Many borderliners were regarded as a synonym for "difficult" in the past and the diagnosis was thus often negatively impacted by therapeutic workers. Patients concerned are sometimes considered as "therapy killers" or "manipulative". "Not again a borderliner," so say many psychiatrics, when a new borderline patient is announced.
When speaking of "borderline", the terms such as "basic defense mechanisms", "super-ego-defect" or "malignant regression", which often have a stigmatizing effect, are used, especially from the perspective of psychoanalysis. These terms depreciate the behavior and experience of borderline sufferers. Other experts do not prefer the "bad" borderline diagnosis, but opt for the "posttraumatic stress syndrome/syndrome" instead.
Borderline patients feel this rejection and perceive the disorder as offensive themselves. "When I first heard the diagnosis, I was particularly offended," writes one of the patients. "It was a huge joke," says another. The danger of self-fulfilling prophecies is also great for those concerned. "If you want a borderliner, you will have a borderliner," was the angry reaction of a victim after hearing a diagnosis. For borderline patients, this negative presetting and prejudice of many experts is very dangerous: The term “borderline” describes fragility in the identity: “I do not know who I am, I do not know where my borders are, I do not know whether I can trust my abilities”. When asking these questions, borderline patients are actually waiting for the assessments and confirmation to adapt, to behave accordingly, and to integrate the characteristics into their identity.
There are many different reasons for the negative assessments by the environment. For example, it can be difficult to realize how someone can be cheerful and jovial in an instant and that ten minutes later, seriously harm himself or inflict self-injury? For the environment such a behavior makes no sense, so it isn’t strange that it no longer appears to be comprehensible. Affected persons are seen as trying to influence their surroundings in order adapt to a certain behavior, even to "force" something. The people around them feel "manipulated". There are different types of behavior that suggest why the surroundings gets such an impression. Behind these clear attempts to influence someone hides a very strong inner need. Thus, one can feel so existentially threatened by being alone, that he would do almost anything to avoid this condition. Even the threat of a suicide belongs to these behaviors.
In the contact between borderline sufferers and the environment, it is very important that those affected have the opportunity to report on their experiences without fear of being humiliated and stigmatized, and at the same time help that the borderline “language” be better understood by others. In this way prejudices and misjudgments can be overcome. Another reason for the often negative assessment of the environment is probably that the relatives as well as professionals quickly start feeling overwhelmed and simply do not know how to help. One's own helplessness in this situation can be a reason to completely avoid contact with those affected.
Borderline sufferers need contact with people who are able to perceive their own borders well and clearly point them out. If personal limits are not pointed out clearly enough by both sides and are subsequently exceeded, the affected parties may resort to familiar "borderline behavior" and the other side is likely to react with anger, rejection and a judgmental conclusion: "Borderliners are simple awful!"