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Author Topic: COMPARISON: Aspergers/autism spectrum disorder vs BPD  (Read 6498 times)
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« Reply #50 on: May 19, 2012, 01:32:25 PM »

My nephew (really great nephew) does seem much more literal and not so emotionally driven as my H.  My nephew talks over people but it is because of his singlemindedness.  I think my H talks over people for control and some kind of fear. 

I was wondering because of what I read about the physical traits associated with asbergers.  My H is always sort of in overdrive which can make him clumsy.  And he has sort of a different body structure (short legs, big turned out feet) that makes his walk a little out of the norm.  I assumed all this was normal variation in people, but started wondering when I read about aspergers.

I have never understood the descalarion part.  My experience is that I am the one that holds a grudge.  My H used to escalate really fast, but then let it drop.  That has changed as our r/s has worsened.  he holds onto a lot now, but I can understand that after all the trouble we have had.

How does your son handle aspergers?  My nephew is just becoming a teenager and going through family changes.  I'm a little worried about him and don't know what to expect.  Always new he was unique, but the school has recently started trying to identify the problem.


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« Reply #51 on: May 19, 2012, 02:07:21 PM »

My son was diagnosed at 7 and will be turning 11 soon. His social skills (lacking) are really evident in a personal boundary issue for him; he sometimes has a hard time keeping his hands to himself, talking when he should not be talking and getting out of his seat; he is NOT ADHD and that is a good thing.

He does very well on the playground, surprisingly to his teachers. He has done VERY well in mainstream classroom this year but will have much more resource room next year (smaller class size) to help him not get so overwhelmed.

Social inappropriateness is the only thing that I am really concerned about for my son; he is very bright but does not always know what is "wrong" until after he has already done it and then may still not understand why anyone got upset about it. He means no harm and just doesn't "get it". Because he was diagnosed and gotten into an IEP right away; he has responded well and hopefully he will be more equipped in understanding himself by the time he becomes a teenager.

I have an Asperger son and a BPDh and be the only other adult (with pets) in the house. They are challenging and many times, wonderful to be around but since there are "some" similarities in their behavior; they are seeing themselves in each other which is both good and bad; hard for me overall but it could be much worse.
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« Reply #52 on: May 19, 2012, 08:42:19 PM »

 Hi! Real lady,

Dealing with any behavior issues (our own or other people's) is very difficult.  I am glad you are able to cope and have the tools you need to keep it all in perspective.

My nephew (really great nephew) does seem more obsessive, while my H seems to want control. What does your BPDh think of your son?  I don't think my H quite nows what to think about his nephew.  He doesn't really have the patience to deal with him and I think he prefers to deal with his other nieces and nephews who will go along with my H and not try to lead the conversation. 

The other day my H had a little melt down at a family gathering when the nephew wanted to go walking with us.  h wanted to go with adults, so he got upset, and while he tried to be nice to the the nephew, he really turned on me and blamed me for not understanding there would be a transport problem.  The problem was minor and could have been solved, but I didn't want it to get worse for the nephew so I just stood by and waited for my H to work out whatever he was going to work out with his family.  But I was steamed.  He was really rude to that poor kid.

H has been dysregulated lately and there was a death in his family recently so i am trying not to judge too harshly, but we ended up in a fight about it later.  I did try to understand what he was saying and i now realize he wasn't directing anything at his nephew and didn't think he was being unkind to his nephew.  Unfortunately, his sister from out of town and i both saw it and thought he was pretty mean.  I told him he should apologize to his nephew and he eventually sort of agreed but I don't think he has.


