Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can experience many symptoms of their disorder that can lead to serious social consequences. These consequences commonly occur following acting out behavior due to high levels of impulsivity, poor judgment, anxiety, fear of abandonment and overall sensitivity to relationships and changes in intimacy. As a Personality Disorder, BPD related problems are often evident in patterns of interaction with others and in dysfunctional attempts to cope with the impact of relationships. BPD predisposes one to hypersensitivity in social interactions and this dramatically increases in relationships that are more intimate. There is particularly a high risk for problems and acting out behaviors in romantic relationships, but this risk is also present for many in other ‘intimate’ relationships such as friendships and relationships with co-workers that continue over time.

Cognitive Distortions and Misinterpretation of Social Cues

Cognitive distortions or thinking mistakes occur in BPD and are frequently the basis for hypersensitivity in relationships and difficulty understanding the social cues of others. These errors in thinking are patterns or beliefs that misinterpret how others, self, the world and relationships operate. The tendency to personalize the behavior of others, for example, is a characteristic of BPD that can lead to many social consequences such as conflict, alienation, embarrassment, guilt, remorse, feelings of inadequacy, social awkwardness, insecurity and poor self-esteem and self-worth. In personalization the social cues of others are interpreted as “all about me” and trigger emotional distress that can lead to acting out behaviors in response.

Many problems can arise for those with BPD due to misinterpreting the behavior, intentions and motivations of others. Due to the tendency to personalize the behavior of others, for example, individuals with BPD often mistakenly believe that they are somehow the cause of the behavior of others or that the behavior of others is directed toward them. This is a result of hypersensitivity to others and relationships. It is also reflects the feelings of insecurity, desire for approval and closeness and the belief that others will reject and abandon them that are characteristic of BPD.

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