Overcoming Splitting in Borderline Personality Disorder

May 10, 2022 Desiree Brown

This article discusses splitting in borderline personality disorder (BPD). (This is also known as black-and-white thinking.) For me, splitting leads to paranoid thoughts, which are usually based on something to do with abandonment. When I become aware that I may not be seeing reality clearly, I start dissociating. Then, I get into a space where I don’t feel like I exist. That’s the bit I’d like to get into in this article: how splitting leads to dissociation and how I overcome it.

The Link Between Splitting in Borderline and My Dissociation

Being the incredible self-critic that I am, I spend a lot of time analyzing my perception of reality. Because I know that I have a borderline personality disorder, I am aware that I could start seeing things in black and white if I get emotional. When I feel triggered or unsafe (whether real or imagined), I know that I can see the world through an outdated lens.

Sometimes, when I feel something so strongly to be accurate and then figure out that it is, in fact, delusional, I will completely dissociate from reality. I think this happens because when I realize I can’t trust my interpretation of something I was so sure of, I stop trusting my interpretation of anything.

Suddenly, I have no idea how to behave appropriately in whatever situation I find myself in. My comprehension of the social aspect, in particular, starts to crumble. Eventually, I become unsure of the appropriateness of anything. I start feeling like an alien unsuccessfully studying the social patterns of humans. This leads to a pretty intense episode of dissociation. I may feel like a stranger in my own brain or as if my consciousness was placed in someone else’s head.

Using Complexity to Overcome Splitting in Borderline Personality Disorder

One of the best things about living with BPD in the 21st century is that the Internet can usually dish up some sort of solution, no matter what’s going on. Some Internet search-based solutions are more reliable than others, but you get potential solutions nonetheless. After trying and testing a multitude of strategies, I have found that my best trick for getting out of black-and-white thinking without deconstructing all of reality is to embrace the opposite — complexity.

I know cognitively that the world is not black or white. It’s actually pretty grey. So, when I notice myself having an intense emotion (keeping in mind that pausing and noticing takes practice), I take it as a hint that my perception may not be accurate. In those situations, I remove myself and take some time to get perspective.

Removing myself from emotional moments has helped me set boundaries and realize when I was seeing in black and white. Additionally, it has helped me delineate when I need to set boundaries. Setting boundaries when I’m outside the emotional bubble also allows me to remain kind and understanding throughout the process.

What are your experiences with borderline and splitting? Let me know down in the comments.

APA Reference
Brown, D. (2022, May 10). Overcoming Splitting in Borderline Personality Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, July 6 from

Author: Desiree Brown

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