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« Reply #53 on: May 21, 2012, 10:55:17 AM »

This is an interesting topic to me because i was too seeing similarities in Asbergers vs. BPD. My stepdaughter who is 9 is very close to being officially diagnosed with Asbergers. My wife hasn't been diagnosed with BPD, but I have been following this site for some time and would be willing to bet the farm on the fact she has something that is concerning. It is amazing to see the two of them argue over issues because it is like I'm watching the two and seeing my 9 yr old use tactics that my wife uses. So i wonder if my wife has just asbergers or if i should be more concerned about my 9 yr old... or did my wife have asbergers and as a kid her horrible life experiences developed her into having BPD... Just thinking out loud... Any thoughts?
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« Reply #54 on: June 12, 2012, 08:39:33 AM »

Have a family member w/Aspergers and a uBDPm.  Perhaps there are superficial similarities w/weak social skills and consistent demonstration of empathy, but I think there are radical differences:

Aspergers lack vindictive behavior.  Their behavior may seem unkind, or overtly truth-speaking, but it's not motivated by vindictive or punitive feelings of BPDm.

Aspergers lack "empathy filter" to dependably regulate their behavior and statements.  BPDm states her entitlement to "speak her mind", as "I am who I am; you must accept it."  BPDm is aware that she's behaving badly, and takes perverse pride in her version of "truth-speaking" - which is often false.

Aspergers lack consistent social deftness; BPDm relishes her social faux pas - finding it humorous that she bullies and/or mocks other people.

Some Aspergers seek social acceptance, and try to read social clues to "fit in".  BPDm seeks "center of attention", and is willing to violate social rules to achieve that focus.   

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« Reply #55 on: September 11, 2012, 03:13:12 PM »

I have Asperger's Syndrome (diagnosed), and I'm fairly certain my mom has BDP.

I'd suggest picking up a copy of "Aspergirls" by Rudy Simone, and also checking out this website, which lists an overview of female AS traits: www.help4aspergers.com/pb/wp_a58d4f6a/wp_a58d4f6a.html

When I told my mom I thought I had AS, her reply was that "there's no way my child is autistic! I know what autism is!" But after a lot of begging and negotiating, I got her to read that book. When she finished, she told me "It's like they wrote a book about you." The point I'm getting at is, that book is easily accessible and gives a good general overview on what females with Asperger's experience AND appear like to the outside world.

Here are some differences between AS and BDP I can think of off the top of my head:

- Black and white thinking means a different thing in AS than it does when speaking about BDP. In autistics, b&w thinking means things like "there is only one way to get dressed" or "there is only one right way to build a sand castle." We can be very set in our ways, often to the point of ritualistic or seemingly OCD behavior. In interpersonal relationships, it means that we have difficulty seeing beyond our own experience. When I was a kid, I could not comprehend how someone could dislike a book or a movie I liked. It was obviously good (according to my experience), therefor the only reason someone didn't appreciate it as much as I had was because they hadn't been paying attention or just didn't understand (in which case, it was my job to explain). It was a "good" book, in my mind, not that my experience of reading the book was good. The idea that "Good" and "bad" were subjective was too abstract for me to understand. It wasn't until I was in my teens that I started to learn that people can experience the same event and have a different reaction. However, this is something I know cognitively, not intuitively, meaning that in social situations (which often occur too quickly to completely think through, because non-autistics rely on their intuition completely) I can still get tripped up. B&W thinking in autism really refers to how we take things literally and how we need things to be a certain way. In interpersonal relationships, what you're really talking about is a lack of cognitive empathy and a poor theory of mind, which gets into the examples I was discussing above.

Black and white thinking in BDP's is really a completely different animal. It's the "my way or the highway/all or nothing" mentality. Superficially, they might in some instances seem the same. My mom and I both might need the cereal boxes to be lined up in alphabetical order (for example). We might both experience distress if this need is not met, and we might both react in a way that seems completely overblown. However, the mentality behind it (in my opinion), is different. For autistic people like myself, routine is comforting and change is distressing. It's very similar to the needs of a person with OCD. I might get upset if someone rearranged my cereal boxes. I might even get angry at the person who rearranged my cereal boxes. But the source of my distress would be the cereal boxes themselves, and only the person who rearranged them by extension. I would feel comfortable again once the cereal boxes were in the right order.

