Are There Four Stages/Types of BPD?
There are no universally accepted stages or types of borderline personality disorder (BPD), and the progression of symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Some mental health professionals have proposed elegant models of BPD that describe a stage or sub-type based on common patterns of symptoms and behaviors.
For example, Theodore Millon, an expert in personality disorders, puts forth one such model. The four sub-types of BPD, according to his model, are:
Discouraged Borderline: this subtype, which also goes by the name high functioning BPD or quiet BPD, can manifest in several ways in their relationships. While in these relationships, the BPD patient can function quite normally. However, when the relationship ends, their life can crumble. They may also fear the possibility of the end of the relationship, causing strain and, ultimately, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Patients with this subtype of BPD are typically depressed and avoid specific interactions and circumstances. They are often submissive and can be codependent, especially in romantic relationships.
Impulsive Borderline: this subtype of borderline personality disorder often manifests in chaotic behavior not backed by deep thought or reflection. The impulsive borderline’s behavior may cause physical or emotional harm to themselves or others. They are often superficial but charismatic and exciting to be with. Often, these behavior stem from earlier chaos in the family setting where they had to act out to stand out. They may have difficulty dealing with aging, especially if they were praised for their looks or abilities as a child.
Petulant borderline: often manifesting in passive-aggressive behavior, the petulant borderline patient can be seen as pessimistic or negative, impatient, and irritable. Many were insecure and abused emotionally or physically as children, which ultimately left them feeling depressed and inadequate as adults. These patients often experience irrational and overwhelming anger but feel terrible guilt and remorse once they return to baseline.
Self-Destructive Borderline: as the name suggests, self-destructive borderlines often turn their emotions and anger inwards. While they hope to be independent, they are usually submissive and compliant in their relationships. These patients are at a greater risk for self-harm, including suicide.
It is important to note that these stages are not definitive or universally applicable. Some patients will not fall into any subtypes mentioned above, while others may fall into one or more subtypes. Only a proper diagnosis from a qualified mental health professional can effectively address any of the borderline personality disorder subtypes mentioned above.