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Trial and Error: Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder

Once, I found myself in a potentially dangerous situation with a patient who has a borderline personality disorder. It is very easy and tempting to get dragged into an argument with these kinds of patients. I was aware of my own tiredness that day which made me vulnerable and perhaps somewhat rash. The patient was highly agitated and we got into an argument. I let myself get so caught up in her line of reasoning and became offended by her insinuations. My responses increased her anger and it led to an unsafe situation which I did not realize promptly, even though I knew that she was prone to physically lash out. She had demonstrated that fact only a few weeks before this incident and she was threatening me with similar actions now. I retreated to a safe environment while other colleagues tried and succeeded in their attempt to defuse the situation. The patient’s reaction was disease related so I should have known better. However, my tiredness got the better of me. Normally the patient and I get along just ne so this hit me by surprise.

I have learned a lot from that encounter. Foremost, I will remember and take heed how my own physical and mental state can in uence my work and performance. I will not be tempted to enter into an argument of which you know beforehand will only create unnecessary tension or worse. I will take better care of my own protection and call for help on time.

A. van Aken & P.P. de Koning

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