Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with BPD often have difficulty regulating their emotions and may experience intense mood swings, impulsive behaviour, and unstable relationships.
One of the most significant features of BPD is how people with the disorder think. Individuals with BPD tend to have distorted thinking patterns, which can lead to problems in their lives.
The 5 Most Common Thinking Patterns in BPD
Here are some of the most common thinking patterns in BPD:
- Black and white thinking: This is the tendency to see things in extremes, with no middle ground. For example, someone with BPD might think they are either a complete failure or a total success, with no in-between.
- Splitting: This is the tendency to view people and situations as either all good or all bad. For example, someone with BPD might idealize their partner one day and devalue them the next.
- Mind reading: This is the belief that you know what other people are thinking, even if they haven’t said anything. For example, someone with BPD might think that their partner is angry with them, even if their partner hasn’t shown any signs of anger.
- Catastrophizing: This is the tendency to believe that the worst possible outcome will happen. For example, someone with BPD might think that if they make a mistake at work, they will be fired.
- Emotional reasoning: This is the belief that your emotions are always accurate reflections of reality. For example, someone with BPD might think that they are a bad person because they are feeling angry.
These thinking patterns can lead to a number of problems in people’s lives. For example, black and white thinking can make it challenging to make decisions, splitting can lead to unstable relationships, mind reading can lead to anxiety and conflict, catastrophizing can lead to avoidance and social withdrawal, and emotional reasoning can lead to self-destructive behaviour.
How DBT Can Help with BPD Thinking Patterns
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help people with BPD. DBT teaches skills to help people with BPD regulate their emotions, improve their relationships, and make better decisions.
One of the key components of DBT is mindfulness training. Mindfulness training helps people to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, and to learn to observe them without judgment. This can help people with BPD to challenge their distorted thinking patterns and to develop more balanced ways of thinking.
Another important component of DBT is distress tolerance training. Distress tolerance training teaches people with BPD how to cope with difficult emotions healthily. This can include skills such as relaxation techniques, distraction, and self-soothing.
DBT can be a very effective treatment for BPD. However, it is important to find a therapist trained in DBT who understands the specific needs of people with BPD.
You Are Not Your Thoughts
It is important to remember that you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are just thoughts, and they do not necessarily reflect reality. If you find yourself struggling with distorted thinking patterns, it is important to challenge your thoughts and to learn to think more realistically.
Here are some tips for challenging your thoughts:
- Ask yourself if your thoughts are based on evidence. Are there any facts to support your thoughts, or are they based on assumptions?
- Consider the other side of the story. What are some other possible explanations for the situation?
- Talk to someone you trust about your thoughts. Can they help you to see the situation in a different light?
- Use mindfulness techniques to observe your thoughts without judgment. This can help you to see your thoughts for what they are, and to not take them so seriously.
It is also important to remember that recovery from BPD is possible. With the right treatment, people with BPD can learn to challenge their distorted thinking patterns and develop more balanced ways of thinking. If you or someone you know is struggling with BPD, please reach out for help.