If it was my mom we were taking about, the locus of her distress would be on the person who moved the cereal boxes, and the cereal boxes would only be the facts which frame her anger at the individual. As I understand it (and I'm really more an expert in autism than BDP), the BDP individual needs to exert control over their environment to feel secure. While they may be particular about how things are done, it is less about those particular things and more about exerting their will over others (consciously or unconsciously). My mother and I may both think that our need to have the cereal boxes in alphabetical order is more important than my brother's need to keep the box on the low shelf to reach it, but in the case of the BDP individual it's the mentality of "my needs come first" or "my needs are so great that I can't consider yours." She has a need to control others which she satisfies by controlling the environment. The fact that my brother needs the box lower is then an act of defiance or an attack. It is something done with the intent of hurting her, and she lashes out to punish. In her mind, the black and white thinking is "This request was simple. You were capable of bending to my wishes, and the only reason that you didn't is because you don't care about what I want or feel." The other person's feelings don't factor into the equation. White is "you love me and you'll do this for me" and black is "you hate me and you won't." The idea that my brother can love her and not put the cereal boxes in order is an impossible paradox due to her "all or nothing" mentality.

- Self-harm or SIB is different in AS than it is in BDP as well. Which is not to say that autistic people never self-harm like others do. What I mean is that there are two different impetuses which can compel an person to self harm. There is the type everyone is aware of (the cry for help, the self-hatred, needing to feel, etc.), and there is the type unique to autistic people (and some others). When you hear about low-functioning autistic kids who bang their heads against a wall, they're not doing it because they're depressed, more than likely.

Due to sensory issues, certain types of "pain" can feel good to an autistic person. Our brains don't process sensory information the same way others do. I floss so hard that my gums bleed because I like the way it feels. I also put pressure on the sides of my fingernails.

Self-harm can be a reaction to stress. Which is often the case with head-banging. When my brain gets overloaded (particularly because of too much sensory input and social situations), I find that a little bit of pain can momentarily "bring me back." I'll do things like twisting my fingers until they hurt, bite the inside of my cheek, or bite my fingers to get through something difficult. It keeps me slightly more focused.

But none of this is to say that autistic people don't self-harm due to the "typical" reasons as well. People with AS can also be depressed or bipolar (and so on). We're not immune to that, but we might not be self-harming for the reasons you think.

- AS is a pervasive developmental disorder, not a personality disorder. The keyword there is "developmental." You do not develop AS late in life, you are born with it (or acquire it sometime during the early stages of development, jury's out). If your daughter has AS, there were symptoms present in her early childhood. Of course, that doesn't mean you necessarily recognized them, particularly if she was your firstborn and you didn't have a real comparison to draw.

Symptoms in childhood include things like hyperlexia (reading at an unusually early age, massive vocabulary, but peculiarities in usage), echolalia (repeating back words or phrases they hear, particularly instead of a response when questioned), poor fine or gross motor skills (difficulty with handwriting, difficulty with learning movements by mimicking others, clumsiness and general poor coordination), taking language literally (taking figurative phrases literally, I put the cat in the fridge so it would "chill out." Common conversational phrases are often picked up on through trial and error, but look for difficulties in following instructions because they're taken literally. For instance, "give that paper to me by Friday" could have the implied meaning of "turn that paper in to me by email the same way we always do." However, the person said "give" instead of "email," causing great confusion to the autistic individual who has difficulty understanding the implied meaning.), and sensory issues (being incredibly sensitive to certain sensations, such as the tags on clothing, certain smells, certain colors or patterns, being touched lightly by others, food tastes and textures, and certain sounds. The autistic brain can perceive everyday experiences as physically painful, and when overwhelmed by these painful experiences, the autistic child can often explode in an uncontrollable tantrum or completely shut down.).

