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 When I feel triggered or unsafe (whether real or imagined), I know that I can see the world through an outdated lens.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 2024, June 18 from

Author: Desiree Brown

Find Desiree on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and her personal blog.

Patrick Campos
October, 1 2022 at 2:24 am

Sigh… do you ever really heal? The love of your life flips a switch and suddenly you’re their worst enemy. It’s so black and white, I wish I could forget about her but it always hurts… anyone who’s been through this have any advice? Does a new relationship help? I’d be too afraid to carry over this baggage, but I’m so lonely now and maybe dating would help move on finally?

October, 16 2022 at 5:55 am

Hey Patrick,
I think you’ll know when you’re ready. I wish there was just some quick fix. It’s been over a year since my traumatic discard, I couldn’t even process it or think straight for months after it was over. Nothing has ever been as psychologically damaging for me personally, she did that on purpose, picked her time and blamed everything even her cold cruel actions, torturing me spending literally every minute to goto never looking at me again and saying the most hurtful things she could, twisted everything to fit her story, blamed even the things she used to thank me over and over for on me and said they weee my issues… she broke more than my heart.. when we met she was so much worse, severe eating disorder, we made a little family and she made me feel like I could trust her with everything, I did and she used all my fears and my past to manipulate me.. I feel violated and sick, I panic still when I think about how utterly cruel she was in the end, let me know she set it all up, and she had power and control over my life. It’s so sick and it’s hard to even believe it’s hard for anyone to believe she comes off so sweet and well meaning. I just want to give up, I feel to broken to try and to want much when whenever I start feeling like I want to live again another person dies or leaves my life forever and I feel so alone and used and ashamed of who I am now, I want to feel strong or even normal again but it’s like transference is real. Now I have an eating disorder and panic attacks I never had them before or anxiety.. I lived with clinical depression my whole life basically. I came so far and was finally so proud of myself when we met, and she stole that, my piece of mind I earned, my faith in people. I know I should want to thrive and love again and all that but she was the one after all others that everything led to, and she turned out to be the worst abuser of my life.. I really don’t know how to get past this anymore I’m scared and so alone and can’t turn to people I love because They are going through so much pain already and I’m still crippled but my phony sick ex.. I wish I could explain it to anyone who gets it and talk to people in real life about it.. I always feel like I could cry and I still do most days and I just can’t anymore .. can anyone recommend groups or anything if you’ve been trapped here too? I hate what’s it’s done to me, I don’t care about revenge or ever hearing from her, it would just be more nonsense excuse and blame anyway.. they think ghosting and torturing someone for months with the silent treatment, severe emotional abuse is enlisting and label everyone a narcissistic and abuser so they never feel guilt for all the lies they live and how mentally I’ll they really are

