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Distressed Childhood and Development of Borderline Personality Disorder
The ability of an individual to make rational decisions and think soberly is one of the most important resources for any individual. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental ailment characterized by difficulties in emotional regulation and weak interpersonal relationships. Basically, BPD is characterized by increased risks in moods, anxiety, and eating disorder as well as increased substance and alcohol abuse. In light of this, many researchers have delved deep to investigate various causes of this disease. Markedly, BDP is associated with various causes such as genetics, brain abnormalities, and difficult childhood among others. In light of this, this paper will concentrate on the impacts of a distressed childhood on the development of borderline personality disorder.
According to Mosqera, Gonzalez and Leeds (2014), an insecure childhood attachment is associated with the development of BPD. In general, a positive social attachment is necessary for the development of trust and security between the child and the parent. However, in situations of abusive parenting, the child is usually confused leading to the development of BPD. Consequently, there is a need for the caregiver to be sensitive to the underlying mental state of the child. Primarily, this is because emotional sensitivity gives the child the capacity to ‘mentalize’ the behavior of others in relation to underlying conditions (Mosquera et al., 2014). In general, the identity disturbance occurs due to the individuals’ inability to understand how they should express themselves. In this case, grievous childhood experiences such as extreme fear and insecure attachments due to inability to draw parental attachment may be the cause of this situation. Ideally, this is due to the confusing state where the parent is both the source of security and fear.
Stepp, Whalen, Pikonis, Hipwell and Levine (2011) points out that at times children who have low emotional reactivity may present a confusing state to the caregiver which may lead to neglect. In practice, this occurs when the caregiver is willing to offer help but the child does not express any emotions. In contrast, a negative child-parent relationship leads to the development of BPD. Noteworthy, a child’s emotional reactivity may be affected by either their genetic make-up or due to their physiological vulnerabilities (Lis, Greenfield, Henry, Guile, & Dougherty, 2007). Further, social environments, such as child abuse, neglect, assault, and conflicts may worsen the risks for children with social and physiological vulnerabilities because they lead to low emotional reactivity.
Fryers and Brugha (2013) express that childhood adversities may lead to the development of BPD. In brief, these researchers found out that children between 7 and 9 who had excessive exposure to crime, substance abuse, sexual assault, and conflicts had risks of acquiring mental health problems including BPD. Moreover, impulsivity and lack of self-control in young boys between 3 and 4 were found to lead to the development of BPD.  Importantly, they found out that a child’s behavior is mostly related to the underlying family condition. In effect, a child who expresses hostility also expresses an underlying hostile environment at home. Worse still, cases of multiple adversities such as death, divorce, neglect, and sexual assault increased the risks of development of BPD. In principle, this is due to the diminished cognitive ability in the child, such as low memory, verbal ability, low adult social class, and poor concentration (Fryer & Brugha, 2013). On the same accord, childhood maltreatment was found to lead to the development of BPD. In general, childhood maltreatment leads to the slow development of cognitive ability in later life development. Specifically, sexual abuse by a known assailant is the leading cause of this development (Roepke, Vater, PreiBler, Heekeren, & Dziobek, 2013).
To sum up, a proper childhood development is essential for the development of an individual’s strong emotional and social skills. Primarily, an environment where children are able to freely and openly express themselves while receiving parental love and guidance is necessary for the development of cognitive and emotional skills. In turn, these skills enable the children to overcome BPD. Consequently, all parents must ensure that they provide an open and welcoming environment that will lead to the positive and holistic growth of their children physically, socially and emotionally.
Fryers, T., & Brugha, T.  (2013). Childhood determinants of adult psychiatric disorder. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 9(1), 1-50.
Lis, E., Greenfield, B., Henry, M., Guile, J., & Dougherty, G. (2007). Neuroimaging and genetics of borderline personality disorder: A review. Journal of Psychiatric Neuroscience, 32(3), 162-173.
Mosquera, D., Gonzalez, A., & Leeds, A. (2014). Early experience, structural dissociation, and emotional dysregulation in borderline personality disorder: The role of insecure and disorganized attachment. BioMed Central, 1(15), 1-8.
Roepke, S., Vater, A., PreiBler, S., Heekeren, H., & Dziobek, I. (2013). Social cognition in borderline personality disorder. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 6(195), 1-12.
Stepp, A., Whalen, D., Pikonis, P., Hipwell, A., & Levine, M. (2011). Children of mothers with borderline personality disorder: Identifying parenting behaviors as potential targets for intervention. Personality Disorder, 3(1), 76-91.