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

WARNING: This blog post contains humour, sarcasm, and irony. It is not a scientific article and is based on my own personal experiences, which may offend others. This blog post does not seriously consider ASC to be worse than BPD or vice versa, nor do I personally believe the negative stereotypes associated with either condition. I have attempted to re-word parts of this article, which were being misinterpreted by individuals suffering for BPD, I apologise for any distress my wording may have caused. For a more serious article on the similarities between BPD and ASC please read the follow up article ‘The Borderline of Asperger’s Revisited’.

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 of getting a correct diagnosis! 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 can often unintentionally 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, again unintentionally. Because of this those with a BPD are often better able to appear sociable. The manipulation seen in 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 the self-harming behaviour seen in those with BPD may be more complex. 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 (but not always). 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 and those with themselves with the condition, 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

**All complicated factual talk came from: (This is a joke, I’m a researcher, I’ve never touched Wiki)

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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Aspergers - Autism - Borderline Personality Disorder - Mental Health
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  1. 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. 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.

      • I often end up, months later, wondering what happened & was I right to blank them out, though, so it’s probably not a great strategy unless the other person’s being abusive.

        • I was going ‘yay’ to first comment, then saw the reply, and that rings a bell, me, too, for most of my life. Recently I have moved to the “ditch” plan, with a no JADE policy, (no justifications, and three other things), because I tend to be unaware of hidden agendas, am spotted as useful and gullible, and so am often in slightly predatory relationships. I have decided for self protection to be more decisive and not wait for clearly overt abuse. When I sniff the signs of passive aggression behaviors from somebody like this who is in my close circle, it is not ok. And once I realize I annoy somebody, it is usually the sign that the relationship will continue to sour. At least that is my thinking at this time. I continue to pursue relationship skills, in this case looking to improve my relationship repair skills, having gone whole hog for honesty vs trying to fit in, be nice, at some point in the past. Fwiw. I hate losing “friends” but if they aren’t, my strategy is to not look back.

          • Excuse, but I neglected the main point which is that while my parents loved me fiercely, their performance, and everything from my attachment to my eventual knowledge of relational skills was affected by their capacities, as they were both undiagnosed, naturally, and unsupported in their efforts as parents, in addition to being children of the Great Depression, clearly an adverse childhood experience.

    • You’ve given a perfect example of a common symptom of aspergers- the inability often times to use complex words correctly, despite being intelligent. I know a guy (we’ll call him Danny) who does the same thing. And your online nickname strengthens my claim. Life- internally and externally- is a constant struggle for you guys even though, from what I’ve seen from Danny at least, you convince yourselves of something so thoroughly that it’s seemingly impossible to convince you otherwise and then wind up fighting with the imaginary foe you created, which adds up to the extensive research I’ve done (for example me sitting here on the internet for more than 7 hours straight so far strictly researching aspergers, strictly for Danny and for what reason I have no clew except he told me he self-diagnosed as having ‘a little bit’ of aspergers but even with no knowledge of ASD at the time I could tell it was a lot more than a little and because of my selfless-to-a-fault compassion and sympathy). It would throw your need for complete order into complete anarchy (i know- that’s redundant, but I did it for emphasis and for the poetic sound of it).

      Anyway- Danny, who hardly knows me or me him, calls me his friend and I can tell he really sees me as a friend by his apparent own definition. That is a perfect example of how people with aspergers often times use complex words wrong. If you see someone as a friend before you get to know them well (whether or not they see you as a friend, and especially if they don’t), then the friendship- or, rather, the ‘friendship’- is superficial, on the ‘skin’ of the relationship so to speak, instead of deep down in the heart where only a genuine friendship can be. A LOT of people have that in common with people with ASD who have that symptom though- so don’t feel bad. :)

      This is completely irrelevant to the blog- but you didn’t happen to contribute to did you?.. Someone who contributed a definition under ‘schiamachy’ said that he or she uses that as their nickname all over the web and I thought it’s probably too much of a coincidence- the first time I’ve ever been on any blog, a very unusual word (i had to look it up as you probably guessed), and that I ‘happened’ to run into someone with that nickname online.

      • Hi – sorry I didn’t reply for ages, but you need to be specific. If I’ve “given a perfect example of a common symptom of aspergers- the inability often times to use complex words correctly” give the quote: where have I made this mistake? Always happy to learn more about language!

    • Sounds like me too. I care intensely and am very tolerant for ages of someone and then ‘poof’ I’m done. I’m surprised at my offswitch and also seek out strangers to check out intellectually what they’re ‘all about’. Interesting comment

    • I do this. There’s a line in my head and if someone crossed it in lack of trust I walk away as j can’t and won’t trust them in my circle again. And later months years on I wonder if I was right to do so and I’m like yes as they crossed the line in my head.

  3. 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. 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 :)

      • 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

        • 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.

        • Hey! I’m a diagnosed lunatic borderline and because of that perhaps i PREFER the term because it gives me a last-ditch explanation why I can be such a major asshole! :) No seriously, I’ve never been diagnosed with autism spectrum, but it did take 25 crazy years to be diagnosed properly. Boy, do I feel better knowing. It’s only been about two years. I’ve made immense progress just knowing and learning everything about it, taking a few months of work to regress through my life to figure out what the hell happened and what was the primary instigator (five or six, dad started beating me behind mother’s back, i cry in pain to my mother about it give minutes later – mom told me it was my imagination, they did that all through my life good cop/bad cop, spent rest of my life questioning the reality of everything, loved hallucinogens for that, now natural sciences).

          Here’s my take on the lie of a borderline: It is hell, but in this society it can be made into a fun kind of hell most of the time. I would not have chosen it, but i’m just 45 and already can tell you I’ve lived through so much insanity, so many girlfriends, so many hallucinogen trips, so many jobs in so industries, so many arrests, so much crying, screaming and fits of pure joy…. I literally without exaggeration can die tomorrow without regrets I’ve missed out.

          Incidentally i did remember that I had consciously made the decision to have an insane fun outgoing life after I broke up with my first love at age 13. The pain was so strong I knew I had to create a life of intense excitement to combat all the breakups I was sure were lying ahead. It was so soul shattering that the girl and I never spoke again until Facebook – she named her first born after me! :) Love is something I have an excess of, and they took it, but they ran the hell away because.. well… i give so much in terms of love that I compensate with drugs because its all take.

          Waaaah, I want to cry out…I want a borderline wife!!!!!!!!

        • Mr. Masters – I couldn’t help feeling denial as I read this blog post from the author, because at one point I could have easily written it word for word. I have BPD. It is a diagnosis that I fought for two decades, believing I had SPD, Asperger’s, GAD, PTSD, or was just highly sensitive. I still easily meet the criteria for Asperger’s, or any of the others I mentioned. But none of those diagnoses will ever get me well. I have BPD. I completely accept my diagnosis now because it all stems from childhood hurts and I can’t heal this hurt without first accepting it. Denial is a learned behavior too. And I want to heal. I have been no contact with my mother for years, always wondering why she turned out this evil, abusive woman when her own mother is such a sweet, wonderful woman. Well, apparently they have joined forces because my grandmother turned on me out of the blue and I know now why my mother is the way she is. You mentioned generational psychopathy causing BPD and I am particularly interested in learning more if you could guide me to any links. I know that my great-grandmother was physically abusive to my grandmother. So, it’s already tainted 3 generations of women in my family, possibly 4. I have two sisters, one is estranged like I am and truly is a wonderful mother to her children, the kind of mother we always wanted. She broke the pattern for herself. I have no children and am past the age of wanting, and the pattern stops here too. My other sister is following in my mother’s footsteps. I see the subtle hostility in the way she deals with her infant. It sickens me and I know the time is nearing where I estrange myself from her as well. You also mentioned the baby boomer dynamic and I wondered if you would share your thoughts with me on how and why this happened for this particular generation. My mother is a baby boomer as well.

