Marja Bergen

author, mental health advocate, follower of Christ

Living with borderline: part 3 – what’s it like?


“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Matthew 5:11

Everyone feels a degree of pain when hurt through rejection or through others’ words or actions. For those living with BPD, such pain is considerably more intense. With this piece I want to talk about how the illness developed or worsened in someone as a result of being psychologically mistreated and left with traumatic memories. Often it was – in the words of one person who suffered similarly – “like a knife thrust into my heart and twisted.”

She was trusting – like a child – chattering away about everything in her mind and heart. Though the pain inflicted was only through words and actions, she felt much like a youngster would, beaten by a person she had trusted. All the while she wondered why it was happening. “What did I do wrong?”

…And yet, she kept up the eager chatter. Still trusting.

She wondered: “Is it my behaviour?” She begged for forgiveness – mercy – a return to kindness. But replies never came. And kindness did not return. Just anger.

Leaving was not an option until much later. It didn’t occur to her to leave. Besides, she was ill, emotionally unable to make such a change. This was her “home.” It was all she knew. The stress from the mistreatment changed the mild BPD she had in previous years to the full-blown illness, together with all that brought.

Her life changed. Most days bring struggles with constantly changing moods. She’s afraid to attend social functions, never sure of how she’ll be. Neither can she be left alone for long. What might happen with her thoughts? At times she gets impulsive. Her reputation suffers. Thoughts of suicide are never far away. Anger, too, is close to the surface, often upsetting the household. There are periods where she feels a disconnection from reality, getting confused, and disorganized. At times like that it’s hard to keep control of her day.

My experiences have been much like the above. I, like so many, lived for years with over-sensitivity. But it only became a real problem and diagnosed as BPD when traumatic rejection entered my life. Today I live the life described in the paragraph above this one.

In spite of all this, I do have hope. In the way God gives us trials to make us stronger, my experiences are making me stronger as well. With treatment, I believe I’m gradually recovering. I keep God close, especially as I write. He’s the best friend I have.

Although I live with an illness that brings shame, I believe that with God’s help I can make something good come out of the bad. In the past I’ve been able to do much writing and photography, using them to create devotional gift books. Yes, much good can come from pain.

Today, with my new knowledge and understanding, I feel prepared to serve God better than I could before. I pray that I will serve him well.



  1. Hello Martha,
    These posts have been helpful to me and cleared up some of what I experienced which has been similar. I did read that BPD has a good prognosis and I have found that Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan) and the skills taught very helpful. Also it would be wonderful to have more people understand to decrease the stigma and misunderstandings. Thanks do much.

  2. Margie, il really loved your website , you’re are indeed the instrument of God with so much loved. God bless you !
    I disagreed with you. The last paraphrase ” although I live with an illness that brings Shame ( to other or you) That is a illness nothing to be ashamed of )
    I wonder if you still remember me , I used o attend young

  3. marja

    May 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Felisa,

    Yes, I do remember you from Living Room. Good to hear from you. You’re right, BPD “should not” be a cause for shame. What I meant to say was that society is considering it a shameful illness. We need to try and take that stigma towards it away and build understanding and compassion.

  4. I too agree how valuable and helpful all of your writings are.. thank you so much..
    Borderline needs to be talked about so much, to get misgivings and fear around it.. it is so hard to live with,, for us and those near us.
    thanks again

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