The Borderline of Asperger’s: The similarities and differences between Borderline Personality Disorder and Autism

Emotionally charged meltdowns, intense relationships, superficial friendships, miscommunications and incorrectly assumed intentions. A lot of people with Asperger’s syndrome could identify with this list. An equal number of those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) could also identify with this list. With individual’s on both sides being misdiagnosed with the other condition, what are the key differences and how can we tell them apart?


Those with a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often present with a pattern of significant impulsivity and instability of affects, interpersonal relationships and self image. This can manifest itself in an intense fear of abandonment and intense anger and irritability, particularly when others fail to understand them. Typically they flip between idealization and devaluation of others, alternating between high positive regard and great disappointment, and frequently display suicidal and self-harming behaviours**. A world apart from the often black and white mechanical thinking of an individual on the autism spectrum, where objects and animals often gain a greater significance than humans, and where other people’s thoughts are not even understood let alone open to manipulation. Yet the functioning of both individuals can appear the same, and frequently those with autism are misdiagnosed as having a personality disorder, particularly BPD, before their autism is recognised*; this is especially true for females.

Faced with the choice of BPD or ASD my psychiatrist precariously leant on the side of the former. Borderline is most common in females and could be considered an extreme form of the female brain, in much the same way that autism has been considered an extreme form of the male brain. So of course being presented with a depressed and anxious patient, who seems to be oversensitive to all forms of treatment and a general pain in the arse (PITA), shoving them into the bracket of ‘unstable female’ would seem like an appealing option. Fortunately for me I had a team of Asper-believers (namely a therapist, my mum, girlfriend and a few friends), and an imminent date with an adult autism assessment clinic to squash those BPD rumours circling my mental health records. What others should have noted was my lack of displayed emotion, my evident self directed anger, and my desperate struggle to please everyone and not miscommunicate as key signs that my personality was not disordered, my entire neuronal network was disordered and I was desperate to gain control over it. So why did they look the same in me and so many other women?

Autism expert Tony Atwood believes that this misconception of females on the spectrum comes from their ability to hide their autism better than males, resulting in behaviour patterns which can mimic those with BPD. This is particularly true if in an effort to mask social confusion and appease others, she models herself on someone else to achieve social success; in the unlikely event that that person happens to have BPD then she has no hope! This can lead to fake and forced social interactions, which can lead others to feel she is manipulative and superficial and completely divert away from the fact she has an ASD. On the other hand the Aspie’s experience of bullying, rejection and betrayal can lead to fears of abandonment and intense and unstable relationships with others, mimicking a BPD.funny-quotes-about-exams-stress-wallpaper-for-teenage-bedroom-wall-stickers-designs-ideas

Fortunately there are some key differences between the two disorders which set them apart. Firstly, whilst those with Asperger’s Syndrome do not get social cues or misunderstand them, those with Borderline Personality Disorder are hyper aware of them, but often distort them. Whilst both can have impairments when it comes to empathy, those with Asperger’s do not understand the social norms that go with a situation, whereas someone with BPD may exploit and manipulate the situation. Because of this those with a BPD are often better able to appear charming and sociable, but on the flipside they can be incredibly manipulative of others**, whereas the manipulation of those with Asperger’s derives from an almost obsessive need to control their surroundings and to please themselves. In terms of self-harming behaviour both are vulnerable, typically though those with Asperger’s use it to release inner tension, whilst those with BPD may be using it as a cry for help. Generally BPD behaviour seems to be a result of defence, usually manifesting itself in late teens and adolescence and commonly developing after a particularly unstable childhood. As we know (or should know, read more of my blog if not!), those with an ASD are born with the condition, it may only become apparent to others over time but it must have always been there.

The danger is in thinking that those with BPD are to blame for their behaviour, and I am the first to admit that my prejudice led me to believe it was an attention seeking disorder. It was only after I researched the issue and spoke to those who have worked with them, that it became apparent that those with BPD are no more in control of their behaviour than those with an ASD. There tends to be a lack of awareness on both sides as to why their behaviour has manifested in the way it has, and actually the treatments for both disorders can benefit the other. Neither respond particularly well to medication, but therapy with an emphasis on interpersonal relationships can hold the key. Particularly work focussed on metallization, which encourages a greater awareness of the intentions of oneself and those around them. Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) was developed with Borderline Personality Disorder in mind, the object of which was to increase the mentalization capacity in patients which should improve affect regulation and interpersonal relationships**. For those Aspies who lack a theory of mind (the ability to understand others mental states), this type of therapy can also be incredible beneficial, even in those like me who, on a much more mild level, just struggle sometimes to interpret the intentions of others.

