The Borderline Dance and The Non-Borderlines’ Dilemma

A man walking alone on a forest path

I talk about the dance of the borderline and the dilemma of the non-borderline. (person who does not have BPD but has a loved one with BPD) The borderline dance is one of survival for the borderline and the non-borderline’s dilemma is one of survival for the non-borderline.


The Dance of the Borderline can be defined as the projective-identification/transference of their identity to the extent that they do not know it on to someone else. What does this mean? It means that when the borderline in your life is sad, or hurt or afraid, rather than feel those feelings, as the non-borderline would, the borderline will turn on you in an effort to have you hold, act out and be the very feelings that they cannot hold, handle or cope with. It is a sub-conscious way to have mirrored back to self all that one feels but refuses to feel. It is essentially, the borderline trying to put distance between him or herself and his/her own unresolved and abandoned pain. Little do most borderlines realize that in effect what they are really doing when they act out and push people away and erect walls to ‘protect’ them is wall themselves in with the pain. There is no relief from pain to be found in casting it out to those or to the world around you. The walls that a borderline builds will wall that borderline in and threaten to drown him/her in his/her own pain. The non-borderline who does not have any boundaries is at risk of being sealed into that borderline wall of agony.

It is through this dance that the borderline often sets him/herself up to continually re-experience what feels familiar. Because most borderlines have a tremendous fear of abandonment the behavior that they engage in often is the reason why people have to distance and/or disengage or turn away, sooner or later, to maintain their own sanity. Yet when it is reasonable to leave or to take space (to a non-borderline) the borderline (usually not taking any personal responsibility) will blame you and will experience your taking space or your leaving as abandonment.

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A.J. Mahari lives in Ontario, Canada. She is an Author, Speaker, Counselor, Life Coach, BPD/Loved Ones Coach, NPD/Loved Ones Coach, Mental Health Coach, and Self-Improvement Coach. She has been described by many as an insightful and astute student of life’s ups and downs. A.J. is a Mental Health Professional. A.J. writes from her own life experience and education. You can purchase any of A.J.'s 35+ Ebooks or Written and Narrated 45+ Audio Programs or work with her as a your Counselor or Life Coach. She is a sexual abuse survivor and recovered from Borderline Personality Disorder many years ago. She is also an adult living with (“high functioning”) Asperger's Syndrome.

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