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Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder (A guide)

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A borderline personality disorder is an invisible excruciating mental health condition that can distort the view of yourself and the world around you. This article will provide a complete guide to Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). 

What is Quiet borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

There are four known types of borderline personality disorder (BPD):

  • Discouraged borderline personality disorder
  • Petulant borderline personality disorder
  • Impulsive borderline personality disorder
  • Self-destructive borderline personality disorder

Although, the term Quiet or Silent Borderline Personality Disorder can be misleading. However, silent or quiet BPD implies that the mood swings and behaviors are directed inwards, instead of directing externally or on others. In short, you ‘act in’ instead of ‘acting out’.

Acting inwards can often complicate an already concealed mental illness. In the case of quiet BPD, you may direct significant emotions inner self without letting the world see them. These intense emotions may include the following:

  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessions or emotional attachments
  • Mood Swings
  • Fear of Abandonment
  • Shame and guilt
  • Extreme self-doubt

Quiet or silent BPD is also known as the High-Functioning Borderline Personality Disorder; it also makes for a misleading term. However, this term indicates that the person may not express the symptoms fully and can still perform everyday functions at school or work. 

What Are The Symptoms of Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder?

As Quiet BPD symptoms are usually directed inwards, it may get difficult to identify it initially. However, some of the noteworthy symptoms of BPD are listed below:

  • Feeling numb or empty.
  • Feeling like a burden to close ones.
  • Withdrawing when upset.
  • Suppressing or denial of the feeling of anger.
  • Mood swings that may last for hours to days, but no one can see them.
  • Avoiding communication or completely cutting the cord,  on account of the conflict.
  • Self-blame in case of conflict.
  • Persistent guilt and shame.
  • Extremely low self-esteem.
  • Taking things personally.
  • Feeling detached or dream-like sensations (derealization).
  • Deep-set fear of rejection.
  • People-pleasing, often at the cost of themselves.
  • Self-isolation and social anxiety.
  • Fear of abandonment and pushing people away.
  • Depersonalization and inability to connect with others.
  • Self-destructive patterns 
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideation.

These are some of the key symptoms of quiet BPD, but many people are unique in the manifestation of their symptoms.

Giving It A Name

Several people who suffer from these symptoms in silence are not even aware they have Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder. Often confused in other diagnoses or worst misdiagnoses, these people usually think they are lazy, dramatic, or attention-seeking. They may bring them a more isolated and alienated feeling.

It is, therefore, essential to get yourself examined by a trusted mental health professional. People who have quiet borderline personality disorder will feel liberated and relaxed when they get the proper diagnosis. This will help them be accustomed to the condition’s name rather than feeling lost and misunderstood. It is the first step to get help from others and get on the path of recovery.

People with quiet borderline personality disorder who are thinking of harming themselves or having suicidal thoughts and ideation need immediate help.

If you or your loved one is suffering from these symptoms, you need to reach out to the helpline.

What is Quiet BPD AND How is it Different from the Classic BPD?

The NIH or National Institute of Mental Health defined BPD by characteristic mood swings, low self-image, impulsive thoughts, highly ‘black and white’ thinking, self-harm, and inability to maintain stable relationships. They experience bouts of anger, anxiety, depression. Their episodes can last for a few hours to a few days.

Quiet BPD cannot be readily differentiated from Classic BPD–at least not in the official aspect (there is no mention or designation of Quiet BPD in the DSM). However, therapists and their clients can see a visible distinction between the quieter cases and traditional manifestations of BPD.

According to the President of the American Counseling Association, Dr. Gerard Lawson, “Those with quiet BPD acts in; they may have less hostility and fewer aggressive outbursts, but there may still be isolation, and self-injurious behaviors or suicide attempts.”

People with quiet borderline personality disorder experience extreme emotional roller coasters that differentiate the disorder and would rather work harder to shut off these emotions or push them sideways. Frequently, they are directed towards self-hatred and extreme shame.

What Are The Complications or Side-Effects of BPD?

Several people with Quiet BPD suffer in silence out of fear of burdening other people. Without any help, these symptoms may deepen over time.

Some of these can manifest in the following ways:

High Risk of Other Mental Illnesses

The Silent BPD may increase the risk of :

  • Depression
  • Eating disorder
  • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Substance abuse
  • Social Anxiety

Difficult to Sustain Stable Relationships

People with Quiet BPD may find difficulty in managing and handling stable relationships, and some other symptoms may even aggravate in other areas associated with relationships.

People find it difficult to connect with others emotionally because they are in the habit of push and pull games, expressing the fear of rejection and abandonment.

