Petulant Borderline Disorder: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment 

Borderline personality disorder (PBPD), also known as petulant BPD, can be described as one of four subtypes of borderline personality disorder (BPD), which is characterized by severe mood swings, the inability to control emotions, passive-aggressive behavior, and defiance.

The reasons for BPD that are characterized as petulant BPD are multifactorial and comprise the influence of genetics as well as environmental and neurobiological causes.

The most popular borderline disorder treatment options include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) as well as medications.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a persistent mental health issue that causes unstable self-image, mood fluctuations, and issues with relationships. The signs and symptoms typically manifest during the adolescent years or early adulthood and last throughout a person’s life.

They show severe and extreme behavior outbursts and mood swings; the majority of people with this disorder are classified as “explosive” and often have an inner belief system that they aren’t “worthy” of love and are afraid of experiencing the loss of their loved ones, thereby affecting their perception of the volatility of their feelings.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is an aspect of a more complex mental health disorder that is characterized by anxiety, problems in relationships, and a constant fear of being abandoned. People with excessive BPD are often plagued by fluctuating moods, extreme anger, and passive-aggressive behavior that significantly affect their lives.

This article will provide an in-depth description of the agitated BPD and its main signs, the challenges facing people with this type, and the most effective methods to overcome and manage the obstacles.

Types of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Theodore Millon, an American psychologist and expert in personality disorders, has identified four subtypes of BPD. These subtypes are not recognized as official diagnoses but are utilized by mental health practitioners to comprehend their patients. Although people suffering from BPD have common symptoms, the way they present can differ among the various subtypes.

Below are four different types of BPD:

  • Discouraged BPD (i.e., quiet BPD)
  • Impulsive BPD
  • Petulant BPD
  • Self-destructive BPD

What Are Petulant Borderlines Like In Relationships?

In relationships with adults, people with petulant BPD are irritated by being dependent on other people, which can cause them to act bitter and angry. They may attempt to manipulate their emotions to control others and could be obsessive; this is often described as the term “push and pull,” typical of the borderline personality disorder relationships cycle. They seek out intimacy in their relationships but then try to sever the relationship.

At times, they might make friends and family members feel like they are “putting them on a pedestal,” and then later reduce their worth in the future (often seen in the BPD’s “favorite person” relationship). Some may be disenchanted by their anger and negative attitudes; this could lead to recurring issues with relationships and general discontent for the individual with BPD and their family members.

What Causes Petulant Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

People with a petulant BPD were typically fostered by parents who failed to take care of their needs in the early years of childhood. Parents may have used them as pawns to get their own needs met; in the process, they might have developed a shaky relationship with their caregivers or feel that they’ve been deprived of a happy childhood. The negative experiences they had in their early childhood can set them up for challenges as they age.

The reasons behind petulant borderline disorder involve a complicated combination of a variety of aspects:

Neurobiological aspects

Neurobiological causes are those that affect the brain and other biological factors that influence the growth of petulant BPD; this includes the imbalance of brain chemicals and issues in the development of the brain. A brain imbalance chemical known as serotonin is thought to be the cause of the condition. People suffering from hyperactive BPD are more likely to have lower levels of serotonin and this can be linked to aggressive behavior, depression, and suicide-related attempts. Plus, in those with BPD, three regions in the brain, including the amygdala and hippocampus as well as the orbitofrontal cortex, were either less dense or had lower levels of activation, as per an article on the cause of BPD that the National Health Service published.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors are a result of relationships and socioeconomic circumstances that increase a person’s likelihood of developing illnesses or experiencing stressful situations. The environmental factors that contribute to the development of panicky BPD include trauma and abuse in childhood, abandonment, and stress in the family. These traumas cause anxiety in children and increase the risk of developing BPD as they grow older.


Genetics refers to genes inherited from parents who increase the risk of being diagnosed with a disease. A study from 2020 by Maurex et al., published in European Psychiatry, suggests that a genetic variation in the way the brain processes serotonin may be related to the growth of petulant personality disorder. People who have this serotonin gene variant may be more likely to develop BPD in the event that they’ve also experienced traumatizing events in the early years of their lives.

Signs of Petulant Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

The condition of petulant BPD is characterized by a negative outlook, unstable relationships, and a cyclical fluctuation in anger or depression. The inability to control their anger and instead express aggression passively (or directly aggressively) makes others turn away.

Here are ten indicators of a tense BPD that you might observe in yourself or in others:

Emotional Outbursts

People with the condition of temperamental BPD are more prone to anger-driven outbursts that target other people. They’re impatient and get violent if their needs aren’t being satisfied. For certain people, not having their needs fulfilled can bring back childhood memories of when their primary caregivers didn’t help their needs. In the end, they seek perfection and are forced to cope with their displeasure when these expectations are not met.