          • Hi Rachel, thank you for commenting. You should know though that you are replying to a troll and ‘Mr Masters’ I doubt will ever reply. His comment was put on here to be purposefully hurtful and I’m not sure why you’d want to engage with someone that is that malicious but you raise good points about yourself that are interesting. I want to make clear though that there is no denial on my part. I’ve been through the mill with my diagnoses and if BPD fit for me I would take it, but I’m much better with my ASD and Bipolar diagnosis. I have a lovely upbringing, my mum was never neglectful, her parents weren’t even. I’ve had no trauma or anything that would lead to the development of a personality disorder. From birth I displayed symptoms of social withdrawal and then anxiety and that’s all there really is to it i’m afraid. I’m 100% Asperger’s with some mental illness as a result of coping with that over the years. My mum also wasn’t a baby boomer but that is a completely load of rubbish, please do not take away what this Troll has stated as fact, whether you believe me and my diagnosis or not. There are lots of other lovely people here who have commented who will understand and share your views.

          • I recommend ‘Families and how to survive them’ by Robin Skynner and John Cleese as a particularly accessible introduction into intergenerational personality. I am a practicing child psychiatrist and I often don’t find it easy to say either / or for diagnoses. There may be a ‘best fit’, but diagnosis are an over-simplication of our mind, it is a trade-off, and we have to accept either that simplification or uncertainty.

  5. 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 :-)

  6. 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”

  7. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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…

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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 :)

    • 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.

  12. 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).

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

  14. “*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.

    • 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.

      • There are treatments eg DBT, but sadly it is not losing it’s stigma. Working in mental health, it’s still incredibly stigmatised – and a big part of that is that many psychiatrists diagnose based on their preconceived notions of what BPD is not what the diagnostic criteria.

        For example, when I was temporary misdiagnosed as BPD, I had a psychiatrist repeatedly say I was lying about hearing voices (something that I get during severe episodes of depression in the bipolar disorder I actually have) because according to her I “must” have BPD (because of thoughts of self harm when severely depressed), and according to her preconceived notions of BPD, people with BPD don’t have psychotic symptoms like hearing voices. Studies have actually shown that people with BPD have psychotic symptoms in greater numbers than people with bipolar! So if she had actually been educated about BPD, she’d have realised that me hearing voices would have been quite consistent with her misdiagnosis of BPD – so calling me a liar because she was scared that admitting I was telling the truth would prove that she had misdiagnosed me just shows how ignorant she was! That sadly happens a lot in psychiatry – psychiatrists deciding what symptoms a person has (and claiming the other symptoms they have are faked) based on not just the label they’ve given that person, but their stereotypes of that label.

        Anyway, that particular psych did apologise for her treatment of me, but I found out much later that even her apology was a manipulative lie to get me to open up to her. Being both a consumer and a mental health worker has made me realise that the mental health profession actually has more diagnosable individuals than the general public! It frequently disgusts me the incompetence of psychiatrists in the area of diagnosing (one colleague outright admitted he goes with his gut rather than diagnostic criteria of the DSM or ICD), as well as the stereotyping of “borderline” by other mental health workers. While there are many good mental health workers who go into it for the same reasons I did – because they have battled things like depression, anxiety, PTSD and more and want to help others, sadly the profession also has a high proportion of workers with diagnosable narcissistic PD and it generally tends to be the psychiatrists.

  15. 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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  17. I won’t lie and say I didn’t have fun playing Lord of the Rings:
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  18. 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*.

    • 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!

  19. “*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

    • 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’.

  20. 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)…”

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

    • Sounds similar to me and my exhusband. Thankfully his second wife is an even bigger manipulator than him and three years after our divorced she forced him to cut off contact altogether because she was genuinely jealous of all the time he spent stalking me. You have to really worry about someone who thinks stalking is good attention! It took me a decade of abuse before I realised what sort of person my exhusband was. Sadly we aspies are far too trusting and forgiving a lot of the time.

    • As someone with a BPD diagnosis (but bipolar, Aspergers and ADHD are all now being considered as additional or alternate diagnoses) I want to caution you against stigmatising all BPD sufferers as manipulative and abusive.

      For one thing, the perceived manipulation by BPD sufferers is usually unitentional. In my personal experience, I have been accused of it when trying to avoid someone harming or taking advantage of me (something that has often happened) or when trying to calm an argument. In other words, my supposed manipulative is me avoiding real harm, or trying to placate an angry and potentially dangerous person. I learned this behaviour as a child and it’s difficult to unlearn, though I feel I am making progress.

      I have suffered from rape, physical violence, and serial deception at the hands of my autistic/Aspergers partner (we’re not sure which) as well abuse and a murder attempt from an ex who clamied he was autistic. Both people are adept at manipulation yet according to your comments *I* should be the “master manipulator” and the abuser. The internet is full of these stigmatising comments about BPD and you can’t do any research on the topic without reading them, which makes it impossible to recommend resources for friends and family without fearing they will also become misinformed and prejudicial.

      BPD sufferers are more likely to have been the victims of abuse than the perpetrators – and as I’m sure you all know, people who are already survivors of abuse have an increased risk or further abuse. I realise you have probably written this comment (ditto to the other person who replied) as a personal account of your situation, and you have my sympathy for how horrible it must have been, but please do not call BPD sufferers names and taint us all with the same brush.

      The reality is that we can all become victims of abuse regardless of our diagnoses, and any mental health problem can make us more vulnerable to that. One more thing – you say “He had me utterly convinced that every problem we ever had was all my fault” which sounds like gaslighting (a form of manipulation) most commonly used by those with sociopathic tendencies, as opposed to the percieved manipulation by a BPD sufferer.

      • To say those with BPD ‘…got a lucky escape’ (‘unlike us…’ poor you *sarcasm*) is ridiculously short-sighted, ignorant and hurtful. What a pathetic and rude comment, showing how little you know, whilst feeling you are (when clearly you couldn’t be less) somehow qualified to write about bpd.
        I SUFFER with bpd and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy; life is unbearable. I won’t waste my time going into detail with someone whose breadth of research extends to Wikipedia.
        Your small-minded ignorance astounds me and comments such as yours are dangerous and hurtful to publish in the wider domain. Appalling, shocking sentiments. Go and learn. Something. Please.

        • My blog is not a scientific journal, it is meant to be both informative and also entertaining in parts. I apologise that you were offended by those comments, they were not intended in the way you took them. I was actually using irony and did not literally mean people with BPD got a lucky escape, I was playing on common stereotypes and demonstrating how ridiculous they are. I do actually knwo a fair bit about the topic, the Wikipedia part was of course also a joke,again in the theme of my blog and other blog posts, which you would understand if you had read more of my stuff and followed my work. Please read the follow up blog which is much more serious and explains the dilemma a lot better.

