In this article, we will talk about the borderline smear campaign and whether it is a common occurrence or not. We will also look at some ways to counter and deflect a smear campaign in the event that you become the target of one. This article will explore the truth behind people with BPD and how likely they are to start a smear campaign.
Do people with Borderline Personality Disorder initiate smear campaigns?
Not all people with Borderline Personality Disorder initiate smear campaigns and generalization would be a grave mistake here.
What is a smear campaign?
A smear campaign (also called distortion campaign) is an attempt to damage someone’s reputation by means of negative propaganda.
Now let’s make one thing very clear, smear campaigns are not a thing with all people who have Borderline Personality Disorder, so it may not be right to tie the smear campaign with all people who suffer from BPD.
A smear campaign will attempt to malign an individual, just because they might have brought up the fear of abandonment, or even just feelings of abandonment for the person with BPD. The best strategy to come out of this kind of campaign as unscathed as possible would be the path of least retaliation, and setting boundaries may prove to be a crucial step.
There is however, a subgroup of people with BPD, they might also be referred to as unconventional borderline individuals, who tend to use the smear campaign tactic, in order to get the much needed attention that they crave so badly.
These individuals refuse to go to therapy or seek treatment.
Please note that NOT all people with BPD resort to smear campaigning this section is only relevant for a subgroup of people with BPD.
So why would a person with Borderline Personality Disorder start a smear campaign?
A smear campaign is initiated only when their fear of abandonment kicks in.
Given below are two cases to help you better understand what a smear campaign is like.
A and B have been married for almost a year now. B had been diagnosed with BPD earlier in her adulthood but refused to share this with her husband A because she was afraid of being abandoned due to the stigma attached with BPD.
However, A has now noticed some disturbing patterns within their marriage. B takes the most minor of inconveniences and turns them into rejections. A returns home a bit late one Friday night and B has an uncontrollable emotional outburst where she cries helplessly but when A tries to reason with her, her outburst turns into a full blown attack, an explosion of anger directed at A.
In her rage, B not only shouts incessantly but also accusess, A of being an unfaithful husband. She makes sure to tell all their mutual friends that A is not ‘himself’ anymore, and that he has hurt her so bad, even though his coming home late is not a common occurrence.
C and D are new in class and they become friends on their first day of school. As the days pass by, C gradually makes more friends and becomes part of a friend group. D also makes an effort to make herself included.
However, when C is invited to a party and D is not invited, her fear of abandonment kicks in. She feels left out and helpless. She decides to target C and accuses her of having said nasty things about the friend who is hosting the party.
She makes up all those ‘nasty things’ in her head and makes sure that everyone in their friend circle gets to know what C said but all this is done in an attempt to be included.
The Grey Rock Method
What if you become the target of a smear campaign?
Tip number one would be, to avoid provoking a Cluster B individual, by bringing up feelings of abandonment for them.
Also, if you will, try to cultivate compassion and look at them from a more empathetic lens, you may see a wounded person, who has an extremely heightened fear of abandonment, which was most likely roused in them by childhood trauma.
Blaming and attacking will always lead to more attacking and blaming, peppered with defensiveness and fueled by anger. The Grey Rock Method is often touted as a successful strategy in getting out of the grips of a smear campaign.
The Grey Rock Method requires you to literally act like a grey rock, and be as unresponsive and uninteresting as possible. This may reduce the defensiveness of the person with BPD and help you come out a little less scathed.
In the event that the above given methods do not work, you will have to distance yourself, set boundaries and speak as little as you can.
Now before you pass a verdict and accuse people with BPD to be smear campaigners, it would be wise to understand what BPD is, how it affects a person’s life, and how challenging and isolating it is to live with a mental condition like BPD.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
So what really is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline Personality Disorder (also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) is a psychological condition that is characterized by a long term pattern of strong emotional reactions, unstable moods, unsteady relationships that feel like walking on eggshells and a distorted sense of self.
At the root of all these patterns lies the fear of abandonment. It may begin in adolescence or early adulthood. Borderline Personality Disorder is a Cluster B disorder which means it is a category of personality disorders which are characterized by erratic emotions and thinking and behaviour patterns.
