Borderline Personality Disorder Abuse
What Connects Borderlines & Domestic Abuse?

Dr. King


by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

What connects borderlines and abusive relationships? Answer: Boundary issues.

Individuals with a borderline personality disorder have significant issues with attachment. They cling to others...attaching themselves strongly, and then become intensely angry or hostile when they believe they are being wronged. They may believe they are being ignored or mistreated by those they depend on and attach to, and this justifies their striking out.

In abusive relationships, individuals lose a clear sense of individual boundaries. And this “boundary blur” goes well beyond two people in a loving relationship union. Instead, it is as though the concept "individual" doesn’t exist.

The same is so with borderlines. There is no sense of the other person having much of any sacred existence other they relate to the projections, demands and service needs of the borderline.

Now you might be scratching your head as you are reading this article wondering who is the borderline in the abusive relationship. Is it the perpetrator or is it the victim? Good question...

Borderlines and Abusers

When abusers are borderlines, their violence has an irrational component different from the violence of an intermittent explosive disorder [or a sociopath]. The violence may appear to spring from a more psychotic process.

As described above, their rage can be ignited by a belief that they are being mistreated or ignored that is simply not based in reality. They harbor a “story” that the person they cling to is there to fulfill their every need, irrespective of the common and customary boundaries of other human beings.

The boundary issues are central to the violence issues when abusers are borderlines. The flip side can be seen when victims are borderlines.

Borderlines and Victims

When borderlines are the declared victim in an abusive relationship, they use their feelings of being wronged to justify their acting out toward their more explicitly explosive partner. And again the acting out stems from their dysfunctional boundary issues.

Borderline personality disorders are in many respects ripe for entering into abusive relationships because the abuser’s grooming of dependency and dominance fits the predisposition of their psychopathology.

If you are in an abusive relationship and are keenly aware of the control dynamics, you know, all too well, about the inherent boundary issues in domestic abuse. If there is a borderline component contributing to the abuse dynamics seek to treat this in combination with the intimate partner abuse. By doing so, you will improve your prognosis for breaking the cycle of violence.

For more information about abusive relationship help , visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals and couples nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention


Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.