  24. Your assessment was incorrect on several points. I am from Seattle, where DBT, the treatment for BPD was invented. I was alternately diagnosed with Aspergers and BPD. The key difference is in intelligence function, as their is impairment in both within the empathy factors, however, ASD cannot connect the dots, Borderline manipulates them out of self-preservation, as love can be a trigger. My final settlement was on Complex-PTSD/BPD, though Autism and Cluster C conditions run on both sides of my family, but opposite. For an inexperienced clinician, it may be difficult to discern the difference, but it is evident on brain scans, and a discerning specialist can divide the two, easily. After 30 years of diagnosing, and two worldwide specialists, I now know I have traits atypical of both, as well as a case of C-PTSD resulting from abuse and other issues, leveled at my autism condition, which my parents did not understand. Many people with C-PTSD are also congruently diagnosed Aspie, as the brain develops differently, which could be an anomoly for people who develop individually, but even Aspies are known to be reactive and hypersensitive, so this has nothing to do with male or female parts of the brain, which is fiction. There are also many treatments available for both, in recent studies proven clinically effective, so ‘incurable,’ is not an issue. Miscommunication and misconstruencies are. Borderlines typically come out of abusive homes, and their ‘manipulation’ is a form of self up reservation, making it an outdates, and extremely offensive view on the condition–as it is a misnomer. Anyone abused by love can see it as a threat, and since I am in the unique position of seeing both equally, as per my diagnosis, I highly doubt I have both a highly-developed male-and-female brain, both, or I would be superhuman. Even an Aspie went on a shooting spree here in Seattle, as he was misunderstood–and he described himself so sensitive as he could *feel* a nut crack, something I relate to, as I passed my college entrance exams at age 14, but still cannot bear to hear a balloon pop without breaking down into a horrifying panic attack, with sobbing, for days. For most autistic people, this same hypersensitivity is innate, they are just miscommunicate, or are unable to, with others. My grandfather had the same issues, as he was inventive and sensitive, with no capacity to understand the impact of his words on others. On the other hand, the Borderline self-preservation instinct may lead them to ‘manipulate’ the other person, much like a person with a gun to their head would read the Bible to a person to ‘manipulate’ themself from being harmed. Love, therefore, is the threat, or perceived thus. In conclusion, being BPD/Post-Trauma, and with Aspergers diagnosed, I do not see this as a case of male-or-female brain, but of unskilled diagnosticians, who refuse to look at a persons background, much less their motive, or trauma. Much like a grenade exploding behind a vet triggers a fight-or-flight impulse, love triggers the same in a Borderline, an extreme case of Post-Trauma commonly associated with neglect, abandonment, or abuse. Compassion is needed here.

    • It sounds like you are saying complex PTSD and BPD are the same thing? While there is a lot of symptom overlap between complex PTSD and BPD, they are not the same thing.

      While many people with BPD do come out of abusive homes, it has been found that so do most people with axis 1 disorders do too. Coming out of an abusive home is sadly common to many mental illnesses and personality disorders. It is not something that leads to BPD and nothing else. And there are people with BPD who come out of loving homes – both my exhusband and the mistress he married (both of whom have BPD, he has ASPD and NPD traits and she has full blown ASPD and NPD – as diagnosed by their own psychiatrists) had/have loving families. In fact her family is incredibly loving and it’s sad to see what she does to her parents and to her children.

      There is much evidence that BPD is actually genetic and that childhood abuse is simply a trigger for the symptoms to be displayed. For my exhusband, it wasn’t childhood abuse that triggered his symptoms – it was being spoilt rotten by parents only to have them die and leave him an orphan. It was death rather than abuse that triggered his underlying BPD. Which is a type of abandonment, but it is not abuse. But looking at his family history, it is quite obvious the history of multiple generations of BPD through the paternal line.

      Anyway, I guess the main difference between BPD and ASD is that even though both are probably genetic, BPD appears to require some kind of trigger, while ASD requires no trigger for symptoms to come out. As for complex PTSD, it’s not something that just happens in childhood/teenage years. Many women fleeing domestic violence, as well as POWs and people fleeing war torn countries develop CPTSD with no history of childhood trauma at all. CPTSD is PTSD caused by multiple incidents of trauma where there is a feeling of no escape. This is less common in adults but still happens.

      • There are some professionals who believe that since BPD often manifests following childhood trauma, it could be useful to reclassify it as a specific form of PTSD – to create a new sub-category if you will. I think that many people who have attracted a diagnosis of ‘complex PTSD’ are being considered this way, since both complex PTSD and BPD often involve PTSD symptoms following a prolonged period of trauma, often during childhood or adolescence.

        This is also the basis of some feminist critiques of BPD, given that women who have survived abuse make for the overwhelming majority of people diagnosed with BPD – and it’s certainly the way I feel about my own BPD diagnosis. Under this criteria, those who already have a BPD diagnosis who do not report particular kinds of trauma would probably attract a new diagnosis instead. I believe that a lot of people have misdiagnosed with BPD so this is not necessarily a bad thing. Not everyone will agree with this *but* the BPD criteria is fuzzy at best and would probably benefit from being carved up into sub categories – if we must keep it at all.

        I would also like to add that when people post everywhere (not just here) about their abusive exes, they are often describing people with atypical BPD symptoms who are unusually violent, or are confusing narcissistic personality disorder traits with those of BPD – which is hardly suprising since much internet discussion and media reportage conflates the two. I say this having encountered at least two hundred people with a BPD diagnosis during many years of treatment, almost all of whom were never/had never been known to be violent, and also having known several people with a narcissistic diagnosis.

        [Just my two cents, and a summary of my personal research]

    • Thank you for highlighting the self-preservation aspect of manipulation by those with a BPD diagnosis. Though overlooked, it’s really important – manipulation in this context is commonly a defensive technique learned early, perhaps during traumatic childhood experiences where the person was trying avoid harm, and is often unintentional. That doesn’t mean the person in question should be completely excused for their behaviour but yes, compassion is really needed and it will reduce incidents because they will feel safer.

  25. What about border line Asperger’s? Does it exist and if so couldn’t people with it exhibit indistinguishable assets and aspects as those with BPD? I was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 14 two years ago. The circumstance and acquirement of knowledge that I have Asperger’s has immensely changed my outlook on life. If Border line Asperger’s is real, how would I know if I have it? I was diagnosed by my psychiatrist by the way, I was not “self diagnosed”.

  26. I have been afraid of having BPD (because I was diagnosed as that and everyone else thinks it’s false and that I have ASD) but after reading this article I know it is ASD. Because I had a very autistic childhood and have always been the way I am.

  27. Interesting, I never would of compared the two.

    After today with psychiatrist (with interest… in ADHD…) he said I can see ADHD but I can see other stuff.

    Well him not saying what and my mind elsewhere, it wasn’t until I got home and recalling the meet, it started bugging me.

    Well long short, I put things together with deduction based on my behaviour there and what he could possibly see (ENTP ftw) and after my initial “no fuc way! Not happening!” moment, I read about bpd some more and okay, yeah sure its possible I guess.

    There is no way I would let myself get BPD diagnosis though, I’d rather have the stigma of ASD!

    So as someone from the other side, ASD dx but now looking BPD, I can tell you BPD aren’t the lucky ones in the least!

    Myself personally, one thing bpdish about me, 4 suicide attempts(for death not attention) in mid teens, and I can see how 4 failed attempts would render me ASD-like!

    I actually prefer the ASD/ADHD crowd, I absolutely hate most simpleton NTs!
    I’m also sick of everyone saying ASDers are the ones who have to be accepted, no, it should be all those NTs!

    Anyway, interesting post, thank you.

    MALE dx with ASD, new psychiatrist now – no doubt – thinking BPD.
    I always felt I never really fitted in the asd community xD (and repeatedly told 1st psychiatrist she was wrong)

    Who do I high five if I’m both? Afraid of being left hanging and not sure how to initiate, lol.
    (gotta laugh)

  28. This was an interesting read, even if I’m commenting years after it was published. I’ll try to offer what I can that might be useful to others like me, as I have a little personal experience here.

