What is borderline personality anger

BPD symptoms explained | N ° 8

Reading time: 8 minutes

"Could you please ..." - "SHUT UP! YOU CAN MAKE ME !!!"

In the series BPD Symptoms I would like to explain to you step by step based on the "official criteria" of the DSMtheSymptoms of borderline personality disorder to introduce. As with all contributions on my side, the following applies: this is about my world, my experiences, my views. Today it isCriterion N ° 8:

Inappropriate, very violent anger, or difficulty controlling the anger

The penultimate symptom on the list is anger. An anger that is often much too violent, comes suddenly and is difficult to contain. But not letting it out is not a solution either - because then it will accumulate inside. A tightrope walk.


There it is again - the anger. As an old friend and constant companion of mine, she has already sneaked into various other articles. Especially with symptom n ° 2 she got involved, she has an intimate relationship to tension and from the roller coaster of symptom n ° 6 she is obviously a big fan.

When does the anger come?

Anger is definitely a central issue in my everyday life, my life. And to say when it will come is difficult if not impossible. It really happens in a moment - like with all feelings and emotions on the roller coaster. Just now everything was nice and happy, and suddenly I seem like a different person, I have a huge ball of hatred, contempt, anger and anger in me that takes control and uses me like a doll. I think and say things that I can't believe myself.

What follows after that is the usual shame, self-reproach and Co. What has just happened to me again? And why didn't I do anything about it? I am a bad person and nobody should be around me! And so on.

At least that's one option. That I let out the anger the moment it comes over me. That is usually not very nice for me and those around me (mostly Arvid), but all in all it is over quite quickly.

The second variant however, is the one with which I actually have more experience. And with this variant, the anger must not come out. You hardly notice anything on the outside. But inside of me it boils and rages and screams. There are two main reasons why I am much more familiar with this variant than with letting it out:

  1. My ratio. My mind. My upbringing. My superego. My head without a break - no matter what I call it, what comes out comes out the same: I am well aware that there are situations, places, environments and moments when it just isn't appropriate to freak out. Bullying. To get loud. Saying rude things. This is not the case with other people affected and their behavior keeps shooting each other out of the way. For me, not letting go has other consequences, as you will read in a moment.
  2. Before I was diagnosed - and sometimes even now - I just didn't want anyone to notice anything. Realizes that I'm "weird". Realize that I'm "crazy". Realizes that I am not well. I wanted Avoid anyone asking me questions at all costs. Questions to me. And unfounded outbursts of anger or similar anger-motivated behaviors would definitely have led to questions.

Don't let out ...

... is not a solution either. Because just because I don't show the anger doesn't mean it's not there. And above all, don't just go away. No, just the opposite. The disregard only increases the anger. The anger becomes even angrier. And then comes out in a moment when my defenses are down.

It's probably easy to imagine what it looks like when I scream or get loud or scold. But what it feels like to hold this huge black lump inside of me - that makes it harder. When the whole body is raging and throbbing and wants to burst, but you still look calm. When the mind and spirit form words, throw them around with blatant thoughts. When the feelings and emotions want to get out of the facade prison like a horde of hungry fighting dogs. When the heart beats so wildly that the blood feels like it is made of lead, because you can feel it everywhere and you can feel every single pulse.

And then nothing can be seen.

It went on for a long time. I've swallowed my anger. Swallowed over and over again. Just don't let it out. Just don't show it. Just don't attract attention. Just no questions. The result is like a saucepan. The more anger, the fuller the pot becomes. The more I lock up the anger, the hotter the record gets. Until the pot gets too small at some point and the anger makes its way. That was often the moment when self-harm or other self-damaging behaviors took the stage.

Then I turn all anger I actually had at others against myself. Instead of throwing bad words at others, I destroy myself. And unfortunately it helps and works damn well again. The hole was there. The pot is empty again. The game can start over.

Really anger?

Oh yes, you are probably still wondering: Anger at what? On me, on others, on life, on a little thing, on a word, on a sentence, on a glance, on an event, on nothing. There is no recipe for that. In other words: nothing, really nothing, is safe from anger. Not even "nothing" is safe from anger. Because that is often exactly the trigger. Nothing. Nothing special. Nothing tangible. Nothing objective. It's just there.

But that's not quite true. Because as I have learned in the meantime, the anger is actually a for me and many other borderline sufferers Follow-up feeling.

Feelings of obedience are a tricky thing because they are so good at hiding the root cause. The anger likes to lay down on her fellow feeling. Especially often about grief, insecurity, fears, pain and similar cronies. Because all these feelings are (for borderliners) far more uncomfortable than anger. You can deal with anger. You can shout out anger. Words can be found for anger.

Dealing with the actual feelings is even more uncomfortable. So it happens, for example, that I yell at Arvid when I'm actually afraid, sad or hurt. Recognizing this takes a lot of practice and does not help much at that moment.

