The Four Types of Borderline Personality Disorder

People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have difficulty regulating their emotions. Their emotions can be strong and lingering for a long time. It is difficult for them to return to a stable place after an event triggers their emotions.

The exact cause of BPD is unknown. Experts believe it could be a combination of several things, such as:

  • genetics
  • envirnmental factor
  • brain function

Several risk factors can make a person more likely to experience BPD. One of them is a parent with BPD or any other mental disorder.

This article looks at the symptoms of borderline personality disorder and its four types.

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

People with BPD have mood swings and can feel unstable and insecure. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fear of abandonment: They may frantically try to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends and family.
  • Unstable relationships with others: They may switch between looking up and looking down on those close to them.
  • Distorted and unstable self-image: People with BPD can have a poor self-image and be very self-critical.
  • Impulsive behavior that can have dangerous consequences: They may overconsume, unsafe sex, reckless driving, or abusive or overuse of substances.
  • Self-harm: People with BPD may threaten or attempt suicide.
  • Emotional times: They may feel very irritable or anxious. These periods may last from a few hours to a few days.
  • Feeling bored or empty: These feelings can last a long time.
  • May be intense, inappropriate, or uncontrollable anger: These outbursts are often accompanied by feelings of shame and guilt.
  • Feelings of separation: People with BPD may feel disconnected from their thoughts or sense of identity. They may also have paranoid thoughts related to stress.

People with BPD tend to see things in extreme ways, such as all good or all bad. Their perceptions of others can change rapidly. This is one reason why people with BPD tend to have unstable relationships.

What is the borderline personality disorder test?


People with BPD have strong insecurities and experience mood swings. Other symptoms may include fear of abandonment, poor self-image, and unstable relationships with others.

Types of Borderline Personality Disorder

There are four types of BPD. You can be diagnosed with more than one type at the same time or at different times.

Impulsive borderline personality disorder

Impulsive behavior is the main symptom of BPD. People with BPD can act in impulsive and dangerous ways. They may do so without thinking about other people or the possible consequences.

People with this type of BPD may experience:

  • glamorous
  • Full of energy
  • elusive or detached
  • flirtatious
  • attract or motivate

Some example behaviors include:

  • Binge Eating Behaviors: Overeating, Overspending
  • Dangerous and self-destructive behaviors: unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, drinking and driving, drinking too much, drug use, gambling
  • Aggressive behavior: outbursts, physical confrontation, throwing, hitting, yelling


People with impulsive BPD may engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, alcoholism, and gambling.

depressed borderline personality disorder

This is also known as quiet borderline personality disorder. Such people are afraid of being abandoned. They may take extreme action to prevent real or imagined abandonment.

People with this type of BPD are more likely to keep their emotions inside than people with other types of BPD. They also tend to blame themselves rather than others.

Discouraged types may:

  • be a perfectionist
  • very successful
  • high function
  • Feeling alienated and separated in groups
  • feel like they have no real or strong connection with others
  • Seek approval but also self-isolate
  • engage in self-harm or suicide
  • Feeling lonely and empty many times

Signs of discouragement in BPD include:

  • sticky
  • interdependence
  • need
  • Anger and mood swings if abandonment issues are triggered


People with BPD depression fear being abandoned. They may hide their emotions and blame the problem on themselves rather than others.

self-destructive borderline personality disorder

People with this type of BPD struggle with self-hatred and are often distressed.

Symptoms of self-destructive BPD are similar to those of other disorders. Watch out for these additional symptoms:

  • energy increase
  • Decreased desire to sleep
  • Euphoric feeling

These may be signs of a manic episode or bipolar disorder rather than self-destructive BPD. Talk to your doctor so you can make sure you get the right treatment.

Example behaviors of people with this type of BPD include:

  • Substance Abuse: This includes recreational and prescription drugs.
  • Risky adrenaline-seeking activities: People with this type of BPD may perform these activities without prior preparation.
  • Self-harm: These may include cutting, burning, scratching or hitting.
  • suicide threat

Don’t take the threat of suicide in people with BPD lightly. You may need to intervene and help your loved one get emergency care.

Grumpy Borderline Personality Disorder

People with this type of BPD may be angry one moment and sad or unhappy the next. They may swing unexpectedly between one emotion and another. They may also feel unworthy and unloved. This can lead to relationship challenges and an unhealthy desire for control.

People with this type of BPD can be manipulative. They are often very dissatisfied with their relationship. Substance abuse and other risky behaviors often follow.

The research literature on BPD subtypes is not always consistent. Some may list different subtypes or more than four.

Example behaviors of people with this type of BPD include:

  • irritability and impatience
  • stubbornness and resistance
  • passive attack
  • severe mood swings

If you or someone you know is in crisis and is threatening self-harm or suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a national toll-free number available 24/7 that will provide confidential support and connect you to your local crisis center.


The four types of BPD include impulsive, depressed, self-destructive, and willful. Each highlights a different aspect of BPD.

For example, people with impulsive BPD tend to act without thinking about the consequences. People with self-destructive BPD struggle with self-hatred and suicidal thoughts.

VigorTip words

If you or someone you know has BPD, it may be helpful to know more about the subtypes. This can help you gain insight into the disease.

People with these symptoms experience a great deal of emotional distress. But remember, no two people will experience BPD in the same way. Likewise, the same person may experience BPD in different ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How are different types of BPD diagnosed?

    There is no absolute measure to label different types of BPD. In fact, they overlap a lot, but their aggression and anger and other characteristics may vary.

    understand more:

    How is borderline personality disorder diagnosed?

  • Are there medications for BPD?

    Psychotherapy, not medication, is not the first step in treating BPD. However, medications can be used to treat certain symptoms or to treat mental disorders caused by BPD. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or other medications known as psychotropics have been shown to be effective when the medication is appropriate.

    understand more:

    BPD treatment options

  • What is quiet BPD?

    Quiet BPD is also called discouraged BPD. People with this type of BPD often focus their anger and harshness on themselves. They tend to cling to others, always seek approval from others, and feel abandoned easily.

    understand more:

    How to deal with BPD