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While nobody is certain, psychologists estimate that up to 60 percent of the abusers in domestic violence situations suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD).

If you're in a relationship with someone whose anger and rage seems potentially explosive, it's important to recognize the signs of this deep-seated mental issue as early as possible. People with BPD frequently have the following characteristics:

  • A history of abuse as a child
  • Impulsive, even reckless, behavior
  • Intense mood swings
  • Unstable personal relationships
  • Hypersensitivity
  • A fear of abandonment
  • Rigid expectations of others
  • A tendency to verbally abuse others
  • Threatening behavior

In general, people with BPD often seem to have a hard time deciding what they think or feel about the other people in their lives. One minute, you may be up on a proverbial pedestal and the center of their whole world. The next, you may be devalued, criticized and blamed for everything that is going wrong in his or her world.

People with borderline personality disorder are the victims of a mental illness, but that doesn't mean that they aren't responsible for their violent actions toward other people. They are capable of controlling themselves, but some people with BPD resort to domestic violence to get their way or even punish an intimate partner for his or her real or perceived failings.

It's important to understand that people with BPD aren't going to change without a lot of help. They need intensive psychological treatment in order to learn to accept responsibility for their own lives and actions. If you recognize these symptoms in your spouse or partner, it may be time to take the necessary steps to protect yourself, especially if physical violence is already a factor.

An experienced attorney can help you obtain a temporary protective order and take the other necessary legal steps to start your recovery from family violence.

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