    I am a statistical rarity, someone diagnosed with BPD who is also a man (note that I’m not saying guys with BPD are rare). Asperger syndrome was certainly something raised by my doctors, especially as my BPD diagnosis came typically late in life when I’d already developed both healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms, but I didn’t really fit the traits: I’m not detail-oriented at all but rather obsessed with vague big-picture ideas; when I was young, my ability to adapt to a situation depended completely on whether I feel rejected or accepted, but it was always extreme and other-directed, either submerging myself in someone else or angrily rebelling against them, which of course led to isolation as others understandably lost patience; I can’t memorize anything even when it interests me, at least not without someone offering me a perceived social reward first; I focus heavily on others’ affect and I look to others to tell me what my values, goals, and interests should be, although adopting them for any length of time is another question, as I’m prone to irrational and extreme emotions, including sudden irrational hatred of myself or others.

    The way it was explained to me is that those with Asperger tend to have a diminished drive to adapt themselves to others in the moment, perhaps due to a deficit in perceiving others’ affect, while those with BPD have an overactive drive to adapt to others, which can easily swing back into a stubborn refusal to adapt as a result of self-discrepancy and emotional lability. For instance, before I started treatment for BPD, I kept finding myself in a situation that was bewildering to me: I would be well into a conversation with someone I’d just met and realize that I’d presented myself as enthusiastic about a topic (a sport, a hobby, a TV show, or even a religion or political stance) where I actually had little interest and even less knowledge. I wasn’t bad at it; I would use the things the other person said and the one or two facts I did know to spin a false story about what I did or didn’t like. I didn’t think about it consciously at all, but felt pure bliss in the act of “relating” to the other person (really, the act of mirroring their personality, however clumsily). This was to the degree that if they’d, say, implied they didn’t like the same TV show the very next second, I would have heartily agreed with that instead and given my best evidence in their favor. BPD people are not like those with anti-social personality disorder, but rather intimately aware of their own shame and guilt, so this embarrassed the hell out of me in hindsight, and what’s worse, it appeared malicious, even though I was as confused as anyone as to why I kept lying. I was also prone to the exact opposite behavior, as is the rule with BPD, and would sometimes react to others’ interests by mocking them even though I had no strong previous opinion. I was also prone to haranguing people with rants about my favorite topics, one of the things that pointed at Asperger, but, far from being unaware of others’ disinterest, I tended to detect it and react with aggression, for instance by implying that the listeners would regret not knowing what I had to say or accusing them of ulterior motives.

    What turned my doctor away from an autism-spectrum diagnosis, in the end, was something where I think I a lot of BPD folks can relate: I will exhibit traits that resemble Asperger or other autism-spectrum behaviors, but it’s dependent on the context of my internal emotional life. I can be gregarious and positive in a small social setting, or remarkably withdrawn and klutzy, or extremely angry and tendentious, varying from moment to moment, and largely depending on whether or not I feel others have rejected me. I remember with regret the times I jumped from joking around with people into nostril-flaring rage at them over some perceived slight to me or my current “pet” ideals – unlike what those with Asperger often suffer, I “get” humor just fine, until I suddenly don’t, and my mind always assumes I’m being attacked. In my darker days, I could exhibit some amount of physical grace only with a romantic partner or close friend, but when they left the room, I’d exhibit the same lack of physical awareness as found in some Asperger folks (banging into doorways upon exiting, for instance), although it was situated in overall disgust at my own body and in the feelings of emptiness I felt when someone wasn’t telling me “how to be”.

    I think it’s perfectly possible that these diagnoses are related un underlying cause, and that there may be a great variety of causes that lead to the clusters of traits we see, so that there might be people who are diagnosed BPD and people who are diagnosed Asperger who are “closer” to each other than to others with the same diagnosis. Recent studies have suggested that folks on the autism spectrum may in fact be overwhelmed by the affect of those around them; I can certainly relate, as if you put me in the middle of an argument between two people I respect, I become extremely confused as my internal processes demand I take everyone’s side at once, and usually end up decisively on one side to the detriment of my own relationships. My sympathies go out to anyone who struggles to keep their own emotions in check.

    • Dear diagnosed, it sounds like you have an excellent grasp of what BPD is and isn’t. I wish professionals had the same good grasp. Your personal experience sounds so much like my first husband (another rare male formally diagnosed with BPD, although he has sometimes been diagnosed as ASPD as well – although it’s quite possible he actually does have both).

      The more I learn from people with BPD who are self aware and share their experiences, the more I become aware of the massive differences between BPD and aspergers. Unfortunately it seems not many professionals have the awareness of the professional you see about the differences between ASD and BPD. Too often men with BPD are diagnosed with ASPD and/or NPD or with ASD, while women with ASD are too often diagnosed with BPD. It’s great that you have a professional who can pick up the differences between BPD and ASD – the are sadly a rare gem in the world of mental health.

  29. I’ve just googled “Borderline Personality Disorder and Aspergers” as I’ve come home from my first psychiatrist visit after nearly a year of CBT that hasn’t been working. In my visit to the psychiatrist, he suggested that I could have aspergers, because of how the symptoms present differently in females. This isn’t something that I’ve considered before, and after looking at the different aspects of ASD I still don’t know now either. Sure I show a fair amount of the symptoms, but it doesn’t really resonate with me.

    Previously though, I have looked into BDP symptoms and considered that that may be the diagnosis I would get today. Whilst many of them apply, yet again, there are still many that don’t, such as the typical risk-taking behaviour and impulsive behaviours. (Which were along the lines of some of the questions I was asked, hinting that he may have considered BDP too, but I couldn’t relate to). feel like now, I am stuck at a crossroad between BDP and ASD as I do share symptoms of both, but I don’t really know if I can identify with either of these completely, and nor do I have enough symptoms of both to actually gain a proper diagnosis.

    This read hasn’t helped a lot with making things clearer, but I am so glad that I’m not the only person wondering if there are some similarities between the two. I’m still as lost as ever and without a diagnosis other than “most people around this age [19] are still trying to find themselves, it’s probably part of your identity and confidence problems” but hopefully something will come of further appointments and perspectives. Personally, five years of feeling sad, alone and confused really doesn’t just link to identity problems. Hopefully like many of you, I can find my proper diagnosis, whatever it may be.

    • Thank you for commenting, I’m really glad you did. I know how hard it is not to u stand your symptoms and what they are exactly, and no matter how much everyone barks on about not needing labels and how bad they are, when your stuck in the inbetween and treatment isn’t working I think they are a necessary for peace of mind. It is possible to have both BPD and ASD, it’s also possible to just have traits of both without reaching a diagnosable threshold, but I imagine having traits of these two disorders would be quite distressing in itself. The things I would be looking at with BPD are developmental history of abuse, insecure attachments and relationship problems and unstable mood, whereas with ASD I would be looking at anxiety, life long problems since childhood, fear of change and difficulties with social communication. I’m not sure if you’ve taken any screening questionnaires yourself but they can be useful too if you are desperate to find what the issues you are having are. 19 is still very young, so I wouldn’t fret, things will become clearer as you get older.

      • Yeah, it’s really hard. I’ve considered that a combination may be a possibility, but who knows. I’ll look into those things for sure, it’s just hard, I am very insecure, and have had abusive relationships with people, but I am also fearful of change and have difficulty communicating sometimes. I’m going to have to bring my parents into it, as I don’t really remember how I was as a child.

        I’m definitely going to look into more screening questions at some stage. It is very young, and I’ve been told that a lot of people feel similar around this age, but the degree to what I’m feeling makes me question everything. But yeah, thank you so much for replying, it means a lot!

  30. I think this is why I get so upset and angry when I see therapist or anyone mistreating someone with ASD! It so easy to spot ASD if you have it but so difficult to understand BPD. Thank you for bridging the gap!

