Borderline Personality Disorder and Perfectionism
Perfectionism isn’t something that is often associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Those of us with this diagnosis of BPD can often be perceived as out of control and chaotic, so what does that have to do with perfectionism? From my experience, there is a relationship between BPD and perfectionism that can impact all areas of our lives. Perfectionism crept into my body image, my personal relationships, and my academic and professional endeavors. It stems from the black-and-white thinking or "splitting" within borderline personality disorder. In the video below, I’ll share a little bit more about how BPD perfectionism has impacted my body image, relationships, and professional life.
Borderline Perfectionism Is Another Type of Black-and-White Thinking
Borderline personality disorder perfectionism stems from a deep feeling of “I feel bad on the inside” so let me show the world just how “good” I am. I still struggle with this kind of splitting; it’s like the less I feel that I matter and am worth on the inside, the more I feel need to make up for it on the outside with excessive achieving, a perfect body, and unrealistic expectations of myself and others. My life was either unraveling completely or it had to be "perfect." I didn’t feel like enough on the inside, especially not emotionally, so I tried to fill myself up by doing, achieving, and adhering to unrealistic standards physically, emotionally, and professionally.
My BPD perfectionism also stems from a lack of self and the need to fill myself up by doing. Interestingly enough, some of the most out-of-control periods of my life were also accompanied by my most intense periods of achievement. I think it was pretty confusing for my family and friends because, on the outside, it appeared like I was doing great. At one period of time, I actually earned my M.A. degree in psychology, interestingly enough. I was doing so much. But on the inside and emotionally, I was really struggling.
Ways that Borderline Personality Disorder Perfectionism Manifested in My Life
It’s not uncommon for those with borderline personality disorder to also suffer from eating disorders and struggles with body image. These are certainly a part of my past. Obsessive and compulsive thinking about my body and my looks stemmed from a constant empty feeling inside. My internal world felt very out of control, but obsessing over weight and physical appearance felt like something within my grasp I could control. In the video below, I will elaborate more on three areas of my life where borderline perfectionism has impacted me.
Easton, W. (2018, September 18). Borderline Personality Disorder and Perfectionism , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2018/9/borderline-personality-disorder-and-perfectionism
Author: Whitney Easton
Thank you for sharing this honest, and real account! It's amazing how comforting a "simple" reminder of something like a pencil having an eraser can be. All of us can benefit from the reminder that we are all meant to try, erase, and try again (and again) - that is what's real!