from a distorted perception of their surroundings in the direction of a hostile (in the extreme viciously persecuting) attitude towards their person.

And that is better then. Even if borderliners are mostly "only" about paranoid ideas and not full-blown paranoia, this symptom can make life really difficult. With me - and also with many other affected persons - it expresses itself like this, that you just keep thinking that everyone around you is watching you. Talking about one. Make fun of Blaspheme. Whether your fellow students in the lecture hall, your best friends when you come out of the toilet or strangers on the street who give you "such a strange look".

My experience of the symptom in one paragraph:Everyone is watching me. - Everyone is against me. - Nobody really likes me. Those are probably three of the most central thoughts that have led my paranoid notions. And the two central strategies in dealing with these thoughts are 1. To pretend, to show no one who you really are, then they have nothing against me in their hands. and 2. Don't trust anyone, don't get too close, you'd better stay alone - otherwise you will only be disappointed, injured, demonstrated or all together.

Headlights on!

As if you had a huge headlight above you, which constantly immerses you in brilliant light. And on top of that you stand on a pedestal. So that EVERYONE can really see you. This is what it felt like to go through life for a long time.

This constant feeling of being observed, which accompanies you through everyday life and does not let go, is extremely stressful. It creates a lot of pressure not to be open to attack. Just don't make mistakes. No defects. No slip-ups. Otherwise you are the mockery of everyone. Even more than you already are.

I never felt "free" in the presence of other people - I always felt self-conscious. Never relaxed but always on guard. This stress made me just prefer to stay away from other people. Left alone for me During my studies, for example, I didn't go to the cafeteria - but took a break alone in the English Garden. Always sat at the back of the classroom. Establish distance. Because then all this pressure also arises, but less. More distant. Situations that are normal for others trigger tension and high stress in me.

In the company of others, one often pretends to be able to adapt to the ideas one has about the ideas of others. In order to keep the talk and blasphemy as small as possible. It's exhausting, but there is no real alternative. And of course for someone who has a very unstable self-image anyway, this doesn't make life any easier.

Friend and foe

If you think that this symptom is limited to strangers, chance encounters or distant acquaintances, I will unfortunately have to disappoint you. As indicated above, the same rules apply to family, colleagues and even closest friends. No one is safe from the paranoid thoughts of a borderliner.

And that is exactly what makes any kind of relationship with someone affected often so difficult or so stressful. How to build a relationship of trust when one of the two parties constantly doubts the fundamentals of the relationship.

I was able to reinterpret even the nicest, dearest and best-intentioned words - or still do it now and then. Automatically. Until my ratio kicks in and tries to end it.

This whole story certainly also plays a role in the feeling of belonging from Borderline goes Munich, which I am not familiar with - just as the individual symptoms mix and work together in many places. Whoever subliminally subordinates evil intentions and a false bottom to his environment, it will be difficult for him to just feel accepted, accepted and relaxed somewhere.


Fortunately, I only know of "correct" dissociations from other sufferers. So even if I (unfortunately) cannot report from my own experience, I would still like to briefly deal with the topic.

Here, too, I use wikipedia for a better understanding. There it says The termdissociation describes in psychology the separation of perceptual and memory contents, which are normally associated. This can impair the integrative function of consciousness, memory, perception and identity. and further Dissociation is a multifaceted disorder in which there is a partial or complete loss of psychological functions such as memory, own feelings or sensations (pain, fear, hunger, thirst, ...), the perception of oneself and / or the environment as well as the control of body movements. The loss of these skills can vary from hour to hour.

From the clinic and from books I know those affected who regularly dissociate and then cannot remember minutes, situations, experiences or encounters. Outwardly, these dissociative states are difficult to recognize. Often only professionals succeed in doing this, and only if they have known the person concerned for a long time or have worked intensively with him. You can find more about dissociation and borderline, for example, at the borderline platform or here.

I'm getting better

It was really good for me at first when I read books after my diagnosis and learned in Hamburg that many other affected people know the feeling of being constantly observed. Know what I'm talking about.

I have now understood that most people are just so busy with themselves most of the time that they have neither the time, energy nor interest in me as a person. There is no headlight and no pedestal either. (Here was an important moment for me when, towards the end of my studies, I spoke to a certain fellow student for the first time and I was sure that she would know me and say something like that "you are always sitting up there, on the far left" and then it turned out that she had absolutely no knowledge that I had been studying with her for almost three years. For others this might have been a sad, disappointing or painful moment. For me it was somehow very relieving and liberating.)

That was perhaps difficult to understand at the beginning because I - whether this is typically borderline or just me, I don't know - have extremely open senses. My antennas are always on full reception, I perceive more of my surroundings than the "normal" ones around me. And for a long time I thought everyone is like that.

In the meantime I have managed to be more relaxed with myself and with the way others perceive me. Learned that the world doesn't end when someone talks about me.

Even today, weird looks on the train (maybe even plus whispering), ambiguous comments at work or from friends can make me feel very insecure very quickly. Then everything starts up again - "they don't really like you at all". Sometimes I can shake it off quickly, sometimes it sticks to me a bit. But the important thing is: the paranoid ideas no longer have as much influence on my life, my behavior - as they had for many years. (Going alone to a yoga studio in Bali that I've never been to, that I don't know anyone? Would have been impossible in the past! But that's exactly what I did a few weeks ago!)

I still find it uncomfortable when I involuntarily become the focus of attention - because I did something embarrassing or said the wrong thing. And I still struggle and quarrel with situations like this probably more than others. Sometimes a week, two months or three years later. But to a certain extent I have accepted that I will never be able to turn it off completely.

A real, 100 percent trust in another person, in a friendship or relationship, I may never be able to achieve. The hostile distortion, the doubts and gnawing voices will always stay in my head. But today there are also other voices and explanations that help me not to let myself be so influenced by them.

What helps?

Relatives can again help the person affected Give feedback on your perception. Show a second view, provide alternative interpretations of the situation and show the borderliner that his (paranoid) perception is only one possible variant.

To assert with words that you really like / love / appreciate the person concerned is only of limited benefit from my personal experience. The doubts remain. Of course, you can try not to stir up doubts in the borderline mind with your words and deeds, but that should only go so far that the relatives do not have to restrict themselves.

Consideration can and should be there. But I can only advise every family member not to behave differently out of fear or prudence - In case of doubt, the borderline head can only interpret this for its own purposes.

I want to say to those affected - this point got better for me the fastest after starting therapy. The most important step is again to become aware of the mechanisms at all. So that you then have something to work on and with.

In this case "My head distorts reality and my observations quite often into the unrealistic and negative - and always to my disadvantage."

So, now I'm getting out of your heads.

TensionborderlineSymptomsUnder the magnifying glass