(Please note the comments section on this web page is now closed. You may of course email us with your private comments.)
What is ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ (BPD)? Is it a legitimate classification? How should we respond to it? Firstly, we will look at what a full ‘Personality Disorder’ is. Then, we will see how this compares to a ‘Borderline’ P.D.
The reason I wish to discuss this Disorder is that it is said to be the most common reason why younger people are admitted to a mental hospital today. And, we see its manifestations all around us in young people who, in essence, run amok in society. More importantly, many are now found amongst Christians.
This article sets out to give real hope to people with so-called BPD, but it requires their full attention and repentance. It is written in tough style, with cold facts, but the aim is not to cause further misery; the words are tough but not condemnatory, because we can all fall into sin, and often do.
The first step in dealing with a problem is to face it squarely and to be completely honest. If the person with BPD does not do this, he or she will never be healed. And if the person with BPD is a Christian, it is their duty to obey what the article says – because it is scriptural counsel. Freedom from BPD misery is as close as the act of repentance! It is up to the BPD to take courage and act wisely.
It will be seen in this article that the young person with BPD is fully responsible for what is another name for sin. However, others share responsibility for their welfare, and this is highlighted. Working together, mature Christian and the person with BPD can discard what might have been a long-term problem. So, be encouraged!
What is ‘Personality’?
What we call ‘personality’ is literally everything that identifies us as individuals… the way we think, act, speak; the way we walk, look at people, react; everything others notice about us. In psychiatry, many ‘experts’ believe all Christians have a personality problem, a ‘problem’ God calls holiness and obedience.
There is a definite Christian personality, one that all believers should strive to attain to (see separate article on Christian personality). The personalities of the unsaved are undisciplined and liable to go off at a tangent. When this happens, each part of the person tends to disintegrate and the longer the person allows this to continue the worse becomes the personality. Children need the vital hand of adult supervision. So do teenagers. Sadly, the modern way is to allow teenagers to think they are adults, and to let them do whatever they wish. Thus, modern society is falling apart, as teenage minds rebel and do what teenagers want to do – which is, whatever they like. They certainly do not like discipline or restraint! And it shows.
When Christian teenagers or younger children fall into the trap of BPD, they do so because in their still untrained mental and emotional state, they have not received discipline from their parents. It is likely that the parents thought they dealt lovingly with the child, but youngsters require firm guidance, not allowances. If their parents are unsaved, then their BPD is a natural result of their parent’s unbelief. If their parents are saved, then it means they have not, for some reason, provided the discipline required, or, their own sinfulness has taken over.
There are several strands to this problem, however. Firstly, the social environment today is literally foul. Whilst Christian parents can have a Christian home free of taint, the child grows up amongst his or her peers, imbibing their thinking and ways, which are often very sinful. They hear words they ought not to hear, see things they ought not to see, and think things that are evil. They cannot help it, because they are in amongst the devil’s children. No, this is not a terrible way to put it – if youngsters are unsaved, they, along with adults who are unsaved, belong to their “father, the devil” and are bound to do whatever he wishes. That is what scripture says. Therefore, they are the devil’s children.
Christian children and teenagers who move amongst them will be adversely affected by what they see and hear around them, in school, college and early work. Many of their ways will be ‘borrowed’ from their unsaved peers, often without obvious intent, but most Christian parents seem oblivious to this constant threat. The youngsters will do what their peers do in society, which is, unfortunately, hedonistic and sinful. It would have been unthinkable a few decades ago to allow youngsters to go away on holiday alone or with friends, to go to clubs and pubs, to go to see X-rated films, to wear clothing revealing their bodies, to listen to awful music filled with sexual and other innuendo and obvious sin, and so on.
It was also unthinkable that teenagers should openly speak against their parents or any adult, to use bad language, to defy and speak badly to them, and so on. When I was a young worker I earned a very much-reduced income though I did the same job as my elders. I accepted it as the social norm of the day; I gave all my income to my mother, because it was what was done. Today, teenagers who earn money get the same rate as adults, which, to me, is not right, nor is it viable for the country.
Thus, youngsters think money is just for them and for their own use, instead of something to attain to as they grow older. Few give anything to their parents. So, today’s youngsters keep all of their income and spend it frivolously, often on drink, drugs, clothes and other hedonistic pleasures. It is all too easy and the modern way of parents not taking ‘keep’ money off them is very wrong and leads to all kinds of problems. It is now part of ‘normal’ teenage life… and Christian youngsters are affected, too, very badly, for it is a life of sin and debauchery.
Christian teenagers are simply not mature enough to be left alone to do whatever they like. They need vital discipline. Christian parents should be watching them like hawks and supplying suitable teaching to counter whatever they learn from their unsaved friends, on a daily basis. I do not mean they must ‘preach’ to them and harp-on, but must, from the time they are much younger, explain God’s way and demands. After that, thy must be reminded gently if they adopt something sinful.
Everything should be under scrutiny, from music to films, to work, to friends. And if the youngster is saved, he or she should and must comply with this process of checking. Because I was very aware of these processes, I continually brought up my sons in this ethos, even until the eldest left home to get married.
God warns us against hedonism and borrowing lifestyles from the unsaved. He expects and demands that we live in accordance with His laws and teachings, which is why doctrine is so vital. Teenagers are not exempt from this! (See separate article on young people not being special cases).
They are to listen to adult Christians and be taught by them. They are to obey their parents, without fail. They are to keep their own desires in definite check, and not allow them to become a burden to their parents. There is no excuse for shaping the personality so that it is stunted or affected by sin! If the reader of this article is him/herself supposedly BPD, they should sit up and take notice! They CAN change!
