9 Common Triggers for a Person with BPD (Examples)

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Introduction


Imagine walking through a forest where the paths are not just made of dirt and stone but of feelings, thoughts, and memories.

For someone with Borderline Personality Disorder these paths can sometimes lead to unexpected places, triggered by the brush of a leaf or the whisper of the wind.

From the echoes of past traumas to the sting of perceived neglect, each step can bring forth a flood of emotions, as intense and unpredictable as a summer storm.

These are the tales of navigating through life's forests, highlighting nine common triggers that might stir the leaves and awaken the winds for those journeying with BPD. 


Borderline Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Sarah Webster, SWC

Sarah Webster, SWC

Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Amber Hopf, MSW, SWP

Amber Hopf, MSW, SWP

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Sara Robbins, LCSW

Sara Robbins, LCSW

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Emily Murphy, LPC

Emily Murphy, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Derek Bonds, LPC

Derek Bonds, LPC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Seth Boughton, SWC

Seth Boughton, SWC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121

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1. Fear of Abandonment or Rejection


The fear of abandonment or rejection is a profound and often paralyzing concern.

This apprehension doesn't need a significant event to trigger it; seemingly minor incidents can set off an intense emotional response.

For example, imagine someone with BPD who plans a dinner with a friend.

If the friend suddenly cancels, even for a legitimate reason like falling ill, the individual with BPD might interpret this cancellation as a personal rejection.

This interpretation can lead to a cascade of negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, or anxiety, reflecting the deep-seated fear of being left alone or not valued. 


2. Interpersonal Relationship Issues


Interpersonal relationship issues often serve as a significant source of stress for many individuals, particularly those with heightened emotional sensitivity.

An example of this could be when a person perceives their partner's busy schedule and decreased communication as a lack of interest or affection.

This perception might not reflect the partner's true feelings or intentions, who may simply be overwhelmed with work or other obligations.

However, the lack of clear communication can lead to feelings of insecurity, sadness, or anger in the individual, exacerbating the situation and potentially leading to conflicts or misunderstandings.

Such scenarios underscore the complex dynamics of relationships and the importance of open, honest communication to mitigate emotional distress. 


3. Changes in Routine


For individuals with BPD, the comfort found in a consistent routine is like a safety net, shielding them from the unpredictability of life.

A minor alteration in this routine, such as an unexpected change in work schedule, can trigger significant anxiety and emotional distress.

For instance, if someone with BPD has meticulously planned their week around specific work hours, finding out at the last minute that they need to stay late could send them into a state of panic.

This reaction isn't merely about having to adjust plans; it's the sudden shift in what was perceived as a controlled environment that can feel deeply unsettling, leading to feelings of insecurity and instability. 


4. Feeling Invalidated or Misunderstood


Imagine a scenario where an individual shares their feelings of anxiety and distress over a personal issue with a friend, hoping for empathy and support.

Instead, the friend responds by minimizing their feelings, suggesting they are overreacting or that their problem isn't as serious as they think.

This response can deeply hurt the individual, making them feel isolated and misunderstood.

It's not just the initial problem that causes pain now; it's also the added weight of feeling dismissed by someone they trusted.

This can lead to a cycle of withdrawal and reluctance to share feelings in the future, exacerbating feelings of loneliness and misunderstanding.


5. Emotional Overwhelm


Emotional overwhelm is a common trigger for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, especially when faced with high-stress situations.

For example, consider someone with BPD who is dealing with an escalating dispute within their family while simultaneously facing pressures at work.

The combination of personal and professional stress can quickly become unbearable, triggering intense emotional responses such as anxiety, anger, or despair.

This overwhelming sensation isn't merely about the stressors themselves but the individual's heightened emotional reaction to them. 


6. Identity Issues


Struggles with self-image or identity are significant triggers for those with BPD, often leading to an exacerbation of symptoms.

For instance, a young adult with BPD may start a new job and feel incapable of fitting in with their coworkers or meeting their employer's expectations.

This professional environment, which demands a stable sense of self and confidence, becomes a breeding ground for doubt and self-criticism.

They might constantly question their career choice, their skills, and even their fundamental values and purpose. 


7. Feeling Neglected or Ignored


Take, for example, a person who sends a message to a close friend, sharing details about a difficult day, only to receive no response for several hours or even days.

Even if the friend's silence is due to a busy schedule or an oversight rather than a deliberate act of neglect, the individual might perceive this lack of immediate response as a sign that they are undervalued or that their problems are unimportant.

This perception can lead to feelings of isolation, sadness, or anger, exacerbating the sense of being overlooked and intensifying the emotional distress associated with such experiences. 


8. Anniversaries of Traumatic Events


Anniversaries of traumatic events can act as significant triggers.

For instance, the anniversary of a loved one's death might be an exceptionally challenging time for someone with BPD.

As the date approaches, they may experience heightened feelings of sadness, loss, or even anger, which can feel overwhelming.

These emotions might not only relate to the grief of losing the person but also to the traumatic impact their passing had on the individual's life.

The cyclical nature of these anniversaries means that the person might face these intense emotional responses annually, making it a recurring challenge to manage their symptoms and maintain emotional stability during these periods. 


9. Rejection or Criticism


Rejection or criticism, even when meant to be constructive, can be deeply wounding for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, often eliciting intense emotional responses.

Consider a scenario where a person with BPD presents a project at work, and their supervisor offers feedback aimed at improving the project's outcome.

l Instead of perceiving this feedback as helpful, the individual might interpret it as a personal attack or rejection, questioning their competence and worth. This misinterpretation can lead to a cascade of negative emotions, including feelings of inadequacy, shame, or anger, which not only affects their self-esteem but can also strain professional relationships and hinder their ability to receive and grow from future feedback. 


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Conclusion


The triggers associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are varied and deeply personal, ranging from feelings of rejection or criticism to the anniversaries of traumatic events.

Each example underscores the complexity of navigating daily life with BPD, where seemingly ordinary interactions or dates can evoke intense emotional responses.

These triggers highlight the importance of awareness, both for individuals living with BPD and for those around them, to foster environments of empathy and support.

By acknowledging and addressing these common triggers, individuals with BPD can work towards a more balanced and fulfilling life. 


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May 24th, 2024

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