Borderline Personality Case Study: Maria

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Case study: Maria The patient 'Maria' offers a case study in typical borderline personality symptoms. Maria has manifested a marked instability in the relationships in her personal life. Borderline patients often express over-idealization or demonization of the individuals in their lives. Their personalities are often histrionic, and they tend to see both people and events in black and white terms, either as bad or good. It is typical for a BPD (borderline personality disorder) patient to have suffered from sexual abuse or emotional abuse in childhood, which is one reason that it is hypothesized that so many have obsessive real or imagined fears of abandonment. However, in the case of Maria, intense emotions alternated with feelings of depersonalization (which often bring upon cutting episodes, substance abuse, or binge eating) may be evident from birth, even in the absence of sexual abuse. "In an effort at self-stabilization, some use physical pain which has been demonstrated to reduce emotional arousal" (Dingfelder 2004:46). Abandonment fears are often enacted in the therapeutic relationship, and can make it very difficult to treat borderline patients. For example, a therapist is often confronted with a borderline patient who will threaten suicide if the therapist does not talk to him or her immediately outside of office hours, as the patient repeatedly demands 'proof' of her affections. "BPD provides many challenges to practitioners. They frequently seek out help, but

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