The Borderline of Asperger’s Revisited;

Last year I wrote a post on the similarities and differences of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Asperger’s syndrome, I realised that the lands of research in this area were relatively baron but I did not expect the overwhelming response the post has had; 8669 readers to this date! As the first link in google to come up when Borderline and Asperger’s are typed in together, I feel some responsibility to address some of the issues the post raised. Much of the comments and feedback were positive and constructive, however there were some nearing abusive posts thrown into the mix and some less than complimentary comments made (I have approved all of these and published them to the blog, except those with excessive bad language). Some were quite personal but of course each one had an underlying point, perhaps I had been too dismissive of the disorder I know least about (Borderline Personality Disorder), and seemed too biased towards my own condition (Asperger’s). The overall point I endeavored to make is that the two result in similar types of behavior but each with a completely different trigger. That is not to say that either individual is in anymore control of their difficulties and behaviour than the other, and for the record I would not prefer to have one more than the other, but you only know what it is like to have what you have, and the thought of change is a scary one! So back to the science…

The official criteria for Borderline Personality disorder is a ‘pervasive pattern of instability or interpersonal relationships, self image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of context’. This may be apparent by a deep fear of abandonment and frantic efforts to avoid this; intense and unstable relationships, obsessive about someone one minute then feeling nothing but hate for them the next; difficulty with self-image; impulsivity, such as spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating to name but a few;  suicidal behaviours, including threats and self-harm; rapid cycling of mood states, anxious for hours then a sudden shift to intense irritability for example; chronic feelings of emptiness; problems with misplaced anger and control; and finally temporary states of stress induced paranoia and dissociation with oneself. Quite an exhaustive list of symptoms which could cover a number of other disorders, Asperger’s in particular. For instance we see a fear of abandonment in many of these individuals also, unstable relationships as a result of misunderstanding feelings and intentions, rapid mood cycling swinging from euphoric joy to meltdown madness, and quite commonly in those who are also mentally ill, dissociation and paranoid states. So on the surface there are elements of Borderline in all ‘Aspies’ and elements of autism in all ‘Borderliners’, however Asperger’s is seen as a learning disability, as opposed to a personality problem; it encompasses a whole neuronal network of functions and cognitions expanding beyond relationships and mood, these problems are rather the byproduct of the original classic impairments. Both can be considered genetic and could have a common cause of atypical brain chemistry and structure. Unlike Asperger’s though, Borderline does typically  start in adolescence, whereas to have an autism spectrum disorder you must have been born with one. We also know that it is quite common for BPD sufferers to have been victim to family problems, neglect and/or childhood abuse. This by no means speaks for all individuals, but typically even if at a milder degree this issues are often present before the BPD.



Now put all this aside, because these facts and figures are completely irrelevant if you want to truly understand both conditions and how they affect real people’s lives. There is so much prejudice surrounding Borderline PD, the symptoms lead others to think the person is manipulative and attention seeking, and medication and therapy wise it is a tough nut to crack. People with Asperger’s have it no easier, often the victims of bullying and prejudice as their symptoms lead others to think they are ‘weirdos’,  however there is an air now of superiority due to the increased awareness in the media, it has become quite a pop topic, no doubt fueled by the knowledge that it is considered ‘incurable’ and even a benefit to have. Working with both ‘Aspies’ and ‘Borderlines’ can be a frustrating mission and often seeming like an impossibility, many give up with this battle forgetting that the methods they use to treat the difficulties are the very difficulties they have to be treated;  they are asking people to discuss their thoughts and feelings who have difficulty trusting and relating to others and understanding these feelings in the first place. Relentless and unconditional perseverance, reliability, and reassurance are the key.

I pity those professionals who try to give me self-help material for my Aspeger’s and mental health difficulties, my head is begging them to not go down that route, for their sake rather than my own. I am not uncooperative but I have received an Amazon rain forrest worth of self-help books, booklets and leaflets over the years. From social anxiety, to health anxiety, conquering depression, learning to live in solitude, to feeling the fear and doing it anyway. There is not much I have not tried to help myself about. The good ones manage to worm their way into my head for at least two weeks before fizzling into the abyss. So when my psychiatrist recently tentatively printed off and handed me a modulised work booklet on ‘Distress Intolerance’ I almost rolled it up and squatted him around the hand. Being the matyr that I am I instead took it home, adamant I could prove its uselessness, after reading the first page however, I realised I was on to a winner (don’t get excited yet, my relationship with the self-help booklet does not end well). Intolerance to distress was exactly what I was experiencing, it was the cause of most of, if not all, my mental health difficulties, and it is also a key component to Borderline PDs, in fact it was for this condition the booklet was written for. The symptoms of distress intolerance including feeling like being upset is unbearable; constantly focussing on feeling bad; feeling it is the worse thing possible; wanting to avoid feeling distressed at all costs; feeling ashamed for having the negative emotions; and having the need to immediately react to the emotions to stop them.

