Borderline, Avoidant and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorders

Let me describe the first group of personality disorders. It comprises the personalities that are stuck on different levels of development, futilely trying to mature.

* Please note, that this is not intended to be a complete description of the disorders, but a simple explanation of the causes, based on Integration theory. For better understanding you may also read these posts: From a child to a (un)happy adult and When childhood went awry – personality disorders.

Borderline Personality Disorder


  • Subconscious level: Disruption of Integration process came very early, probably by intense trauma or other intense form of rejections. Other personality disorder sufferers have some internalized content in personality structures, allowing them to deal with the World on their own, with poor quality, but still can. Borderlines must depend only on their parents to feel as a part of the World, but parents rejected them so they need a better parent to be always for them.
  • Conscious level: They require to have intimate relationship all the time, do not tolerate being alone. They have basic, volatile, childlike emotional responses. Have also very idealistic perception of their partner, resembling boundless admiration of a small child to a parent. The perception can change dramatically if something in a partner will resemble the evil, rejecting parent. Being alone is unbearable, so they can hurt themselves or engage in frantic, unpredictable behavior. The holes in the very first layers of personality, causes frequent feelings of “emptiness”.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

  • wiewior_szarySubconscious level: Avoidants in childhood were near the edge of breaking the Integration process, but didn’t cross the line. They still want and try to Integrate but they cannot progress, being stuck in the never-ending cycle. The caregiver’s acceptation did not work well, perhaps because mixed and chaotic accepting, rejecting and engulfing signals. Avoidants turned to search this primary acceptance in every other person – but strangers acceptance is even more chaotic, which together with Avoidants tendency to expect unexpected rejection, makes poor improvement prospects. Theirs defence mechanisms, e.g. narcissistic one, are well developed, but incomplete. On the one hand it makes the rejection more likely and more severe because of the wide gap between narcissistic ideal self and the real self. On the other hand, because of being incomplete, they do not effectively protect the vulnerable core from external input.
  • Conscious level: Constant fear of rejection experienced as shame. They expect and feel perceived rejection under any pretext so they avoid contact with other people. On the other hand, they need and crave for this contact and feel deeply unhappy for not being able to integrate with others. The incomplete narcissism, elevates the shame, making it particularly acute for Avoidants.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

  • szop_szarySubconscious level: OCPD sufferer’s Integration partially succeeded. This differentiates them from other personality disorder examples. However, they are always on the edge of being rejected and never know where the rejection will come from, so they are looking for all signs of inevitable catastrophe and bracing themselves against it. They learned in childhood that any flaw, any shortcoming can have dire consequence and that connection they have can be cut at any moment.
  • Conscious level: Have strict standards, both moral and in work, they adhere to, as behaving in “right way” lessen in their mind the rejection probability. Are scared of making mistakes, which unfortunately makes them inflexible and meticulous. May hoard things and money, preparing for the calamity. They can, however, have meaningful emotional connections with others, but are quick to reject others for the same reasons they fear to be rejected.

5 thoughts on “Borderline, Avoidant and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorders

  1. Okay, I am currently trying my best to digest the material now – so you’re saying that there are more population who shares such symptoms mentally & emotionally. ….Is there like any substantial statistical research that’s trustful on that? Like what’s the rate of such occurrence among cultures, ethnicity, nation, race, gender, sexes, Et Cetera?


    1. Hello Star,

      There are a lot of professional statistical research on personality disorder. The only problem is they have different results 😉 Often really different: like several times higher occurrence ratio in one research comparing to another. Average prevalence in populations are as follows (from my notes, they are averages from two or three researches):
      – Paranoid personality disorder – 3,35%
      – Schizoid personality disorder – 4,00%
      – Schizotypal personality disorder – 4,25%
      – Antisocial personality disorder – 1,75%
      – Borderline personality disorder – 1,60%
      – Histrionic personality disorder – 1,84%
      – Narcissistic personality disorder – 3,10%
      – Avoidant personality disorder – 2,40%
      – Dependent personality disorder – 0,55% (but I even saw researches when occurrence are 10% and 0%)
      – Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder – 5,00%

      The rate among women and men are more or less the same. The bigger differences are for Borderline PD – more women then men (ratio even 75% to 25%) and in Antisocial PD – more men than women.
      The Personality Disorders are detected in all cultures and races. The highest detected ratio are in North America and Scandinavian European countries (over 10%), lower in Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa, but often still more then 5%.
      The differences may stem from mental health infrastructure maturity, methods of research or the cultural attitudes of people being investigated.

      The whole situation is complicated by the fact that World Health Organisation dropped the division to specific Personality Disorders and has only one generic definition of Personality Disorder (change made in ICD 11 in year 2018). The reason was too big comorbidity among PDs and claims that 50% of PDs don’t really match any of specific PDs symptoms.
      The American Psychiatric Association keeps two kinds of Personality Disorders measurements, one specific (with ten PD as listed above), and one general similar to ICD 11.

      Hope this helps,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. While I still have somewhat hazy sense of what you’d mean by lacking infrastructure in countries other than Europe & N. America, (no offense) it is still however very informative on your part to come up with such specifics. I really appreciate that, as someone who’ve been feeling kinda left out and has been spinning within her realms to figure out answers for herself ever since.

        …I know it’s rather nasty subject to bring up – but could you at some point publish an article regarding violence among trauma victims themselves?
        It’s because when I was hanging out with Korean mental-health related Twitter users I’ve found (among one of their graphic novel publication descriptions) that the author has been abused by her own mother (maternal violence) *who’ve also been victim of abuse from her own husband (domestic violence); which is not too different from what happened to me & my mother, if not exactly abusive mom part since she has been breadwinner of my family after her divorce.

        And to bring that kind of subject up to cultural-ethnic-historical perspective (!) would be quite an complicated topic to concern oneself about, something only Ph. D. students would research upon.

        …..I just find it ironical that it’s WE mental health victims ourselves who has to attach such labels and come up with unheard-of medical jargon ourselves, of which reality sounds, grim enough.


        1. Hello Star 🙂

          Yes, the “mental health infrastructure maturity” expression was unfortunate. I was rather referring to high ratio of mental health studies in this countries – it is my very subjective feeling that I see research publications from those world areas more often then from elsewhere.

          It’s a common theme that abusers become perpetrators. Mental health problems are often multigenerational: abused children became abusive parents themselves, and so the story goes, generation after generation. Of course not all victims becomes abusers (I think less than majority), but still a lot. The opposite relation is much more obvious: almost all abusers were abused themselves or suffered from other severe adverse experience.
          I’m sorry to hear that you were the victim alone, the abuse by parents or parent are the one affecting us the most. Wish you all the best 🙂
          (as for article – I stopped actively writing the blog one and half year ago, now only answering to comments – but maybe in the future I’ll write something more)

          Many mental health students and professionals (if not a majority) are victims of some kind of mental problems. Our motivation to change drives the motivation to learn and together with an empathy can make the best therapists.
          It makes a good summary: the abuse can crumple the person and create future perpetrator, but if we won’t surrender and will overcome our problems then we will become someone opposite to despaired perpetrator: happy, helpful and really strong person.


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