So it seems that BPD is on the borderline of Aspergers in behaviours and functions alone, the gap between the two in terms of origin and mental processing couldn’t be any wider or the two any more diverse. Deemed as ‘incurable’ however, the treatment for both is focussed on behaviours, and because of this the two are still tied together in harmony.

If you’ve just scrolled to the end and couldn’t be bothered to read this, someone’s beat me to it and created a much more entertaining video!


Asperger’s Syndrome, Aspie and ASD all refer to Autism Spectrum Disorders

*So I don’t get accused of being biased, those with BPD can also be misdiagnosed with ASD prior to their correct diagnosis – unlike us they got a lucky escape.

**All complicated factual talk came from:

Safety Skills for Asperger Women, forward by Tony Atwood;all



To read the follow up blog post click below:

The Borderline of Asperger’s Revisited
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62 Responses to The Borderline of Asperger’s: The similarities and differences between Borderline Personality Disorder and Autism

  1. Crystal says:

    I noticed the similarities when I was searching for a self diagnosis years ago. It was close. Oh so close but not right. I don’t have the “swing” that people with BPD do. My emotional meltodowns stopped once I got away from a critical mother.

    Anyway I agree they are similar in presentation. I was almost fooled myself. Close but no cigar. Nice post

  2. sciamachy says:

    It does sound rather familiar but I’m pretty sure it applies to males as well – maybe not the tendency to misdiagnose ASD as BPD, but certainly the tendency to exhibit BPD like symptoms. I have a female Aspie friend who when I saw this I thought right away of her – this has characterised her relationships for a few years though I think she’s finally with someone who understands her quirks enough to cope. I myself have had this happen though, where I have a friend or a partner or whatever who for months, even a year or two, is totally golden, who can do no wrong & for whom I would do anything, but then something always happens to disappoint & it may not be something they’ve done as such, maybe just something that I perceive about them, something will always happen & then I just don’t want to know, I could cut all contact & just disappear *poof* & never speak to them again. Both my friend & I have done this many times to a good few people. In typical Aspie style I have a very few ultra-close friends, and thousands of acquaintances. If I drop someone from the inner circle, they’re gone, end of story. They fall through the cracks, deleted. I think this is problematic though: a psychologist I spoke with recently said I’m both highly intelligent (“Gifted” was his term) and that don’t I suffer fools, but for me that means 88-90% of the world. I seek out hyper-intelligent people, the sort that make me feel stupid not by design but by comparison at least, because I want to be around people I can learn from. Stupid people tire me out.

  3. Ashana M says:

    Those with ASD and BPD both have problems with regulating emotions and with mentalizing, so that is probably why they can look the same. Unlike, BPD is a disorder of personality, meaning there are problems with thinking, feeling, and behavior. BPDs use emotional reasoning (if it feels that way it is that way) and black and white thinking extensively. That isn’t especially a feature of ASD.

    There are indications than those with BPD are also born with their conditions as well. The symptoms just get worse in adolescence, when everyone starts having trouble with regulating emotions anyway, and when most young people make substantial gains in their ability to mentalize–that BPDs don’t.

    Very interesting post. I’ve been thinking about this as well.

  4. Sue says:

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your post! I’d like to pint out something that I perceive to be a core problem among those who ‘diagnose’ people with presenting issues…when there are multiple presenting traits from several DSM criteria (e.g. AD/HD, Aspergers, etc) all too often there is an expectation to ‘tick all of the boxes’ regardless.

    I have concluded over my many years of involvement with ‘combo kids’ that it is rare indeed to achieve this. Also, there is an increased danger that if a child slips through the cracks, s/he will be misdiagnosed when inevitably they find themselves in front of a psychologist and/or psychiatrist, in their later years (early adulthood). Far too many times I have met adults who have been misdiagnosed with either BPD, Bipolar, or schizophrenia etc.
    The lucky ones manage to acquire the correct diagnosis eventually. What a difference this makes to their life…understanding/knowledge generally leads to increased tolerance and a willingness to make accommodations if/when limitations caused by the underlying condition/s of the family member ‘get in the way’ of interpersonal interactions & expectations. I truly believe in early intervention, as it helps cut down on the angst & plummeting self-esteem over the ‘developing’ years….so please keep searching if you feel there is a ‘poor fit’ to any diagnosis you may be given by a “professional”. They don’t always get it right – Your family & you, know YOU best!!!

