In this blog, we will be discussing the INTP personality type and their characteristics, what borderline personality disorder is along with its signs and symptoms, and what kind of a relationship can be present between people with INTP type of personality and borderline personality disorder.
What is the connection between INTPs and Borderline Personality Disorder?
There are various similarities that are found between the traits associated with INTPs and characteristic symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
We will get to the in-depth discussion of the relationship between INTP personality type and borderline personality disorder, but first, let us have an insight into the INTP type and explore borderliner personality disorder.
INTP personality type: MBTI inventory
MBTI is one of the most widely used instruments to study personality. Based on the inventory questions and the answers people give, MBTI classifies people into 16 personality types. One such personality type among the 16 is the INTP personality type.
INTP personality type can be elaborated as introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving. The collective term used for this personality type is “The Thinker.”
People who are INTP type according to the MBTI, are often quiet and analytical. They prefer spending time alone and tend to enjoy their own company, trying to understand how things work, brainstorming, and solving questions is something they enjoy.
They prefer to concentrate on their internal thoughts rather than the outside world because they are quite wealthy and satisfied in their own world.
They usually do not have a wide social circle, but they do maintain a select group of close friends.
Characteristics of INTPs
- They tend to be quiet, thoughtful and reserved. As they are introverts, it is easy to guess that they prefer to socialize and communicate within a small group of friends. However, only if they find people with whom they share common interests and connections.
- They are deep thinkers of the theoretical world and prefer and respect intelligence and logic over emotion.
- As they themselves are quite logical they base their decisions on pure objective information rather than subjective emotions or feelings hence all their decisions are extremely objective even though they might know that not everyone will be happy with their decisions.
- Though they might not seem like it, they can be quite flexible and good at thinking “outside of the box”. That is, they can look for solutions in a creative manner rather than sticking to the established norms.
- They do not like to be stuck on tiny details so they think about the big picture. Since they are also creative, they like to keep their options open and try unique ways to solve problems. Because of this, they tend to feel suffocated by society.
What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?
People having a borderline personality disorder (BPD) tend to show a pattern of behavior that is characterized by impulsivity and instability in their self-image, their moods, and their interpersonal relationships. A central attribute is emotional instability.
Before getting into further details about the characteristics of people with BPD, let us know what personality disorders are; Characteristics of a person, coping styles, and forms of interaction in the social environment emerge in childhood and usually crystallize into established patterns in late adolescence or early adulthood.
These patterns form the personality of the individual: the set of unique traits and behaviors that characterize the person. Individually. For a personality disorder to be diagnosed, the person’s enduring pattern of behavior must be pervasive and inflexible, as well as stable and long-lasting.
It must also be apparent in at least two of the following areas: cognition, affect, interpersonal functioning, or impulse control, and produce clinically significant suffering or impairment.
Coming back to BPD, the American Psychological Association explains BPD as follows; People with a borderline personality disorder display great instability, including major shifts in mood, an unstable self-image, and impulsivity (APA, 2013).
These characteristics become the main roots for the instability in their relationships. Their emotions always seem to be in conflict with the world around them. They are prone to outbursts of anger, which may sometimes result in physical harm and violence.
They also, however, direct their anger towards themselves impulsively and inflict physical harm on themselves. They often are very troubled over their prolonged feelings of deep emptiness. Their impulsive, self-destructive actions can range from alcohol and substance abuse to delinquency, unsafe sex, and reckless driving.
Many resorts to self-mutilation, such as cutting themselves or burning themselves or hitting their heads. Suicidal threats and actions are common among people with BPD.
Signs and symptoms of BPD
Now that we have a general idea about the characteristics of a person with BPD, let us now look at some signs and symptoms of BPD in simpler terms :
- Severe mood swings,
- an exaggerated fear of rejection and abandonment,
- rapid changes in thinking that someone is perfect to see them as evil,
- self-harm and suicide attempts,
- difficulty accepting another’s perspective and understanding their emotions,
- impulsive and risky behaviors (substance abuse, unprotected sex, gambling, etc.),
- sharp changes in self-image ranging from worthless to worthy of representation.
Relationship between INTP type and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Always remember that though we are talking about how people with BPD can have similarities with that of INTP personality type and vice versa, the topic is subjective and there is no conclusive research available to prove the correlation.
