When I first began this series, the topic of BPD and how it relates to acts of violence and acts of homicide was foremost in my mind. I think it’s one of the most misunderstood apects of BPD and the most damaging.
I watch a lot of true crime/forensic file type shows. Because of my own mother’s violent death back in 1992, I’m keenly interested in bringing violent criminals to justice.
One thing that really bothers me though is that I’ve watched more than a few episodes wherein an “expert” has been interviewed and has identified said violent criminal as having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and thus this seems to provide a sufficient explanation as to why someone is violent. Do I have the audacity to refute such experts?
Yes I do and I believe I have research on my side. Here are a few links to sources in regards to meeting the criteria for a BPD diagnosis. There are several more listed on my BPD page.
Mayo Clinic: Borderline Personality Disorder
Verywell Mind: Understanding BPD
Notice that there is mention of anger, physical fighting and suicide, however it doesn’t go as far as to identify violence and/or homicidal tendencies as being typical for people with BPD.
It may seem easy to assign violent acts to a specific personality disorder. Much more so than BPD, violent behavior gets assigned to Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), which has become the PC term for sociopathy/psychopathy. There is a lot of credence to lend to this assignment if you read the following:
Mayo Clinic: Antisocial Personality Disorder
It’s also been well-documented in the last few years that mental health conditions can and do overlap, thus it is possible for a person to meet both the criteria for BPD and APD, for instance. There is this article by Verywell Mind, which suggests that while there is a connection between violence and a BPD diagnosis, research also seems to suggest that in many such cases there is indeed a stong link between said violence and the comorbidity of BPD and APD:
Verywell Mind: Borderline Personality and Violence
In truth, violence and homicidal tendencies may be much more complicated than merely assigning them to a single personality disorder, though. In studying a vast amount of criminals myself, I’ve noticed that people lash out to hurt other people for a variety of reasons: passion, jealousy, rage, revenge, boredom, envy, robbery, and of course in the case of seriel killers, to fulfill deranged and sometimes unexplainable fantasies. Violent criminals themselves have a wide variety of responses to their own acts. Some are remorseful, some aren’t. Some are sloppy in their crimes, some are meticulous. Some are truthful and confess early on in their capture and some never come clean. Some go away quietly to serve their sentences and others continue to taunt police and even their victims as long as they have the ability to do so.
So why should anyone care, you may ask? Tit for tat. Whats the difference? Violence is violence. My answer is that it makes a colossal difference for those of us who are in recovery for BPD or other mental conditions. We are often assigned a host of stereotypical and flat-out erroneous symptoms that do not belong to the diagnosis. In additon to violence and homicidal tendencies, a host of other criteria gets erroneously assigned to people with BPD, such as a lack of empathy, lack of remorse, manipulative behavior, disregard for right/wrong, etc.
We have more than enough to deal with without having to deal with all this misinformation, too. Even though this is often the way of the world, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still do what we can to change it.
Borderline Personality Disorder: More posts
Borderline Personality Disorder: From Fear to Fight to Fab