Can a Psychiatrist Have the BPD?

    QUESTION:

    Dr. Heller,

    Have you ever heard of a Psychiatrist being borderline?? I have had a 7 year relationship with this man. I am 52, he is 61 and both have had previous marriages. I have done extensive reading and am convinced that he is afflicted with this problem.

    When our relationship is on track, everyone we know envies us and considers us to be the perfect couple- true soul mates. About 7 times, perhaps a few more- he would rage at me for the most ridiculous reasons (actually no reason) and become so verbally abusive that once he even called the local police to have me removed from his clinic while I was trying to talk some sense into him about his accusations. Unlike a normal relationship where the two parties can have a dialogue, his rages are strictly a monologue.

    Two weeks prior to the final rage, we were out of town at a family wedding (his side of the family) and he sang my praises – telling of how I was the most important person in the world to him – to his family and telling me in private that he was afraid that I was going to leave him for a younger man. A couple of days after Xmas, I found out through other means that he was lying to me about who we were spending New Year’s Eve with and because I am by nature a pacifist and because I am afraid to put him into a rage – I very gingerly approached the subject – like – is there something that you are uncomfortable about that perhaps we should talk about?? He screamed that he never wanted to see me again and he was tired of my “splitting.” From that moment on, I figured that he must know that he is borderline.

    Under the circumstances of his being a health professional, do you think that he knows what is going on here?? Do borderlines ever have remorse or fond memories of their significant other?? Do they ever try to make amends? He is incapable of saying that he is sorry. I did get a CD of love songs placed in my mailbox which I know came from him. I ignored it.

    Also, Dr., I have one more question. Do borderlines have a particularly difficult time with control and their children. The man in question has two adult adopted children whom he will not let out of his control. The boy and his wife even live with him – for no apparent reason – especially not financial. We are both attending the wedding of a friend’s daughter and I am really fearful about what to expect. To this point, he has come into my business and will not acknowledge that I am alive. I don’t know if I should ignore him, be civil. I don’t know what to do.

    Thanks so much for listening.

     

    ANSWER:

    1) There is no reason an individual with the BPD can’t be found in any profession. I have treated many in the mental health professions for the BPD. Whether it’s appropriate for the individual to be functioning in a profession depends upon the individual’s perception of stress and therefore their ability to handle it. Studies show that untreated borderlines tend to do well in employment situations over time – particularly if they are smart and have financial resources.

    2) He may or may not be aware of what’s happening. If he perceives the BPD is a death sentence, that it only fits self-mutilators, and that it can’t afflict doctors or other mental health professionals then it’s unlikely he’d recognize the disorder in himself. They can try to make amends, and it appears the love song CD was an example, although many people are extremely afraid of admitting a mistake or of being wrong.

    3) Borderlines often have remorse and fond memories, but it depends upon what psychotic interpretations developed. If he/she believes someone truly behaved terribly, he/she will treat that individual with contempt subsequently whether that person is “guilty” or not.

    4) The usual situation is problems with children. Control issues are common, and misinterpretation issues are extremely common. It’s rarely due to lack of good intentions. There’s a high likelihood that behaviors begun when they were small children will continue as adults, although it’s highly variable.

    5) I can’t make any specific recommendations about what you should do, but there is a question I often ask my patients: “If your child was in your exact position, what would you recommend?” It’s usually smart to take your own advice.

 

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