Does Emotional Neglect Cause Borderline Personality Disorder?

“Does Emotional Neglect Cause Borderline Personality Disorder?”


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) involves a pattern of mood swings, unstable relationships, unpredictable emotions, and impulsive decisions that lasts a lifetime. Living with borderline personality entails a unique set of pains and obstacles not encountered by the majority of people. Having BPD means feeling cheerful and happy one minute and then feeling completely different the next.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has defined BPD as “a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotion, as well as marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.”

Living with BPD involves feeling deeply loved by someone one day and despised by that person the next; placing a friend, relative, or spouse to a pedestal only to have them devolve into the most detested foe the next. Life appears to be extremely unpredictable. It's tough to like oneself, let alone develop or maintain good sentiments.

The link between childhood emotional neglect and Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is caused by a number of significant variables, including genetics, inconsistent parenting, and abuse, according to research. People with BPD report being sexually abused (40-76 %), and physically abused (25-73 %). While there is a lot of data linking childhood abuse to BPD, there is also evidence that around a third of persons with BPD had not been abused as children.

Other types of abuse, such as physical neglect, in which the child is denied basic requirements such as food or water, might be more passive. Emotional neglect occurs when a child's emotional needs are overlooked. There is no such thing as a more severe kind of abuse; all forms of abuse can have long-term consequences for the victim and can affect their mental state. The development of psychological disorders can be linked to both child abuse and neglect.

Physical abuse was the most prevalent kind of bad experience described by persons with BPD, accounting for 48.9%, followed by emotional abuse (42.5%), physical abuse (36.4%), sexual abuse (32.1%), and emotional neglect (25.3%).

Emotional Neglect Cause Borderline Personality Disorder ichhori.com



Emotional Neglect causes Borderline Personality Disorder

When children with rejection sensitivity or negative affectivity are exposed to emotional neglect, they are more likely to have frequent subjective thoughts about being rejected, and the unpleasant feelings generated by those ideas are frequently far more intense. As a result, emotionally neglected children are more likely to be traumatised by the maltreatment they encounter, impeding their future emotional and social development and increasing their chance of developing BPD.

Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN): A childhood marked by a lack of emotional care, emotional validation, and emotional responsiveness on the part of one's parents.

  • Typical (non-extreme) Childhood Emotional Neglect:

CEN children grow up in a home where emotion is mostly ignored. Children who do not receive enough attention or response to their emotions receive the subtle but strong message that their feelings are unimportant and unnoticed. To cope in their childhood home, they suppress their emotions so that they do not stress themselves or their parents. These children grow up to be people who are oblivious to their own emotions. This leads to a pattern of adult problems, such as feelings of emptiness, a lack of self-awareness, emotional incompetence, self-directed rage, and humiliation.

  • Extreme Childhood Emotional Neglect:

Those who develop BPD frequently (though not always, because heredity plays a role) were raised with an exaggerated, more severe form of CEN, and were frequently raised in a highly emotional home. Parents of a person with BPD not only disregarded but actively rejected their child's feelings. These are parents that intentionally reject and punish their children for having natural emotions.

The effects of Extreme CEN:

  1. A child learns that his/her sentiments are not only unimportant, but also harmful.

  2. A child discovers that he/she is not only unimportant, but also bad.

  3. A child does not learn how to recognise, tolerate, regulate, express, or use his/her emotions in the same way that other children do in their childhood homes.

  4. A child intentionally rejects his/her emotional self, leaving him/her feeling empty since they have rejected the most intimate aspect of themselves.

  5. Because the child has rejected key aspects of himself/herself, their identity, or sense of self, becomes fragmented.

As a result, such children not only learn to put their emotions away, but also to punish themselves for having them. They don't have an option except to reject their true selves. They are self-conscious in their own skin and dislike themselves in general. They haven't figured out how to deal with their own emotional distress. As a result, they are considerably more susceptible to depression and anxiety.

Emotional Abuse and Emotional Invalidation

Emotional abuse may have a role in the development of BPD, according to a 2016 study, and preoccupied adult attachment may act as a mediator between the abuse and BPD. Emotional invalidation has been linked to BPD in addition to emotional abuse, but it might be argued that an invalidating environment itself is a kind of emotional abuse.

Emotional invalidation, particularly in childhood and adolescence, is thought to be one component that contributes to the development of BPD, according to several experts. BPD may be caused by an "emotionally invalidating environment," or one in which one's emotional responses are continuously rejected or punished, in association with other factors (Marsha Linehan, PhD).

If a parent or caregiver sees the child's emotions as overreactions, they are more likely to engage in activities that counteract the emotional response. Discouragement of a child's emotional responses, especially if the child is temperamentally prone to strong emotions, is unlikely to help the child calm down. Instead, it is likely to have the opposite effect: the child's emotional reaction is heightened, causing the feeling to become more intense. Furthermore, a child who feels invalidated may lose out on learning how to successfully manage her emotions, perhaps leading to greater emotion dysregulation in the future.

What research says

BPD and emotional neglect are linked in a very convincing way, according to research. However, there is no conclusive evidence that emotional neglect is the cause of BPD. Research that shows a link between two variables does not always imply that there is a causal relationship between them. With data suggesting that emotional neglect and abuse are far more frequent than we may assume, it's clear that determining whether or not it's one of the reasons of borderline personality disorder is critical. To determine the specific connections between emotional neglect and BPD, more research is required.

Interestingly, despite the fact that childhood emotional neglect is not commonly mentioned as a contributing factor to BPD, research has found that the most successful treatment technique to date is one that directly targets the core symptoms of CEN, is DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy. DBT teaches mindfulness, interpersonal skills, distress tolerance, and emotion control, among others. It's a highly precise, organised approach that teaches clients how to intervene between feelings and actions so that they may become less emotionally impulsive and learn to control responses and behaviours in relationships and in their own mind.

BPD is most likely caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, temperament, biology, and other environmental factors. Despite the fact that BPD is a painful and difficult condition, studies suggest that with dedicated and consistent work and good assistance, it is possible to reduce symptoms and become more emotionally stable and resilient over time.


Sources:

  1. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-relationship-between-child-abuse-and-bpd-425153#how-abuse-mightlead-to-bpd

  2. https://www.verywellmind.com/emotional-invalidation-425156#borderline-personality-disorder

  3. https://psychcentral.com/blog/childhood-neglect/2016/12/the-5-ways-emotional-neglect-causes-borderline-personality-disorder#5

  4. https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/borderline-personality-disorder-has-strongest-link-to-childhood-trauma/

  5. https://wp.nyu.edu/steinhardt-appsych_opus/childhood-emotional-abuse-and-borderline-personality-disorder/





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