BPD mythbuster #5: BPD, acts of violence and homicidal tendencies

When I first began this series, the topic of BPD and how it relates to acts of violence and acts of homicide was foremost in my mind. I watch a lot of true crime/forensic file type shows. Because of my own mother’s violent death back in 1992, I’m keenly interested in bringing violent criminals to justice.

One thing that really bothers me though is that I’ve watched more than a few episodes wherein an “expert” has been interviewed and has identified said violent criminal as having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and thus this seems to provide a sufficient explanation as to why someone is violent. Do I have the audacity to refute such experts?

Yes I do and I believe I have research on my side. Here are a few links to sources in regards to meeting the criteria for a BPD diagnosis. There are several more listed on my BPD page.

Mayo Clinic: Borderline Personality Disorder

NIH: Borderline Personality Disorder

Verywell Mind: Understanding BPD

Notice that there is mention of anger, physical fighting and suicide, however it doesn’t go as far as to identify violence and/or homicidal tendencies as being typical for people with BPD.

It may seem easy to assign violence acts to a specific personality disorder. Much more so than BPD, violent behavior gets assigned to Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), which has become the PC term for sociopathy/psychopathy. There is a lot of credence to lend to this assignment if you read the following:

Mayo Clinic: Antisocial Personality Disorder

It’s also been well-documented in the last few years that mental health conditions can and do overlap, thus it is possible for a person to meet both the criteria for BPD and APD, for instance. There is this article by Verywell Mind, which suggests that while there is a connection between violence and a BPD diagnosis, research also seems to suggest that in many such cases there is indeed a stong link between said violence and the comorbidity of BPD and APD:

Verywell Mind: Borderline Personality and Violence

Photo by Bess Hamiti on Pexels.com

In truth, violence and homicidal tendencies may be much more complicated than merely assigning them to a single personality disorder, though. In studying a vast amount of criminals myself, I’ve noticed that people lash out to hurt other people for a variety of reasons: passion, jealousy, rage, revenge, boredom, envy, robbery, and of course in the case of seriel killers, to fulfill deranged and sometimes unexplainable fantasies. Violent criminals themselves have a wide variety of responses to their own acts. Some are remorseful, some aren’t. Some are sloppy in their crimes, some are meticulous. Some are truthful and confess early on in their capture and some never come clean. Some go away quietly to serve their sentences and others continue to taunt police and even their victims as long as they have the ability to do so.


So why should anyone care, you may ask? Tit for tat. Whats the difference? Violence is violence. My answer is that it makes a colossal difference for those of us who are in recovery for BPD or other mental conditions. We are often assigned a host of stereotypical and flat-out erroneous symptoms that do not belong to the diagnosis. In additon to violence and homicidal tendencies, a host of other criteria gets erroneously assigned to people with BPD, such as a lack of empathy, lack of remorse, manipulative behavior, disregard for right/wrong, etc.

We have more than enough to deal with without having to deal with all this misinformation, too. Even though this is often the way of the world, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still do what we can to change it.


Borderline Personality Disorder: More posts

Borderline Personality Disorder: From Fear to Fight to Fab

24 comments

  1. I hate that Borderlines have so much stigma. The small minds of others who think we are a danger to society when, in reality, I’d hurt myself before anyone else. I couldn’t hurt someone the way that I have have been destroyed. I refuse to treat people poorly, even if they have damaged me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true. Self-harm and suicide seem to be most typical for people with BPD. I feel like most of us will internalize hurt before projecting it on someone else, which ultimatly is very toxic for our own selves.

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        • Yes, unfortunately I was diagnosed back in 2012 so I’ve had a lot of time to try and figure out this crazy disorder. It’s definitely turned out to be an ongoing quest! 🙂
          Thanks for visiting and it’s great to meet you!

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            • I don’t mind at all. I don’t know about you but I’ve found that healing from BPD is a pretty fluid process… in that healing just seems to be a continual battle. A lot of things have slowly gotten better for me, but I know I still have work to do 🙃

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  2. I whole heartedly agree with your analysis. Fact is, the stats show that people who suffer from mental illness are more like to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator of it. It always pisses me off when I see the grossly inaccurate descriptions on television.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re right about speaking out about the truth. If we can make a change, we ought to do it!
    I’m just here to let you know that I’ve re-launched my blog, Jimi Heaven. It’s not on WordPress, but you can find it easily by typing in “jimiheaven” in Google. The address is “jimiheaven.gonevis.com”. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A really good post! Stigma is so real. It’s hard enough to be struggling with yourself, taking on the misinformation is another battle. I wonder when it was that mental health became this ‘trending’ topic in the media. It was always talked about because people are curious, but sometimes it seems like they are really pulling things out of thin air (to stay polite in your comments :-)) just to cover ‘the topic’ for views.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I really like what you have written. One of the constant simplistic memes of my youth was that people who abuse children were themselves abused as children. The corollary is that if you were abused as a child you must become an abusive person. Yet all over the world there are many people who were abused as children and made the decision to just not be abusive. So to lay this burden on someone who was abused and is trying to recover from abuse is just awful. As to BDP and violence I think you are absolutely right. This is a complex thing. It is not one factor alone that “causes” violent behaviour nor is one factor alone an explanation. As I understand BPD is a spectrum of behaviours and one can be BPD and yet be on the spectrum close to normal and therefore not at any risk of committing violence. BPD is also defined first as “is not an adolescent” making me think people can just outgrow it under the right circumstances. People working through BPD have enough to deal with without having that whole violence thing laid on them.

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    • Yes, I have heard that old adage as well… people forget that we’re all individuals and thus are going to have our own unique journey to forge through whatever life throws our way. Assuming someone will be abusive because they are abused seems so shortsighted and is such a rush to judgement. It could really hinder someone’s healing process.

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  6. Obviously, the impression TV experts convey, whether intentionally or not, is to suggest BPD causes violent behavior, or at least predisposes sufferers to it. Such opinions arise from our need to explain the unexplainable. It makes us feel more secure somehow to attach a convenient label to those who disrupt the social fabric. Thus isolated, it’s easier to quarantine them.

    The truth is, the vast majority of those afflicted with BPD never would dream of violence, let alone of murder. Tarring them with the broad suggestion they do denies so many the help they need. “Better be leery of that one, don’t you know? Liable to go off with no provocation.”

    Sure, the experts have decided that all sociopaths have BPD, but what’s left unsaid is that the near-unanimity of those struggling with BPD aren’t sociopaths.

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    • Yes, well luckily with enough knowledge getting circulated around we can stop fighting stereotypes and concentrate on healing as well as other important things like enjoying great food. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It is good that you clarify these things. Although I have not heard about homicidal tendencies in BPD before, more suicidal, actually. But the whole area of BPD seems so vague and large to me, as every case seems to be different.

    Liked by 3 people

    • True, a big part of the problem is that there is so much stigma and shame that goes along with a disorder a lot of the time you only hear about the extreme cases. Just like there are lawyers and doctors who suffer from functional schizophrenia, yet you mostly only hear about the condition when it appears in someone who is completely deranged. 😕

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