    My favorite quote: “Clinical experience doesn’t ensure accurate perception”.

    That is my pearl of wisdom for today. Sue :)

    • aspertypical says:

      Hi Sue, thank you so much for the comments. It’s great to hear the insight of people working with those on the spectrum. I’m not sure how much of my blog you’ve read but I’ve written a couple on the misdiagnosis problem and would love to have more of your wisdom!

      The Misdiagnosis of Women on the Autism Spectrum: A Shared Story

      The Many Guises of a Female With Autism

      Therapy for Aspergers

      • Mr. Masters says:

        You DO have BPD, this article has proven it time and time again.
        1: Manipulate doctors and use people to get the diagnosis that YOU wanted.
        2: All about you, you, you.
        3: You’re very female biased, because it serves your purposes.
        4: Couldn’t accept a reality that you didn’t want to.
        5: Your comment replies, are proof in spades.
        6: Being enabled by people to further your own agenda, see comments again.
        And those 6 are without nit-picking!
        I have 30+ years experience dealing with BPD’s, and you got it bad.
        Check the blog “Life of a busy girl”, she’s a BPD that at least has the
        integrity to admit it. Just because society is more tolerate of Aspergers,
        does not give you the right to lie to everyone and most importantly yourself.
        I truly do feel for you to a point, it’s a learned behavior. Either too much media or generational psychopathy (your mum) are the leading causes of BPD.
        It all comes back to bad parenting, especially if your mum is one of the baby boomers. Children born from that generation of parents have the highest percentage of personality disorders, by a huge margin. Good luck in the future, and I sincerely mean that.

        Mr. Masters

      • aspertypical says:

        I’ve approved your comment because I feel it’s not only important for other people to read but also because I want honest comments on my blog, both positive and negative. Unfortunately its not possible to diagnose someone on a blog post, you do not have a full life history of me nor have you met me to know this. I was never diagnosed as BPD, like many other labels it got floated by me as my Psychiatrist was not an autism specialist. I have since seen not only a therapist but also a psychologist and psychiatrist who have been working in the field of personality disorders who have all conclusively said my symptoms are not that of a bpd, and trust me I brought it up a lot as I myself was initially worried. People with BPD don’t worry that they might have it! There are a lot of labels I could probably give you as a psychologist regarding your comments, but I will save judgement for the people who actually know you. I am sorry that this blog is female biased, but it does not claim to be otherwise, this is my field of expertise and research. Although much of it does apply to both genders.

      • aspertypical says:

        I have written a follow up article to this, I hope you will read it and find it informative.

  5. Sue says:

    sorry about the typo above…I meant write point – not pint in my sentence.

  6. Cap1tana says:

    Hi, Im doing my dissertation on the crossover between symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome and other diagnoses including BPD. Various proffessionals cant seem to decide whether I have AS or BPD. I am interested in all views and accounts of experiences concerning this and if you have any information (research etc) I would be VERY grateful :-)

  7. aspertypical says:

    From Anonymous:

    “I have a son who has been dx with Asperger’s and a daughter who was dx with borderline personality.I also have two more children ( one of my other daughters has dyslexia and is a brilliant mathematician.)This hasn’t affected her life too badly,though she did have to change unis because of it.
    I think your comments are somewhat misinformed. There is some evidence that bpd can have a genetic component. Certainly there seems to be evidence for that in my daughter who has bpd’s case as my mother had similar symptoms and was dx with manic depression.
    I would very much agree with the observation that there is an attempt to learn the social rules in Asperger syndrome(Although not all autistic people can be bothered,my son is not too motivated as he feels he is ok how he is)This is not necessary in bpd,as people know them instinctively.
    I really agree with the point that bpd people should not be blamed for their condition. it is very stigmatising and I know that my daughter was really wanting a bipolar dx as she felt the stigma of the other so keenly.
    I would say that the boundary between bipolar and bpd is even more difficult to draw,so much so that I think sometimes they seem almost the same condition”

  8. Aspie4life says:

    Aspies typically have “superficial friendships”?
    I don’t see that – not at all. Any friendship I have, or the friendships any Aspies I know of, is anything but superficial.
    Hell, I don’t think Aspies even know what a superficial friendship is.
    And that girl in that video is a hell of a lot more BPD than Aspie.

