Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder

While many people have heard of borderline personality disorder (BPD), a lesser-known and more difficult to treat condition is quiet borderline personality disorder (quiet BPD) (quiet BPD). Though it’s not formally recognised as an actual subtype of BPD, it’s used to describe those who meet the criteria for a BPD diagnosis, but who don’t truly fit the textbook profile.

Quiet borderline personality disorder can be much more difficult than BPD to both diagnose and treat, but as with many mental health conditions, the earlier it’s diagnosed, and intervention is started, the more successful treatment can be.

Learn more about quiet BPD here. The differences between this and classic BPD will be thoroughly examined. Typical BPD symptoms, causes, and treatments are all covered in this comprehensive guide.

What is “Quiet” Border Personality Disorder?

The symptoms of quiet BPD are strikingly similar to those of typical BPD. The main difference is that with quiet BPD, you internalise emotional struggles and episodes. While those with BPD have intense impulsivity, anger outbursts, and episodes of anxiety and depression that are obvious to those around them, turning anger inward is more typical with quiet BPD.

Because struggles and anger outbursts are so often internal, quiet BPD is much more difficult to diagnose. In fact, it often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed for years. Sometimes quiet BPD is also referred to as high-functioning BPD, but this name is largely inaccurate. Even though someone with quiet BPD may appear to be functioning normally on the outside, the reality is that they are often struggling to get by in their own private world, which can be excruciating and difficult to manage. BPD that is more subdued is sometimes referred to as “discouraged” BPD.

Quiet BPD patients may experience a wide range of strong emotions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger issues
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Having a strong emotional attachment or being overly concerned
  • Mood swings
  • Doubts about oneself
  • Guilt
  • Self-blame
  • Rage

Quiet BPD vs. Normal BPD

Personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder are characterised by mood swings that are unpredictably extreme, a poor sense of self-worth and an inability to maintain healthy relationships with others. Anger, depression, and anxiety are all common symptoms of this condition. Symptoms of quiet BPD can last for a few hours to a few days.

Quiet BPD isn’t readily distinguished from classic BPD—at least not in an official sense. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders [DSM] does not have a specific designation for this condition. Therapy and patients, on the other hand, often see a clear distinction between BPD’s “quieter” cases.

While “classic” BPD is characterised by episodes of obvious, violent outbursts, people with quiet BPD often direct violence inward instead.

According to American Counseling Association President Dr. Gerard Lawson, “those with ‘quiet’ borderline personality disorder act in.” Self-harming or suicide attempts are less common, but there is less hostility and aggressive behaviour.

Those who suffer from quiet BPD still have the disorder’s characteristic emotional upheaval, but they actively work to suppress and ignore it. Shame and/or self-hatred are frequently part of their self-perception.

Signs & Symptoms of Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder

Quiet BPD has some distinct and common signs and symptoms. While classic BPD presents as outward rage, anger, and other destructive behaviours, quiet BPD can be very different.

What does it look like to have BPD that isn’t outwardly aggressive?

Quiet BPD has the following symptoms:

  • Obsessing over someone to the point of wanting to spend excessive time with them
  • Developing unhealthy boundaries
  • Self-harm that is being kept under wraps
  • Isolation or avoidance of one’s own company
  • ignoring or avoiding eye contact with others
  • having a harsh inner critic; the act of turning one’s fury inward
  • Always feeling a sense of hopelessness
  • Having an intense fear of rejection
  • Having a disturbed self-image
  • Developing a pattern of first idealising, then devaluing, others
  • enduring mood swings that are imperceptible to others but can last for several hours or even days at a time
  • Taking things very personally
  • Feeling like others are mad at you
  • Confusion and franticness in one’s thoughts
  • Self-defeating behaviour that prevents you from achieving your objectives.
  • Anxiety about being alone, but also a desire to keep others at a distance
  • Finding it difficult to talk about your feelings
  • Being triggered, which leads to internalised emotions that you can’t control\s Feeling empty or numb
  • It’s important to please others, even if it hurts your own interests in the long run.
  • Derealization — feeling like you’re living in a dream
  • Believing that your feelings are wrong, and trying to suppress them

Factors Contributing to Quiet Bipolar Disorder:

While there’s no known, clear cause for classic or quiet BPD, experts believe a combination of genetics, brain structure and function, and environmental and social issues may come into play. Many therapists point to the fact that for some people there is a history of childhood trauma or abuse as a root cause of the disorder.

Some potential causes of quiet BPD may be the result of:

  • Psychopathologies of various kinds run in the family.
  • Existence of prior mental health issues (anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, etc.)
  • Neglect, abuse, or trauma experienced as a child

Common Complications of Having Quiet BPD

Quiet BPD has the unfortunate side effect of keeping many people from talking about their problems because they are afraid of burdening those closest to them. However, when BPD isn’t effectively treated, symptoms can, and often do, worsen drastically over time.

Increased risk of other mental health conditions

Quiet BPD can raise your risk of developing the following conditions:

  • Depression
  • Depression and manic episodes
  • Anxiety disorders of various types (GAD)
  • Disordered eating
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Social anxiety

Problems coordinating your time between school and work

People with quiet BPD may find it hard to sustain a productive role at school or work. Without treatment, people with quiet BPD are more likely to engage in impulsive behaviour, such as acting out, gambling, abusing drugs or alcohol, or amassing large sums of money without a plan.