168226_3327699274597_33208343_nSo being intolerant to negative emotions could be the link, but where does this come from? I moved onto the second module, it promised me there was good news ahead. I felt full of hope, until I tried the first activity. It focused on mindfulness, an ability which many will take for granted. Mindfulness, or mentalisation, is about being able to think about thinking, being able to examine your own thoughts and feelings and assess how useful and realistic they are; basically being able to step outside yourself and become an observer. Well this sounds like a challenge to a mind already overwhelmed with outside stimuli, and seems to be the very thing those with autism are impaired with (lack of Theory of Mind, supposedly). I sat for several minutes, completed all the relaxation exercises, tried to talk to my inner self and still nothing came. I drew a blank, and then suddenly something came to me, panic I could not feel anything and intolerant to the distress which was quickly mounting. Back to the start. It is no wonder that for individuals unable to mentalise that unstable relationships occur, sharp shifts in mood, and impulsive reactions and behaviours. It is also no wonder that abuse in early childhood could block a person from accessing their inner thoughts and picking up autistic like traits such as these, or why those with autism may be more vulnerable to such abuse, bullying and neglect and thus pick up borderline traits such as these.

So what to do? From an Aspie perspective all we can do is sit back, relax and watch it happen. That in itself will reach a certain level of mindfulness without us even knowing it. And the differences between Borderline and Asperger’s do not particularly matter either, the point is that both require similar support.


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

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  1. Pingback: The Borderline of Asperger’s: The similarities and differences between Borderline Personality Disorder and Autism | aspertypical

    • Thanks for your inspiring posts on comparing Asperger’s and Borderline Personality Disorder. I am a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who has worked on concentrated on Borderline Personality Disorder for three decades. I have even taught courses on how individuals with BPD have contributed enormously to 20th century art, literature and music. I have only recently worked with consumers with an Asperger’s diagnosis. To me, they are very different: acute sensibility to the emotional connotations versus muted sensibility to emotional connotations, but the panoply of behaviors/reactions often seem similar–chaotic interpersonal relations, reactive moodiness, etc…It is as though there is a societal thermostat that disrupts “normative behavior” at both ends. I think society has to change but that is a different project.

      • Yes and no. Society in general should learn how to interact more appropriately with all walks of life, including those with mental illness, but if someone with either BPD or Asperger’s has been educated about their diagnosis, they should also take some personal responsibility to learn personal coping skills and how to utilize those in the presence of triggering events, as difficult as it may be. We are an enormously intelligent lot, and we have certainly have the intelligence to employ those skills even if it means trying (sometimes desperately) to override our hijacked emotional brains.

      • I completely agree. In this best of worlds learning about coping skills will help communicate to others the gifts that individuals with BPD or Asperger’s have to offer!

        • Thank you both for commenting. Roy, I would love to read some of your work. I am currently doing a PhD looking at the misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis of women in particular on the spectrum, and Borderline PD is an area I want to know more about, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there linking the two!

          I definitely agree in taking some personal responsibility if you are fully aware of your impairments, but I think it also has to work from both ends and people need to meet in the middle. We can do all the leg work in trying to fit in and teaching ourselves to cope that we are capable of but if society on the other side still don’t make any adjustments and aren’t willing to bend then it is all for nothing. I guess that is why a lot of people give up trying.

          • What I find fascinating is that I have seen several psychiatrists in the past months. One in particular thought that I had high functioning autism whereas others borderline personality disorder. I guess I need to do more research into similarities and differences so that I can get a better idea of things. I have read extensively on borderline, but no as much on aspergers. Fascinating read.

          • I get agitated feeling that society in general can be very intolerant of people who are as different as the ones that have BPD and Asperger’s. It should definitely be about everyone learning to live together in my opinion. Both sides, not more one or the other. Perhaps it comes down to fear of misunderstanding. It’s a part of human nature to prejudge different things as bad but it happens too often in our society- we should be more advanced at this stage, enough to accept and observe our differences. Which makes me appreciate more so your articles! The more ::correct:: information shared about such things would hopefully offer some freedom. Thank you!

      • I have asperger’s and I am emotional and highly empathetic. I mind that I have a great deal with in common with the people with BPD that I have interacted with. I may have come a long way in regurgitating my emotions but there are times when they will explode with an intensity that does not appear to be normal to others. I would say that we seem mirrored in nature, both of us are open to over-whelming amounts of stimuli that we are not able to readily control. One is emotion while the other is sensory.

        • Thank you for this insightful comment, the difference between emotion and sensory regulation is something I have just stumbled upon myself. It really does seem the key in explaining where the similarities lie.

        • Is it possible that there are sensory as well as emotional things. I have had psychiatrists that have given me either one diagnosis or the other although the majority seem to lead toward BPD. However I do see a lot of similarities and it does make me wonder who is correct in terms of doctors.

          • Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the initrmaofon you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Regards!|

  2. I am so thrilled that you are addressing the similarities in this post and your original post. I feel it deserves some attention! (That exclamation is out of excitement, not in pointed anger).

    I am working recovery from my Borderline Personality Disorder but will always have my triggers that I have to be very mindful of. I would often times tell my therapist, “I swear, I must have Asperger’s too!” and she would sigh a heavy sigh, shake her head and say “No, you do not have Asperger’s” (her son has it). But later in another few sessions we discussed this at length. I do not get sarcasm, at least not initially. It is hard for me to get jokes. I hate people joking around. I want everything to be serious. I have hypersensitivity to nuances in emotion and emotion changes, but I cannot accurately detect *what* exactly those changes are.

    WHY IS THIS? Because, like you said in this post – unhealthy family upbringing often associated with Borderline Personality Disorder. Mainly this: My mother had her own issues such as schizoaffective disorder. She did absolutely ZERO MIRRORING for me when I was an INFANT. MIRRORING is essential for infants. Infants with autism perhaps don’t or cannot respond to it. Children who will eventually develop borderline personality disorder would have thrived if given that mirroring….but most likely they didn’t get it.