This is by no means a comprehensive list. It does not mean your child has autism if they had one or all of these traits. It does not mean your child DOES NOT have autism if they had none of these traits. The main thing to keep in mind when considering whether or not your child is autistic is to look at the big picture. Every autistic person experiences the traits in their own unique way, and we all experience the traits to a different severity. But the bottom line is that we all experience the same thing to some degree. If your daughter doesn't have that shared experience (particularly if she does research into it and doesn't feel that it fits her), don't try to force it just because one aspect really makes sense.

Like I said, I'm not really an expert on BDP. I'm not 100% sure my mom has it. I may have made some mistakes when talking about BDP, but I'm confident my info on AS is solid.

Writing this made me realize how similar AS and BDP can seem on the surface in certain situations. I was really kind of offended at first that someone could mistake one for the other. I still am, actually. But I guess that's just my own prejudice. My mom was just so hard to live with, it's hard for me to see BDP in a positive (or even neutral, really) light.
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« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2012, 06:45:58 AM »

In the new ":)SM-5" manual, "the criteria will incorporate several diagnoses from DSM-IV including autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder (not otherwise specified) into the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder for DSM-5 to help more accurately and consistently diagnose children with autism," according to an APA statement Saturday.
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« Reply #57 on: November 27, 2013, 04:19:00 AM »

My undiagnosed BPD friend knows that something is not ok. He thinks he may have Aspberger's - and it seems there are some similarities - motor difficulties, some clumsiness, little empathy, social awkwardness (sometimes, sometimes he is brilliant). But he shows lots of BPD traits too, immaturity, baiting, projection, belittling.. Does it make any difference?

My biggest question seems a bit difficult to answer.. should the person with Asperger's be treated in a different way? If one set of behaviour stems from insecurity, and the other from not being able to recognise information, signals .. I'm still not sure. Have too keep reading, but would appreciate others' opinions.

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« Reply #58 on: December 10, 2013, 12:25:37 PM »

Hi foggydew,

What an interesting question, and, I agree, difficult to answer!  I think it may come down to radical acceptance, whether your friend has BPD, AS, or both.  The behaviors are what they are, and although I know to us it feels like there is a difference between a "signal" problem or one that looks like intentional manipulation, I think it's important to take care of ourselves as we do our best to accept and love our friends/family/partners with AS and/or BPD. Not easy, for sure.

Here is some info. from a recent study (May 2012) about Aspergers and personality disorders:

Personality disorders and autism spectrum disorders: what are the connections?

Tove Lugnegårda, b, , , Maria Unenge Hallerbäckb, c, Christopher Gillbergb

a Department of Adult Habilitation, Central Hospital, Karlstad, Sweden

b Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

c Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Central Hospital, Karlstad, Sweden



The relationship between autism spectrum disorders/pervasive developmental disorders and personality disorders is not completely clear, although both concepts imply lifelong impairment. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the presence of possible personality disorders in a group of young adults with Asperger syndrome.


Fifty-four young adults with a clinical diagnosis of Asperger syndrome were assessed with Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II disorders to evaluate the presence of a concomitant personality disorder and completed the Autism Spectrum Quotient to measure level of autistic features. Autism spectrum diagnosis was confirmed by Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders with a collateral informant.


Approximately half of the study group fulfilled criteria for a personality disorder, all belonging to cluster A or C. There was a significant difference across sex: men with Asperger syndrome meeting personality disorder criteria much more often than women with Asperger syndrome (65% vs 32%). Participants fulfilling criteria for a personality disorder showed more marked autistic features according to the Autism Spectrum Quotient.


There is a considerable overlap in symptoms between Asperger syndrome and certain personality disorders. Similarities and differences of the two concepts are discussed in the framework of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classification system.

I also found a review (2011) of a book by Louise Weston entitled Connecting With Your Asperger Partner: Negotiating the Maze of Intimacy.  The advice sounds similar to what you might read about dealing with a pwBPD:

"There is an emphasis on many scholarly and non- scholarly related materials to get a better understanding of AS diagnosis. This book is moving the issue of diagnosis to a new level for some of us neurotypicals. Along the same lines, Louise Weston is referring to the challenges in the diagnosis as ‘‘let go of expectations.’’ I find this phrase a fantastic one as it truly indicates the issue that no two Aspies are alike. Therefore, it would be impossible to have certain level of expectation associated with being in a relationship with an Aspie."

