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nk’s “Please Don’t Leave Me” that really captures the condition—intentionally or otherwise.
The song’s protagonist traipses between being hurtful and bullying toward her partner (“How did I become so obnoxious? / I’ve never been this nasty”) to pleading—“Please please don’t leave me.” On the surface it seems counter-intuitive—stop being mean and he won’t leave you—but the nuances run deeper.
In this age of dynamic information, there is often a strange dichotomy framing mental health.
Access to lived examples via blogs and social media means people are chipping away at stigmas every day.
That’s not to say more accurate glimpses of BPD aren’t lurking in plain view all across popular culture.
They are evident in songs, and in TV shows and films, often capturing BPD’s primary traits: fear of abandonment, feeling unlovable, hypersexuality, and impulsive behaviors.
All of which is followed by intense regret, and, subsequently, more impulsive actions; literally anything will do if it stifles the shame spiral.
Often for BPDs, they show up as substance abuse, or self-destructive behaviors such as cutting, burning, or binge eating.
BPD in Pop Culture While there are few apt, direct portrayals of BPD in broad society, representations manage to creep into common consciousness through TV, film, and music, leaving the public, at least subconsciously, more aware of the disorder than they may realize.
Even I managed to read Susanna Kaysen’s memoir Girl, Interrupted (perhaps more commonly recognized in its 1999 Winona Ryder filmic reimagining) twice and didn’t glean that it was ostensibly describing what I had.
More specifically, people who are living with it experience emotions a lot more strongly than people who don’t. Bone-aching fury when your clothes horse doesn’t open, so you throw it at the wall, which makes a hole you never get around to filling in.
If that sounds intractable, it’s because it really is. Or intense sensitivity to criticism, like when you don’t receive the mark you want for a university essay, so you accept a full-time job on the other side of the country, starting immediately. Here’s another fun game—try guessing how these situations go down when you’re dating.
When it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder, the trope is a prime example of the ways in which women suffering from the condition are dismissed out of hand for experiencing emotions that may be extreme, but that are nonetheless valid.