    John Bowlby’s research is rampant with the importance of maternal mirroring of infant states in order for the child to develop a healthy personality and sense of self. Thus, the lack of my mother’s mirroring, combined with very chaotic changes in my infant-2 year old world was a significant contributing factor to the fact that I simply cannot understand the nuances of language, social settings, sarcasm, jokes. So, no, I am not autistic or don’t have Asperger’s…it’s almost a developed autistic trait because of my upbringing. (And yes, the chaos would continue far past my 2 years of age, thus continuing the cycle of trauma that would contribute to the eventual full blown Borderline Personality Disorder)

    So, A BIG THANK YOU for posting on this topic. Yes, the similarities are there! And I think a large focus in research should be on the infant states related to mirroring.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for your comments, it is really interesting and good for me to have a borderline perspective! I definitely remember reading somewhere that people with BPD may have had a parent (usually mother) with mental health difficulties. SO I guess mirroring is impaired in autism from birth, and in BPD it isn’t reinforced. There are a lot of studies at the moment on how Autisitic children can almost be treated (I use the term skeptically) by the parent mirroring their child, so by copying their mannerisms and vocalizations the child learns to it themselves and also makes them aware of another persons actions and intentions (theory of mind). I think therapy for these conditions is about the therapist going back to this stage of development that has been missed.

      • Whilst no-one (not even an experienced and well-researched professional) can claim to speak for all who have been diagnosed a particular way, I must comment here to say that I’ve met at least two hundred BPD sufferers from many years of community therapy and group therapy, as well as a lot of what you might call networking, and I can’t think of a single person who did not report a mother with severe mental health problems plus an absent or abusive father. Not one.

        To repeat, this is not to say that all BPD sufferers have experienced parental abuse and neglect, but it is extremely common. In my case, my mother was very unwell and would alternate between being abusive and neglectful, whereas my father was simply absent. I believe my mother would have met the criteria for a personality disorder (possibly BPD) at the time, though she is partially recovered now, and I later discovered that my father may have had autism. Other people with BPD that I’ve met have often said they had a mother who, instead of being directly abusive herself, was unable to cope as a parent and could not protect them from the abuse of another caregiver. There are also disproportionately high numbers of people diagnosed with BPD who were in state care as children. I have continually heard the same or very similar stories so I feel it needs to be examined.

        • Your mentioning the childhood trauma really resonates with me. I have been diagnosed with BPD for 3 years and before that Bipolar disorder as well as other things. I find it interesting what you stated about your own mother. In my case my mother had difficulty dealing I believe and she was not able to protect me from the verbal and emotional abuse of my main caregiver-my grandmother (who I also believe has BPD and my mother has traits as well). The thing is after the trauma of loosing my father to suicide and kind of hitting rock bottom it is difficult to remember a lot of my childhood memories. I think there may be more that went on there. My father dealt with bipolar I, and committed suicide when I was 18 so it seems that I got a little bit of the worst of both gene pools. Anyhow thanks for sharing what you have learned. I really do agree that you have to go to the root of some issues before you can start healing.

        • My 16 yr old daughter has been diagnosed with emerging BPD and is currently in a psychiatric unit. The family therapist has mentioned Aspergers (or HFA) and I am now researching a possible misdiagnosis, although the psychiatrist seems pretty set on BPD. I am somewhat hung up on the fact that almost every article about BPD mentions an unstable home life and neglectful/abusive parenting. Our daughter comes from a loving, stable home and is the eldest of 3 children (the younger two don’t appear to have any difficulties). I know that I am likely to say this but we don’t seem to fit this mould and neither of us have mental health issues ourselves and never have done. I guess this is one of the main reasons why I am questioning Aspergers and whether she may have been misdiagnosed or slipped under the radar. She is high achieving and could quite possibly have mimicked social behaviours (she doesn’t find social interaction that easy). It does seem very difficult to get psychiatric teams to reconsider though. A very interesting article. Thank you.

    • Thank you for highlighting the process of mirroring. As I explained below, my mother was very unwell and would alternate between being abusive and neglectful. She would also mirror inconsistently – she would react strongly to what now seem to be small issues she was personally concerned about, causing me distress and leading me to believe that they were major, life-altering crises, whilst belittling my own emotional reactions to many situations. Having discovered the phrase ‘mirroring’ during community therapy, I believe it now explains a lot, and I can especially relate to how you feel you have developed autistic-like traits as a result of parenting.

      Full disclosure, I score very highly on the Cambridge Aspergers/high functioning ASD test (way over the figure required, and even higher than people I know who are diagnosed with Aspergers) and have insisted, like you did, that I must have it, but professionals are reluctant to investigate because of my existing diagnosis of BPD.

      • This sounds like so much of myself as well. I can see what you are saying about mirroring and I think I had a similar experience with my mother and her emotional reactions to some situations, so in a way reinforcing bad things. I will need to speak more closely with health care professionals BUT I realize that I know my own body better than them (was on the wrong medications for years and it took a long time to get the borderline diagnosis and then even longer to get the correct treatment-IE DBT group and weekly therapy).

  3. There is an incredible amount of overlap in diagnoses as well. A lot of women especially are diagnosed with BPD, and turn out to have an autism spectrum disorder; and a lot of men are diagnosed with ASD “because men don’t have BPD”. The gender bias is unbelievable. I think part of that can be explained by the fact that if you grow up autistic and undiagnosed (as a lot of girls do, because the diagnostic criteria are so overwhelmingly male), the things you struggle with are almost guaranteed to give you either PTSD or BPD. Add to that the fact that a lot of older women never had a chance to get diagnosed, then go on to have children, and still struggle with all those autistic traits in silence and unrecognised… and you’ve basically got a recipe for uneven parental attachment.