So, whilst parents have a role to play and must take responsibility when things go wrong, the same applies to the saved teenager. That teenager has a Bible; he or she can read what God says about their life. They are bound to obey what God says… and nowhere in scripture are they told they can sin at will, or ignore their parents, or in any way rebel against them or speak against them. Nowhere! Any such behaviour, whether called simply sin or BPD, is unacceptable and an offence against God Almighty.
The reasons for sin do not concern God – He only demands that we obey. When we do not, we warp our own personalities, and it is this warping of the whole person that is nowadays called ’BPD’ by a psychiatric profession that is, in the main, unbelieving and hostile towards Christian teaching. They ‘diagnose’ a mental state, when, all along, it is simply a condition of untamed sin. And this is what BPD really is. It covers what should be the real Christian personality, destroying it slowly. In a very real way, the BPD Christian has a fragmented personality, but accepts it as ‘how I am’, never thinking that ‘how I am’ is really an unrepentant sinner.
Personality Disorders (PD)
To be classified as a PD, a person must have a personality that does not approximate to what the rest of society calls ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ (which is itself very questionable, as boundaries shift and stretch beyond what God allows). It is said that diagnosis is subjective, but it is also true to say that once such a personality is before you, he or she will obviously and objectively be ‘not right’.
I have come across many of these personalities and know just how badly they affect society and themselves. In particular I have witnessed the sheer violence and enjoyment of harming others, with no remorse whatever. Indeed, they enjoy their violence or wrong behaviour and seek out victims. Others act so irresponsibly they leave a trail of devastation behind them. For example, when I worked in a hospital I received calls from companies who had been deceived by these people – they had, for example, sold houses that did not belong to them, bought fleets of vehicles, and so on. In many cases, a PD mixes with bi-polar (another form of PD, where the person acts out his fantasies and abandons responsibility totally).
The person with PD will be very rigid in his (‘her’ is also included from this point) character, thinking and activities. Some say this mental rigidity is caused by an underlying belief system. Whatever this manifests as, it will definitely be fixed and egocentric: whatever the person thinks and does is acceptable – to himself, but not to others or to God. Thus, he will constantly run into trouble and have relational problems. Usually, this kind of personality disorder can be traced back to adolescence, or, rarely, childhood. As one can expect in psychiatry, this disorder has been classified into a number of different sub-categories. In Christian terms, what psychiatry classifies as a mental disorder is really sin in disguise.
How a PD manifests itself depends on what type it is supposed to be. They are normally grouped together in ‘clusters’. Remember – these are unbelieving psychiatric classifications, often not conducive to how God thinks.
Cluster A includes ‘odd or eccentric disorders’, such as paranoid (irrational suspicion or distrust of others) and schizoid behaviour: lack of interest in creating social bonds, sees no point in spending time with people. Or, odd behaviour or thinking. In my early practice I had to deal with many of this type, and those who were diagnosed with the onset of schizophrenia. I found that they erected a barrier around themselves, the oddness being a defence against people knowing who they really were.
Thus, it is a way of coping with the frightening world that presents itself to the growing youngster, who retreats into their own world of fantasy. The longer this goes on the more entrenched the youngster becomes, and so they develop into ‘schizophrenics’ or continue to have schizoid tendencies. Who is at fault? Those who think they are ‘something’ in psychiatry and who promote godless theories.
Cluster B includes ‘dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders’. These show as antisocial or illegal behaviour, histrionics (attention-seeking, including overt sexuality and promiscuity, and shallow or exaggerated emotions), and narcissism where the person thinks too highly of themselves, is grandiose in thinking, always wants admiration and has a distinct lack of empathy with others.
Also included in this Cluster are those who are ‘Borderline’. They tend to have black-and-white thinking (an exaggerated form of what is typical of young people), unstable relationships, poor self-image and erratic behaviour. In ever case, they draw people into their carefully-constructed world, so everyone has to suffer! They see opposition in everything others do ands ay, so they often end up in raging moods and arguments, which escalate into even worse behaviour. Again, this is totally unacceptable.
Cluster C types have ‘anxious or fearful disorders’. They can be inhibited, feel inadequate, be very sensitive to criticism and so try to avoid social contact. Others have an obvious and uncomfortable reliance on others. Yet others are obsessive-compulsive in personality; they stick strictly to rules, moral codes and being orderly. For families this is horrendous! They are subjected to very silly moods and behaviours and are expected to make allowances or to do the same things, and so family and friends are drawn into doing and saying obviously unacceptable and silly things just to ‘keep the peace’. In other words, the person forces others around them to also sin.
When in nurse training, when we were covering this kind of disorder, our tutor said that we should ‘go along’ with whatever the PD said or did, so as not to ‘rock the boat’. As a Christian I could not accept this ands aid so. “No way!” I said there was no way I would walk on glass just to satisfy someone with a supposed PD; not only did it offend my moral code and my intellect, but it was also stupid to allow an inferior way of thinking and behaviour to affect my own life. After that I never ‘made allowances’ for those with supposed PD and spoke the truth to them.
Many of these malfunctions can be found in those who are Psychopaths/Sociopaths, but with the difference that the latter are without emotion of any kind and do not feel anxious by their behaviour, though it can sometimes be destructive or violent. Some are just unrepentant criminals who do not care what they do to others. These people are the ultimate result of PDs that are allowed to go out of control and are not challenged or stopped. And, this ‘category’ is the natural next step for those with BPD, unless they repent. If they finally resort to a full PD, they have covered their ‘real’ personalities for good, and have created a persona completely free of godliness and self-control.
