The Buddha Teaching That Must Be Embraced To Escape Borderline Personality Disorder


**The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. The writer also recognizes that BPD is a disorder that affects both males and females, and uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not  intended to covey sexual bias. Breakaway MHE Disclaimer

Being a person afflicted with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), you either come to terms with the nature of the disorder, or you do not. You learn the concepts and skills that are necessary to work through the disorder, and then follow through with ongoing attempts to apply the concepts and skills, or you do not. As you continue with your learning, growing, and maturing, you may realize the importance of embracing certain truths from ancient teachers, such as The Buddha. One of The Buddha’s teachings that I have embraced, and one that I believe has relevance to the entire process of working through BPD, is this one: “The Root of All Suffering is Attachment”.

For this ancient teaching to have some benefit to the BPD warrior, it is important to learn more specifically what the teaching means and how it applies to working through Borderline Personality Disorder. To simply hear and believe the words “The Root of all Suffering is Attachment” is not enough on its own. The teaching must also be understood with respect to common human experiences, including thoughts, emotions, and beliefs (all areas of concern in BPD).

To make good use of The Buddha’s teaching, a person suffering from BPD must ask himself questions, such as: “Is it a problem to become attached to thoughts, emotions, and beliefs?”  You may already have guessed that the answer to this question is “YES!” But again, what specifically does it mean to answer this question in the affirmative?

No matter how inaccurate we all may be in the ways we look at things, all humans have tendencies to believe that their initial perceptions of life events are “true.” Humans afflicted with naturally intense emotions (such as those with BPD) have even stronger tendencies in this regard. In other words, the first thought, the first feeling, or the first way of making sense of something that happens is often the one way that is passionately believed – the stronger the associated feeling, the stronger the belief. However please note, I am not suggesting at all that people with strong emotions can’t learn to manage this issue, because THEY CAN.

To put it as The Buddha might have, humans, are frequently getting “unnecessarily attached” to their perceptions and all the associated thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. The natural consequence of getting so instantly “attached” to our perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs is much misery and suffering, both within ourselves and with others. We automatically fight for our perceptions, even to the point of losing relationships, losing our minds, and losing many other things (even life itself). And why do we fight? Often because we don’t like (and can’t handle) the feelings associated with not being “absolutely right” about what we perceive. We also fight because we don’t know ourselves! We don’t know ourselves because we don’t make a point of building self-awareness. Indeed, much of the human population has no idea how common of an issue this is, nor how to deal with it when it happens in everyday life, and thus we are “asleep,” unconscious beings.

When you suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, you find yourself very often getting “attached” to unhealthy thoughts, unnecessary feelings, and unhelpful beliefs – so much so that you become prone to “breaking your life” over and over again. In other words, you experience the painful consequences of being an unconscious human-being much more than others (acting out, fighting, giving up, self-harming, running away, etc.). And this is the reason that you, more than others who don’t have such strong emotional experience, are compelled to figure out what is going on and how to release yourself from the unending misery.

To break the pattern of instant attachment to thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and all the fallout and misery (suffering) that so naturally follows such attachment, it is essential to have a means for building self-awareness. Self-awareness offers you “vision into yourself” that you didn’t have before but desperately needed. In other words, if you can’t see the unnecessary attachment when it is happening, then you have no way of releasing yourself from it and remaining unattached – you will instantly and continually react to your perceptions, and the other unconscious beings around you will unknowingly say and do things to keep you attached to your perceptions. There are so much misery and suffering associated with remaining trapped in this pattern, that it really is no wonder that people with BPD often choose suicide!

Practicing mindful awareness (mindfulness) is an excellent way to build self-awareness, and lucky for us it isn’t all that complicated. It just takes a willingness to learn and practice. Once you start your practice, you will eventually start to realize that most of your perceptions, thoughts, and feelings and like clouds in the sky – they come and they go. You will see clearly that you don’t have to attach to everything that comes into your mind and flows through your body. You can “see it” and release it, and you can learn to handle feeling less in control of all things that move through you.

You will also start to realize that your initial perceptions of life events and most often inaccurate (or only one of many possibilities), including your perceptions of yourself. You will become less and less attached to the contents of your mind… to thoughts, to feelings, and to beliefs that don’t serve you well. You will suffer less and less. And eventually as you develop this ability more and more, you will break free from the toxic patterns of Borderline Personality Disorder. You will realize that life is always challenging, but that it doesn’t have to be unnecessarily miserable.







photo credit: Roel Wijnants Contemplatie via photopin (license)