    I think therapists should look harder at the areas where people with BPD truly struggle, instead of immediately labelling all their learned behaviours “maladaptive”. It would lead to a lot more understanding and compassion, I think.

    • I do think people with Autism live in a permanent state of PTSD, I have constant flashbacks from the most stupid things, to any neurotypical they would seem ridiculous. I really hope one day psychologists and psychiatrists can start addressing these issues and see it from another perspective rather than just categories or people. Thanks for commenting =]

      • That is pretty much what seems to be the case for both of my friends with BPD, that BPD often happens along with other disorders makes things even more “interesting”.

  4. How can we get professionals to acknowledge this gender bias? As far as I can tell, they don’t seem to care and there is no serious attempt to address this.

    • The problem is it isn’t the ‘pop’ topic at the moment. I am conduction research in this gender bias for my PhD, I have been trying to find funding from all the Autism Research Foundations, but because it doesn’t fit their current interests I haven’t been able to get any. I also think it must be quite hard actually assessing people with Autism and Borderline PD, as a group it is probably quite a challenge to get any valid results from.

  5. My thoughts go 110 miles an hour, I too need mindfulness! So, I’m just really wondering if you are looking at the sensory issues of Aspergers, not recalling you looking at those in your article. Any thoughts?

    • Yea quite a few! I’m particularly sensitive when it comes to foods and textures. Have never likes wet food and have a phobia of milk. I also get quite sensitive to material textures, hate fleecey and velvety or Lacey material. Loud noises are awful, as our big shops with bright lights. Travelling not so good so yea just generally quite sensitive! I use to have fits when I was younger and had sensory overload, although fortunately I’m better with it now. What’s your experience?

    • It’s interesting that you mention sensory issues… I have a BPD diagnosis but score extremely high for Aspergers, and I feel I have particularly strong sensory issues, relating to smell, texture, temperature, and bright lights, to name the main offenders. I dislike being touched in particular places (my face, head, or most of my hair, for example, by people I am otherwise physically intimate with) and find it very difficult to feel comfortable in clothes. I also experience synthesia.

      These symptoms are not something I’ve noticed in other patients despite being in many years of therapy with literally hundreds of people with BPD, which is one reason (along with many others) why I wonder if I’ve been misdiagnosed. My sensory issues are so pervasive and distressing, and are often met with confusion and blank “this person is really weird” looks from therapists when I try to describe them.

  6. I can totally empathise with your sensory issues. Just reading about some of them makes my fingertips tingle, thinking of the lights, I shield my arm over half of my sight, as if to cut the glare. I’m only new to describing things associated with ASD, not sure if phobia is something I would use to describe anything yet. I’ve only recently discovered ASD criteria, I had no idea I could have had so many experiences living that share so much with it. Each day brings new discoveries. It’s kind of cool but also feels pretty full on, hence I am writing this at 3.55am, I couldn’t sleep.

  7. Speaking as someone with Asperger’s it is easy for me to assume my thoughts are fact, for instance I might interpret what people say wrong or not get that they are being sarcastic. From what I’ve read about PD’s people who are classed as having BPD interpret their feelings as fact. Maybe our problems stem from both confusing things but from different angles.

    • I think the problem lies in not being able to read ones own emotions very well. Which makes it near impossible to recognise other peoples, so you do find yourself in your own bubble and unable to interpret things properly. For instance you might have a really strong emotion you assume is anger, but were you able to read the signs and other people correctly it could actually be anxiety over something specific that has happened, like something has changed you don’t like. Those with Borderline are probably a little less black and white and more open to interpretation when they receive help for it, but the two certainly could look similar.

      • Interesting point, I definitely have trouble interpreting my emotions, that is if I try. You are spot on with the anxiety issues. In essence I suppose I mistrust my own emotions, try to keep from feeling altogether (a protection mechanism?). Instead I rely on logic to help me out and try to intellectualize every situation, unfortunately the world is not always a logical place. Like you said it’s hard to interpret other peoples emotions if you have difficulty with your own.

  8. I happen to have asperger’s and have fairly good theory of mind, some of us work off of emotions which makes us all that more similar to people with borderline. and if you compare us to someone who has BPD and social anxiety the similarities increase. They may have different cause and reasons but the end results are pretty much the same.
    I am slightly offended on the behalf my my friends with BPD that you call them manipulative, or if anyone does.

    • Hi Jason, thank you for commenting. I know a lot of people are offended by the term ‘manipulative’ and I would be also. However, unfortunately that is how some of the behavioural characteristics are described by mental health professionals. We view being manipulative and something really distasteful and offensive, but actually in mental health terms it is meant quite differently. It is not saying that individual do it on purpose, it is saying that due to problems regulating emotions such individuals may manipulate situations to help them cope. It is common in BPD, although obviously doesn’t describe everyone. I guess if you are offended by it and your friends with BPD are also, it is probably because they do not have that characteristic as part of their disorder.

      • I think the reason they and their friends get offended by the term manipulative is that it often IS used in a derogatory, judgemental way by professionals and non-professionals alike.

