Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has several symptoms that are often not discussed, one of these symptoms include Lack of Object Consistency (LOC). Object Permanence is developed around the age of 3-5 and is the understanding that objects exist even if it cannot be observed in the moment, or used by current senses (smell, hear, see, touch, taste, etc). Often as babies, we have separation anxiety which results in crying when a caretaker is out of sight, and the reason for this is the fact we haven’t developed object permanence. With age, toddlers are able to learn that their parents still exist when they are out of sights such as when they go to preschool or daycare. LOC is often developed by people who suffer from personality disorders as a symptom of severe trauma resulting from abandonment issues.
Fear of abandonment is one of the most common and biggest factors for a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. A lot of people believe that having a fear of abandonment means you have to experience abuse on top of trauma, but this is a misconception. Many people with BPD experience abandonment at a young age and in various different ways, and because when we are young we are much more impressionable and vulnerable. People with BPD often have a genetic component impacted in their diagnoses therefore when we are children we become even more vulnerable because of the amount and the speed of stimuli we were naturally born with.
Example: At 6 years old your friend steals your bouncy ball, you ask for it back but they continue to walk away with it. Most people would go and argue for the ball back or forget it happened within a couple hours, but young people with BPD will not confront this person and think about how mean your friend is for stealing your ball for weeks which will eventually create a wedge between you and people who borrow your property. It’s so simple for someone to be impacted by the smallest actions as children, and when these actions continue to happen, so does our vulnerability to trauma.

Treatment for LOC includes psychotherapy and time. Learning that people don’t disappear when they are out of the room, that people love and care for you when they’re not there, and that when you are alone you’re not all alone takes time. Relationships need to be mended, confidence needs to be restored, and love needs to be established. Some beginning treatment ideas include:

  • Carrying something of importance with you at all times (such as someone’s shirt, jewellery, or a blanket)
  • Caring for an animal often helps mend the feeling of being alone because a pet inhibits unconditional love. If you don’t have a pet check out the easiest pets to take care of list or volunteer at your local shelter. Remember that animals need love, affection, financial stability, and are a commitment. Check out 8 reasons not to get a pet here.
  • Keeping notes and reminders that you are loved and cared for, even if that person isn’t in your immediate vision.

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