As a Christian, I am anti-psychiatry in the truest sense. Therefore, my comments on this disorder are my own view, and reflect my beliefs on the subject. The above full-fledged disorders are, as you can see, the result of faulty thinking, and simply being allowed to continue in perversity by others. They are not ‘illnesses’ as such, though they are certainly disorders. In most cases, they become disorders after many years of being unchallenged or not counselled. So, what can we say about Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD)? Bear in mind that this article is written from a Christian stance, and any Christian reading it must comply with its godly counsel, or remain unrepentant and in very real danger of receiving God’s wrath.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Described as a psychiatric classification, I do not see it that way, though it is certainly a disorder of personality. Before I explain, let us look at this Disorder. It is characterised by certain instabilities, and usually incorporates all those ‘symptoms’ listed below. This is invariably the case, because once the personality is affected, the effect is on every part of the personality, not just one. Hence the BPD affects every part of the person, because the various parts of personality are all bound together.
I would urge Christians to avoid using the term BPD, because when people are labelled they tend to live up to their labels, believing they have a ‘condition’. I hope to show that this is not the case… BPDs have a spiritual, not a psychiatric, condition. On the other hand, I also hope to show that people thus diagnosed need help to sort their lives out. Only their willingness to recognise truth and act upon it will make any kind of difference. And if they do not comply, I refuse to accept their claim to salvation. Is this not harsh? No, it is not.
Scripture warns against accepting what is sin; we are told that if a Christian acts sinfully and refuses to comply with repentance, which includes a change in behaviour, then we can justly treat that person as an unbeliever. In extreme cases, we would even have to shun that person and cast them from fellowship… because there is no choice. That is how serious a BPD is in a Christian life.
Manifestations of BPD
(Note: I will refer to those with a BPD as 'BPDs’) Those with a BPD tend to be very stark and contrasting in their thinking: they are ‘black and white’. Everything must be either this or that. There are no shades of grey. If others make mistakes they must be castigated, sometimes severely, and whatever the BPD person thinks is always ‘right’. In Christians, this leads to some people being ‘sainted’ and others ‘demonised’ by the BPD, without any Biblical proof.
Basically, these black and white ideas are extremes, often without realistic reasons. What we have, then, is the expression of normal teenage inability to be adult, and their ‘moods’, but taken to extremes. In Christian counsel terms this is an encouragement, for it shows a definite and clear cause for the sin, and a definite and clear ‘treatment’ – repentance and obedience. The BPD who does not know this will just carry on in misery, never allowing their true Christian personality to emerge and be radically altered by the Holy Spirit.
There is a wide variety of moods, which swing this way and that continually. It is true to say these people can swing from mood to mood rapidly, experiencing many moods one after the other continually. This is just an obvious result of never applying discipline. That is all it is. And, in some, this makes the person anxious or depressed, now feeling guilty and the next moment feeling justified in what he is saying or doing.
Some - even Christian BPDs - can become violent in their moods, by being angry in voice or behaviour, breaking furniture, windows, or even hitting out at people. This is simply the progression of allowing ones’ self to be undisciplined in mood. In saner moments they may then feel so guilty, they might attempt suicide or want to think along those lines. This is uncontrolled activity… the BPD does not listen to advice or demands to be reasonable, because they allow their emotions to take precedence. Though described as involuntary, it is indeed voluntary and can be avoided.
It should be noted that suicidal behaviour is gross sin. God abhors suicide and speaks against it. However, I can say that many youngsters are without proper adult supervision or a compassionate voice and shoulder. They may see suicide as the ‘only way out’. Of course, this is nonsense, because they will all the more quickly come to see God face-to-face and hear his condemnation of their behaviour!
Thus, anyone of this type MUST understand their precarious position before God. It is NOT the answer. Indeed, as I say later, it is the ultimate indulgence, that, when done, causes lifelong guilt in everyone who thinks they ought to have helped, or who love them. In reality, they could do nothing, for it is a self-indulgence, a total loss of responsibility for one’s life, just to get instant relief from fear or misery. The BPD needs to listen to counsel and act upon it. They must see suicide as sin and against God’s command. Then they must repent and get on with life in a very different way, because otherwise they hurt themselves as well as others.
I have treated youngsters of this type, whose arms and legs and bellies were a mass of razor cuts. They just keep on cutting themselves. Behind it is the fantasy that it is ‘relief’ from anxiety and their misery. But, like any habit, it is fuelled by its own repetition! That is, doing it repeatedly does not give relief, but only reinforces the behaviour, which is, if we are open about it, very silly indeed, with no end-result. I would put it on the same scale as taking drugs or binge-drinking, because it is of the same type and cause.
If we see someone with a history of cutting and self-harm, we can be assured that it is an endless round of gratuitous behaviour, no matter who the person is, whether Christian or not. And we also know that those around them will be subjected to constant fear and being drawn-in to anxiety and continuous depressive mood. Again, this is unacceptable and against God’s will. There is, as with everything else, a sane and proper way to deal with it – genuine repentance and self-control. And contact with real Christians who can pray and assist. Note, however, that a BPD is NOT perpetual and permanent! It lasts only for as long as the BPD wishes it to last. When he repents genuinely, there is no room for sin (BPD)!
Relationships can be very mixed and usually end in tears. The person will not stay with one person but will often flit from one to another, rather than remain and work out perceived problems. He may also become quite engrossed in a relationship but will always end it before he has to commit himself. This is, in today’s language, just a ‘cop-out- so that he does not have to become responsible.