  9. Thank you for the follow up article. I can relate so much it’s unbelievable. I have been diagnosed with Borderline, PTSD, Social anxiety, chronic reoccurring depression, an eating disorder and also struggle with addiction and self harm. (I am female)Yet when I read up on aspergers I fell I can relate to that diagnoses more. Maybe it’s because it’s less stigmatized I feel like life would be better if I was diagnosed with Aspergers, but then again that diagnoses no longer exists. I’m very confused at the moment. I just moved out of my parents house into supported housing, it’s addiction based and I got it because I went to treatment but I mean like a lot of stuff we work on are basic daily living stuff. I am clueless with all that. Like figuring out what to eat, laundry, if I get overwhelmed I lose stuff (I locked myself out of my room and lost my cellphone which sent me into a meltdown (PS is there any difference been a BPD meltdown and a Aspergers meltdown because when I describe it to people who have both BPD or aspergers they both say they can relate) Also when I get overwhelmed it’s harder to do stuff like eat, take a bus, personal hygiene, etc. Like I’ve been known to take the wrong bus even though I have taken that bus to the same location a million times, the only change is I moved and the bus stop was literally the same but I got thrown off. My trauma therapist says I loss stuff and forget stuff because I dissociate, but Idk. I’m also very clutzy yesterday I was bringing the garbage in and tripped and fell on the ground. I hate the clumpsiness part it makes me feel so stupid. I have always been like that. The thing is BPD they say starts in adulthood yet I have had struggles since I was a kid. anxiety for sure, depression as well, first time I was suicidal I was 12 and a lot of it had to do with the fact that I had no friends and didn’t fit in at school and felt like whatever I did was not good enough. In grade 1 I got pulled out of my school because I was getting beat up so much, honestly what could be so horribly wrong about me at age 6 that I already had a target on my back, I was bullied in my new school as well. That kind of makes it hard though as far as trauma goes because I definitely had my share of trauma as well a lot of bullying growing up. I sux at eye contact and it drives people crazy. A lot of poeple just give up trying to make me give eye contact , though sometimes I have to force myself to like at customs, yes I got stopped at customs and they checked through my stuff. The next time I flew I had to talk to myself like crazy to try to appear normal and give eye contact and had no problems. I can pretend like if I have to give eye contact I can do it but it involved a lot of self talk and I am exhausted afterwards. Though I have been known to give eye contact to people if I get relaly excited about something I am interested in. I don’t know where I am going with this just kind of trying tto sort thigs out for myself and I’m rather confused. Not even sure if a change in diagnosis would make any difference, though the thing I hate the most about the BPD diagnoses is people think I’m manipulative and honestly if I am I have no clue I’m doing it I don’t understand social cues enough to even try to manipulate people, I get taken advantage of a lot. Which has lead to trauma and addiction. Idk

    • I really sympathise with you, and can relate to a lot of what you are describing.

      I’ve suffered from OCD, anxiety and panic attacks, and depression, since I was a child, and definitely had a lot of Aspergers/high functionging ASD traits too but I believe they went undiagnosed because I was home-educated and socially isolated by mother. I was finally diagnosed with the problems above (except Aspergers) in my teens, then BPD in my twenties, with diagnoses for eating disorder and body dysmorphia coming later.

      They are now looking at the possibility of ADHD which fits me now, but it doesn’t fit me at all as a child (which apparently it should) and they are reluctant to investigate either Aspergers, despite me scoring extremely high on the test and having lifelong Aspergers traits, or bipolar disorder, which also describes me well. I’m reading about bipolar because I have both long term and short term periods of pervasive mood, but the BPD criteria does not accurately describe the long term ones and my ‘episodes’ are much longer than they would usually be for someone with BPD.

      Anyway, I’m commenting to agree that you should look into further diagnosis, but be prepared to really fight for it because mental health professionals can be very stubborn and unwilling to reconsider their opinions. I hope things improve for you.

  10. Pingback: BPD and ASD | Donkeyskin Diary

  11. Thank you for writing these articles. I often feel that my relationships with others are very unstable. I had periods of OCD and anxiety throughout my childhood and self-harmed in adolescence. I was extremely sensitive as a baby, rarely slept and would not eat most foods until I was around 9. I was overweight and moody. I am still moody but I try to hide my moods or just stay away from people when I am feeling volatile. I’ve been on meds and to group therapy but I never stick with it. I have good periods and bad. The funny thing is that I have always wondered if BPD was a misdiagnosis for me and if I was really just on the spectrum somewhere. The sad thing is that I have been a teacher of students with Autism for 13 years so you would think I would know! However, the students I work with are predominantly male and are on the more severe end of the spectrum so I don’t see myself being similar to that at all. It is interesting to see how many people also have confusion about their connection to the two disorders.

  12. Interesting. I thought I might be borderline Aspergers. When I get asked to the Psychologist about it she wasn’t concerned because she could of prescribe drugs for it. Two of the 4 drugs she wanted me to consider were on my ‘do not take list’. Same clinic so the info was right in her computer. Also, her advice went against what the last 2 had advised. They wanted me to stop accepting responsibility without the control that goes with it. They also agreed that I give other people the benefit of the doubt, even when there is no doubt, but I won’t give myself the benefit of the doubt. The last one wanted me to take down its to make me more compliant with other people’s demand, she also had access to my file and the other Psychologists who were there before her at the same clinic.

    I’m just saying, they call it medical practice for reason and I’m tired of being ‘practiced’ on.
    I would much rather talk to someone like yourself that ‘understands’. Let me know if your available for correspondence. You can use any findings to help others, just don’t use my name. I’m content to remain a third party.

