When you’ve lived with borderline personality disorder (BPD) for a while, you become aware of the unique things you do because of it. Things like “splitting,” experiencing intense emotions or mood swings and dissociation are mainstays for many folks with BPD — but they aren’t the only ways it can manifest.
Sometimes BPD can make people do things that are often described (and misunderstood) as being “impolite.”
Maybe you lash out in anger at unsuspecting loved ones when you’re feeling emotionally activated. Maybe you alternate between oversharing with strangers and undersharing with the ones who love you most — to protect yourself from getting hurt. Or maybe you push people away when you fear they might abandon you.
If you struggle with an “impolite” manifestation of BPD, you’re not alone. The reality is, these things aren’t meant to come off as impolite at all. The only way we can set the record straight about “impolite” things people do because of BPD is to talk about it.
To open up this discussion, we asked our Mighty BPD community to share one “impolite” thing they do because of their condition.
Here’s what they shared with us:
1. Interrupting Others
“I interrupt everyone all the time because my brain gets so overexcited that I can’t control my mouth.” — Sophie S.
“Interrupt people when they’re talking. … I really struggle with knowing when the right time is to interject or have my say as I’m so anxious about how I come across! I end up talking over people then feeling so guilty my anxiety increases and I do it again! I stutter and get my words muddled then beat myself up for days/weeks… even years!” — Kim A.
“Get too excited because I can relate to a person and accidentally interrupt to tell them a similar story because I want them to know we have something in common.” — Rishele S.
“Talking over people…when I feel an urgency to get my thoughts out.” — Heather W.
“I overshare a lot. Like I tell total strangers about my sex life, being raped in high school, my family hating me and not wanting me, and other closely personal information. But I don’t tell close friends the same information.” — Steven H.
“Overshare or undershare to people that [are] actually close, throw and break things, disassociate, get angry over small triggers and livid over bigger ones, etc. BPD is so exhausting.” — Chrissy H.
4. Lashing Out at Others
“I snap at people for the slightest thing. When I’m in one of my moods, everything is an inconvenience so even something like an unexpected phone call will trigger the attitude. If someone touches my dog without permission I have been known to fly off the handle at them. Even threaten them. I’m not a nice person at all when I’m inconvenienced.” — Angie C.
“When I have feelings for someone I will snap at them over the slightest thing. Read my text and didn’t reply? I’ll snap. Not talking to me much today? Well you just hate me, so I’ll snap.” — Alysha L.
5. Canceling Plans
“I cancel plans constantly and isolate all the time, because I think the outside world is scary and I know my friends get tired of me canceling but I can’t do anything to change it, sooo… yeah.” — Megan T.
“Making arrangements then not going out, ignoring phone calls from my best friends (thankfully they understand why) and oversharing. Being hyperactive one [minute] then sleeping all day or one hour. Zoning out so walking into people, then get shouted at by them.” — Georgina C.
6. Talking About Self Exclusively
“I never ask my partner how his day was or how he’s feeling, I just go on tangents about my day because I forget about other [person’s] problems and feelings. I’ve gotten into a routine that has helped me remember to ask him, but it’s been a very slow process.” — Tanesha G.
7. Being Brutally Honest
“I’m often overly honest and straightforward and come off as blunt or rude. “ — Taylor C.
“I can’t hide disgust. And I’m easily disgusted by food. So I’ll look evidently grossed out when I get served things I don’t like. Like at weddings or if the food doesn’t look how it should in a restaurant — but the worst is when I get invited to eat at someone’s house. And you’ll try to see me hide my face.” — Li N.
“No tact whatsoever! I upset people without even realizing what I am doing wrong. Sometimes when I think back on it I get why they were upset, but mostly I cannot get my head round it. … I ask direct questions and all hell breaks loose?” — Phrin B.
8. Ignoring or “Ghosting” People
“I ignore people. Most of the time everything feels crushingly overwhelming and I can’t muster the mental allowance to even reply to messages. The people close to me are used to it now, but I beat myself up for going MIA often.” — Jamie D.
“I ghost people all the time even though I like them. I just really struggle to stay in touch with people.” — Zahara S.
9. Being “Forgetful”
“I forget a lot of things. I don’t mean to — sometimes I just forget because I was [in] a really bad state or was disassociating.” — Montana B.
10. Leaving Without Saying Goodbye
“Walk away at inappropriate moments during a conversation because I feel like they hate me.” — Elizabeth B.
“Leaving situations because I’m uncomfortable. I have no idea why it’s considered impolite but it is, I guess?” — Megan G.
11. Deleting Then Re-Adding People on Social Media
“Don’t know if this counts. I will get into this frenzy where I delete people from social media and then re-invite them a day later.” — Rozeltte C.
12. Prolonging Conversations on Purpose
“I stall people from leaving or keep talking on the phone when they say they need to go because I don’t want them to leave or hang up. I don’t realize I’m doing it most the time until after they get upset with me.” — Sami S.
13. Cutting People Out Unexpectedly
“I think my worst or most impolite habit is cutting people off with no explanation. In that moment I feel as if I owe nobody my justification, but later on I feel bad for it, but by then it’s too late and I have to remember why I cut them off.” — Olive R.
14. Being “Clingy”
“I get super clingy to the point people get uncomfortable. I’ll literally sit there and tell you how much I adore you and weird you out about it lol.” — Michelle I.
15. “Checking Out” of Conversations
“Switching off from conversation because I’m experiencing dissociation. People assume I’m not interested/not listening when in fact I am just experiencing a dissociation period.” — Carissa W.
16. Nagging Others
“Well for me I get very nitpicky and naggy. On my worst days it’s always my way or the highway. I can’t see anything but my plan and the way I think things should go.” — Molly S.
17. Getting Defensive
“I get defensive over any perceived slight, and not just an offense to myself, but I’ll defend anyone against any slight if I’m not mindful of my emotional reactions.” — Andrew R.
18. Taking Out Feelings on Others
“Take my feelings out on everyone around me.” — Roxanne C.