For the BPD, everyone else has faults, but not the one with BPD! The relationship can often be explosive, regardless of who the ‘target’ person is. Many nasty things can be said, which are usually untrue anyway, and the person does not give allegiance to anyone, not even a girl or boy friend. If they have girl or boy friends they will quickly become abusive or nasty if they perceive a fault in the other person, no matter how small. This is because it offends their idea of ‘perfection’ – which must always be in everyone else, but not in one’s self. Of course, in Biblical language this is hypocrisy; two-faced.
BPDs think very little of themselves and have a battle doing anything because of this. If they have jobs they either think their employer is wrong, or that they themselves cannot do the job. Eventually this can lead to unemployability, which, of course, will be blamed on the BPD and not on the proper source – one’s own sin. If this poor sense of self continues it can lead to disassociation. In this state the person somehow feels he is not himself, literally, and he does not really see any causative relationship between his own thinking and actions. Thus, it can produce amnesia in part or in whole, though it is extreme.
BPDs are generally very negative about everything. And each small deviance from what they expect can become a major upset. These upsets involve everything and everyone, and, as with angry psychopaths, BPDs can change the most ordinary situations into times of intense anger or anxiety involving everyone in their path. An innocuous incident or word can end up like a circus of anger, emotion and upset, ever-increasing into a whirlpool, controlled by the BPD… and this element of control proves that the behaviour is not involuntary , but deliberate.
At all times the pervasive mood surrounding the BPD is one of negativity, and this feeds the character’s negative moods and self-image. Thus, the BPD will leave jobs and people without hesitation, creating a continual atmosphere of doom and gloom, anxiety and fear. Few are able to withstand this behaviour, so they walk away, leaving the BPD with few friends. In other words, they become socially isolated because of their misery, which brings down everyone they are in contact with.
The signs and symptoms of BPD usually show themselves in adolescence so, not surprisingly, they are just accepted as usual early teenage rebellion and moodiness. Of course, in Christian terms, this ought not be tolerated by parents – but many will accept it as inevitable. And, as symptoms tend to diminish as the child gets older, this reinforces the idea that the mood swings, etc., are just ‘normal’.
When I was a teenager (before the word ‘teenager’ was coined) this kind of BPD did not exist, except in a very rare few, who tended to be criminals or violent people. Thus, parents did not have to put up with it. Children and teenagers were what they ought to be – compliant to parents and adult authorities! Since this natural barrier was breached, in the late 1960s, we have seen the rise of all manner of evils in teenagers – crime, violence, drinking, drug-taking, sexual promiscuity, rebellion, and BPDs.
Overall, the BPD is extremely self-indulgent and selfish. Everything is done to suit himself and others are only allowed into his circle because he wishes to use them. In this he is very close to being psychopathic. He has no real interest in changing but wallows in his self-created misery. This is very similar to neurotic behaviour: few people understand that others prefer their misery to ‘getting better’. They do not really want improvement, because that would mean their reason to be badly behaved or miserable cannot provide a ‘cover’ for their refusal to be responsible.
But, some with BPD go on to get into trouble with police, become violent (because they cannot seem to control their reactions: another fallacy), take drugs, or become promiscuous, never settling with any one person. The normal ‘treatment’ is psychotherapy. Drugs may also be used to lessen anxiety, fear, depression, etc. However, because modern teenage-ness can often look like BPD, doctors tend not to diagnose the ‘condition’ during teen years, and this allows them to continue causing havoc in their families, workplace and amongst friends.
One effect of a BPD not usually discussed in the texts, is demonosis. This is when the BPD claims to see, or be affected by, demons. If the person is not saved we know they are already under the influence of demons anyway. The only reason they may feel under worse pressure is that they have, by their godless behaviour, opened themselves up to further inroads by demons, who want only to destroy them. For demons, this is a matter of their own enjoyment.
If a Christian teenager claims to ‘see’ demons, beware. Few actually see demons, because, simply, demons are spirits with no form. It may, then, just be another fantasy of the BPD. He may, though, feel the presence of demons. This can be genuine, because demons always wish to pull-down Christians so that their behaviour offends God and plays havoc in the Christian life. The answer to this is to just tell the spirit to go away in the name of Jesus Christ.
If the Christian BPD continually says he has such presence, then it can be concluded that he is not repenting and does not believe Christ is greater and more powerful than demons! The presence of demons in a Christian’s life is sure proof that he is not subject to God and does not truly repent or obey God’s commands and doctrine. The only other answer is that because the person does not free himself from his BPD, he is ‘seeing’ what is not there, projecting his own fears and sins onto a spirit being, instead of accepting that the cause of all his problems are his own refusals to repent and get on with life.
The books admit to not knowing the cause of BPD, but I think Christians can easily identify what it is, in the event of not having any known causation such as child abuse or some other trauma, which can seriously damage a child’s approach and attitude to life. Substance abuse can also lead to a BPD. The condition is called ‘borderline’ because it is believed to be between neurosis and psychosis, neither one nor the other. According to psychiatry, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is most effective.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
This therapy, DBT, quickly grew in popularity. This is not surprising – many professionals like to devise their own therapies, and enjoy the support of their peers. It is a therapy based on cognitive-behavioural techniques, dialectical philosophy and Zen practices. My own research shows that with any therapy or none, there is no real difference between them.
