Borderline Personality Disorder is characterised by certain patterns of behaviour, such as difficulties sustaining relationships, managing impulses, emotional dysregulation and poor self-image, which all affect the ability to have positive and successful social interactions. It is a very distressing condition as it expresses itself in such subconscious ways that it is often simply put down to “not being good with people”, and can be left undiagnosed and untreated, while the person can only watch powerlessly as their relationships fail to address their needs.
Through extensive research, the connection between BPD and sociocultural factors has proved itself so prevalent that it is now widely accepted that Borderline Personality Disorder is a direct result from trauma, and more specifically childhood trauma.
The importance of childhood years as far as emotional development is concerned is well-known to be vital and determines the capability of a person to form secure attachments in later life. When children experience trauma, their minds develop certain strategies to help them cope, which will become their “standard” emotional response from them on.
Trauma can be caused by violent events, such as witnessing or being the victim of verbal and physical abuse, especially sexual abuse, bereavement and abandonment but also by less brutal, but as harmful, maltreatment such as being ignored, emotionally rejected or not valued by their parents.
When secure attachment isn’t possible, avoidance strategies are put in place which can express themselves, in an adult life, by combining a great need for intimacy with an equally great fear of being hurt and rejected for example, often leading to tensions in relationships as the person affected by BDP oscillates between a desire for closeness, insecurity, and pulling away, subconsciously sabotaging the bond over time.
Severe dissociation, a criterion for BPD diagnosis, is also associated with childhood trauma. A defence mechanism, it protects the person concerned by disconnecting them from reality and preventing hurtful information from entering their consciousness. A victim of rape escapes the horror of what happened to them this way. It is also currently thought that the process may affect people’s ability to form and access memories.
A very upsetting disorder, it is deeply rooted in the subconscious and anchored in early years, but through psychological treatment, patients can learn to understand their feelings and strategies better and develop healthier behaviours.
Trauma Counselling in Auckland at the Robert Street Clinic
If you have been affected by trauma during your childhood and find social interactions difficult, seeking help is a major decision which can make you feel vulnerable.
The Robert Street Clinic is a private practice of highly experienced professionals, from psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists. Our combined skills enable us to provide you with exactly the right treatment plan and support for you, in a safe and non-judgemental environment. We also offer relationship counselling.
If you are looking for trauma counselling in Auckland for yourself or a loved one, contact us or call us on 09 973 5950 for confidential and compassionate advice.