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Author Topic: FAQ: Why do many with BPD seem to have trouble holding employment?  (Read 2265 times)
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« on: January 02, 2010, 10:11:28 PM »

Hi all,

I did a search and came up empty.

I was just wondering why BPD's have a difficult time holding employment? What about those in positions such as Teaching, Policing (positions of authority and trust)



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Posts: 1037

« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 06:31:11 AM »

The boss gets painted black as soon as he says something the BPD doesn't like. The interpersonal relationships with coworkers go south. The BPD acts impulsively, not considering how their actions may affect their job performance. They are often involved in substance abuse. They don't care about money until they spend it all and need some.

I'm sure there's more, but that's for starters... .
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 07:41:32 AM »

Hmm, that doesn't sound like my ex. She's only had a few jobs in her life and she's held them for years at a time. She didn't have many work friends by the sounds of it though. She was also great with money... .In starting to wonderif she even has BPD... .Maybe it was all just me!

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Relationship status: living apart and debating no contact ever
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 12:54:25 PM »

My BPD mother had trouble keeping employment for years and it's was always someone else's fault "the boss is an idiot, etc"  It's interesting that you mentioned positions of authority (like teachers).  My BPD mother got a job teaching "disturbed children" and she loved it because (she said) the kids always told her how much they liked her.  I was horrified when I found out some idiot would let her around children but she stayed at that job for a very long time.   I think she loved the attention, they weren't her children so they weren't bad - and she loved an authority position.  She would complain that she didn't get along with the other teachers but she kept the job.  She even told stories she was proud of but to me they were stories of how she would "break" or demoralize a child she didn't like and she had immunity because these were the children that the school had pushed to the back anyway.
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Relationship status: Married to long-term 9-year partner (also a non)
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 04:53:59 PM »

Some of the people discussed here do not have problems with employment; some are employed at high levels.  Sometimes a capricous, difficult "boss" can be the person who appears to have BPD.    

It very much depends on how the illness manifests in a particular individual and what the job demands.  

For those who do have problems with employment, it depends on exactly how their illness manifests itself.  "Waif" types may be excessively ill or away from work and perhaps too fearful to do their jobs; Queen/witch types may have a very hard time getting along with co-workers or bosses.

As a former teacher, I am also concerned about children being taught by someone with BPD... .but my son's very favorite kindergarten teacher is a woman who I am now sure (in retrospect) has BPD.  She had a childlike, playful demeanor which kids enjoyed.  But she was often absent from work, started an affair with the head teacher's husband, later (after they were both let go from the school) married him and had a tempestuous relationship with him, had suicidal ideations, disappeared for no reason, lied... .  on and on and on.  But my son will still think good things about her... .of course, he didn't know all of the other stuff.

Imperious Queen/witch types can attempt to hold a class by intimidation and nastiness...   that can hurt children terribly, but because their class is orderly, the poor treatment of children might not become evident.

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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 02:42:08 PM »

my partner doesnt have a problem keeping a job... tho hes also in a field where he doesnt have to talk w/anyone at work most of the time... works on whatever projects he has to work on... goes home... doesnt think about it much b/c its all mechanical... job he worked before... he had lots of contact w/the public and ended up quitting... so what theyre doing also makes a big difference it think

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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 07:56:17 PM »

It depends on the individual, the job and how their illness shows up.  Many who are high functioning work as teachers, lawyers, psychologists, etc.  Some of those only show their "difficult" side to those whom they have an emotional attachment with, such as spouses, boyfriends, family members and close friends. 

My BPD neighbor teaches at an elementary school and the kids and parents love her.  Her family and some of the neighbors are well aware of her "other" side.  She doesn't seem to have a problem with her job.

Others can have problems getting along with co-workers or bosses.  It varies.
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2010, 07:45:47 AM »

BP patients are better at work where it is structured. Unstructured working environment isn't their preference I remember it is said in the book, "I hate you, don't leave me". . .
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 06:22:55 PM »

My ex is very high functioning and has had his job for a long time and even has a high position.  But he does not have good relationships with his co-workers.  He has been in trouble for losing his temper at work.  Most of the people at work are terrified of him and think he is mean.  He is smart and manipulative though and will charm whatever boss he has.  They buy into it.  Especially if they are female. 

But yeah, he would explode after work a lot, telling me how hard it was for him to hold it together all day.   

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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2013, 01:05:52 AM »

My BPD ex would go through familiar cycles of idealizing the new job, then the honeymoon would end and the devaluing would begin.  Interpersonal difficulties.  He would complain about not feeling understood, respected, appreciated... . and how he knew better than everyone else how things should be run but couldn't get anyone to see the light.  His anger would start to show itself at work.  Yet, he was always the victim in some way.

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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2013, 12:31:59 PM »

My BPD H is very talented and that he cares so much about making money... . I think that are the only reasons why he is still employed. In every job he has had, very soon after being employed, he would start hating it because he thinks his boss is against him on everything. He would lose his temper and would rage about things. Like he wanted to leave early because he has finished his job and his boss said no because he wants to make sure there is someone available if a client just walk in without an appointment. Totally make sense to me because my H is paid hourly and paid for the whole day and not by jobs. To him, he thinks the boss is wasting his time of purpose and making it difficult on him. He complains everyday after work that his co workers are all against him and so on. Anyway, he is working only part time now so things have been better. I am not sure if this is a trait in BPD, but with my H, definitely everyone has to listen to him and follow his plans. He would tell his boss how to run the company and of course the boss would just ignore him... . which gets my H very upset.

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