Friday, May 8, 2020

Lesser-Known Symptoms of PTSD, and Why the Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis is Crap

It doesn't, actually. it creates scar tissue.
Free Use image by Alexas Fotos.

This is a good post. One of the things I like to talk about is the theory (which I believe is correct) that "borderline personality disorder," a label that is applied disproportionately to girls and women, is a subtype of PTSD. Everyone labeled with "borderline personality disorder" has a history of trauma. Their behavior doesn't come out of nowhere.

It took me forty years to realize that the main reason behind a lot of the acting out I did in high school was the fact that I had been assaulted by a creepy guy that I agreed to go on a date with. This was 1980, and back then, it wasn't considered sexual assault if there was no intercourse. Without going into details, what this 19-year-old guy did to my 15-year-old self was clearly sexual assault. I kept it hidden and blamed myself for not fighting back harder and for being stupid enough to go out with him in the first place. I knew nobody would take my side and would blame me.

I started cutting class, cutting myself, and doing a lot of drugs. Rather than anyone asking me if anything had happened to me, all I ever heard was "you used to be a good kid and now you're a bad kid. You need to straighten up and fly right." Surprise, surprise, at sixteen I was labeled a "hysterical neurotic" by one of the most inept clowns of a psychiatrist that I've ever had the displeasure of meeting. I was later given the equally useless label "borderline personality disorder." 

"Borderline personality disorder" is the modern "hysterical neurotic." It is a way of writing off girls and women who are acting out because of trauma. It is a label that needs to be retired.

If you're interested in reading the piece that I wrote about the traumatic incident, the link will follow. Fair warning that it isn't pretty and it doesn't have a happy ending.

Ornery and Sly
Telling it Like it Is

Ornery Owl
Free Use Image by Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

Sly Fawkes
Image copyright Julia Henze, purchased from

And now, the unavoidable legalese blah-blah

Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Please do not repost

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

Sharing a link to the post is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

This post is cross-posted on my mental health and sociopolitical blogs on Blogger. 


  1. Hiss and fucking spit.
    Some labels we have forced upon us wound. And those wounds never heal enough to scar. They break open and fester time and time again.
    Some of the labels we accept and put on ourselves do exactly the same thing.
    Thank you (again) for your painfully honest posts.

    1. Thanks. I've always had a problem with the "borderline personality disorder" diagnosis, but until recently, I never could put my finger on just what bothered me so much about it. Realizing that it's another sexist label, like "hysteria," made a lot of sense to me.


This is a safe space. Be respectful.