Difficulty forming or maintaining relationships with others

It can be difficult to establish emotional bonds with those around you if you suffer from quiet BPD. When people try to get close to you, you may find that you push them away out of fear of being hurt. There’s also commonly the fear of being alone at the same time, which can make things even more unbearable.

Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Quiet BPD symptoms, which are focused inward, can lead to suicidal or self-harming thoughts. When someone you care about expresses suicidal thoughts, it’s imperative that you take them seriously. There are several ways you can assist.


  • Call 911
  • Do not leave them.
  • Make sure they don’t have access to guns, medications, knives, or anything else they may harm themselves with\s Listen


  • Judge\s Yell\s Threaten\s Argue

How to Get a Diagnosis for Quiet BPD

Because people with quiet BPD don’t exhibit the classic, explosive symptoms of BPD, it can take much longer to get a proper diagnosis. Self-harm is a particularly troubling symptom to have.

Many people with bipolar disorder (BPD) fail to recognise the symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Ultimately, this makes it that much more difficult for people to get a proper diagnosis.

Quiet borderline personality disorder (RBPD) is often misdiagnosed, feeling sufferers with a sense of being invisible and misunderstood. Anxiety can worsen as a result, and this can lead to more episodes of self-harm and a lower sense of worth in the sufferer.

Licensed mental health professional

Only a licenced mental health professional is qualified to make a quiet BPD diagnose, which is based on an interview. Additional information can be gathered by participating in a survey or questionnaire. Quiet BPD cannot be diagnosed with a medical test, but a physical examination can help rule out other conditions that are causing the symptoms you are experiencing.

A history of BPD or any other common co-occurring conditions like anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, or an eating disorder should always be disclosed.

Diagnosis according to the DSM

Quiet borderline personality disorder can be diagnosed by meeting 5 of the 9 criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM].

  • You’re doing everything you can to keep from feeling abandoned, whether that’s true or not.
  • Having a history of relationships that are unstable and involve idealising, then devaluing, someone.
  • Having an unstable self-identity.
  • Engaging in risky or impulsive behaviour.
  • Intentions to harm oneself or have suicidal thoughts.
  • Mood swings that come and go quickly.
  • Chronic sense of emptiness.
  • Having uncontrollable or intense anger.
  • Disconnecting from yourself (disassociation) (disassociation).

Treating Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder

The first step in treating quiet BPD is receiving an accurate diagnosis. The good news is that as knowledge about quiet BPD grows, so do the treatment options available. Once a diagnosis has been made, a variety of treatment options based on scientific evidence are available.

Dr. Lawson of the American Counseling Association notes that “Not so long ago (15-20 years) some very skilled clinicians believed there was no help for individuals who have a disorder like BPD,” says Dr. Lawson. “Now, there are actually very good treatment options, and they are improving.”


According to the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI), the following psychotherapy (talk therapy) treatment techniques and methodologies are recommended for quiet BPD:

  • Diagnostic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) — DBT was created to address the symptoms of bipolar disorder (BPD). It’s a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying causes of BPD as well as its outward manifestations. You learn a new way of interacting with the world around you when you do this. DBT’s success in treating quiet BPD can be attributed to its all-encompassing approach.
  • Counseling in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you identify and then change distracting or unhelpful habits and thoughts in your life. It can be successful in helping you identify distortions that create black-and-white thinking. Looking at what you’re thinking can be beneficial over time. Many of the symptoms of quiet BPD can be controlled by being aware of how your thoughts affect you.
  • Using MBT, you can better understand and address your own and others’ feelings, thoughts, and needs. It is possible to gain a deeper understanding of how your inner thoughts and feelings affect your external world through psychodynamic therapy. A key benefit of MBT is the ability to distinguish between how you think about a situation and how it really is.


While there isn’t a medication specifically recommended or approved for treating quiet BPD, medication might help you cope with related issues or conditions (like depression or anxiety) (like depression or anxiety).

Whatever method you use to treat quiet BPD, it’s important to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with. There is a good chance you’ll be dealing with the symptoms of quiet BPD for the rest of your life. Treatment can lessen the symptoms significantly and decrease the number of episodes you experience overall.

Tips For Coping With Quiet BPD

There are several coping strategies that can be beneficial for quiet BPD. Consider any, or all, of the following techniques:

  • Reaching out to a professional
  • Placing your faith in someone you know and respect
  • Being mindful of emotions
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Using positive coping statements or mantras
  • Increasing your ability to deal with ambiguity
  • Finding new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

Approaches to Supporting Someone Suffering from Quiet BPD

If you have someone in your life who’s living with quiet BPD, you can help support them in the following ways:

  • Ask them questions and pay attention to what they say.
  • Embrace pity.
  • Encourage them by acknowledging and validating their emotions.
  • Encourage them to use self-soothing strategies
  • Discuss family therapy or group therapy appointments
  • Set healthy boundaries in relationships\s Celebrate their wins
  • Encourage mindfulness techniques
  • Take care of yourself and manage your own stress so you can be there for them

Getting in touch with a qualified therapist can be a great first step if you or someone you know is suffering from quiet BPD.

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