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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: Does stress trigger negative BPD behaviors?  (Read 21200 times)
bewildered2
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« on: May 21, 2007, 10:19:53 AM »

A person with Borderline Personality can exhibit normal behavior for a long time before he/she loses it and the abusive side comes out.

Stress seemed to send my ex-bpgf over the edge. When I look back I can see how many times, when she did something strange, she was stressed out prior to the outburst.

So, maybe a Borderline simply has a very very low stress threshold?

Maybe this is obvious?

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 10:33:42 AM »

Stress ALWAYS sends my husband over the edge.  He went through a period where he was really trying and WORKING with the tools given him in therapy to manage his stress.  I held out hope that this would progress and it would get easier for him to cope.  Unfortunately, he opted not to continue with the counselling, his family threw him a curve ball (they are a HUGE stress trigger for him) and it was back to the old cycles.

From what I've read and witnessed about BP traits, they certainly seem to have low to zero tolerance for stress, be it something unexpected or just the wear and tear of "life".  I know my husband hates schedule changes and would rage at me if there were additional activities or responsibilities in our lives.  
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crystal
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2007, 11:06:09 AM »

absolutely. Stress is a huge trigger. Transitions and change cause stress:

So holidays,travel, beginning of school, visitors, parties.. change in schedule, everything about raising kids all cause stress and are triggers.

On the flip side, boredom sets in easily so he needs new. And new means change. And change means...

Ah yes, a deadly circle..


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Abigail
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2007, 11:25:38 AM »

Stress is definitely a trigger.  My husband's doctor says that they are "allergic" to stress, or highly sensitive to stress.  And since it's hard to eliminate all of the stress in our lives, there will always be something to trigger them.

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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2007, 07:34:34 PM »

Stress is absolutely a trigger, but here is a pattern I have noticed with my gf. She deliberately takes more more responsibility than anyone but a superhuman could handle, and when inevitably things become stressful for her, she begins to spiral into an existential depression, calling herself a "failure" and saying she "disappoints everyone in her life" - with all of the usual amount of projection associated with BPD fears.  Also, even things which normal people would not consider stress triggers set her off: any criticism of her work whatsoever, however constructive, immediately crushes her self-esteem. Fears (groundless fears, at that) that professors are "mad" at her or fears that others in her production company think she is incompetent or immature also trigger stress responses.
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2007, 08:46:06 PM »

Yes, stress is the key trigger for a rage... a psychologist we saw briefly called it having a "behavior seizure" which I think is a really good term for it. They are definitely not all there when it is happening
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2007, 10:29:43 PM »

Definately stress as a trigger  :P

stress due to deadlines

stress due to too much responsibility

stress due to children being children

stress due to leaving for trips

stress due to unforseen circumstances

stress from things not going their way

stress from no one understanding what they are trying to say

stress from no one anticipating their needs (mind reading abilities)

stress from being the only one   who does things "the right way"

yes, stress is definately a trigger  :smiley

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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2010, 09:55:07 AM »

Definately stress as a trigger  :P

stress due to deadlines

stress due to too much responsibility

stress due to children being children

stress due to leaving for trips

stress due to unforseen circumstances

stress from things not going their way

stress from no one understanding what they are trying to say. So true! I know she struggles with this ALOT!

stress from no one anticipating their needs (mind reading abilities)

stress from being the only one  who does things "the right way"

yes, stress is definately a trigger  :smiley

So stressors is probably one of the reasons she's gone MIA on me. I made an overnight decision to move back to the City near where she lives. Up till then we'd had a pretty decent long distance phone "friendship" and had been talking about how fun it would be to hang out together when I moved back. At some future time. When I made the decision overnight... I expected to hear "happy" in her voice, instead I heard... "surprise" and maybe even some... "uncertainty."  Not only was I stressed but she had to deal with her own conflicting emotions I guess. A week after I got back, she stopped communicating completely even though I've reached out 3x. It's been confusing and bewildering but reading over the comments above probably not an unusual thing to have happen.

It's a complicated puzzle, when I think I've found the right spot for a piece, the shape shifts right before my eyes and I'm left scratching my head in puzzlement!
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010, 07:33:41 PM »

I find that acute stress (discrete, emotional events) can sometimes short-circuit the healthy coping mechanisms I've learned to use... it takes extra effort not to let myself be triggered. But non-emotional situations like too much loud noise I can't escape can also make me feel BPD-ish.

I get stressed more easily if I don't sleep well, if I don't eat, or if I'm sick.

Chronic stressors (e.g., lonliness) obviously impact my overall functioning, too. Unfortunately, they also impact my overall health, so sometimes it's a vicious cycle.

Meditation, exercise, medication, journalling, self-comforting - all these things are valuable tools to help blunt the effect of stress. Just sometimes I'm not good at doing them  rolleyes
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2010, 01:59:14 PM »

Ocean, interesting.  I have hypoglycemia and if I don't eat at regular intervals, my blood sugar drops and my emotions go haywire: cranky, emotional (crying) and disoriented all at once.  It's not pretty. It takes me a few hours to regulate and get back in balance.  My exuBPDSO started to notice that her eating patterns impacted her emotional state, so she started to regulate the timing and quality of her meals.

In 12 steps there's a great tool called H.A.L.T. (hungry, angry, lonely, tired). The idea is that when I'm getting triggered, I need to stop (halt) and see if I'm under the "influence" of any of these 4 conditions. If so, I need to take care of it. Just having the awareness can help stop the spiral.
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2010, 05:39:56 PM »

confused - I love H.A.L.T, we were taught that over at BPDRecovery.com and I find it really useful if I remember to use it. I also like to use my own words, like sometimes I'm just horny angel or alienated or listless or teary-eyed, etc, but the main 4 really do get at something fundamental: if those are taken care of, I find I can handle other things better.
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2010, 11:56:58 PM »

All of the above refers to acute stress.  The Cleveland Clinic goes a lot further saying that stress plays a major role in triggering the development of BPD in a person - childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, prolonged separation, or inconsistent parenting.

The exact cause of borderline personality disorder is not known, but most researchers believe that it is caused by a combination of biological and psychological factors. People with this disorder might be born with a vulnerability to the disorder, which is then triggered by stress or other factors.

For example, research suggests that a malfunction in the brain might be responsible for the impulsiveness, mood instability, anger, and negative emotions that are common in people with this disorder. Psychological "triggers" might include childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, prolonged separation, or inconsistent parenting.

A disruptive family life and poor communication within the family also are risk factors for the development of BPD.
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 12:47:18 PM »

In talking about stressors, it's helpful to understand the different levels of stress that a pwBPD encounters and how they might react:

1) overreactng to simple stressors;

2) getting angry or becoming depressed on moderate stressors; and

3) going into panic, rage, or deep depression on what they perceive as overwhelming stressors.

So, depending on the stress trigger, there is a range of reactions that we might witness.

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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2013, 05:40:15 PM »

Stress ALWAYS sends my husband over the edge.  From what I've read and witnessed about BP traits, they certainly seem to have low to zero tolerance for stress, be it something unexpected or just the wear and tear of "life".  I know my husband hates schedule changes and would rage at me if there were additional activities or responsibilities in our lives.  

Just the mention of the word schedule will set my BPDw off.  Again, so interesting the simularities.
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