Just because you have an INTP personality type characteristic, you cannot conclude that you may have a borderline personality disorder and not all people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder have an INTP personality type.
One of the most common similarities exists in relationships with others. INTP personality types are introverts and find it difficult to socialize. Like people with BPD, their moods are a little unstable.
But in a way, people with an INTP personality type can be better at dealing with BPD because of their rational thinking. Since BPD causes rapid shifts in moods and impulsivity, INTP characteristics can help them control and rationalize themselves.
Among the people diagnosed, however, since INTPs like to think of the world as rational, they might have trouble accepting the fact that they have BPD.
They might think of solutions to their behavior and take time to understand that a condition like BPD is something from which they cannot recover but it is something which has to be managed. Once they do understand it, they might become quite adept at managing themselves.
They still might have other symptoms of BPD such as :
- an exaggerated fear of rejection and abandonment,
- rapid changes in thinking,
- fear that someone may view them as evil,
- self-harm and suicide attempts, etc.
- Difficulty in accepting another’s perspective and understanding their emotions is something they might suffer from because in the INTPs’ world of objectivity, emotional responses might not hold a great deal of value. But again, they can be quite logical in terms of thinking about emotions which might prove them to be less emotionally unstable and also great advice givers especially because they tend to look at the consequences and bigger picture rather than focusing on the present.
Management and treatment of BPD
Management of BPD can be tough as it exists throughout life once diagnosed and there can be several ups and downs.
Psychotherapy and counselling
Psychotherapy is the main treatment for BPD. Mental health professionals may recommend either type of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), or schema-focused therapy.
CBT helps identify and change unhealthy beliefs, behaviours, and inaccurate perceptions people have about themselves and others. It teaches them a healthy way to react when they feel angry, anxious, anxious, or suicide.
DBT teaches how beliefs and actions can be recognized and teaches acceptance. A healthy response to behaviours is also learnt.
Schema-focused therapies help gain a more positive outlook at themselves and the world.
There are currently no medications approved specifically to treat borderline personality disorder, but doctors may prescribe medication to help improve certain symptoms of borderline personality disorder.
Research suggests that anger, impulsivity, and depression can be managed with some medications. At this point, it is important to remember that psychiatric medications can cause side effects, hence it is important to carefully weigh the effects of medications with their potential benefit.
We explored the relationship and link between INTPs and BPD, understood the INTP personality type in depth, discussed borderliner personality disorder, symptoms of BPD, and management and treatment of BPD.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ): What is the connection between INTPs and Borderline Personality Disorder?
How do you help someone with BPD in life?
Try to learn more about BPD and how it works, try to understand and listen to them even if it might tire you, try and encourage them to take help but do not force them. Do not break their trust as this might devastate them. Undergo counseling yourself as caring or staying with a person who has BPD can be stressful. Make sure you seek proper support.
Can people with BPD truly love someone?
With most relationships, people with BPD can be very devotional and caring. Their relationships are very passionate, compassionate and affectionate. They love people they care about deeply and van make people feel truly loved and cherished.
Can people with BPD have friends?
It requires confident communication skills and enough self-awareness to know when to back off a bit. However, if you work on it, it is possible to form long-term, rewarding friendships with people with BPD.
What is the weakness of INTP personality type?
INTPs’ can be critical and very condescending. This makes people stay away from them as they typically come off as rude. Their constant need for objectivity keeps them away from even slight irrational feelings.
Are INTPs’ good in relationships?
Being highly logical in nature, they are very frank and truthful. They show no interest in cheating or looking for something else as they know exactly what they want. This makes them faithful. However, only people who truly understand and accept them can be around them and hence they do not have a lot of friends.
I have an INTP type personality, does it mean I have BPD?
The topic is subjective and there is no conclusive research available to prove the correlation. Just because you have an INTP personality type characteristic, you cannot conclude that you may have a borderline personality disorder and not all people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder have INTP personality type.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
Gunderson, J. G., Zanarini, M. C., & Kisiel, C. L. (1995). Borderline personality disorder. In W. J. Livesley (Ed.), The DSM-IV personality disorders (pp. 141–57). New York: Guilford Press.
Hooley, J., Cole, S., & Gironde, S. (2012). Borderline personality disorder. In T. Widiger (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of personality disorders (pp. 409–36). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
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