    • aspertypical says:

      I completely agree with you. I personally couldn’t have a superficial friendship as that would be pointless to me, just don’t have the friendship at all if it’s going to be a superficial one! I think there’s some argument though that some people with high functioning autism who are much less socially aware, and thus much less likely to be reading this blog, would find it much harder to form meaningful relationships, or they may think they have when actually the other person does no reciprocate the sentiment. Again, that could be considered typical by diagnostic standards but doesn’t speak for all. I’m not sure about the girl in the video, I guess if you’re thinking she has borderline when she actually has Aspergers it sort proves the point that the two can be perceived similarly, I think that’s particularly true for girls.

    • sciamachy says:

      I dunno about “superficial” but I guess it might appear that way from the outside. Personally I tend to commit to friendships pretty fully & without a lot of the faffing about that NTs seem to do. I decide I’m your friend, I’m your friend 100%. However, that can lead to fairly often coming to a point with a person where I decide “Hey, you are *not* the person I thought you were. I don’t really want to be friends with you. I’m off!” & then that person’s cut out. I’d call that a false start, but those that stand the test of time I’d pretty much drop everything if they needed help. Also, I might not be in contact with some of my friends very often, but the moment I see them it’s like we were never apart.

  9. Erika Davies says:

    The problem in using Wikipedia as your source of information surrounding BPD is that you get a lot of bias, and factual inaccuracies to boot.
    Also your tone surrounding being a Borderline is rather harsh, especially in comparison to your own illness.
    I wouldn’t have written this article the other way around, being sympathetic towards my conditions whilst quoting Wikipedia for something I obviously found distasteful.
    It’s a shame, as this could have been an informative piece.

    • aspertypical says:

      I am sorry you feel like that, I would love to read your take on this. I should note however that the Wikepedia information was somewhat of a joke. I got some basic facts from it but I do actually have a psychology degree and am currently doing a doctorate to become a psychologist, so I apologise for devaluing that and leading you to believe I was a complete novice writing articles on things I know nothing about. I appreciate that some areas probably sound quite pro Asperger’s and against BPD, but this is just my experience and I knew that Borderline was the wrong diagnosis for me, that is why I was against it not because I did not want it as a condition or I found it to be worse than Asperger’s. I hope my conclusions that the two disorders should actually be treated quite similarly made that clearer. A lot more needs to be learnt about both conditions, autism in females AND Borderline Personality Disorder are very grey areas.

      • Brook Noble says:

        after reading ‘this far’ through the comments I was relieved to see that you are furthering your education, and hopefully your research…because i am convinced (although unqualified other than personal observation and research) that yes, more needs to be learned… the more you know… and all those after school specials… but even more than that… more acceptance. Less labeling and trying to fit groups of people into neatly labeled boxes for pharmacuetical (SP?) purposes. For insurance coding. For some socially accepted justification of individuality…after some pretty extensive research on both BPD and Aspergers, social anxiety disorder, depression etc… and comparisons to the many people that I know that have been diagnosed one way or the other, to my husband, to myself… it seems like a losing game of craps… roll the dice, see which psychosis you get to carry around today… all of these disorders carry commonalities. (Some days, we ALL qualify!) What I would like to, individually, call personality quirks… or, unacknowledged and ignored, a complete train wreck. BPD leads to insecurity leads to anxiety leads to depression… etc, etc… My recognition of the fact that nearly everyone… EVERYONE… that I know, including some children, are on some sort of prescription med for some psychological illness or disorder, whether diagnosed or not, was really disturbing. How did society make it this far? That being said, I am in no way rejecting or criticizing the use of prescription meds… I am, however, criticizing, judging and rejecting the methods that have been employed, encouraged and sometimes forced in a process to “heal or control” “symptoms” or “disorders” that probably would have never been an issue if we still had etiquette classes in grade school. If our perception of what’s not just merely acceptable, but… Normal? wasn’t formed by the media. If our hormones weren’t thrown out of whack by the processed foods that we are encouraged to eat… and I say this because… as intelligent individuals (and we know that both asps and bpd’s are pretty darned smart…) so many of us are able to ‘learn’ acceptable behavior… we can be taught to acknowledge, accept and logically rationalize our feelings and subsequent actions. We know how effective cog.beha. therapy can be… my point being… there are days I would diagnose him BPD… the next day… Asp… the labels are irrelevant. The signs and symptoms are there… addressed individually, manageable… the anxiety and depression are the roadblocks. I have nothing but opinions and theorys… do, please, continue your research…

