Throughout the course of my blogs we will occasionally touch on some of the mental health issues we see when dealing with a variety of stalkers. If you are a cop or victim advocate; you should have a working knowledge of these mental health conditions. Today, we are going to touch on BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder.
The DSM-IV-TR, which now has evolved into the DMS-V-TR defines BPD as:
A person who may present with this specific disorder may exhibit a ” pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impuslsivity by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
- a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
- identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
- impulsivity in a at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
- recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
- affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria (def. a feeling of unpleasure-anxiety, coupled with irritability and oftentimes doubt.) irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days.)
- chronic feelings of emptiness
- inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
- transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.”
I know this seems like a detailed definition, but sometimes it helps when the novice (that would be as well due to the fact that I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist) is trying to better understand exactly what this disorder may look like. By the way having a DSM-V-TR in your office or on your desk is a real help when you start trying to differentiate between behaviors. We recommend anyone working with stalkers avail themselves of a copy.
So what does this all mean when we see it manifest in a stalker we are reviewing. Like the definition indicates, stalkers with this malady have a rough time with anyone they have targeted leaving them. If involved in an intimate partner relationship, some will go to extreme measures to try and keep the relationship together. Many stalkers with this condition will cut themselves and/or talk or even attempt suicide. They will do both of these things to try and garner attention and sympathy from their target. We have had stalkers later diagnosed with this disorder to also be extremely sexual to the point of displaying inappropriate or unwanted sexual displays. One female stalker would offer up herself anytime she felt that her target was contemplating leaving the relationship. On several occasions once the relationship was done and she began stalking her target she would disrobe completely or expose certain body parts while her target was in a public setting.
The other concern we have when dealing with this type of stalker is a potential for murder/suicide as well as violent outbursts of anger.