It happens all the time: people and problems split into opposing camps, whether the conflict is internal, between partners, in a family or—as we know all too well—between political parties.
While psychiatric diagnostic labels often reify the complexities of psychological dynamics, they can also orient us to the essential qualities of a particular emotional and behavioral field. BPD is characterized by difficulty with affect regulation, intense and unstable interpersonal relationships, impulsive behavior, and a tendency toward highly polarized emotions: idealization / elation versus devaluation / despair. BPD is associated with early relational deficits, especially in caretakers’ capacity to maintain connection when their child is angry or aggressive. If intense early emotional states have not been well moderated, they can take on the force of emotional tsunamis, overwhelm the ego, and lead to impetuous and self-harming behaviors. A deep therapeutic and human process can re-inspire the possibility that one can find one’s center in a human relationship.