Passive Aggressive Conduct

Borderlines between petulant behavior can be revealed through emotional outbursts, passive-aggressive behavior, and words when they’re angered. Passive-aggressiveness involves expressing anger indirectly, such as taking a hostile attitude, rather than expressing it directly to a person. This is just one of the numerous ways in which the borderline could create a wedge between themselves and their fellows.

Pessimistic Attitude

People who suffer from an aggressive BPD have a general negative outlook on themselves, other people, and the world. The predominant emotions they experience are negative, such as being angry and frustrated. They might feel guilt, worthlessness, and shame in their own minds; the overall feeling of guilt and shame can make others uncomfortable. They might feel that they cannot help their loved ones improve or think of things in positive ways.

The “Push & Pull” Pattern in Relationships

People who have a petulant BPD tend to be in a “push/pull” pattern in relationships. They desire to be with others, but they behave in ways that push them away with their rage and borderline anger or overall negative behavior. “Pushing and pulling” can result from a loved one’s failure to meet expectations or to avoid the possibility of future disappointment. This makes it challenging for individuals to keep a relationship and friendships with people who have borderline personality disorder.

Easy to Insulate

People with an aggressive BPD can be described as being extremely sensitive. Due to their generally negative behavior, they may feel devalued and can display this anger or even retain it and develop feelings of resentment. 

Resentment towards Others

Like those with rage, BPD is more likely to be offended and irritated by other people and often hold on to their resentments and are unwilling to let them go. This is a method of separating others from them as the closeness of too many people can become unbearable.

Requiring Others to Do Something

People who suffer from petulant BPD tend to have high standards for their loved ones and are often frustrated when their expectations aren’t met. Family members may feel that they’ll “never do anything right.”


Borderlines who are agitated tend to be the envy of their peers’ joy and accomplishments; this can be a reflection of their negative view of life. Their resentment could be mixed with self-criticism or an impression that things are unfair, that they have been deceived, or that someone else is taking advantage of them.

Fear and paranoia

People suffering from petulant BPD tend to feel anxious and unsure about other people’s motives. They frequently believe that people are trying to take advantage of them or are only concerned with meeting their personal needs. Even when the people in their lives prove their reliability, the borderline petulant can be a bit obnoxious and sever the bond.

Guilt and Worthlessness

While borderline patients who are agitated tend to be irritable towards others, they can channel their anger into themselves and feel depression, guilt, shame, and self-criticism; this can be the case after emotional outbursts as they try to find a reason for their conduct.

Petulant BPD Vs. Other Types of BPD

To be diagnosed with BPD, one must show a continuous pattern of self-image instability in their emotional state and interpersonal relationships and show impulsivity. Although all kinds of BPD have these characteristics in common, the subtypes of BPD can be distinguished by their distinct personality styles.

Here are the common traits in BPD styles:

Petulant and self-destructive BPD

Self-destructive borderline turns their negative feelings toward others inward, whereas the borderline that is tense and angry tends to become more antagonistic and cynical with their relationships as time passes.

Petulant and impulsive BPD

Borderlines with impulsive tendencies tend to behave recklessly and act in ways that violate the rights and opinions of other people.

Petulant and discouraged BPD

Discouraged borderlines tend to be insecure, avoidant, and, at times, submissive to their partners, and borderlines who are agitated tend to be adamant and voice their frustration in a public manner.

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Treatment for Petulant Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

If you notice that your symptoms affect various aspects of your daily life, including interactions, you will benefit from BPD treatment. The combination of therapy or medication for BPD could help people with BPD understand how to manage their disorder. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as self-harm and suicidal thoughts, you could require hospitalization until stabilized. Patients who have mild or moderate symptoms may be treated in outpatient treatment.

Treatment choices to treat Petulant BPD comprise:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

The DBT treatment for BPD is a scientifically-supported treatment that helps to teach emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness for BPD, and interpersonal effectiveness skills. This kind of therapy can help people manage signs of BPD and is a rigorous process that includes group and individual therapy sessions that occur several times per week, along with regular phone check-ins.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT to treat BPD is focused on identifying and changing negative beliefs and thoughts. This method can help people build healthier belief systems and develop coping strategies.

Psychodynamic therapy

The psychodynamic approach is a method of bringing unconscious thoughts and feelings to consciousness and is a proven therapy for BPD.

Mentalization-based therapy

The therapy based on the mental state aids people with BPD and increases their perception of themselves and others; this can be beneficial in their relationships.


Understanding the unique challenges posed by petulant borderline personality disorder is important for individuals affected by this subtype to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life effectively. Through therapy, acquiring good communication skills, and creating a strong support system, people who suffer from the characteristics of petulant BPD can overcome challenges and strive to achieve peace of mind and satisfying relationships. Individuals suffering from hyperactive BPD can live happy, healthier lives if they have the right tools, support, resilience, and perseverance.

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