    Thank you. Ms. GG

    • Sorry. There were a lot of typographical errors in that email. “SHE COULDN’T GIVE ME DRUGS FOR ASPERGERS.”

      I’m really beginning to hate spell check/correction.

    • Interessant. Er is ook een &#e6;21syste8m’ dat mensen op grond van capaciteiten en eigenschappen in kleuren verdeeld. Rood is daarbij de leider, de directeur. Ik moet er niet aan denken in een gele flat te wonen.

  13. I just wanted to say both this post and the original have really been food for thought for me. I’m nearly 19 and I got a diagnosis of ASD when I was 16, however recently I have been wondering if actually I’m ASD and/or BPD. Does anybody have any advice for me? I’m getting my assessment with my new consultant soon so I need information and advice and fast!!

  14. Hi.. Is border line asperegers the same as asperegers syndrome personality disorder?? My son was diagnosed with borderline asperegers syndrome 2 years ago when he was 9 through his school and kalms but he is really struggling because of this and no one has ever come back to me with help and his school are not helping at all..more hindering and knocking his confidence and I’m a desperate mum who doesn’t know what to do. Thanks all

    • No, borderline aspergers means he doesn’t quite meet the criteria for Asperger’s syndrome. Which can be more difficult than having the diagnosis because you have difficulties but not the label to get you the support. Autism and aspergers isn’t a personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that is completely different and the word borderline means something very different. Hope that helps.

  15. sorry in advance for spelling mistakes and weird phrasings, but i am not a native english speaker.

    thank you for both this post and the previous one on this topic. i am a woman diagnosed with C-PTSD/BPD, bipolar 2, ADD (this might seem like a lot, but it is very common when severely traumatized) and have recently dated a man who’ve never been diagnosed as an aspie, eventhough i am certain he would meet several of the criterias. when i told him this, he said his previous girlfriend (she did not have any diagnoses) had told him the same thing. he is 44 years old, have had about 7-8 longterm relationships throughout the years. all ended because of his lack of ability to reciprocate (spl?) emotionally. we are so different its hard to belive we’re the same species. i tend to read people quickly, connect with people easily, and live my life based on my intense feelings, have volatile emotions and relationships – for better or for worse. he on the other hand does not “get” people, what i would call common sense, normal human interaction. we both struggle with selfworth, self esteem, fitting in. me because i have tons of baggage of abandonment, rejection, trauma, violence and abuse. him because he “just doesnt get” human interaction and therefor too often have failed in his relationships. he works in IT (of course;) and computergames on his free time. luckily for him he is quite handsome – otherwise he would never have gotten a GF. however, we have all ended it with him for his lack of ability to show empathy and caring. when we started dating i thought him coming from a normal family background would mean he would understand normal behaviour better than me who’ve grown up in group homes and foster care. but no. i had to spell it out in the simplest terms how to communicate with people without coming off as uninterested. i could give tons of examples of how i had to basically talk to him as he was an incredibly spoilt, selfcentred, insensitive child, about how normal human interaction actually works. he still dont get it. and therefor his behaviour makes people give up on him and he now has 1 or 2 friends he sees few times a year. his own sister told him “you should never have kids”.

    the ironic thing is, the end result is remarkably similar: we are both loners with an unsatisfying social life. me because my instability makes me disconnect from friends, even close ones. him because he tends to offend people with his lack of emotional intelligence and selfcentredness. the differende is, i am aware of my dysfunctional ways and work towards overcoming them. he is still as clueless today as when we met 3 years ago about how his behaviour affects others.

    so, aspbergers and BDP might overlap, but they are two veeery different things!

  16. Thank you so much for your article, and for the comments on it. I find them very helpful/enlightening as I struggle to understand a persona I am very fond of.. I live with a man who I think has Aspergers (refuses all psychological help let alone diagnosis) and also many many signs of borderline personality disorder. Paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behavior, avoidance, extreme anxiety. It is incredibly difficult to live with, and incredibly difficult for me to remain loving and supportive (which I think the poor soul needs) when some of this turns against me. I appreciate the comment by somebody who said that Aspergers people don’t always understand what they are feeling. Thus the switching between sweetness and affection, neediness and lashing out. I can see the anxiety, the self-hatred, or as he says “the constant noise in my head” but can’t do much except be there for him–at considerable cost to me.

  17. As a BPD, I tell you this one line is GOLDEN!! “‘Borderlines’ can be a frustrating mission and often seeming like an impossibility, many give up with this battle forgetting that the methods they use to treat the difficulties are the very difficulties they have to be treated; they are asking people to discuss their thoughts and feelings who have difficulty trusting and relating to others and understanding these feelings in the first place”

    I just did this to my ex. She is a schizoid. I destroyed her only because she has destroyed me. I garnered info, I spent OCD weeks planning strategy, the time came, I did it. As a hacker with BPD and OCD I am really a dangerous fellow albeit not physically but mentally. I feel terrible. But then i remember she is immune. So i feel better but feel like apologizing. I will, she won’t care, but WOW.. that is exactly why I’m alone eating chef-boyardi at 45. Don’t feel too bad for me, its the ‘lasagna’ lol

    Anyhow, next relationship I’ll know I’m BDP going in and tell her what to watch for. I went into this one knowing freud’s theories and nothing more on psychology. In case you are wondering, yeah i still love her.