Zen is a school of Buddhism. This ought not shock us, for all of psychiatry is rooted in cultism, occultism, and eastern mysticism of some kind. Zen uses meditation techniques to reach ‘enlightenment’, through experiences and not by words alone. No Christian can accept this.
Dialectical philosophy, though millennia-old, is a mainstay of Marxist communism and is a method of argument. Plato used this method. At root it is two people with different ideas discussing matters; they continue discussion until they reach agreement on main points, or they share similar meanings. In Marxism this emerged as a thesis arguing against an antithesis, until merging points are reached and a new argument is found – the synthesis. Again, this is anti-Christian, for only the Biblical truth is acceptable.
The reason a Christian teenage BPD goes to see a doctor about his symptoms is that he wants to hear a secular answer and not the Biblical truth. This is because he has probably been given this truth, but he refuses to comply with God’s demands. So, he is looking for an excuse to carry on his behaviour without remorse or change. He also wants a secular ‘label’ so that he can present it as an excuse to others. He should be brutally honest and wonder why such things as BPD did not exist until just a few decades ago! It is because BPDs are the godless answer to why teenagers run amok and avoid genuine Christian discipline.
Cognitive Behavioural Techniques are many. They try to give a patient a goal and a systematic procedure that is quite mechanical. The period of treatment is usually short, and confined to a specific time period. Behavioural techniques (outward) merged with cognitive (thoughts) to form a new branch of treatment that is definitely existentialist, wishing to alter behaviour. As an ex-professional I agree with the idea of changing behaviour, even if inward thoughts are not consistent with it. This is because people who exhibit bad or wrong behaviour tend to cause misery to all who are around them. Thus, any cessation of that behaviour, to my mind, is agreeable, even if the one who is being treated does not yet have inner peace. One can always work on the inward life later!
Really, it does not matter what the treatment is, because each type is unchristian by nature. I usually urge Christians never to seek psychiatric help with problems, unless they refuse to listen to Biblical counsel. It is not that this is acceptable, or Biblical, only that it is inevitable, because one who resists Biblical counsel will tend to go for counsel that is unbiblical or secular. When giving counsel the one being counselled MUST obey the godly words. If they do not, then the one giving counsel has no option but to stop helping.
The Christian Answer
Look at all the symptoms of BPD above. Remove the idea of psychiatry from your mind and what do you notice about them? I think you will agree that all the symptoms are those of sin. In youngsters it is sin coupled to an undisciplined mind and heart. In someone who is unsaved, this is just part of being ungodly. But, in someone who claims to be saved, it is just sin upon sin and the BPD is totally culpable before God.
When any sin is allowed freedom to express itself, it acts like a pinball. Once it flies away it strikes out at anything in its path. The person with BPD is just like that. Instead of knowing discipline, he ‘gets away with it’ from a young age. This, of course, is a general statement, and does not include causes such as child abuse, or any other genuine trauma, etc. Nor does it include the simple fact that a teenager may not be adult, but is still old enough to indulge in sin of his own accord.
So, when a child or teenager is allowed to ‘get away with it’, without challenge or cessation of bad behaviour, he will continue that behaviour and get worse. The behaviour might start with only one or two flaws, but left alone they affect the whole of the personality, just as one bad apple destroys the whole barrelful. Invariably, the parents of the child or youngster are lenient, perhaps attributing the behaviour to this or that ‘problem’. Thus, it is excused and left to grow in strength, forming a habit of indiscipline, with randomised thinking and action. In manyw ays, BPD behaviour is like that of so-called Bi-Polar (what was known as Manic-Depression), which is also caused by total abandonment of sense and reason.
The person with BPD is, then, simply a person whose sins have never been repented of and whose lives have never changed. OR, they attempt to repent and change and actually mean it, but quickly become enmeshed again in BPD behaviour because it is easier than staying true to God. Of course, sadly, many Christians are like this normally. But in the BPD it is continuous and develops badly. In the Christian this will be even more serious than in the unsaved, because he exhibits thoughts and behaviour that contradict God’s will and commands. The seriousness of this can be found in Old Testament references to stoning unruly teenagers to death outside the city walls!
The one with BPD defies godly behaviour and espouses what is wrong and sinful. He will engage everyone in his circle (if they stay around long enough) with histrionic outbursts of completely self-centred anger and moodiness, ruining family unity and causing the whole atmosphere to be poisoned. However, he will later become anxious and miserable, knowing he has acted badly. It is this later reaction that shows the basic underlying Christian state, and the true personality. Its very presence is proof that something can be done to bring the whole BPD to a halt and be banished.
Look again at some of the symptoms:
Black and white thinking:
This is not Christian thinking. A Christian must judge all things by scripture alone. He is not given the ‘luxury’ of going off at a tangent, imposing his will on everyone else just because he says so! No, God commands that man obeys His will in all things. It does not matter what the BPD thinks, if what he thinks is not scriptural. If his thinking is not scriptural then it is sinful and must be stopped immediately. The antidote is to repent, but also to start thinking as a Christian, being critical about every issue. This does not mean clashing with those who you think are wrong. It means to analyse issues according to scripture and truth and casting aside what is sinful and wrong. Our personal feelings and thoughts are irrelevant in this scenario. Thus, the mark of a BPD who is changing is humility. If it is not seen, then be assured he is not changing and remains judgmental.
No Christian may have regular mood swings. Sometimes females will experience these at times of menstruation, but even these can be controlled if the will to do so is there. There can be many other causes for mood swings, including trauma to the brain caused by accidents, drugs, etc. If none of these are present, there can be no leeway! Even if the mood swings are caused by brain damage, these may not be used as an excuse to have mood swings. An attempt must always be made to stop them.
