Borderline Personality Disorder and Physical Abuse

 Borderline personality and physical abuse
R. Skip Johnson

A survey identified hitting or physical intimidation as taking place in 69% of relationships where one partner had traits of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and the relationship had run its course (ended). 

When one partner has traits of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), hitting or physical intimidation takes place three times more often than in other relationships.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) is more than three times the physical abuse rate (20%) that the respondents experienced in prior relationships where neither partner had traits of BPD. It is nearly three times the rate (24%) reported by the CDC in similar general population studies (1) (2).

While survey respondents reported being hit or physically intimidated by a partner with BPD traits in 69% of the relationships, fully 28% of the respondents without BPD traits reported hitting or physically intimidated the partner with BPD traits.

In 21% of the relationships, the hitting and physical intimidation was reported to be reciprocal. This is a far lower incidence than seen in many domestic violence studies where rates approach 50%.(1)  Reciprocal intimate partner violence correlates with greater injury than nonreciprocal intimate partner violence.(1)

  1. Partner with BPD traits - When the hitter was the partner with BPD traits, 67% of the time, the hitter was a female. This is consistant with other studies were it has been established that in nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were often the perpetrators (70%) (1)
  1. Other partner - When the partner without BPD traits was the hitter, 65% of the time the hitter was a male.

Overall, the results suggest arguments escalate to the point of hitting in many relationships were one person has traits borderline personality disorder, that nonreciprocal and generally less life-threatening violence is common, and that women are more often the perpetrators than men.

There were 136 participants in this survey - all were partners of individuals with traits of Borderline Personality Disorder. advocates for caregiver research. Few studies and little data are available that assess the impact on the caregiver who cares for a person with a personality disorder. and its members have participated in clinical research studies conducted by Columbia University, University of Toronto (Canada), University of Nevada, Bowling Green State University, Wright Institute (California), Colorado School of Professional Psychology, Long Island University, Alliant International University (California), University of Wollongong (Australia), Macquarie University (Australia), and Simon Fraser University (Canada).

For further discussion and to comment, please click the following. For women, in addition to dicussions about the health and emotional risks, there is a discussion of the Deluth Model and how women can become entrapped in controlling and abusive relationships with little option to leave.




For men, in addition to dicussions about the health and emotional risks, there is an added danger of false domestic violence claims and a legal system that can will put innocent men into an expensive legal process to defend themselves with little evidence. 


D.V.   For   MEN


1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence. Atlanta, Ga: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2007.

2. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Cost of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Atlanta, Ga: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003.

Last modified: 
January 04, 2021