Hard to Keep Up with Work Or School

Untreated Quiet BPD may aggravate the risk of acting impulsively and overspending on gambling, drinking, or other dangerous behaviors.

Self-Harm and Suicidal Ideation

Self-injurious behavior and suicidal ideation may take hold of a person. It is essential to communicate and address the suicide thoughts and ideation to your therapist.

If someone is at immediate risk of self-injury or hurting others:

  1. Call the local emergency helpline.
  2. Stay with the person until the help comes.
  3. Remove knives, guns, scissors, medications, and other harmful things out of sight and reach of the person.
  4. Listen actively and attentively, don’t judge, preach, threaten or argue with the person.

What Causes Quiet BPD?

Often mental illnesses are genetically transmitted from parents to offspring, and BPD is not an exception.

A study found out that adults with BPD may have a family history of the diseases. The development of personality disorders in childhood have genetic roots.

Research has found out some additional causes of BPD may consist of childhood neglect, emotional and physical abuse. Some other contributors to BPD may include a personal history of unstable relationships.

Changes in serotonin are also linked with BPD. However, it is unclear whether alterations in the brain lead to BPD or vice-versa.

Who Is At Risk of Quiet BPD?

  • People with the following conditions at higher risk of getting affected by Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder:
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Eating Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Abandonment or Neglect

How is the Quiet BPD Diagnosed?

As mentioned earlier, due to the internalization and misconception of Quiet BPD, they are often misdiagnosed as social anxiety or depression. Although these conditions may co-occur, quiet BPD has a separate diagnosis which only licensed mental health practitioners can make.

Professionals like psychologists and psychiatrists can diagnose quiet BPD based on the presented issues and client history.

There is no medical test to diagnose Quiet BPD, but a medical exam may help rule out other conditions contributing to the underlying symptoms.

Having the knowledge of a client’s family history for BPD or other coexisting illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar, or eating disorders may help in the diagnosis.

An at-home online survey for BPD may also facilitate you in getting a diagnosis. Online screening can not replace the official discussion and diagnosis. So it is always recommended to check it with a mental health professional. Self-diagnosing a mental illness can be problematic.

What Is The Treatment For Quiet BPD?

Although it can be challenging to acknowledge the need to communicate your personal struggles with someone, talking will bring a feeling of liberation and validations once you do it.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or psychodynamic therapy, and psychiatric medications are some of the initial modes of treatment for Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder.

DBT techniques include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness practices.

These agendas can help you reduce the self-destructive and sabotaging thoughts and actions with training and practice. DBT is administered by a licensed psychotherapist.

On the recommendation of an expert psychiatrist, prescribed mental health medications may also help in easing some of the symptoms of Quiet Borderline personality disorder.

However, medications alone won’t be able to stop the Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms. In order to address the underlying causes of borderline personality disorder, you need to seek a psychotherapist with whom you can connect and find the environment safe. 


This article served as a complete guide to Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Quiet BPD is also referred to as high-functioning Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Quiet BPD can take longer to be identified and diagnosed, but the sooner you get the alarming symptoms, the faster you can take preventive actions.

It is essential to realize that your feelings actually matter, and it is appreciable to share them with the ones you trust. While you may suffer quietly with the ongoing guilt and self-esteem, the bottom line is you deserve a happy and healthy life. So, it is suggested to seek a mental health professional to help you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder

What Causes Quiet BPD?

Experts believe that Quiet borderline personality disorder can be caused due to a combination of genetics, brain structure and function, and also social and environmental causes. Some therapists also suggest that the root cause of the disorder can be a history of childhood trauma.

What are the 4 types of Borderline personality disorder?

Discouraged borderline personality disorder
Petulant borderline personality disorder
Impulsive borderline personality disorder
Self-destructive borderline personality disorder

How do you help someone with a silent borderline personality disorder?

In order to help someone with silent BPD, you need to first take care of yourself and follow the following measures:

Avoid isolation.
You are encouraged to have a life besides taking care of the BPD person.
Enroll the BPD family member or friend in a support group.
Do not neglect your physical health.
Learn stress management to deal with the situations with the affected family member.
Listen empathetically and attentively.
Learn to focus on the emotions and not just the words.

Is there hope for BPD?

Although many people with borderline personality disorder struggle for a long time, BPD is not a hopeless diagnosis, and people can recover from it. The other reason includes that the treatment works effectively. The most widely researched treatment for BPD is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

Can a person with BPD fall in love?

Yes, a person with BPD may fall in love, but the relationship and connection are too intense and short-lived. A person may believe that each new person will make them feel complete, only to be disappointed shortly.


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