To put it simply, unless the BPD has permanent and diagnosed brain damage there is no excuse for mood swings. It is just self-indulgence. One example of mood swings taken to the extreme are those with so-called bi-polar symptoms. These people are merely those who have never been challenged when they do whatever they wish regardless of what happens to anyone else as a result. Christians must always be the same in mood and reaction, and must be known by it. Of course, anyone can be put off-centre by a sudden trauma or event, but a genuine Christian will try to put things right as quickly as possible and not allow the situation to get out of hand. One mark of a Christian is self-control and stable moods. This is because others can rely on them and know they are not swayed by passing moods, fashions, or variable emotional outbursts.
Any relationship can have hidden problems that arise only after a crisis or through the sin of the other person. But, in normal life, most people (even the unsaved) are reasonable and act properly. The one with BPD, however, pays no regard to this, and lets his own feelings and faulty thoughts dictate what happens. If he begins to feel (usually wrongly) that
everyone else is wrong, it sets in motion a long train of behaviour that is very destructive. When this occurs within a family it is devastating. If there are younger siblings, they can be severely traumatised by such behaviour, which is bad through and through.
The one with BPD KNOWS what he is doing. Therefore, he knows he can stop it at any time. But, because such a person is self-indulgent, he will not care, so long as he ‘gets his feelings out’. Whatever he thinks and does is important. It does not matter how he hurts everyone else, or any physical damage he does. One exa,ple opf this selfishness is that he will do his damage and THEN ‘repent’. In other words, he does whatever his sin demands first, and then, after he has self-indulged, he pretends to be sorry. One big factor is the way many Christians ignore the biblical warning to avoid having a romantic relationship with an unsaved person. Inevitably this will end up in tears. It will also create an inward tension that ought not be there, and an inward tension can often resort to outward manifestations that are sinful.
Of course, someone who has only his own self in mind will do whatever he wishes. Like a full-fledged bi-polar or psychopath, he will spend money like water, even if he gets into serious financial trouble. Even when he realises how stupid he has been, he will recommence spending again, perhaps getting into trouble with courts, banks and debt agencies. Because his mind is undisciplined, he will ignore it all and continue, expecting others to get him out of his mess, at their own cost! The same goes for any of his behaviours. He will do whatever he wishes and only later will show some remorse… just like the career criminal who is only ‘sorry’ if he gets caught! But, of course, it is usually too late! And many others, often in the family, will suffer.
Yes, there is a low self-image, but this can be countered. The Christian with BPD (who should not be in that position anyway) is one who has allowed his sins to take precedence, and cannot be bothered to stop his behaviour, because it is too hard (or not in his interest) to keep to godliness.
Yet, the image we have of ourselves is determined by how God sees us and not by how we think we are. As Christians, we are all equal in the matter of status. We are all sinners saved by grace, so equally valuable, and must see ourselves as God sees us – saved and in need of a continual relationship with the Lord. If we sin we must put it right. Other than that we are all the same in His eyes. To think about ourselves all the time is to spend time on self-indulgence!
The first thing is to get rid of the idea that the problem is psychiatric, or that it cannot be got rid of. The problem is primarily spiritual. The answer is obedience to the Lord! We can say very little for the unsaved, but if the person with BPD is a Christian we know two things: that he is sinning daily and not bothering to resolve his ‘problems’, and, others around him have not acted swiftly enough when the ‘symptoms’ first appeared.
There is also a third reason – he is alone and has no-one to act as a Christian role-model, and so has no proper check on his life and no way to know which way to go. If, however, he is not alone and has proper backup, his sin is sheer self-indulgence. Do not get me wrong on this. I do not mean self-indulgence is necessarily enjoyed. I mean that as a teenager the person does not adequately assess his own behaviour and so does whatever he pleases, because he has not customarily been responsible.
The BPD MUST (there is no other option) stop his sinful thoughts and actions IMMEDIATELY. If he is a Christian the Holy Spirit will cause him to repent and at least try to stop the things he does that are wrong. The ‘symptoms’ are just the tell-tale ones of sin. There is never an excuse to sin, even if one has been dubbed with ‘BPD’. The point is this… the BPD KNOWS HE IS SINNING. So, he must stop it.
The only reason he does not stop his antics (which is what they are, though they have by now been habitualised) is that he enjoys them to a degree. This, of course, would be strenuously denied and the BPD will claim he ‘cannot help it’. This is just an excuse for not attempting to stop what is totally self-indulgent behaviour. (Though an excuse, he wants it to be true, so that he cannot be blamed). He would rather lose his temper, or do whatever he wishes to do, and then later ‘apologise’ for it! It is much easier and more self-satisfying than knuckling down to putting his house in order.
The same happens in cases of neuroses. It is a fallacy that people will want to stop behaviour that causes them misery. Those with neuroses such as anxiety, fear, depression, etc., prefer their malady to losing the symptoms. The reason they are diagnosed in the first place is that they ‘cannot cope’. This is secular talk for ‘refuses to cope’. It is easier to ‘cave in’ and have a breakdown than it is to stay the course and make hard decisions, working through difficult times.
Of course, if someone has never been shown how to do this, and lives in an atmosphere of giving up and being depressed, etc., he will not have a good model to go by. So, he will copy. Also, if teenagers feel they are not listened to, and have no continual parental back-up, or parents work every hour and have no time, these can all badly affect them. Sadly, many young people have no role model to copy and so make decisions on their own, most of which are wrong. Then, each wrong decision reinforces their idea of worthlessness and inability. If there is no good model, he will resort to sin as an answer to life’s problems.