  31. Can you really compare the deficits of these two disorders? I have bpd and no trouble making friends.. my daughter with autism can’t talk and has none.. ?

  32. I think this post might be a bit old to reply but if you still reading comments thanks for this. I was diagnosed as BPD many many years ago and that label made so much sense but three people close to me strongly believe I have Aspie traits. I did an online test for autism and scored just one point away from meeting criteria. I’ve been told to get a formal assesment of autism by my vicars wife so I might go for it. I really want to try being free of mental health services for a while but I’m struggling a little still and perhaps I need to look into this autism thing

  33. BPD absolutely is a form of c PTSD. I was raised in an abusive home and I find that when I go into what others call meltdown, breakdown, or manipulation it is to protect my sense of self. If someone I care about seems disinterested in me especially when I need help and appears cold or invalidating then I become what they call manipulative. It isn’t like with sociopaths when they enjoy hurting people. Its trying to protect myself from betrayal and abandonment. Because someone seeming disinterested in me is an abandonment in my eyes. I looked at the diagnostic criteria for C PTSD and I fit it to a T. I just think it is explained in deifferent terms to BPD diagnosis. I have had DBT and it helped a lot. But I hated mindfulness.

    • YES to all of this, and I can particularly relate to your comments about protecting yourself. I wrote another comment above regarding BPD behaviours that are perceived as manipulative and am going to copy it here:

      Thank you for highlighting the self-preservation aspect of manipulation by those with a BPD diagnosis. Though overlooked, it’s really important – manipulation in this context is commonly a defensive technique learned early, perhaps during traumatic childhood experiences where the person was trying avoid harm, and is often unintentional. That doesn’t mean the person in question should be completely excused for their behaviour but yes, compassion is really needed and it will reduce incidents because they will feel safer.

      Wishing you the best of luck with your diagnosis and/or treatment

  34. It’s also possible that they can be comorbid. I was diagnosed with both, I am a male and surprisingly the BPD was picked up on first and then later because of dependency issues, I was almost at first misdiagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder but my personality wasn’t exactly helpless enough to qualify and so we looked at ASD next and over time through conversational assessment, a great deal of time was put into nearly two hour sessions once, sometimes twice a week. We began to see how the symptoms of both disorders were affecting me in my own way, sometimes they would run together or other times one would kind of take the drivers seat. I was also diagnosed Bipolar Type 1 as well but it’s not exactly my leading disorder and was diagnosed the severe depressive type. My rages were more BPD like and could be triggered by either BPD or ASD triggers. Like I do the splitting, most definitely but I lack the care to fear abandonment though I can’t say how I would be if I were truly left all alone. Sensory issues and mental overload are two things I struggled with and my zoning into my interest or rather obsession seems to come above all else and it’s like just leave me alone to be happy and I love you for it but the second you come between me and my obsession, that instantly switches. Rapid mood swings, feeling of emptiness, being lost, identity thing. Really it’s going to take much more time to figure out how these two disorders affect me and how the symptoms either compliment each other, trigger each other or counteract each other.

  35. Moderator, I just entered a comment and mistakenly used my real name because I didn’t know how this posting works. Please remove my name (Hanna Lessinger) from previous post.

  36. Their seems to be a lot of confusion about BPD.

    Let me suggest a single solution to resolve the misdiagnosis.
    Their is a single condition BPD with a wide spectrum of behaviors.
    I myself can exhibet a wide range of behaviors based on my
    Perceived stress level. E.g. Bipolar to OCD to Normal to Depressed to Panic.
    Its a weekly, daily, hourly, roller coaster ride which goes in both directions.

    I was diagnosed over 50 years ago. I had thought more progress would be
    made now but with so much information out there. A lot of it contradictory
    after careful analysis e.g some abused other not at all.

    There is new research show BPD grounded in physiological brain abnormalities.

    * A three country European twin study 1400 pairs showed BPD genetic
    aspect at 60 percent and misdiagnosis at the same level 60 percent.

    * Brain scams of young children show a 20 percent smaller Amygdala.
    This might not be important except the Amygdala is responsible for
    reasoning and memory. This is different from normal children.

    As some who suffered the indignities of the 1960s junk psychology, e.g. rage reduction therapy to treat BPD. Which at the time did not recognize any genetic
    aspect of BPD, I.e. they were just acting up.

    I believe its time we turn to science and neurophysiology to understand BPD.
    Get away from subjective diagnosis by imited trained mental health professionals and hand the ball. To the best and brightest neurosciencists
    working today for no other reason than for future BPD generations.

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  38. BPD is a neurobiological disorder. BPDs are also not NT and contrary to what this article states, those with BPD often struggle to understand social cues too. There are many false statements about BPD in this article which once again, makes borderlines look like manipulative, dangerous individuals. I wish the author would take the time to actually talk to people with BPD before writing about them and reciting the same old stereotypes.

    • You have to understand that I am not following the stereotype, I am talking about what the research and clinical work suggests is the main trend in BPD. BPD is a personality disorder. ALL mental health conditions could be classed as a neurobiological disorder technically, but we have to be more specific than that. So Autism is a developmental disorder, depression a mood disorder, etc eetc. I am currently working very closely with the topic, I’m aware some people may be offended by certain things. However, none of it is meant in a derogative term. I speak about people with ASD commonly having social difficulties in the same way I speak about some people with BPD using manipulation to regulate their world. Neither do I deem as the individual’s fault, and neither do I want to encourage as a stereotype.But I am comparing the two conditions and to do that I have to draw on common principles. Please read the follow up blog post as it explains much better my intentions and beliefs.

  39. This article had the potential to be highly informative, as the subject matter is highly relevant and there is, in my opinion, considerable overlap between the two conditions. Having BPD, knowing several ppl with BPD and having done extensive research on BPD, I was INCREDIBLY offended by this article.

    Presenting ppl with BPD as manipulative in so many ways. Are you even aware that not ever aspect of the life of someone with BPD is motivated by manipulating others? Are you aware that, if manipulation does occur, it can happen unconsciously or due to a lack of knowledge of healthy coping mechanisms? Or that many ppl with BPD feel intense dread and guilt over how they behave?

    Anyone’s reasons for doing things, including self-harm, are varied. This includes ppl with BPD as well. They may self-harm as a cry for help, as you stated. They may self-harm to relieve tension or stress, or to feel again, to counteract dissociation, to counteract depression. They may self-harm as a way of taking out their anger on themselves. Yes, not all ppl with BPD are ouwardly angry. Many take out their anger on themselves. Some cannot experience or express anger at all. Many don’t self-harm at all.

    Recovery from BPD is possible. BPD is known to respond well to treatment, as long as a competent, willing therapist is involved and the patient is engaged/committed.

    At this time, BPD is said to result from both genetic and environmental factors. Brain scans of ppl with BPD will reveal differences in neuronal activity/brain functioning (some of which resemble those found in ASD). In this sense, ppl with BPD are not neurotypical, either.

    Responding to someone pointing out the flaws in your article by saying you are studying psychology (as you did farther up in the comment section) doesn’t make anything any better. Incredibly many ppl aren’t skilled at what they do, including psychologists. Especially regarding BPD there is still tremendous stigma — which your article furthered. Ppl like me directly suffer from articles like this one. If you become (or at this point have become) a psychologist: please make listening to your clients your priority. Do not silence them by talking over their experiences. Diagnostic criteria are based on outside observations, often created by ppl with no or little personal experience of the disorders. Your outside observations and support may be of incredible value to patients, but their insights are just as valuable to you. Without them, chances are, you will have no understanding of what having any given disorder may mean. Which may have a negative impact on how well you can do at your job.

