Discovering Who You Are: Identity Issues and Borderline Personality Disorder



One of the chief complaints of many people with Borderline Personality Disorder (as was the case for me just before being diagnosed), is a huge amount of distress related to not knowing who they are, or experiencing a lack of a sense of identity.

People who suffer from BPD are often compared to chameleons that shape-shift to the situation and company that they are in at a given moment.  More than this being a manipulative strategy, it is far more often an unconscious survival mechanism learned from a very young age.

I write about this in my book Healing From Borderline Personality Disorder: My Journey Out of Hell Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy. The example that I get into is my father's anger. When I was a young girl, I often had to "read" my father and determine what way to behave in order to please him and be safe around him.  Of course I didn't know I was doing this as a child, but it's clear to me now in retrospect.  This behavior stood with me throughout my adult life until I got deep into my treatment with Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Throughout the process of self-exploration and skill learning in therapy, I found it helpful to take quizzes, values tests, and surveys that helped me get a better idea of who the authentic me was.  I answered to the best of my ability and based on what my gut  told me -- not what I thought others would want to read if they looked at my survey results.  This can be challenging at first, especially if you are so conditioned to pleasing others and trying to win favor, approval, and acceptance.

Go easy on yourself. Perhaps take the quizzes knowing that you'll immediately shred them afterward. This way, it only matters to YOU what your results are. No one else will see them.  This may help you tap into what YOU honest feel and not what you predict others expect or would prefer of you.

This week in my psychology class, we are taking a number of self-evaluations, and I will share them with you here. They are:

Feel free to share your discoveries if you choose to do any of the tests/surveys. 

Thank you for reading.
More Soon.

As a word of caution, no online tests like these can diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. Always consult a mental health professional.

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