The good model is this: his family must not accept his behaviour as ‘normal’ and must not accept that BPD allows sin to continue; they must quietly tell the person this; they must isolate the bad effects by not reacting badly to a situation that is already bad and sinful. If the family reacts badly, they tend to sin just as much as the BPD! Then, there is sin upon sin, and the Christ-like character* that should be displayed, is hidden. The BPD must be isolated, in the sense that they are told they are being sinful, they must repent and stop what they do, and the family will offer spiritual guidance if they repent.
(* Christ-like character. Every Christian has this, even if they resort to a BPD. Then, it is hidden behind layers of sin and misery, but it is still there! Thankfully, God sees this ‘real you’ and accepts the BPD in the name of Christ. this does not negate the fact that the BPD must repent, but it assures him that even when he is not living an holy life, God accepts him as saved. Even if he allows suicidal thoughts or self-harm to get in the way of true repentance. Do not let BPD hide all this from the life!)
As far as the BPD person is concerned he has to stop each and every ‘symptom’ immediately. This is because every time he resorts to a BPD response to anything in life, he commits further sin! Some things may need some work, but it must be done. Scripture is there to be read and obeyed. When it is obeyed, things work out properly. The main point is that the BPD is acting in a totally selfish way, preferring to ‘stew’ in his own sinful misery to putting things right. Thus, he takes it out on family.
All of this is habitual, rooted in learned responses to life. As a youngster he did not learn how to think and act reasonably and logically. As I have put it to others, this makes a BPD life akin to being a bag of marbles thrown on the floor: each marble runs in a different direction, with no aim or cessation. This is why the BPD does not control his moods and behaviour – he has never learned how to! So, the reality is, he must begin again and learn how to apply discipline to his thinking and actions. This takes time, but it is essential. It can be done in smallish stages, so that success is assured. But, throughout it all, genuine repentance is vital.
The BPD acts out a role for friends, and keeps his real self, his sin and anger, for family, who will suffer greatly at his hands. This is his greatest self-indulgence and he will make very sure that his family knows it. He wants control and keeps it through using anger and moods, and he can be very judgmental. Thus, he can control others but not himself…
because he does not wish to. It is a lie if he says he cannot help it. In truth, he does not WANT to control himself, and Satan will make very sure he believes it. Of course, as part of this lie he will always blame others for his situation. This is also a lie. His problem is with himself not with others. He does not wish to obey God, because he prefers to explode every so often and wreak havoc.
This kind of behaviour is seen every weekend in towns everywhere, when young men and women drink too much and look for fights, becoming extremely violent. They lie when they say ‘it is the drink’. The drink is only the catalyst for what is a permanent personality problem, one of intense continual anger, disregard for others, and selfishness. Sadly, some Christians with so-called BPD copy these foul activities.
The answer is to read scripture and apply it. If the person is a Christian, this should be normal procedure. If he reads scripture and continues to do whatever he wishes, it is proof that his Christianity is superficial, or does not exist. If it existed, his conscience would have ‘kicked in’ and brought about change.
The first thing the person must do is apologise to family. But, not just say ‘sorry’, because such a BPD person will say sorry many times a week and not mean it! I mean apologising and stopping whatever he apologises for. If there is no cessation, we can assume the apology was false.
Also, God does not give us time to adjust ourselves. He demands we stop sin IMMEDIATELY. If we do not, we disobey the command to do so. Thus we sin, and then we reject God’s command, which is another sin. Frankly, I would not care if the BPD stops his outward sins and feels misery inwardly, so long as he stops destroying the lives of others around him. Then the only effect is on himself and not on innocent others. Why should they suffer because of his personality problems?
It is not satisfactory but at least it gives others an opportunity to rest and know some peace and quiet. Even where the BPD does not erupt into anger, the same rules apply, because each incident or response of a BPD is sin. The BPD must then look hard at his life and accept that what he is doing is sinning ‘big time’. All his efforts should go into stopping this destructive cycle. There are ways, exercises, to do this, building-up from small to big disciplinary thinking.
He must put his thoughts in order and cast out thoughts that ruin. He must stop bad behaviour and put good behaviour in its place. He must stop feeling sorry for himself and think as a genuine believer – about what Christ demands and not what he, as a sinner, wishes to do. He must stop mood swings and determine to become the same to everyone, with a reliable and constant character: one thing that stands out about a BPD is that he cannot be trusted or relied upon, and this is a nasty trait in any Christian, because it is anti-God.
Some BPDs, when they look upon their BPD, become very depressed, and some even contemplate suicide, or they self-harm. But, let it be known, as I have said before, that suicide is the ultimate self-indulgence, hated by God! It is the biggest form of irresponsibility we can think of. And it leaves everyone in a permanent state of shock and misery! It is, in common parlance, just a ‘cop-out’. Far better to become disciplined and true to God. Again, there are ways to combat such selfish and useless thoughts, so all is not lost.
In other words, the BPD must take stock; he must look at everything he thinks, says and does, and stop what is self-indulgent, replacing it with what God requires. His life will then take on a whole new meaning and direction. What was once inward, selfish and godless, will become holy and true. That will end the BPD permanently. The BPD who does not believe it or put it into practice will, of course, not know any relief.
In modern times Christians have devolved authority to psychiatry, even though psychiatry is founded on invalid postulates. So, when psychiatry says something is ‘psychiatric’ Christians hand over responsibility. In this way we do not see the truth and cannot apply the right answers. In my own experience in this field, almost all ‘classifications’ of mental illness are shams, used as an excuse for sin by an unbelieving profession, and by an unbelieving population.