    The new diagnostic criteria for BPD have been out for a while. I suggest having a look at those, as they try to take into account and describe inner workings and experiences and how they are connected in a what I find to be very well-structured way.

    I have noticed that you have revised your article. I’m not sure if I want to read it after having read this article. I hope you actually do consider the criticisms voiced by various commenters and aren’t merely trying to preserve your image as an expert writer.

    • Hi, thank you for your comments, I really appreciate your thoughts. Please read the revised version because I believe a lot of what I said in this article is misunderstood. I blame myself for that and for perhaps treating the subject too lightly the first time round. I only speak in general terms, and I think I have said has not been meant in a derogative way. So where I have mentioned BPD and manipulation, I don’t mean that harshly, and I don’t blame the individual either. It isn’t the same as me saying ‘she’s so manipulative’ about someone, it is a clinical symptom present in a certain number of cases with BPD and I fully understand that it comes difficulty with more healthy coping mechanisms. As we see in ASD too in fact. I also appreciate the many reasons why people self-harm, and speak only in general terms about what the research and clinical studies say about the manifestations of BPD symptoms. Some of my responses to comments are very defensive because some people were incredibly rude to me personally, and my aim has only ever been to raise the awareness of BOTH conditions and how important it is to get the correct diagnosis, as treatment differs for each. I never said BPD was untreatable, that is one of the main differences actually between BPD and ASD. My belief is the two conditions are incredibly similar for females in their presentation, but the cause of both are very different, and so that distinction is important. You can’t teach someone with ASD to recognise their emotions very easily because they are completely missing the parts in their brain to learnt to do that (to put it very simply), whereas those with BPD have the parts but they just aren’t functioning well or may be short circuiting. Anyway, please read the followup. This article was never meant as a serious journal worthy article, and it is not a piece of science writing, it’s a blog post. The problem is, so little is available on the disorders together that this article comes up first on google. I am working on seriously publications to do with this topic. I will share them if and when they are published in a peer reviewed journal.

  40. First I want to start by saying thank you for this post. Overall you make a lot of great points and it helps bring awareness to both issues. I do, however, feel the need to say something, as a BPD patient who has also been told on occasion that I exhibit symptoms of ASD, I wouldn’t call BPD an escape or lucky. To be honest, I think people on both sides wish they had the other. I feel like ASD is making much progress recently with acceptance but is still severely stigmatized. Regardless, thank you for realizing BPD patients aren’t attention seeking, we need help and it’s our way of getting it. I just needed to be clear the BPD is not an escape from ASD. It is equally as stigmatizing, especially as a woman where everyone just assumes I’m unstable and crazy. I guess I’m just saying that being diagnosed or labeled as either is not a great experience and neither is better to have than the other. They each come with their own set of challenges. I find, though, that having a name for it, whatever the name turns out to be, allows me to understand why I respond the way I do to certain stimuli. Seriously, though, I’m so glad I stumbled across this article. Loved having someone breakdown the similarities and differences between the two!

    • Hi, thank you for your comments! The escape bit was a joke, if you read the follow up blog which there’s a link for at the bottom of the post, I explain this and also add some other interesting posts :)

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  42. I just wanted to say thank you for this post. I have been struggling with mental health issues essentially my entire life after being diagnosed with ADHD at a very young age. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and went to a therapist that mentioned BPD as a possibility. I only saw him two times for several reasons but afterwards I became obsessed with finding out if that is who I was and while so much of it fit I felt like something just wasn’t right. I have been seeing a new, much more qualified therapist and at the age of 22 she mentioned Asperger’s and is sending me to a specialist (after speaking with my mother extensively about my childhood she was surprised it was never brought up sooner). So much of what I thought was in line with BPD about myself also fits with ASD and everything that didn’t make sense can be explained by it as well. Finding this post now I realize that I am not the only one that was fooled by these similarities.

    • Hello,

      Yes, its my belief there is only one condition BPD. Out of which all or most
      Mental illness behaviors are visible.

      BDP studies in Europe, 2006 show BPD in children ties to brain abnormalities.
      A 20 percent smaller Amygdala part of cerebellum but more connecting adjacency.
      Therefore, not a illness but evolution\small subset of people with different brain structure. This confirmed in American study, online.

      I agree witb Standfords, Linus Pauline Nobel winner. There is no mental illness,
      Only misunderstanding and individuals poisoning themselves with modern products, e.g. refined sugar, non organic chrmicals. He suggest as others have to return to a simpler life style for eating. He cites mental illness in low numbers as percentage of society before creation of refine sugar, see 1940s study Dr. John tinera sugar is poison.

    • Glad they seem to get write in the end :) i think kit hard for them sometimes as how experiences or not having them can make it look like you have a condition when actually how you got there isnt the same if that make sense. For example i had an IQ test and i scored 66-71 overall classing me as having a learning disablity but my psychologist works with people with LD in particular and he says that im far too intelligent with my speech and understanding to have it and someone with actual LD wouldn’t be able to attend uni

  43. I am confused… when I read that comment people have had trouble with- I read it as that people who have borderline personality disorder who happen to be misdiagnosed as aspies got a lucky escape- b/c of the painful and unfair stigma surrounding bpd.
    I don’t understand why that would be offensive or insensitive. Did I misread the statement?

  44. Wish I could edit my attempted post – what I mean is, I read it as those who have bpd but are misdiagnosed as aspies get a lucky escape b/c they don’t have to deal with as much bullshit stigmatizing.

    • Wrong until recently because of the difficulties bpd patients have mental health sector in general were reluctant to give therapy labelling as emotional or sensitive difficult etc. In general population I would say there is same amount of ignorance of the two. aspertypical it’s a interesting post; I have been recently diagnosed with BPD and whilst some of the time i will admit that I’ve haver played vicitim and thing have gone pare shape however I was also diagnosed when I was 11 (which conveniently has disappeared to wherever lost notes go) with asperegres so dont you think that it possible that we’re not deliberately being manipulative or nasty however you want to put but its the lack of understanding social cues people, understanding intentions, controlling volume and tone of you voice that leads to the problems. Recently i was tested under the new dsm 5 criteria for autistic spectrum disorder as they scrapped aspergers as a separate diagnosis i fell short in some area and scored higly in others possibly my psychologist said because of the overlap between bpd and autistic spectrum disorder plus my dysparaxia as well… ps appolgies for the typos

      • If i’ve got it right Dyspraxia, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Dylesxia often go hand in hand are comorbid and all belong to Developmental Co-ordination Disorders (DCD). Now when people ask I just say multiple learning difficulties…..

      • I don’t think people with BPD are manipulative on purpose at all and I think that word provokes a strong reaction because of the connotations it has. But taken in the context of psychiatry only, it’s not as harsh as it sounds and it’s a real medical problem for some individuals. Manipulation is usually used as a coping technique for overwhelming strong emotions, and not in a cold deliberate way. Whilst I believe both those with aspergers and BPD could have difficulty picking up social cues I would argue that this was for very different reasons. For individuals with asd this may be due to lack of social attention and a more organic misunderstanding, whereas for those with BPD I imagine it is a learnt difficulty from past trauma and misinterpretation.

    • and there me misreading too sorry….. well there room for improvment for both sure yuo got NAS and dyspraxia foundation and mind an rethink but theres still along way to go

    • and there me misreading too sorry….. well there room for improvement for both sure you’ve got NAS and dyspraxia foundation and mind an rethink but theres still along way to go

  45. Though the two disorders can seem similar, they are, in fact, very different. I have a son with each.

    The key characteristics of my son with Borderline Personality Disorder are mood swings and extreme emotional shifts. He frequently falls in love with someone he barely knows, and then, he suffers extreme despair when that person rejects him. And the person always rejects him as he’s intense and controlling to the point of being scary. He becomes somewhat stalkerish. He also writes dramatic posts about the relationship on his FB wall–ranging between valuing and devaluing the person.