Signs and Symptoms:
Here are the key symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Erratic emotions or mood swings
- Fear of abandonment/ Paranoia
- Intense but unstable relationships
- Black and white thinking e.g. a person is either a friend or a foe and there’s no in between
- Risky behaviours (binge eating, drug abuse, unsafe sex, spending sprees or self-sabotage)
- Self harm/ Self mutilation/ Self loathing/ Suicide threats
- Anger outbursts/ Sarcasm/ Physical fights
- Self identity or self image issues
Subtypes of Borderline Personality Disorder
It is vital to understand that not everyone with Borderline Personality Disorder will have the same experience. However, for now there are four subtypes of BPD which are as follows:
- Discouraged borderline personality disorder
Also known as Quiet BPD, people who have this subtype of BPD tend to have clingy and codependent behaviour. These people crave approval but also feel unworthy of it and end up self sabotaging. They are prone to depression and their anger and disappointment is directed inward rather than outward.They are most likely to engage in self harm and even commit suicide.
- Impulsive borderline personality disorder
These people possess charisma and energy and may also be flirtatious but tend to get bored very quickly. They seek attention and excitement and thrive on it and may even get into trouble, throwing caution to the wind. They are inclined to substance abuse and self harm for seeking approval.
- Petulant borderline
They are unpredictable, easily irritable and defiant types. They have deep seated pessimism and resentment and have extreme feelings of unworthiness. They have episodes of explosive anger. They resort to self harm to get the attention they crave so deeply.
- Self-destructive borderline
As the name is self explanatory, the main theme for these types is self destruction. These people may be described as walking talking self destruct buttons. Self-loathing makes them lose all sense of self, and in order to feel something, they may have to resort to self harm. They are highly likely to engage in risky behaviours.
Yes. Borderline Personality Disorder is a treatable condition.
The first line treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder is Therapy.
The treatment focuses on giving people with BPD better skills to deal with their emotional reactions and respond in better and healthier ways.
Top Treatment Options
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Stigma Associated with BPD and Personality Disorders
Okay so can we stop pretending like people with BPD, are some kind of demons who are out there in the world to attack you in your moment of weakness? Like they are some kind of sinister beings, who always have a dagger up their sleeve, ready to strike?
That is NOT true!
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what people with BPD go through on a daily basis to understand their experience, to cultivate compassion and end the stigma.
The fact that BPD is stigmatized even among healthcare practitioners is really saddening.
In recent years, depression has become less stigmatized because more and more people especially celebrities have started speaking up about their experiences, making it non-taboo but people with serious and debilitating disorders like BPD are still penalized and kept out of the whole mental health scene.
I find this to be tragically unfair.
While every person with BPD may have a different experience but one thing is common: it is an alienating one.
The issue that people with Cluster B personality disorders are smear campaigners and are high conflict personalities has been flogged to death already. The stigmatization incites more defensiveness in people with BPD and is clearly not helping.
Labeling them as being abusive and using terms like ‘BPD abuse’ and ‘Narc abuse’ which are now being thrown around so casually also has its implications. Moreover, the term abuse shouldn’t be linked so casually with these disorders as it seeks to label individuals who have them.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that BPD is among the least understood and exceedingly stigmatized disorders. In a world that shuns and rejects them, people with acute mental disorders have almost no one to turn to. If we really care about mental health, then the best thing we can do now is to destigmatize BPD and other stigmatized mental disorders and make this world a less lonely and agonizing place for the people who experience them.
In this article we explored the borderline smear campaign and whether it is a common occurrence or not. We also looked at some ways to counter and deflect a smear campaign in the event that you become the target of one.
Frequently Asked Questions: Borderline Smear Campaign
Are borderlines aware of their behavior?
It was revealed in results of an experiment that BPD patients avoided self awareness cues more often than their healthy counterparts, however, they were more aware of their behaviour.
Can a borderline love someone?
Even though people with BPD have turbulent relationships, they can be very affectionate and caring.
What triggers borderline rage?
BPD persons may go into a violent rage unpredictably and this is triggered by their intense fear of abandonment. Their fear of rejection is so intense that they almost begin to expect rejection. They tend to associate very subtle cues with rejection and end up giving intense reactions.
Do borderlines lack empathy?
Research has indicated that people with BPD have an increased sensitivity to negative emotions and have poor cognitive empathy. However, they have superior emotional empathy.
Why is BPD so painful?
People with BPD lack a sense of self and are unable to trust even their own feelings. They struggle with chronic feelings of emptiness and sometimes even feel as if they are non-existent and this causes them a lot of pain.
Can borderlines get better?
People with BPD do get better and almost seven out of eight experienced symptom remission lasting about four years, and half of them did not meet the criteria for BPD anymore.