It is fact that psychiatry has ‘medicalised’ many sins, so that those sins can be practised freely without censure. This occurred in a massive way with sexual deviancies and the world is now under the yoke of sexual deviants and practitioners. Another realm is murder and extreme violence. Because unsaved man cannot envisage humans being so vile, they say what they do ‘must be unbalanced’. So, murder and violence are excused. In reality, mankind can do the most wicked acts because of sin, not because of an illusory ‘mental illness’. I saw this first-hand in my psychiatric work when I ran a violent unit containing many murderers and violent men. It was obvious they enjoyed what they did and contemplated repeating their evils. They were not ‘mentally ill’ but merely very wicked!
In the case of the BPD, the person has pushed the boundaries of being a good human being, and practices whatever they wish to do. They say whatever they wish to say. What matters is whatever they wish to say and do – what others think is irrelevant to them, even when lives are ruined by the selfishness. Yes, they may feel ashamed later, but this does not stop them doing and saying whatever they like! For a Christian this kind of behaviour is abominable. It is gross sin. Therefore, it must be stopped straight away; there is no excuse.
The BPD will say they cannot stop. This is untrue: as Christians they have a new spirit and are under God’s law, not Satan’s or their own. It is failure to obey God that causes them to carry on regardless. To stop they must just tell themselves that whenever they have bad thoughts they must not, under any circumstances, express them in word or deed. They must remember a startling fact – that ANY habit can be broken in just 30 days! If the habit is not indulged in during that time, it will lose its power. That means there is full hope for turning away from sin and back to God. If that is what the BPD wants. If he is truly a Christian, this will be his action. Stopping what he does that is bad is sure proof that he has genuinely repented. Watch out for this proof, because it is vital.
So, we have the straight facts. Now what? It is onlookers who suffer the most, because they have to put up with the behaviour and irrationality. Yet, they also hold one of the keys to cessation of BPD behaviour. In the days before BPD was devised, I had the misfortune to look after people with exactly the same range of problems. To be frank, and to use modern parlance, they were a ‘pain in the neck’! And I told them so. They were completely selfish and enjoyed what they did. But, this is not acceptable in Christians. We must never, ever allow unbelieving psychiatric classifications to cloud the issue. What we are observing is sin. Simple as that.
Yes, BPD is certainly sin. But, others can help by gently pointing out that BPD is sin and must be stopped. However, the BPD is habitually unable to think this way, and must be literally ‘conditioned’ to think afresh. This means the BPD must critically look at every part of his life, not as a form of self-denunciation, but as a first-step in the direction of beginning a brand new, healthy, holy life. He must face the fact that as a saved person, his BPD is a sinful self-indulgence. When this is recognised he must start to reframe his whole life, so that it always moves along an holy path.
When the BPD accepts all this, he will not change overnight. Not because God in unable to change him, but because Satan does not want the person to change! So, he will ensure the person continues to make mistakes and drop back into old habits. And, if he has heard them before, demons will come along to play, trying to cause him to turn back to his old ways. Even so, we must support the BPD, so that he recognises each incident of sin and repents of it. But, we may not support him in his bad behaviour. As he applies this thinking to every part of his life, the person begins to drop his BPD persona and adopts what should be there all the time: holiness and a Christian outlook on life.
There is much more to say and do, but this is only an introduction, and you get the idea. As with any other kind of moral or spiritual failure, it is up to mature believers to support weaker brethren in prayer and practical terms. Christian BPDs are weak. Those who continue to feel worthless must see that help is offered, and that everyone fails at some time. Also, no saved person is worthless in God’s eyes! He is just faltering on occasions! Listen to those with BPD. But, at the same time, expect for the BPD to alter his ways and thinking, for if he does not, there is no proof at all that he is repentant.
Additional Note on Demonosis
When anyone enters the domain of Satan by sinning continually, or even temporarily by acting out occult practices, he can expect to be attacked and plagued by demons. But, for the Christian, this is more like a gnat-bite than a deathly bite from a crocodile! Just remember that Christ is more powerful than Satan, and that Satan’s power is restricted to this life alone. Though the Christian who does wrong may know misery in this life (unless he repents), he will still enter heaven, whereas Satan, his demons, and all who are unsaved, will enter hell for all eternity.
If the Christian with BPD encounters demons, then, it is to be expected. And if he truly repents, such attacks may increase for a while. This is because demons like to keep their prey to themselves. They also know that every time they get a Christian to sin, he dishonours the Lord, and this pleases Satan. But, demons cannot control Christians, nor can they remain if the Christian banishes them to outer darkness. They have no option but to leave if they are told to do so in Christ’s name and power!
So, demons cannot harm Christians – unless they deliberately sin and refuse to repent. Then, they open themselves to Satan’s power, and along comes self-harm and even suicide. Christ is above all! His power is supreme! Satan can only get away with it if we allow him to.
Fellow Christians – look after the Christian BPD! He is weak and very annoying. He is self-serving and indulgent. He often gets it wrong. But, with repentance and holiness he can change for the better, permanently. Give him that opportunity. He is in his mess right now because he has lived on bad habits for years. Give him assurance that God is faithful to those who love Him and repent. Show you care and hold no malice towards him. between you, break the habits and lead him on to holiness and purity of life and thought.
© September 2009
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
Do you value the content of the Christian Doctrine website?
Then Make a Donation to support the work of Bible Theology Ministries