    Often, he crosses lines: for example; he slept with his best friend’s wife and destroyed their relationship.

    In addition, he’s very self-absorbed, seems not to care about anyone or anything beyond his latest heartbreak. He’s not giving of himself to others and is short on empathy or understanding. His frequent mood swings can make him seem bipolar, and he was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder in the past. Social situations aren’t easy for him, but he has a job and a couple of good friends.

    My son with Asperger’s is more locked in himself, in his own world, a place where others can’t reach. Though he has a genius level IQ, one plus one often doesn’t equal two for him. Logic can completely evade him. And he doesn’t “get” those social cues that most people do. For example, if he’s visiting and everyone is yawning, he doesn’t seem to get that it’s because it’s late and time for him to leave. I think he has some empathy for others but can’t express it. He never asks how someone is doing or wishes them a happy birthday. He too is very selfish. Occasionally, he has inappropriate outbursts of anger. When he lived at home, sometimes he’d tear up his room and throw things around. Though he misses social cues, he does have a few close friends and has been able to retain a job.

    To me, it’s a blessing that both are “functional” despite these disorders and can support themselves financially.

    Both disorders are genetic. BPD runs in my family–my mother and two brothers have it. My husband has Asperger’s on his side.

    Wikipedia has one of the best and most in-depth articles I’ve ever read about Borderline Personality Disorder. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for answers about the disorder.

  46. It’s pretty awful how biased you are against BPD. You portray it as something that is inferior to ASD or something. You even go as far to say that being misdiagnosed with ASD is somehow lucky??? Are you serious? And then your comments say that people with BPD don’t wish/believe they didn’t have BPD? You have very inaccurate knowledge of what BPD is. I came to this post to see how ASD and BPD compared, and all I saw was a host of disparaging comments (however unintentional) about BPD compared to aspergers, mostly focusing on the connotations of the two, in which BPD has this “self-serving” connotation and aspergers has this “victim” connotation. I fear your anecdotal experiences are a poor substitute for true understanding and knowledge. Instead of finding insight towards the conflicting disorders, I found further stigmatization about BPD. And if you don’t think you were, then you are simply unaware of the subtleties in your tone and language, in which I hope you can revisit with a more critical perspective.

    • Please read the second follow up post which will explain more fully what I meant. This isn’t a scientific article on BPD it’s my personal experience, all the factual stuff on it is just from Wikipedia. I would say I know a fair bit about it, but I’m also quite sarcastic and use humour in my posts, which unfortunately has been lost on a couple of people. No offence meant, I’m not that ignorant about the condition to think either is lucky. Although there is a fair bit of evidence that BPD can be treated and in many cases cured, so maybe that is more lucky than a life long condition. I live with both.

      • How the hell could you use sarcasm or a sense of humour in this post? I guess BPD sufferer’s being ‘manipulative’ and ‘not as bad’ as aspies is a joke to you? That’s the only thing anyone could have got offended about in this article,. So no, no one is reacting badly to an ill perceived ‘sense of humour’ or ‘sarcasm’, just to your ignorance. And what’s worse? You know it and you’re just trying to cover your arse. I am normally a very peaceful and tolerant person, but react very badly when either my human rights have been abused, or my debilitating mental disorder is labelled as being less severe that asperger’s/autism.

        • If you do not like the humour I use in my writing, then you don’t have to read it. I would never say that ASC is worse than BPD or vice versa, if that is how you have read that than I apologise. If you are interested then you can read the much more serious follow up to this blog posts which explains the dilemma in more detail. I strongly believe that humour is a good thing, especially as an individual with a lot of personal experience in mental health difficulties, I do not make these jokes at people or at another group, I point them towards myself and attempt to tackle those stereotypes with them. Anyway, the follow up blog post is

  47. thanks for this article–i was sent to DBT years ago for symptoms of BPD and while DBT was awesome and helpful, many of the borderline traits felt way too off for me to feel like a fit. recently i’ve come across accounts of women with autism and it’s resonating much more, especially as i look back to my childhood and teenage years of selective mutism, being bullied, emotional meltdowns, learning to read very very early, being naive, never feeling like a girl/woman…thing is, i am about to start school for clinical mental health counseling and now i worry that i should not go into a field in which i may need to rely on nonverbal cues to tune into clients’ emotions. friends tell me i’d be a great therapist and comment on how empathic i am, but am i fooling myself? can aspergirls be counselors?

  48. 16 years ago I was diagnosed with BPD. I went through enormous amounts of therapy, courses etc. and while it helped a bit I always felt is was ‘simulation’ on my part. it never ‘stuck’. So 6 years ago I withdrew from society; locked myself up in my room only going out when it was needed.
    Last year the amount of depressions, anxiety attack and anger issues increased so I decided to find help. This time I am diagnosed with ASS (Apserger).
    While it makes more sense, I also feel ambiguous about it. For now I call it a classification rather than a diagnoses. I feel the only traits I have are that I do not understand people and society and find it extremely difficult to interact with them. Although I found that certain sounds and smells do tend to make me anxious.
    I am unsure how to feel about this or what to do with it. I’m nearly 50 and it all seems so vague and complex now, perhaps also because of all the therapy I got which now masks my ASS, not just for the outside world, but also for me.

  49. Let me tell you how I see it…….I am an Aspie with a few borderline traits.

    My t.doc stated if your rapid cycle when the house is empty then you have lack of self and likely borderline.

    I know what’s its like esp dince I am 49…..50 years of the stuff.

    I have lots of advice esp start with MTHFR issues……

  50. This is an interesting post. Asperger’s and BPD are so similar I can see how some may be misdiagnosed. I do wonder however, how many people actually have Pathological Demand Avoidance, but have been given a diagnosis of Asperger’s, BPD or both instead. Since PDA is an autism sub-type it would make sense that those who have never heard of PDA may diagnose those instead, as they would fit, maybe not completely, but enough to make some sense. I would urge anyone wondering if Asperger’s and BPD fit them to at least consider PDA, even if it’s just to rule it out. I think having the right diagnosis is very important as it can be a great source of help and comfort to know the why behind their actions.

  51. Autism is not more severe than borderline personality disorder. People with bpd are FAR MORE likely to purposefully self harm. I have never met an ‘aspie’ that has made a significant self-harm attempt. They are far bigger attention seekers in my experience. I have two ‘aspie’ friends that moan about how they’re so bad that they picked a small scab once and considered it self-harm. People with BPD are NOT always attention seekers, I find the reverse is actually much more likely. I also used to be friends with another ‘aspie’. It was all ‘me me me’ and she would say things like ‘oh I’m so bad I kicked a table (slightly may I add) and it just scraped a person’s foot’.

    BPD sufferers have repeated SEVERE self-harm attempts and statistics show that people with BPD experience the highest death rate of all the mental illnesses/psychiatric disorders. It pissed me off so much holding my tongue as to not offend my ‘aspie’ friends versions of ‘self-harm’ when I have been in intensive care on the brink of death more times than I can count on both hands. Add that to drinking bleach, white spirit and trying to set myself on fire in public. All of these occasions I ended up in hospital and didn’t tell anyone I knew. I wouldn’t call that attention seeking.And all they can moan about is picking scabs and kicking tables slightly. They let everyone know about it but aren’t interested in the slightest if you try to confide serious problems to them.