  18. As revealing and as sad as this may paint me, I haven’t yet sat through a single blog post without switching off and becoming frustrated that it didn’t engage the original topic to the level expected and I initially merited its title when doing some late night Google searches. Until I stumbled across your blog in a vain attempt to explain an incident today with a long time friend left me wondering “what the hell is he doing?”., I found myself here. Thank you. I wonder whether you could briefly comment on the tendencies of drug abuse among Asperges sufferers? You’ve made a link that BPD suffers and tendencies to have a strong pattern of a self abuse and a destructive lifestyle. Like a BDP sufferer, would someone with Asperges who was also as self aware and who is committed to the point that If they were imagine their life as travelling on a train, just having pulled out from the station but knowing all too well there was no other stops, that it was simply going to derail and crash and everything between the start and then the ultimate collision is collateral – friends, family, self preservation – then can’t this also be said for Asperges sufferers too or would this clarity be, despite how infrequent, unlikely and I’m barking up the wrong tree. My friend has had no childhood issues of abuse that I’m aware of but he has felt unable since childhood to fully interact with the daily etiquette of life. Sure, he’s learnt to a degree that he can with some effort, fulfil a normal day but this doesn’t go long without mishap of on some social interaction that leaves him wondering – why bother? I don’t doubt the possibility that he is simply a drug user either that of choice or because of other factors but both of your articles made me think of him. He has so many indicators of being on the scale of BPD and Asperges, both at the start and well into his longstanding use. What are your thoughts of addictive personality too as I ultimately believe this is his reason for still being where he is today. I need to be clear that the individual despite their abhorant pitiful is an otherwise extremely intelligent individual who has a personality and greed, desire and need for information, to learning something new. Unfortunately, this appears to have been is downfall. Please accept my apologies for the of topic or rather less suited nature of this post.

  19. Your blog is very interesting. I’m the parent of a 30 year old daughter who was diagnosed ASD at 13. She never showed emotion as an infant – no laughter and conversely extremely high pain tolerance. Her mother is from a ‘third world’ country and had witnessed their civil war as a child and had some emotional issues but I’ll research ‘mirroring’. I did work a lot of hours when she was a child but know of no abuse at that time. In school she was bullied and treated as ‘weird’. She always had intense interest in whatever her current fascination was. She later wanted to ‘be normal’ by finding a boyfriend and was overly trusting bringing guys home while her mother and I worked and was raped at least twice as a teenager. She has now also been diagnosed with BPD, anxiety and depression. We are having a hard time finding any therapy that helps her. She doesn’t seem to want to cope with everyday life, living in her fantasy world of ‘My Little Pony’. We have tried DBT but she cannot integrate the exercises. She has been on meds for the anxiety and depression and now also a ‘mood stabilizer’ due to her meltdowns and self injury (first cutting, later attempted suicide.) She still lives with me. We do not leave her alone for long due to past issues. I realize, in certain ways, her life has been hell but we’re getting older and are trying to figure out how to move her forward. She sees a psychiatrist, an individual therapist, a developemental behaviorist and 2 community mentors (life skills and social skills). We are all stymied as to where to go with her. Any thoughts on any therapy that might work? She is in the hospital, again, as I write this.

    • EMDR may help some of the symptoms of panic and anxiety you mentioned. NLP may be beneficial as well. Best of luck to you and your family.

  20. Thankyou for this. I am currently struggling with the fact that my son with aspergers is currently sectioned under the mental health act in thee uk. His psychiatrist has no specialist training or experience of Aspergers, but has overridden his diagnosis of aspergers and attachment disorder, with a diagnosis of BOrderline Personality Disorder.
    Consequently won doesn’t get appropriate support and is pumped full of meds. He is punished for behaviours he has never been able to control since he was young….he is now 24…..and his long term Liberty is threatened. When we challenge his diagnosis and treatment we are undermined and discredited, and at this stage we feel the BPA diagnosis has more to do with the psychiatrists ego than our sons condition!

  21. Hi Aspertypical,

    I read this and the previous blog article of yours with great interest as my own family have members with significant mental issues that are difficult to diagnose, including my own daughter who had multiple suicide attempts despite not having a major depression, suspected to have borderline personality disorder (BPD), but not conformed by her psychologist and psychiatrist. I myself can self-test for ADHD, depression, bipolar, borderline, and autism on the Fortunately, I’m fairly high functioning individual with medical training who has lots of insight into mental diseases.
    My research on the current classification of mental diseases taught me that the classification is totally bogus, and should be replaced by biologic criteria, as most mental diseases (including BPD) have biologic and genetic roots that are unfortunately difficult to elucidate at the moment due to their multifactorial and multigenetic nature. There is a fairly abundant literature critical to the current DSM approach if you bother to check
    In case you are thinking about next installation of your series you should update your limited and distorted knowledge of BPD. BPD is not an acquired “personality trait” due to a childhood trauma that starts in adolescence like you stated.
    There is emerging evidence that BPD is an inherited condition with abnormal communication between amygdala and prefrontal cortex and with neurotransmitter imbalance involving ACh and perhaps NMDA signaling. BPD responds poorly to psychotherapy, but favorably to medications like lithium, Lamictal, and other anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers. Signs of BPD can be seen in young children before they are diagnosed later:
    It is true that we don’t know how BPD relates to ASD (including your Asperger’s), but I suspect that there is a great overlap in some conditions, especially high functioning ASD (formerly Asperger’s syndrome).
    In summary, IMHO, copying and amplifying the usual misinformed stereotypes about BPD does not provide good service for the unfortunate souls trying to get the right diagnosis and treatments.