  10. Kristie says:

    this is very interesting, but as I read it it solidified that I have BOTH aspergers (high functioning) and BPD. I’ve had social problems since I was little, but the bpd symptoms started in my early 20s. it causes a very complicated life

  11. Vanityvanity says:

    I have been diagnosed with autism but I see myself as having some BPD traits. I cannot believe anyone loves me, and am always certain they will abandon me – which terrifies and enrages me. I do believe at first that anyone I fall in love with is the answer to everything, all my pain, will make me happy forever, and I come to this conclusion very fast. And when it doesn’t work out I am FURIOUS with them, and say and do vicious things. My boyfriend had a personality disorder, and often walked out: I felt very seriously suicidal over this.

    I researched the condition after he left me. The more I read about BPD, the more I saw myself reflected, albeit not fully (I’m not impulsive, I don’t get psychotic, I don’t do that “triangulation” thing BPD people do). I do believe that growing up autistic in a world where I neither understood myself nor was understood has left me with the same mental chaos as BPD people. It’s very liberating to read that someone else has come to the same conclusion.

    There is so much on the net about BPD which suggests that “these people” are evil – that they seize on decent people and drive them insane. But how I am now is how I’ve always been – lonely, enraged, unable to connect. So many times my friendships, few as they are, have ended in my being “betrayed” and cutting people out of my life. And years later wishing I hadn’t. So my ex hasn’t “made” me this way.

    I know someone else who to me seems autistic (though to be fair he doesn’t agree) and he also does the enraged-silent-treatment thing, the idealize/devalue thing. I wonder how common it is amongst us – the emotional damage caused by growing up autistic?

    Maybe kids diagnosed today will have the support and insight to prevent them going down that road. I hope so.

  12. Liana says:

    Hi, for years I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, mainly social anxiety. I was prescribed anti-depressant after anti-depressant and many of them just made me worse in some way. I finally got a referral to see a psychiatrist after 5 years. I told her all about my problems, I did have a bad upbringing and was often neglected as a child.

    The psychiatrist diagnosed me with having some traits of avoidant personality disorder but not actually having the ‘disorder’ and also some emotional instability but said she found it interesting that I have poor concentration and that I often kind of ‘drift off’ and think about something else when i have conversations with people. I do not really understand her diagnosis. Anyway, she prescribed me some anti-psychotic medication which i took for one month but stopped taking them as they only made my social anxiety worse and done nothing for my other problems.

    I find it strange that my problems stem right back to as far back as i can remember as a child, also that i am very forgetful, i often have to write things down to remember them. I forget peoples names and faces and often look stupid because of that. I lose concentration very easily and find it very hard to talk to people. I do not lack emotion but i would not say that i am overly emotional either. Are these typical traits of someone with BPD? I am confused as to what is wrong with me, my ex-partner thought it was ADHD but i think he was wrong about that, although i have always thought there might be something else underlying. Any replies would be appreciated. Thank you :)

    • aspertypical says:

      I think sometimes there is danger in over thinking and trying to categorise and name anything, which is incredibly hypocritical of me to say because I am the worst for it! I love boxing my emotions and why I do stuff, but actually it doesn’t make a lot of difference to the end result. I tend to lean on the side of if you have a lot of labels that fit then there’s probably a wider problem hanging over them like an umbrella. I would probably look at the possibility of Asperger’s, have you ever taken any tests for it? I’ve added a link below to the main one. Your bad upbringing however shouldn’t be ignored in all this, it may be the cause of your difficulties or indeed it might just be muddying the water. Certainly drifting off and detaching from people could well be a result of your past. The best solution is probably to get counselling for that and see what you’re left with and if you can connect it altogether with some outside help.