    Oh, may I also add that a 12 storey office block in London was evacuated on my behalf when I last had a major flip. Seven police cars, a riot van and an ambulance turned up at the scene whilst the general public wondered what the hell was happening when a young woman was arrested and put in the back of a riot van after being restrained by eight policemen. Needless to say, I was sectioned. So don’t you go telling me that aspergers/autism is worse than BPD and that we are all attention seekers!

    • Where did I say that ASC was more serious than BPD? I feel you may have misinterpreted something I have written and run with it. I would never rate mental health conditions in terms of which one is worse. I have a lot of different conditions and view them as equal to one another and also very different. I am also not going to compete with you about who has had the worst ‘symptoms’, but I can assure you that I have suffered quite a lot as the result of my condition(s), I just choose not to disclose all those details publicly for my own personal reasons.

  52. Hello aspertypical and others
    I haven’t read all yiu comments as there’s a lot but I did read the article. I have been diagnosed with adhd and dyslexia and dyspraxia which are all under the ASD “umbrella” as they say and I’ve had to fight for an autistic spectrum diagnosis. But one doctor thinks I had/have emotionally unstable personality disorder/BPD. It has me doubting everything and myself. I have frequent meltdowns and struggle/kick off when my routine isn’t kept in check or if something unforeseen happens as I don’t know how to cope or if things change and I have no clue in how to interpret/ interaction with people other then be nice. Even when people/friends say they have been mean to me. I don’t look at people and I don’t know what it means to read someone or “between the lines” as it were.. I guess im looking for some help. I see black and white and right and wrong very clearly. There is much in between. I am a very specific person. I am fine on my own and don’t/havent feared being abandoned since I was small..
    Surely this doctor I’m going to name doctor dick is wrong and she stupid or something? Please help I’m very worried she could effect me finally getting the correct diagnosis. I’ve been trying for 5 yrs. I’ve always known I’m on the spectrum as I never knew how to connect or make friends till I was older but I only have 2 I can trust. Please offer some advice. Would be appreciated x

    • I should also state I suffer from many sensory issues to the point where I have to wear colour tinted glasses to help me cope with white/bright lights as it calms my brain and makes vis ion easier. I struggle and cry instantly at things crshing/mashing or banging. I have to be careful of certain clothes and situations as they raise my anxiety levels and I’m usually sick or scream and cry.. I don’t know whether that helps with which side I’m on these reason are the reasons I pushed the autistic spectrum diagnosis I keep living being sick and screaming and crying at scares, clothes, noises, lights and situations I don’t see coming I need help and to get the right support. Can you help?

  53. It needs to be noted that many with Female Asperger’s are targeted as children for sexual and emotional abuse. They are not playing the victim when they speak out later of the truth of their lives, trying to process the harm. But it can and obviously is, seen as attention-getting rather than actual trauma being processed. The situation becomes more complex when the child speaks out against psychopaths who will work to discredit the Aspie, in complex, manipulative ways an Aspie just wouldn’t be able to defend against – we’re too straightforward. We are always targeted, we are seen as an easy patsy, an easy sucker. I’m not sure if that’s such a problem for BPD’s, even though they may perceive it that way, it would appear there is a predatory side to BPD that isn’t Aspie. Forgive me if I missed it, but I don’t see much discussion about empathy in this post. In trying to identify what my deal was, BPD was eliminated because I have profound, almost debilitating empathy for all living things. I can’t bear it if my actions cause others harm. These are often the Aspie traits that really make the diagnosis clear. Doesn’t make life any easier, though.

  54. Female Aspberger’s is about not being in the right world.
    BPD is about not being able to direct this world.
    I am FA raised by BPD and it’s clear they know what they’re doing, it isn’t without intent.
    They just pretend they didn’t mean it.
    I think you are too kind.
    You speak of a group of people who feed off of causing pain and a group who will do anything to avoid causing pain as if they are the same.

    Not quite, please give me a moment to explain…

    Shucking off the fleas of being raised by psychopaths is a lifelong issue for me.
    I was raised in a secret hellscape, behind picket fences.
    I was subject to chronic physical and emotional abuse.
    I was neglected and molested most of my child hood.
    I was first raped at the age of four.
    My mother told me later, “Everyone Gets raped. I get raped every year. It’s what happens. Stop whining, you think your suffering is so much more important than everyone else’s!”
    Direct quote, folks.
    In her violence she caused a spinal cord injury.
    She spent my childhood avoiding getting treatment for the constant spasms and pain I lived in.
    My pain made her beat me more, my crying infuriated her.
    It wasn’t diagnosed until my 30’s. I realized all her avoidance was because she didn’t want to go to jail.
    All the lying and weirdness and bullshit made sense.
    These weren’t people I wanted in my life, in my children’s lives.
    My FA B&W thinking is basically, is someone caring or not caring?
    Yes, I have black & white thinking.
    It say if someone shows any signs of being callous or uncaring I don’t want them anywhere near me. It says seek and interact only with those who are honorable. So, yeah, I’ve got some isolation issues. But I’m learning how to identify people by small observations. Social cues still escape me. But small things can be verified, like how someone talks about others, or cares for animals.
    It became very simple.
    The clues abounded.
    My family became, very clearly, absolutely unacceptable.
    BPD intrusive, manipulative and destructive.
    It isn’t seeking true healing.
    I’ve gone No Contact.
    I’ve been doing intense neuro-reprogramming through a variety of methods.
    I have broken their legacy of normalizing child abuse. I have broken the dysfunction of worthlessness, depression, self-hatred that I was taught was to be my reality.
    My children do not walk on eggshells.
    My children have never been struck, or locked away or left alone for days. They do not know rape and violence. They know love, kindness. They know I am imperfect, broken, yet fully committed. They know what it is to be honorable. To be generous. Both of them show signs of Asperger’s but not BPD. It is so mild, seemingly, to me, such lovely gifts; to have one’s private world, that there is no reason to regard it has a limiting condition for either of them.
    How do I cope and recognize behaviors?
    It is my powerful guide and I am unwitting under it’s tutelage.
    BPD simply doesn’t have it. They pretend so well!
    But they couldn’t give less of shit for something that doesn’t thrill or divert them.

    There is a great danger, I believe, in separating all the world by gender identity. Applying this to the human brain may be one of the worst trespasses against the human spirit that I could use as an example.
    However, my intimate experience with BPD, or, perhaps a better definition, Cluster B disorders, does indicate it may be as much a sensory reaction as FA.
    But a sensory reaction to being a slave, a servant.
    I was born into a family that expected perfection in appearances and duties.
    A woman must know how to keep a perfect house and kitchen.
    How to do all of the things an ideal ‘wife’ must do.
    As I was born a bastard and ‘strange’, the skills were to ensure employment.
    Waitress, housekeeper. That’s the best they saw in me.

    The weight of this world on a woman is immense.
    I think the madness, the manipulation, the conditioning of duty tied to honor tied to an expected indentured servitude is what creates BPD.
    It permeates female behavior throughout the world.
    Often in that very mother who gives all to nurture others.
    She doesn’t want to be bitter, but she really was forced to give up her own mind, her autonomy.
    It breeds a madness, this denial of self, no matter how generous a woman might be.
    Keeping a house is a full time job. But many women also need to have another full-time job. Rarely is a woman in a job that feeds her soul.
    More soul death, more bitterness.
    BPD, or Cluster-B blooms there.
    It entrenches itself in our psyche, so deeply into our generations it has seeped.
    I might go so far as to say it is the BPD that fights back externally against an injust world, growing callous to conform to the atrocities we’ve been forced to regard as normal. While FA fights back internally, by finding or creating parallel universes within their personal experience.
    But all in all, these are behavioral symptoms of organisms under profound stress.

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