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  • Writer's pictureStacey Ulry

C-PTSD & Borderline Personality: Are They Related?


There’s an interesting connection between Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).


While two different diagnoses, they have overlapping symptoms and experiences that make the link between them intriguing.



Both C-PTSD and BPD can stem from experiences of trauma, although the nature of the trauma might be different.


C-PTSD usually develops from ongoing and repeated exposure to trauma, often involving interpersonal abuse or neglect.


On the other hand, BPD is a personality disorder that is characterized by difficulties with self-image, emotions, and relationships.


Those with BPD often show symptoms like intense mood swings, impulsive behavior, fear of being abandoned, and a shaky sense of self.




Some of these symptoms can also be seen in individuals with C-PTSD, such as struggles with managing emotions, challenges in relationships, and distorted self-perception.


In fact, both conditions can involve feelings of emptiness and a history of unstable or abusive relationships.


Here is a possible explanation for this: Some experts suggest that individuals who experience severe and repeated trauma growing up may have a higher risk of developing BPD later in life.


The ongoing trauma can disrupt the development of a secure sense of self and healthy coping mechanisms, which may contribute to the emergence of BPD symptoms.


So, in these cases, the trauma experienced during childhood or adolescence becomes a significant link between C-PTSD and BPD.



We have to remember that not everyone with C-PTSD develops BPD, and not all individuals with BPD have experienced complex trauma.


There are various factors at play, including genetics, environment, and psychology, that influence the development of these conditions.


It’s important to note that diagnosing and treating these conditions requires a mental health professional.


Therapies like trauma-focused approaches, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and schema therapy can be used to address the symptoms of both C-PTSD and BPD.


These approaches focus on healing from trauma, improving emotional regulation skills, and enhancing interpersonal functioning.


All told, there is indeed a connection between C-PTSD and BPD, with some shared symptoms and experiences.


Severe and repeated trauma, particularly during developmental years, can contribute to the development of both conditions.


A comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional is necessary to determine a specific diagnosis and medication, while you and your therapist develop an appropriate treatment plan.



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