When Borderline Personality Disorder Affects Those with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Combination is Life-Altering

Shirley J. Davis
5 min readOct 1, 2022


Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) on its own is a severe diagnosis. However, when paired with another significant diagnosis, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), the two diagnoses deeply affect people’s lives.

In this article, we shall examine CPTSD and BPD and their effects on the people who have both.

What is Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

CPTSD is created when people (especially children) experience ongoing and inescapable domestic abuse, such as sexual abuse or neglect. The trauma of abuse and neglect leaves life-long scars leaving the affected person struggling to form and keep intimate relationships.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), 70% of adults in the United States have experienced at least one traumatic incident in their lifetime. This exposure to violence, whether committed against the child or seeing it done to someone else, causes children to grow up having complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

Complex PTSD differs from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as CPTSD has some indications of PTSD yet different symptoms, such as the following.

· Reliving the trauma through flashbacks and nightmares

· Avoiding situations that remind them of the trauma

· Dizziness or nausea when remembering the trauma

· Hyperarousal

· The belief that the world is a dangerous place

· A loss of trust in the self or others

· Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

· Startling easy by loud noises

· A negative self-view

· Emotional regulation difficulties

· Problems with relationships

· Thoughts or actions of suicide

· Fixating on the abuser or seeking revenge

· Losing memories of trauma or reliving them



Shirley J. Davis

I am an author/speaker/grant writer in the U.S. My passion is authoring information about mental health disorders, especially dissociative identity disorder..