November, 17 2022 at 1:03 am

Hey, they have to know somewhere is die how unfair and manipulative they were to you. They do it for power and control, you had to know how much weeks of the silent treatment while stringing me along would wreck me. While u accused me of hunting you down I was having panic attacks and so confused I couldn’t even think straight until long after you were gone. I should have taken med leave sooner. You were malicious and none of it was right. I didn’t deserve to be talked to like your captor or the person you had to escape. You swore in every way to talk and work through anything. But you never planned on coming home and it’s sick. You faked like you were escaping as a bartered woman and you manipulated me, my family, I say a few true things to your life long friend after 6 weeks of ur insane torture and that’s it? The next day you’re ordering me out at some specific time and threading legal action.. it’s insane and you set me up even after that I packed for u text I I was leaving and I bring the police as if it’s some proof you needed them?! Are you psychotic? Did you snap.. I was tucking you in you never acted like anything was close to leaving forever wrong … how could you be that way? Talk to me like your burden when you used me for your growth and lied Tok me all along? Do you feel good about it? You tortured me and even after I was done tried to take me to court over nothing pictures?? That’s for battered women!! Stalkers show up places Ull be you just didn’t want to hear the truth .. you were heartless and cruel out of no where and it’s really done the most psychological damage to me of anything Kt.. i don’t get it or you .. why promise all those things for so long then use them like ammo.. you leave saying I need help and you’re worried about me then ghost and silent threetmnt for months? We lived 2gether years and never left each other’s side. You’re just a cruel sick manipulator who needs to be the victim to never face reality or the hurt she gives. Fine you won… you got your victim story, you never have to face me or how awful you truly are, you can just throw money at the courts and make it go away huh ?? You are disgusting and entitled and a user even though you’re already rich and could have anything you use for your broken parts and to pass on pain to get your power, you’re not happy until you give people ptsd and eating disorders just like you! You stole my life.. with all your psych bs and then had the nerve to say it was all me? And still tried for court the day I saved pics to a shared album I owned it’s sad ur just waiting for Any excuse after your last horribly insulting baiting email didn’t work.. I just want to heal now.. I’m finally moving on in so many ways.. this has been the hardest time of my life and I don’t care it is your fault. No one deserves what you did especially not me. I feel like I fed you and taught you to live in so many ways and took on a lot for your mental health but when I need you and at that had time?? You just ghost.. why? I didn’t even understand I lost it like panic attacks and for weeks I wouldn’t even talk.. mg mom was sick we were all we had for so long.. work was stressful and you don’t even realize how scary it got the climate of everything and I was so proud we got though it but you.. why Katie you flipped out all back around on me.. it’s not right. You don’t finish stiching home things the week before I’m your abuser, I was tucking u in, we were finally going to get out back into the world then it’s like I’m holding u back?!! I wanted to get out more for so long. We had so many plans and you.. you just lied to me for so long promised all these deep things you Shouldn’t have, then get all your little girl and my hurt parts mixed in, I never imagined for a second you weren’t coming home .. you were so unfair and you don’t even care or see it. I feel used and crushed I cried everyday for a year it broke me as a person. I feel dehumanized and used to the core by the person who promised to do all the things she did in all the most hurtful ways possible to me personally and still say I’m crazy.. I did nothing you made me out to be your hunter stalker and I was just crying in the park and everywhere shaking and wondering wtf if you snapped and why you kept making it worse and pulling the floor out from under me when I needed u and was dying and it snapped my brain like… you can’t understand what my life has been like since then … I’m finally getting better care and I’ve had to face a lot of loss and change.. please just drop things and be done so I can move on in my mind too.. I will stop everything and move on but no I’ll never feel ok with any of it.. I feel like I was your practice and scape goat, and very manipulated to the core of my being and it’s not fair, but it never will be so I need to live with that and heal from it in a bette way. Let me let it go, do one decent thing and just drop the court stuff, I never desvered it and you must know that somewhere inside. I don’t know how you can live with it, why you’d treat someone you claimed to love so much like that.. i never would or could have done the things I claimed to flee in terror From!! And then you went through all the motions like your life was in danger it’s beyond Fed up for anything that ever happened in our entire relationship.. court Any of it.. you ghosted and never spoke to me and acted like I was the bad guy,, fine I win. Now let me move on too. You need your noose around my neck huh!? Have to have some tether to me to have power.. feel strong?? It’s sick kt u turn anyone who loves you into your next monster and I put up with so much for your mental health you go this far out of your way to give me ptsd and still try to punish me? Just stop and I will too.. but that’s it. You owe me so many times more than you could ever repay, but that would at least be 1 step up for your karma ,, not that you believe in anything.. you don’t even have a real personality because the woman I loved could never have done the cold things you did .. I’m on medical leave for over 6 months now. Finally getting healthy from you,, cognitive dissonance, realizing the years of lies and manipulation.. so fine u won now just let me go, you’re the one who prolonged it all I was done it I needed your victim story.. u got it so stop.. why or how you live with your self is behind me I hope u change and heal and never have to face the horrors u inflict that you need to pretend to be the victim of

June, 19 2023 at 11:08 pm

You move on when you realize the way you were treated was dehumanizing and will always hurt. The pain never goes away, you just learn to live with it and try to love and better yourself.

September, 21 2022 at 5:15 am

Omg Katie thank you, I feel this everyday and don't know how to say it even to myself....

October, 18 2022 at 9:45 am

Hearing confessions and some sense of remorse from boarder line people who want to change is a little bitter sweet for me. As much as my ex twisted everything good we ever shared and destroyed my life and mental health, I understand somewhere inside she knows exactly what she was doing and planned out my pain for her victim stories and some sick sense of control and power over my life. I know she’ll never change or feel anything for the things shes done, it’s all justified in their minds. Being black and white going from the love of their life to their worst enemy who must be punished and tortured broke me in ways I can’t describe. I still understand they’re mentally I’ll and feel sorry in that way but I could never forgive the severe emotional abuse, feeling so scared and confused and being shut out of her life like a criminal. I can’t even talk about it without getting upset and thinking about all the lies and manipulation, I was used and conditioned for her trauma transference and I don’t know how to live again now.. nothings ever hurt so much for so long sigh.. how do you let go?

October, 23 2022 at 4:05 pm

Hey Monkey. If you figure it out let me know please. I keep thinking I’m doing better then I lose another family member or just have a bad night and think of all the cruel twisted abuse… then to be labeled the abuser and have it cost me my life after I was already broken.. it’s been like a nightmare and it was all when I needed a partner the most… after years of adjusting to their issues they will never budge on they use all yours to hurt you as deeply as possible and use your reaction to justify it.. I know it’s so hard to even see at the time when it’s all so confusing and scary, but the saddest part is they knew how they would leave you from the start.. it’s all fake memories for pictures to them you’re just their next horror story waiting to happen even if you made you believe you were soul mates, fared etc… they probably just scoped you out and tried to appeal to you for their sick growth.. users and fake victims that’s all they are I’m sorry but that’s how I feel I know many bpd people struggle and don’t abuse but this is by far the most damaging mentally abusing thing a person has ever done to me and I’d give anything not to feel so used and hurt all the time. I just want to move past it too but yeah it’s like your trapped inside the pain and confusion, because you lived with a lie who promised you everything you ever wanted only to try to steal your strength and project their trauma into someone else.

