Defying BPD Triggers: Building Resilience

June 27, 2023 Karen Mae Vister

I want to share what it's like to have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and experience severe emotional triggers in the middle of interactions. Borderline personality disorder triggers are no small thing.

There are certain situations that consistently ignite my fear of abandonment or rejection. For instance, when plans are abruptly canceled, my comments go unanswered, or I discover that someone has deceived me in some way, these are BPD triggers. These triggers originate from my cognitive bias that I'm unworthy of love, making me believe that I can be easily disregarded.

Borderline Triggers and the Role of the Inner Child

Growing up, communication in my household was often overshadowed by passivity or aggression. As a child, I discovered that being overtly loud about my feelings seemed to be the only way to have my needs met. My past behavior included accusing those closest to me of not caring about me at all. Looking back, I realize that my actions were driven by a desperate desire to have my fear of abandonment acknowledged and understood. 

After having lost significant relationships in adulthood, I can see how constantly being accused of not caring because of a BPD trigger would be demoralizing and bewildering for those who genuinely do care about me. I know that when I have a strong urge to throw out this statement, it means my inner child is scared, and I'm resorting to behavior that worked for me in the past.

Nurturing Inner Strength in Important Conversations to Counter BPD Triggers

One of the key pillars of my progress has been the interpersonal effectiveness skills I've learned in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). I now approach important conversations with a newfound sense of preparedness and confidence to show my inner child that I've got it covered. I consciously maintain eye contact, remaining fully present in the moment. I'm mindful of my body posture, ensuring my stance exudes strength and openness.

It helps to prepare notes on key discussion points, approaching the interaction with a presentation-like mindset. Despite its formality, this approach offsets my childlike instinct to take comments personally. It allows me to perceive emotional BPD triggers for what they truly are. This way, I'm maintaining a clear and objective perspective. Not every situation automatically implies rejection and abandonment. It's crucial to consider alternative possibilities, such as my loved ones getting caught up in their responsibilities, having a busy schedule, or experiencing a temporary lapse in judgment that led to miscommunication. 

But let's say I didn't see my emotional BPD trigger coming. Let's say an otherwise pleasant conversation takes an unexpected turn, and I'm unable to prepare. At that moment, I understand that I need to regain my inner balance before continuing the conversation. And that's perfectly okay. It's a sign of strength and self-awareness to recognize my limits and take the necessary steps to ensure a healthier dialog. During my time alone, I become my own emotional detective. I take deep breaths to reset my nervous system enough to unveil the root of the BPD trigger. More often than not, it boils down to feeling rejected or abandoned. Following the essential break, I re-engage in conversation. Here, I make a conscious effort to embrace curiosity, sincerely asking for clarification on what the other person truly meant. It becomes a delicate dance of empathy as I try to step into their shoes and genuinely understand their perspective without invalidating my own.

DBT Skills Help with BPD Triggers

In conclusion, while DBT may not have granted me total immunity to BPD triggers, it has armed me with invaluable skills to navigate them with greater resilience. Coping with BPD triggers remains an ongoing challenge, but this journey has unveiled profound self-discoveries along the way. Each step toward conquering my triggers has underscored the power of self-compassion in nurturing meaningful connections. By embracing self-compassion, I continue to grow and forge genuine bonds that transcend the limitations of BPD.

Tags: bpd triggers

APA Reference
Mae, K. (2023, June 27). Defying BPD Triggers: Building Resilience, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Karen Mae Vister

Karen Mae Vister, author of her blog, Over the Borderline, dedicates her work to providing valuable content and support for individuals on the path to recovery from borderline personality disorder. Find Karen Mae on Instagram and her blog.

July, 20 2023 at 1:28 am

Well written and insightful.

August, 8 2023 at 2:21 pm

Thank you for your feedback! Your appreciation means a lot to me. If you have any further thoughts or topics you'd like to explore, please feel free to share.

June, 27 2023 at 10:28 pm

These are really helpful I like the idea of approaching tough conversations like a presentation in order to consider their opinions without taking it personally, I’d like to see a deeper dive into these coping mechanisms thanks for your insights!

June, 28 2023 at 12:44 pm

Hey there! Thanks so much for your feedback. Great idea! I'd love to put together an article deep diving into specific coping mechanisms in the future. I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to read :)

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