"One of the repeated themes in the book is referring to ‘‘self-care.’’ There is a fine line between the strategies of self-care and activities that can be indicative of a rela- tionship. Whether with a NT or with an Aspie, one should always practice self-care. The author provides various ways in which the NT can monitor stress levels as well as levels of self-care."

Hope this helps.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

When the pain of love increases your joy, roses and lilies fill the garden of your soul.
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« Reply #59 on: August 23, 2014, 03:19:46 PM »

Hi, I am wondering if there is any relationship between these two.  My mother and aunt have very VERY strong BPD traits although neither has ever come close to getting anything that could resemble a therapist so both would be undiagnosed.  However, my aunt's first born son has strong traits of autism, and has been to all sorts of therapists throughout his life, and is officially recognized as having a disability.   

I've noticed many other people on here posting about having autistic children, and I wonder if there is any link between BPD mothers and autistic children.  I've been told that when my cousin was very young (2 years old) my aunt would have serious rage episodes against him because he would get food everywhere when he ate, or would spill water, or whatever other insignificant typical thing a 2 year old can do.  I wonder if this may have aggravated or even provoked his symptoms.

The crumbs of love that you offer me, they're the crumbs I've left behind. - L. Cohen
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« Reply #60 on: August 28, 2014, 05:49:00 PM »

I do not think there is any relationship between personality disorders and autism spectrum disorders.  Our nephew was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was an adult; however, the symptoms were evident from day one.  As far as I know, there has been no research to genetically link the two disorders.  I do know that early intervention is critical for children on the autistic spectrum - unfortunately your cousin did not receive the benefit of this education (the the behaviour of his mother would not help him understand the world; only set his learning back).  Again, this is only my opinion ...


This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

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« Reply #61 on: December 21, 2014, 02:42:45 AM »

How comorbid are the two? Mine is diagnosed with both.
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« Reply #62 on: December 21, 2014, 07:50:29 AM »

I am a female high functioning asperger and I know some behaviour might look like BPD. At least the outcome of it. Aspergers also have problems with object constancy for example, they also often withdraw but with other intentions. I also think I do have some traits of BPD but am very concious about it and don't act on them (I used to grow up in a very toxic NPD and BPD-family). So I think it's possible to "have" both, but don't think it's a comorbidity. Maybe think about it this way: aspergers also have a different perception and might experience some occurrences as more dangerously as non-aspergers do, because of that they might develop PTSD or some eanxiety and stuff and it might look like BPD.

But when both occurs, symptoms of aspergers and traits of BPD, I always know which is which - I don't confuse the one for the other. It feels completely different and that's the point.

Aspergers isn't something you develop. You are born with it. Parts of your brain are neurologically different. The part for executive functions for example. Executive functions have to do with impulse control, BPDs also have problems with impulse control. Maybe that's the reason it sometimes looks a bit like the same.
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« Reply #63 on: March 16, 2015, 06:51:18 PM »

One relationship between the two that hasn't yet been discussed on this thread is what happens when an AS child is being raised by BPD parent. I think many of my aspie traits triggered my uBPD mother when I was a child (and they still do) leading her to think I was being conniving or manipulative when often I was clueless about her feelings. I wasn't diagnosed as a child but instead was labeled 'shy,' 'reclusive,' etc. My aspie traits probably made my mother's BPD worse, which in turn led me to take on some of her BPD traits to compensate for my aloofness. So where comorbidity does exist, I wonder how often it arises because the person with AS doesn't receive the appropriate and needed support.

Not only are BPD and AS near opposites to me; the two are the worst possible combination -- a hypersensitive person who interprets every action against them versus the aloof person who cannot seem to interpret the social at all. Put them together and it's a recipe for constant misunderstanding at best, emotional abuse more likely. 
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