    Jack B, MD

  22. One more thing, my daughter sounds just like Sad Dad’s daughter (poster who posted on 5/9/16). What a weird coincidence! Sad Dad, if you read this, please provide an update. I would like to connect and brainstorm. J.B.

  23. This both fascinates me and terrifies me.
    Because I was diagnosed with BPD three years ago.
    However on a number of occasions I have been asked if I am in fact autistic, by friends and in-laws. Because when over stimulated I have a tendency to rock back and forth and hit my head (although that tendency has decreased significantly over the past 18months after having jaw surgery, and the rocking now makes me feel sick, but still I start it out of instinct then stop).
    My fear is that, recently while talking in therapy, I was asked to think of a time where I did feel the way I do now, not worried or panicked or anything, just content. They said most people think back to when they are around 7/8years old. But I explained I’ve ALWAYS been this way, he couldn’t seem to grasp I was born terrified of the world, that I could handle it and I’ve never grown out of it.
    Ita also only recently I have admitted I severely struggle with reading and understanding tasks and already my therapist wishes me to atleast get tested for dyslexia.
    My worry now is that infact those people who’ve said “are you autistic” may in fact be more right than I want to admit.

    I don’t know who to trust or what to trust.

    Though I must say, dbt is doing something, but I don’t think it’s really going to help me much because I’ve got to a point where I just cannot understand what they are asking me to do, and I’m supposedly to be rounding up treatment over the next coming months.

    I don’t know anything it feels.

    • If you feel going back through diagnosis will push you too far then don’t go through it. Way up the benifitd and the bad sides of it. I am dyslexic, dyspraxic and have adhd. I’m currently going through my autism spectrum diagnosis atm but one doctor dick still thinks I have bpd not autism. I have battled 5 yrs to do this. I fist looked into the autistic spectrum side when family and another autistic spectrum boy I know approached me asking if I too were on the spectrum like them not just adhd. We are increasingly similar in ways of particular structure traits and sensory issue traits and I think without them I wouldn’t be where I am now. I finally felt like someone sort of understood why I was a weirdo or like I don’t think I’m like anyone as I’m different. Incredibly so.
      Pushing to get the right support and diagnosis for me is key to me being happy and less meltdowns will occur. I just tend to cry and scream alot at most things which in turn makes me worse and my head hurts even more. I tick a lot and rock in group situations where not comfortable I cry intensely at loud noises. And lights effect me so much I now wear colour tinted glasses to help calm my head and vision.
      It’s your choice but definitely look and read a lot online first if you do want to go down this route. I maybe able to link you and aspie type spectrum test I took with me to my psychiatrists to get me the right specialist last year If that’s what you want and help?

      • Thank you so much for your response.
        My current cpn has on multiple occasions now asked me if I have undiagnosed learning disabilities.
        I’ve finally got the name of a local helper for learning difficulties so I’m going to gather the courage to go through with testing.
        The second last paragraph rings soo many bells. I got told at dbt in December I had self harmed because I’d gotten overwhelmed and started bashing my head with my hands/fists. I felt rather upset because I didn’t feel I had any control over it, and I was infront of other people and overwhelmed….
        So yeah I’m really looking at it now… I’m accepting I probably have BPD as well, but as I’m treating the BPD and more and more things are popping up there must be something else going on…

        Thank you again for your response.

        • Hello, your welcome for my response. I hope I helped in some way. Glad to hear you get helped more now too. I hope you get the answers you looking for. I admit as a teen I probably did have bpd traits but not anymore. I see the learning/cognitive issues as well as sensory and social anxiety become more apparent now then ever. As I’m at college and everything keeps changing. I don’t medicate my conditions I’d rather live with them and have natural help then chemical. But that’s a personal choice. I have just finally been put on special needs register too which is also something my social worker has been trying to do for a while. Glad thing are looking up for us in a ways

  24. In terms of assessment, I am decrepit (62) and both my parents still alive (in their 90s). When I recently went to the local uni testing center, with the am I Aspie question, having been self recognized, confirmed by recognition of experienced clinical practitioner, I was handed a BPD response, with some wrinkles in it, as the report text justified the PD instrument result scores to come to the BPD answer.

    Since then therapy has centered on what is, not what the label is, therapist does not see the Issues that make working with BPD a challenge for some. I feel there are both neurological differences that are involved (I am indeed on the spectrum, as well as my folks, with or without confirmation) and we have the resulting habitual coping mechanisms developed to deal with circumstances (when severe enough can look like personality disturbances) as well as downstream effects of attachment difficulties and resulting relational skills of limited parenting due to both nature (their own neuron based stuff) as well as their nurture/life experiences, during Great Depression, with affected parenting of their own, back however far that might go.

    So there are times when emo behavior (which is about the only part of Aspieness I find to be a problem, having been a quite successful IT pro) so there are times for me when emo behavior is a collapse of control, a giving up, others when it is more of an attempt to assert control in an out of control way. The first I attribute to Aspieness, the second to dysfunctional coping mechanisms, still somewhat neurologically mediated, but there is a loss of control, in both cases. Which then can lead to more self developed issues, so the thing is to get on with it right then, to forgive oneself, and determine to learn more and keep going, nobody has a lock on this.

    In getting to forgiveness or moving on, finding healthy methods to cope, is where the reasons behind the behaviors may be similar despite the external label, or they might be the different entirely. The thing is to find out what the reasons behind the behaviors or thoughts or feelings are and cope with them, not apply a set solution that may not fit the situation. Is how I see it.

    Bless everyone who wrote, I cannot tell you how helpful to know not alone.

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