  13. Johannes says:

    My first personality-related diagnosis, which I got after a few years with anxiety and fluctuating depression, was Asperger’s. A lot of it fits I think, some parts less though. When giving me that diagnosis my psychologist said that I engaged more in other people than people with AS usually do but since the rest fit me they gave me that diagnosis anyway. And yes, I can be very obsessive. I can be clumsy. I can be socially ignorant and miss social cues. A few years later I first asked to get evaluated for ADHD as well, which I got a “positive” result on as well, and then I read about borderline and was almost shocked how much of it really fit me like a glove. I have always had separation anxiety. I for several years self injured, usually when I had experienced some interpersonal troubles. I can swing between love and hate and I have very reactive mood. And even while having some social clumsiness and being quite aloof at times on other occasions I can get a very immediate contact with some very emotional people because we find each other’s “vibe” – I use to say those are the people with “radar”. And I got diagnosed borderline too. So it sure is possible to get both AS and borderline diagnoses. I got rid of the borderline though, I got better and developed bipolar disorder so I got other psychiatric priorities.
    I know that some people speculate if the lack of social understanding in Asperger’s isn’t simply because we are overwhelmed by our surroundings, people as well, and shut them out/shut off and withdraw into our minds to rest and feel safe. That would correspond well with borderline hypersensitivity, the difference would then be mainly if we distort or shut out and I believe that pending between both strategies is possible – it sure has been for me. And I believe you got a point in that traumatized aspie kids (which are many, aspies are often bullied) might develop borderline traits since borderline personalities usually have some experience of traumatic proportions in childhood.
    Also there is a diagnosis that is seldom talked about that pretty much the middle ground between Asperger’s and borderline, the schizotypal personality disorder (which is a disorder on the fairly unknown schizoid-schizophrenia spectrum where several diagnoses exist according to theorists, schizoid, schizotypal and avoidant personality disorders as well as some more psychotic disorders). Many aspies have more or less full schizotypal criteria and so do many with borderline personality disorder (which does not mean that any of them are schizophrenic but some people who meet criteria for schizotypal disorder will develop schizophrenia).

  14. Pingback: The Borderline of Asperger’s Revisited | aspertypical

  15. Butterflywings says:

    “*So I don’t get accused of being biased, those with BPD can also be misdiagnosed with ASD prior to their correct diagnosis – unlike us they got a lucky escape.”

    Um no. no no no. hell no!

    I am an aspie who spent a decade misdiagnosed as BPD. You do not EVER want to be misdiagnosed as having BPD – and having a few people in my life who genuinely suffer from BPD, you don’t ever want to suffer it either! Being diagnosed with BPD is like the psychiatric kiss of death.

    Those diagnosed with it are treated like garbage. At least finding out I actually have ASD meant I now am treated like a human being when seeing mental health professionals instead of worse than a dog like many do to those labelled as borderline.

    • aspertypical says:

      It is sad that this happens and unfortunately any psychiatric condition without a cure can be like having the ‘kiss of death’. Particularly if those symptoms drive others away. I am hopeful though that there are more treatments available for BPD now, and the condition is losing its stigma. Autism use to carry more of a stigma, but I think due to the media and the increasing numbers of those diagnosed it’s image is a lot less negative.

  16. Sally says:

    I have been diagnosed with ADHD, Aspergers, Depression and Specific Learning Disabilities (I definitely have the LD’s) but there have been times when I’ve questioned it and wondered if I actually have Bipolar Disorder or even Borderline Personality Disorder, I have even had people suggest that I may have one or the other of those two disorder in the past.
    I often swing from mood to mood, suicidal ideation is a regular occurrence in my life and I find myself in tears every second or third day and I’m usually crying over rejections or abandonment (real or imagined) and I have some anger management issues which I control very well..
    Regardless of the above I cope very well…

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  19. Athena Wilson says:

    Ah, ha! A light dawns! ((63 year old woman with formal medical dx of Aspergers)) *I* will have a meltdown if I am threatened with a needle. (needle phobia) A BPD won’t; they would have a meltdown only if people are involved, yes?

    My sister was a bright, happy child until teenaged years, then became obsessed with me, and now tells me that I abandoned and betrayed her when I left home and didn’t take her with me. She says “I made you the center of my world, my everything” and “if you don’t like the way I act today ((verbal abuse of myself, the Aspie)) you have only yourself to blame, you are 100% responsible for who and what I am.” BPD, yes? The question here is…is she just BPD, or is she BPD *and* Aspergers?” How would I find out?