Katie McMurray
August, 17 2022 at 1:20 am

I am a boarder line woman who’s splitting destroyed an innocent person… I know I should feel something but all I have is contempt for this person I used to praise and thank came into my life in every way. I’ve never hurt a person like this before I don’t feel anything god what is wrong with me… I know I have a soul but why can’t I feel emotions like normal people do! Why do I make everyone who loves me into my abusive parents and friends… I don’t want to be an evil person who ruins lives and just takes takes takes and if anyone doesn’t go along with it tries to punish, I want to be a person of substance and value not a leach… the problem is we just don’t feel emotions correctly and confuse things with past triggers because of our trauma. Most of us avoid it all costs, I myself have been in therapy and make mental health problems my whole life and talk about them with strangers to cover how low functioning I am and never have to face my real trauma which was sexual in nature from a close family member, I never face it or let anyone in really we live in fear of little things our friends or people might find out and not like us… it’s a sad way to live I had a severe eating disorder andr stuff led for years before I met my ex, he gave me confidants strength and so many laughs and made me feel safe, I left him with a note and never looked at him again ever after living together through scary times and only having each other for so long… I used his past to say I felt threatened and when he wouldn’t stop whining I threatened him with a restraining order … he never responded but a month later saved pictures to shared album so I got one anyway… just to never have to hear it… we really don’t care how we hurt or use people.. I know I don’t speak to all boarder line people but around half of us are also diagnosed NPD and the majority of us will never be diagnosed or refuse the one we get and just find counsel from people who tell us what we want to hear to feel ok for living a life of lies and emotional abuse… it’s all we know.. like I said it’s not a great way to live so don’t pity us or waste effort hating us, we create our own hell and live it everyday

Ray Adams
September, 20 2022 at 5:55 pm

You really paint a picture. Thanks for sharing your insights, it's a little comforting to know there's some kind of remorse. This was really brave to share, looks like you're well on your way. Wishing you the best on your journey! God bless.

September, 23 2022 at 4:44 am

It’s so hard to hear similar confessions, lately it seems like they’re becoming Normac. Thanks for Sharing your insights Katie, it helped me understand.

Batavia Norton
September, 23 2022 at 5:29 am

Thanks Katie this lifted my spirits. I know how hard life after boarderline splitting from the can be from the other side. You feel so confused and used and hurt... then when you really see the truth about who they were you feel so stupid for ever loving them. But no one expects someone to lie about who they are from the start, you can't always ame yourself. You just have to try to move on and learn from it. Some people will always be broken little versions of themselves looking for thr next monster to blame, you can heal and move on now... I'm so sorry for anyone who's gone through this. Mine was only a few years and it cripped my life, she tprturef me... I can't imagine after a marriage and family. Hang in there all life goes on every when it feels pointless. Northern Illinois University dept of psychology helped me sort things out thank God for them.

Tommy C
September, 28 2022 at 11:45 pm

I think under normal circumstances my Ed’s splitting episode would have been like my worst nightmare come true. It was so much worse After spending everyday for almost 2 years together, literally in the same space when Covid started. I was so proud of us thought we’d get through anything together… then she was just gone and it was like none of it mattered I was her enemy and she did everything she could to never have to even really talk to me again.
It’s just so hard when it’s a scary time.. I wanted to get back out into the world but then leaving me became like her empowerment move… it breaks my heart all over again just thinking how close and sweet I thought we were, to the 180 she pulled…
I feel so ashamed for loving her, believing all her promises, she set me up used my past and pin to split and that was it… the closest connection I have ever felt to another person and it was just lies… I was like her stepping stone, I still feel so used and hurt but gets easier in time.
I won’t lie tho I still wake up crying too often, feeling like my soul has been sucked out of my body, it really does a number in you being that close and finding out you meant nothing. My heart is sinking just talking about it, so I won’t anymore.. but I promise it gets better you just have to keep trying

October, 2 2022 at 7:40 am

Tpc from Naperville also checking in… recovering and understanding narcissistic abuse had been by far the greatest struggle of my life. Try to remember you’re not alone, it’s confusing, terrifying even when you see their true colors. There’s so much support out there for people who’ve gone through the same things, it can be hard to see sometimes but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You matter, they are the broken ones… they thrive on pain when you just wanted love

October, 2 2022 at 8:03 am

Borderline splitting ruined my life, they go from the love of your life to their worst enemy overnight. It crippled me for the last year and half, I never imagined the depths of this disorder before I had to experience what the worst of it has to offer… I would have rather stayed ignorant, it’s too painful for words

October, 15 2022 at 8:34 am

I keep trying to tell myself these things but nothing works. I can’t take feeling so alone and sad anymore and now I need people who care. I don’t feel like I have anything or anyone left and the people I love keep leaving or dying. I can’t be there for anyone like I should be because I’m broken now.. all I do is cry and panic I can’t function.. she crippled me and turned me into her I feel so sick and used by this person I loved dearly I can’t get Over … I need help Im scared of my thoughts now sign how do they live with all the hurt they give

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