What Triggers a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder

What Triggers a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder

Person with borderline personality disorder (BPD) mostly have triggers such as, particular events, places or situations that worsen or intensify their symptoms. Knowing what triggers a person with Borderline Personality Disorder can vary among people, but there are some types of triggers that are commonly experienced in Borderline Personality Disorder.  Understanding what can lead to these explosive episodes, or the trigger, can be the first step in managing the disorder. A trigger refers to an internal or external source that leads to a heightening of symptoms.

 There\’s no single cause of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it\’s likely to be caused by a combination of factors such as;


Genes you inherit from your parents may make you more vulnerable to developing BPD.

A study found that if 1 identical twin had BPD, there was a 2-in-3 chance that the other identical twin would also have BPD.

However, these results have to be treated carefully, and there\’s no evidence of a gene for BPD.

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What Triggers a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder

Cognitive Triggers

Sometimes, you might be triggered by internal events, such as thoughts that seem to come out of the blue. This is particularly true for people who have BPD related to traumatic events like child abuse.

For example, a memory or image of a past experience (like a traumatic event or a loss) can trigger intense emotions and other BPD symptoms. However, a memory does not need to be distressing to trigger symptoms. Some people are triggered by memories of happier times, which may remind them that things are not as good in the present.

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Brain Development Problem

Researchers have used MRI to study what triggers a person with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD’s) brain. MRI scans use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate a specified image of the inside of the body.

The scans revealed that in many people with BPD, 3 parts of the brain were either smaller than expected or had unusual levels of activity. These parts were:

  • Amygdala – which leads an important role in adjusting emotions, especially the more \”negative\” emotions, such as fear, aggression and anxiety
  • Hippocampus – which helps regulate behavior and self-control
  • Orbitofrontal cortex – which is involved in planning and decision making

Problems with these parts of the brain may also contribute to symptoms of BPD.

The development of these parts of the brain is affected by your early upbringing. These parts of your brain are also responsible for mood regulation, which may define for some of the problems people with BPD have in close relationships.

What Triggers a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder

Relationship Triggers

What triggers a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is related to interpersonal distress, especially relationships. People with BPD often experience intense fear, anger, impulsive behavior, self-harm, and even suicidal behavior when things in a relationship make them feel rejected, criticized, or abandoned.

For example, you may feel triggered when you leave a message for a friend and do not receive a call back. Perhaps after placing the call, you wait a few hours but then begin to have thoughts such as, \”She\’s not calling back, she must be mad at me.\”

These thoughts may spiral into thought patterns like, \”He/She probably hates me,\” or \”I\’ll never have someone who would stay by my side.\” With these spiraling thoughts come spiraling symptoms, such as intense emotions, anger, and urges to self-harm.

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Environmental factors

A number of environmental factors seem to be common and widespread among people with BPD. These include:

  • Victim of physical, emotional,  or sexual abuse
  • Exposed to long-term fear or distress as a child
  • Being neglected by one or both parents
  • Growing up with another family member who had a serious mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder or a drink or drug misuse problem
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A person\’s relationship with their parents and family has a strong influence on how they come to see the world and what they believe about other people.

What Triggers a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder


There are ways to cope and manage symptoms of borderline personality disorder, thus avoiding triggers that lead to episodes. Once you are aware of what triggers a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, you could take steps and learn how to manage them. In the throes of an episode, the best attempt to disperse the situation and avoid escalating it. Try to not get pulled into the extreme highs or lows but instead work to distract from the issue or situation at hand.

Engaging in an activity that takes your mind off the swirling and intense emotions both physically and emotionally can really help to diffuse an episode. Also don\’t be afraid or ashamed to seek help. A professional who understands what triggers a person with Borderline Personality Disorder can help you to set realistic goals, break up big tasks, teach life skills to help foster healthy relationships, and help you work to understand and cope with your personal triggers.

If you suffer from borderline personality disorder, we are providing professional assistant and treatment. Feel free to contact us at Rehab Bali.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at Rehab Bali  for support and assistance from a trained counselor. Or you can come directly to our address at Kubu D’ Lebak Blok II No. 6, Jl. Bedugul, Br. Anyar Kaja, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kab. Badung, Bali, Indonesia 80361

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