    *I* was dx’ed as BPD once, it just didn’t “feel” right. The Aspergers dx does feel right. I have always taken responsibility for my problems, and for “pulling myself up by my bootstraps”, she always blames her emotional state on me. Our mother was most likely Aspergers, father was absent, grandparents distant and unemotional. My sister insists she can read my unconscious, and I can’t. She said that if I disagree with her (odd) assessment of what my unconscious is doing, I am saying that she is “insane”. Mother also blamed others for her emotional state, but she had a genius IQ and yet was almost completely incompetent when it came to manipulating others…It was like her eyes were *empty* when she looked in the direction of people, with my sister, her eyes look *hungry*.

    • aspertypical says:

      Hi Athena, thank you for your message. I’m not a clinician so I can only give my point of view but I might be totally wrong! There’s a strong genetic link with Asperger’s, so chances are more than likely that others in your family would have it if they seem to have some of the traits. Those with Aspergers can certainly have attachment problems too, but that does sound a little more intense! Idealization is very common in BPD, but these attachments tend to be quite insecure, so quickly turn to anger when you do something wrong (in their eyes). Also it’s important to consider that BPD isn’t present at birth nor childhood, it does usually only start in teenage years, and it is mostly brought on by childhood abuse or neglect. So of course it is possible to have both, and possibly having Asperger’s would make you more susceptible to such abuse/neglect. ASD is present from birth, so any traits which can be traced back to early childhood are likely to be ASD rather than BPD. I read something interesting the other day that said substance abuse was a key difference between the two. Those with ASD with BPD traits don’t have substance abuse problems like those with just BPD do, but are more inclined to suicide attempts. Personally it sounds like you’re a really great and perceptive sister, but apart from running the Autism Quotient on her it will probably be quite hard to tell!

  20. Lee says:

    “*So I don’t get accused of being biased, those with BPD can also be misdiagnosed with ASD prior to their correct diagnosis – unlike us they got a lucky escape.” (QFT)

    I have never left a comment on anything before, but I felt that the comment about people with BPD getting “a lucky escape” is ludicrous! Either one of these issues is just as life altering as the other. Neither group is getting a pass or “lucky escape.” I was so offended that you would downgrade BPD as a “lucky escape”! It made the rest of your comments lose all validity.
    And as others have posted, Wikipedia as your lone source of information in this article is not substantial enough to form the claims you do. What about using a more valid, established source like NIMH/NIH? You’re using broad strokes to define conditions that have the most intricate details and nuances. The worst part is people will read this and use your “research” as fact. Pitiful.
    I guess any one can have a blog. Very disappointing! SMH

    • aspertypical says:

      I can see that was probably a rubbish thing to say re the lucky escape. It was meant as a sarcastic joke, as in of course neither could be considered that, but as I have Asperger’s I was being jokingly biased. Wikipedia was also of course a joke, which was the reason I mentioned it how I did! I’m a psychologist, I would never rely on Wikipedia. I’ve read nearly every research paper there is on borderline and Aspergers, and although I confess my reading is more Asperger base, I’ve studied Borderline a fair bit too. The point of my blog, and the reason people enjoy it, is that it isn’t 100% serious and if you read other posts there are sarcastic bits littered throughout. The problem is that this post is one of the only available on the two conditions (it comes up first when you type the two conditions in google), so there is a frustrating lack of information. It’s a topic I’m really passionate about at the moment, and I’m sorry you found parts of it offensive. I wrote a follow up post to it I’d love you to read. I wrote it for anyone who found this post offensive or biased. You can find the link at the bottom of the post or type in ‘The Borderline of Asperger’s Revisited’.

  21. Dee Cee says:

    Hi, Good article for a 46-year-old male metallurgist Aspie to read. Given those facts, Please context-clue spell check this phrase from the article with attention paid to the two words set off with asterisks, as the first word won’t show up as being misspelled by spell-check software. Thank you
    “… *metallization*, which encourages a greater awareness of the intentions of oneself and those around them. *Mentalization*-based treatment (MBT)…”

