Bisexuality, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Impulsivity

Pathological personality traits in Disinhibition – Impulsivity: acting on the spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli. (DSM5)

                Joel Nigg [1] in a comprehensive study on impulsivity defined it as “a rash response in situations where considerate response is more appropriate”. Nigg identified three factors contributing to impulsivity: not planning and thinking carefully (non-planning), not focusing on the task at hand (inattentiveness), and acting on the spur of moment (motor activation). In another review of the literature by Turner and others[2], they discovered that BPD patients demonstrated delays in discounting the dangers, an inability to make proactive adjustments, and evidence of altered brain activation patterns. However, according to Turner and others, there was less difficulty with motor activation, unless influenced by high levels of stress.

                So what do these studies tell us in plain English for us bisexuals with BPD? As Nigg suggests, there appears to be little preplanning to avoid high risk behavior, and there seems to be an inability to attend to the potential danger factors. As a result, we go ahead and engage regardless of the dangers involved. This is typical in our tendencies to engage in unsafe sex with strangers. Turner and others provided a direct link between BPD and impulsivity which included the tendency to not just ignore, but to actually discount dangers. Again, for us bisexuals, we focus on our same sex behavior to alleviate the stresses of   living a so-called normal life with our opposite sex partners. These studies suggest that if there is any thought involved it is used to rationalize and discount the risks. We give ourselves all the old excuses including that these are natural tendencies and that our behaviors will not affect our partners, that what they do not know cannot hurt them, and we ignore the mental and emotional damage it is doing to ourselves. These studies also indicate that there seems to be a mental buffer to actually engaging in the high risk activity itself. As a result, we may tend to live our normal lives and try to control our other life behaviors, usually attempting to control or eliminate our same sex encounters.

                Apparently under stress we may have an actual alteration in brain patterns, almost like something inside our BPD mind snaps and bypasses the control mechanisms of the frontal cortex and responds directly through the amygdala and the pleasure centers of our brain. It’s as if we actually gain a heightened sense of pleasure by shutting down our rational mind and setting fire to our nervous system through the engagement of our sympathetic system. This usually involves leaving behind our normal life to engage in the other life resulting in a heightened sense of sensory awareness and heightened sexual pleasure with same sex partners. In addition, we may actually seek out and create our own stresses so we can release our built up tensions. In other words, we use our same sex encounters as a way to relieve all the stresses in our lives that come from our BPD traits. We will trigger our heightened sense of pleasure perhaps to demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control of ourselves in spite of all the emotional downers we face that lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

                This appears to result in some kind of fatalistic desire to engage in the activity knowing full well the dangers involved. It may be a means of escape from our relationship knowing that our partner will eventually find out and release us from the life we find so stressful. It would appear that there may also be a latent death wish. We seem to act upon a desire to experience the added rush from knowing that this activity may lead to STDs and possible HIV. It seems as though we may be nurturing a desire for suicide by risk.

My Five Suggests For Borderliners

1. Be proactive. Realize that you have these tendencies and make a commitment to change them.

2. Practice sound mental and spiritual wellness. Meditate every day. During these times focus of love for yourself. Let the feeling of love, well-being, and gratitude, flood your mind and soul. Keep telling yourself that you love yourself and you love the life you have been given. You can use these statements as a mantra during the day. When you feel one of your downers you can simply say “I love myself. I love my life”.

3. Do an assessment and make a list of the risk factors in your life. Then make plans on how to deal with each stress. When you find yourself involved with these stress circumstances and the feelings that go with them, activate your plan until you sense a change in your feelings.

4. Change your life patterns. Instead of being dishonest with yourself and your partner, make a commitment to being honest and working out the issues if and when they arise. Be sure you understand all the consequences and that you are prepared to live with them no matter what that may mean.

5. Instead of trying to fix your old life, plan to build a new one. This includes creating a low stress life style and finding new friends who will support you in your positive choices.

En”joy” the day


[1] Nigg, Joel T.. Annual Research Review: On the relations among self‐regulation, self‐control, executive functioning, effortful control, cognitive control, impulsivity, risk‐taking, and inhibition for developmental psychopathology. The Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry. 2016. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12675.

[2] Turner, Daniel; Sebastian, Alexander; and Tuscher, Oliver. Impulsivity and Cluster B Personality Disorders. Springer Link; Current Psychiatry Reports volume 19, Article number: 15.  2017.

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