But what you can do is ask yourself after an outburst of anger whether there was a reason for the anger or whether there is something else behind it. In this way you gradually get to know yourself and your mechanisms better and can work on sore spots that have long been simply painted over with anger.

It is therefore extremely important for those affected and their relatives to try to look behind the anger.

My anger way

The anger gets in the way - but the more I get angry with her, the more happy she is. So what to do I can try to take her by the hand again and again and bring her back to her room. And to open the door. Locking is not possible. I threw away the key. Because for a while I tried exactly that: as soon as the anger was there, I sent her to her room. Door closed. Key around so that there is silence outside. But that didn't stop the anger. She sat in her room and pouted. And secretly sent invitations to her friends.

So very soon there was not the same anger, but a very similar one at my door. I couldn't tell For me, my anger was soon there again, surprisingly and unexpectedly. This game then repeats itself a few times. Until the room gets too full at some point and the anger baggage throws a spontaneous, unauthorized party and sends me into the hole.

What meditation, self-care and the like can achieve is that the anger doesn't want to come out of your room as often. I set up anger's room pretty nicely so that she doesn't want to come out at all. Especially when there are hard-working bouncers waiting outside like calmness and mindfulness. Then at some point even the angry friends don't want to come over.

So my anger has changed now. She practically grew up. For a long time there was only one way to anger - inward. And then out again through self-damaging behavior. That still happens today, but only 4 times a year instead of 4 times a week.

On the one hand I have others today better, more effective, healthier ways to reduce pent up anger. Above all sports. And write. And on the other hand, the mindfulness especially helped me not to be a completely helpless victim for the outbursts of anger as before.

Today I manage to take a step back more often. To virtually observe from the outside what is going on with me. I can take distance from my feelings and see that I have a choice.

I rate a lot less today than I used to. Also a consequence of mindfulness and meditation. Because "The evaluation is the way to the feeling". When I think the person in front of me is walking far too slowly. And he sure does it to annoy me. And already there is a negative feeling. Objectively speaking, the person in front of me walks slowly. And then I have the choice of being annoyed about overtaking him or of slowing down myself.

That freedom of choice is a great gift and hard earned. And made my life a lot easier.

Borderline anger or normal anger?

At this point I also have the feeling that I have to issue a "warning" again. A warning that after a borderline diagnosis every feeling and every word will be put on the malfunction scales. Borderliners are also - and above all first and foremost - just humans. Who can also be angry.

If someone is unfair to me, attacks me, or has any other reason to get angry, then I can too. Without having to be afraid of the borderline. Like everyone else, I can get angry with other people or scold them.

The difference to borderline anger is that "normal anger" has a reason to be so angry. An objective reason that most other people can understand. It's quite different with borderline anger. Often there is a (flimsy) reason, but why exactly you are so incredibly angry at that moment cannot be explained at all. In addition to this baselessness, the inappropriateness of timing and severity are characteristics of borderline anger.

What to do? | Relatives

With anger variant 1, if she is allowed out, the stupidest thing is that for me as a victim it often goes just as fast as it came - a well-known problem with borderline personality disorder: I am already five worlds of emotions and thoughts further on while the other person is still trying to digest what I've just thrown at him or what I've said.

For the relatives that means once again: keep calm. If somehow possible. Let your little Rumpelstiltskin romp for one, two or five minutes. Put on imaginary soundproof headphones, think of a funny movie or call moments in your head when it was nice and relaxed with your Borderliner. Try to look behind the angry facade of the disease and look for the person who is important to you. Don't get carried away by the black stream - you probably know better than anyone that your boat will be back in calm waters in a few minutes.

But if the anger doesn't even show itself to the outside world, there is little you can do as a relative at first. What you can try in collaboration with your Borderliner is to go back after an outbreak of caged anger, discuss situations, clear up misunderstandings and so on.

What to do? | Affected

I would like to advise those affected two things in particular:

  1. Lower your basic tension because then the anger can break through less often. I know that simply lowering the basic tension is not an option - but with good therapy, meditation, mindfulness and a helping of self-care you can move and achieve a lot. I will not and cannot promise you that you will get rid of your anger. For me, all of these things, as well as tension and anger, are very closely related. But I have found for myself and for myself that anger can no longer carry me away as often as it used to.
  2. Do not make decisions, messages, purchases, or anything else difficult to take back. If the anger stands or sits or goes next to you, then accept it in the moment. And be aware that you are not yourself right now. But you are under the influence of her. The anger wants quite a bit of attention, so if you accept it and ignore it as best you can, it will quickly get bored and go away.

Treatment goals must be

  • Find other outlets for the pent-up anger - skills instead of self-harm
  • find out with professional help which feelings are hidden behind the anger
  • learning through mindfulness not to let anger control so easily

On borderlinepersonalitytreatment they have put together a few more tips on how to deal with anger as a person affected.

So, dear anger. I hope you are happy with your article. And now go to your room.

TensionborderlineSymptomsUnder the magnifying glass