  22. Asperger’s, bipolar and borderline personality all share traits. That is partly because The DSM5 isn’t about real entities but symptom complexes. I find it more useful, rather than argue of a name, to try to understand how a person is perceiving their life. I find it more helpful to looked at all three entities as learning disorders or highly specialized brains. Bipolar’s are highly sensitive primarily emotionally driven realities. They pick up everything but in doing so receive a lot of false positives. Therefore there reality might not reflect the actual reality so well but they can not see this. They have receptive learning issues.
    Aspergers are highly specific , data driven entities who miss the big picture in light of the detail. They have a lot of false negatives. What they know they know better than anyone else alive but what they do not know they do not see at all. They cant shift their focus easily. They may react emotionally but it is from frustration resultant from their expressive learning issues.
    Borderlines have no consistent basis for interpretation of their world. They vacillate from dependence on others to tell them how to thing to rejecting others view of things. They are basically confused and thus inconsistent. But they are highly motivated in trying to figure out the rules. Borderline is a learned environmental situation from being told one thing growing up yet seeing something else. Borderlines share both receptive distortions and expressive language barriers but can be taught around it and figure things out.
    Avoidant personality are the ones who sink into themselves and are not motivated to figure out the rules.

  23. I can so relate. I was diagnosed with Borderline among a lot of other things. Though when I looked at the criteria for aspergers I could relate so much especially reading blogs about women with aspergers. It’s interesting because when I was in grade 11 I was in an English tutoring class and instead of tutoring a grade 9 I was put in the resourse room to help a girl with aspergers. I think the teacher saw similarities in me and knew I could relate and be able to help her in a way others couldn’t. I have always been attracted to people with autism, like I have worked with kids with autism over the years and can relate to them and seem to get them to do things other people can’t . Like there was one kid who never interacted with the other kids yet I worked with him for a couple hours and he made a huge stride in interaction, now i’m wondering if it’s because I understood how his mind worked in a way so I could help him in a way her understood. I hate being called manipulative I’ve been in the ER a bunch and they always think I’m trying to be manipulative when in reality I’m very overwhelmed and confused. I self harm and have had suicide attempts but it wasn’t to get attention it was because I couldn’t deal with the feelings I had inside at the time. If anything I hide it from people especially the self harm. The first time I was suicidal I was 12 but no one had any clue I struggled with depression till I was 18. I have been in and out of psych wards, rehabs , detoxs and nothing seemed to help only recently when I was in an addictions treatment and I started to accept myself who I was and explore apsergers that life is getting better for the first time I feel like I belong somewhere I suspected aspergers for a while but was terrified to bring it up but I was surprised that when I have brought it up to people the most common response is ” I can’t diagnose you but I do see aspergers traits in you, or there not surprised by it. It’s interesting you talk about self harm in BPD and objects and animals in ASD currently I typing on this computer with a dog by my side ( I seem to relate to animals better then others) I also watching frozen ( a cartoon movie) and I much rather be doing art work, reading, or going to a museum then going to a party. When I was in high school I had a history party where we played jeopardy style history game, at the time it was so much fun though I didn’t have a clue that other people didn’t find it interested my friends put up with it because it was my birthday. I am very much behind the scenes person I rather organize something behind the scenes then be the one out frount. I don’t like attention it makes me embarrassed. I love music and art, art is my passion and apparently I am naturally talented or so people say. Apparently I also have a high IQ which a lot of people have said. It’s weird since I have been identifying myself with aspergers my life is fitting together and things are happening I never thought possible even if it’s not official I can relate to it and it helps me know what challenges I have and my strengths. I don’t care as much what people think. I am very clutzy but I don’t care it happens. I am good at what I am good at and if I struggle with other stuff that’s ok and trying to use what I am good at to help me with my struggles. Great memory for stuff I’m interested in anyways. When I was in treatment I had the schedule memorized within a week and when I got kicked out and came back it was still memorized. I was at a session about mental health supports and the guy asked me what a phone number for something was and I rample it off after thinking quickly . I didn’t realize till later that he knew the phone number and suspected that I knew it and wanted to see if I had it memorized though I didn’t catch that at the time.

  24. Sheri says:

    Imagine this combination: I was in a relationship with a man for 16 years. He had Borderline Personality Disorder. I was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s. This article makes me realize what a bizarre and horrible combination that was. Imagine how it was for me, a person who had no concept of manipulative behavior, to live 16 years with a master manipulator. He had me utterly convinced that every problem we ever had was all my fault. I got a restraining order against him 10 years ago and got him permanently out of my life. I am much happier now!

  25. LM says:

    * “Lucky escape”?

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