In those with Borderline Personality (BPD) due to a lack of known self there is no emotional reference for self vs other in interpersonal relating due to the early childhood arrested development caused by no bonding, insecure bonding, abandonment trauma (actual or perceived) or affect synchrony. (Alan M. Shore) When mother and child just don’t connect in the mirroring phase of early childhood development – not always a mother’s fault. There may be abuse and/or other very early trauma in many cases as well.
The interruption, for whatever reason, in the emotional development of a child, causes the interruption and loss of known “self” and identity. It leaves people with Borderline Personality Disorder emotionally very immature and with a split off very wounded inner child in the lead. When they get triggered, it is a dissociative phenomenon that causes their pasts to feel as if they are in the “now”. This is the central reason a person with BPD’s reactions will often seem way too intense and situationally and age-wise inappropriate. Not knowing oneself, in the case of those with Borderline Personality means they have no “Self” – “Other” reference. Everything, in a triggered emotionally dysregulated and dissociative state is about them and that past and loved ones in the here and now quickly are seen (subconsciously) and projected on to as if they are the wounding (or perceived) wounding person from the person with BPD’s past.
In this way, loved ones, aren’t seen for who they are in the now. They are experienced by the person with Borderline Personality Disorder as an Object Other representation (from the past) of a parent.
The arrested emotional development and lack of self that are two of the hallmarks of what BPD really is and means in an experiential way leaves them without any here and now emotional reference for where they begin and end and where “other” is separate from them and begin and end.
People with BPD (before any therapy) are emotionally stuck in the arrested developed young 2 year old who (at that age it’s normal) has only an emotional idea about “self”. At that age, there is no emotional or even cognitive understanding of “other”. People with BPD manifest this in relationships and when triggered because it is still a part of the core wound of abandonment.
© A.J. Mahari, July 14, 2016 – All rights reserved.