BPD Violence and Relationship Abuse [21 Facts & Statistics]


This fact sheet provides a consolidated view of BPD's association with violence and domestic abuse.

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1. Violence Trends in BPD Women's Relationships

Among couples where the woman is diagnosed with BPD, psychological violence is notably high, while physical violence, especially minor assaults, also occurs at a significant rate. [1]

2. 37% BPD Partners Face Violence

37% BPD Partners Face Violence Statistics Datingarmory_com

In one 4-month follow-up study, 37% of partners of individuals diagnosed with BPD experienced either physical or psychological violence from their BPD partner. [2]

3. Most BPD Women Report No Violence, But Some Face High Levels

BPD Female Physical Violence Statistics DatingArmory_com

While 73% of women with BPD report no physical violence in the past year, a notable minority still experienced high levels of mutual violence. [1]

4. 27% Of Domestic Violence Arrests Have BPD Traits

27% of females arrested for domestic violence perpetration meet the criteria for BPD. [3]

5. BPD Women Perceive More Domestic Abuse

Women with BPD perceive a higher rate of domestic abuse than women without BPD. [1]

6. Borderline Features Dominate In Teen Dating Violence

Across various forms of teen dating violence (TDV) — from victimization and perpetration to severe cases — borderline features consistently emerge as a predominant factor. [4]

7. BPD Individuals View Relationships As More Hostile

Individuals diagnosed with BPD often perceive both their past and current relationships as more hostile and less cohesive, surpassing even the perceptions of those with depression or bipolar disorder. [5]

8. 50% Of Female BPD Patients Report Assault Vs. 26% Of Males

Assault Reports Statistics 50% of Female BPD Patients vs. 26% of Males datingarmory_com

Adult females with BPD have reported significantly higher instances of physical and/or sexual assault (50%) in comparison to adult males with BPD (26%). [6]

9. Men With BPD Traits More Likely To Be Batterers

Men with higher levels of BPD symptoms are more often found among batterers in both violent and nonviolent crimes. [7, 8, 9]

10. Violent BPD Men Act On Impulse During Anger

Violent men diagnosed with BPD often respond with impulsive and unplanned aggression, particularly during moments of heightened arousal or anger. This inclination towards violence may intensify when confronted with their partner's distress. This entire behavioral pattern is potentially rooted in difficulties in emotion regulation or an innate response to strong negative feelings. [10, 11]

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11. BPD Rates High In Female-Perpetrated Abuse

Higher rates of BPD and other personality disorders were found in women who perpetrated abuse toward their intimate male partners. [12]

12. Nonsevere Vs. Clinically Significant Abuse In Aggressive Females

"Nonsevere" abuse is more frequently perpetrated by females with aggressive personalities compared to males, whereas "clinically significant abuse" is commonly characterized by mutual abuse and linked to personality deviance, such as low self-control and high negative emotionality. [13]

13. BPD Traits In Men Link To Both IPV Roles; In Women, Only To Victimization

For males, BPD traits correlate with both intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration and victimization. For females, these traits only relate to IPV victimization. [14

Related: BPD Marriage, Divorce & Parenthood Statistics

14. Chronic Anger And Aggression In BPD Men In IPV Treatment

BPD is significantly linked with chronic anger, jealousy, and increased frequencies of both verbal and physical aggression among males undergoing treatment for intimate partner violence (IPV). [15]

15. Higher Hostility In Individuals With BPD Traits

Individuals with BPD or its traits report greater levels of physical and verbal hostility compared to those without BPD. [16, 17]

16. Partners Of BPD Individuals Face More Hostility

Partners of those with BPD traits or disorder face a higher likelihood of experiencing physical and verbal hostility compared to partners of individuals with other personality disorders. [18, 19]

17. Common Hostility In BPD Romantic Relationships

Hostility towards the member with BPD is a common feature in BPD romantic relationships. [20, 21]

18. BPD Symptoms Linked To Various Marital Issues

When adjusting for demographic factors and the presence of Axis I disorders, BPD symptoms show a positive association with marital distress, minor violence perpetration, severe violence perpetration, and marital disruption. [22]

Read more: 63 Signs, Challenges And Examples Of A BPD Marriage

19. Break-Ups Heighten Clinical Risks For BPD Individuals

Break-ups or couple conflicts can be associated with the risk of clinical deterioration for people with BPD. [23, 24]

20. Contrasting Mean Rates Of Exhibited Violence

Contrasting Mean Exhibited Physical and Psychological Violence in BPD and Control Couples datingarmory_com

In the field of physical violence, women with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) exhibit violent tendencies at a rate of 7.2. This rate sharply contrasts with control women, who show a much lower rate of 0.79.

In the area of psychological violence, the difference is even more pronounced. BPD women exhibit this type of violence at a rate of 29.29, substantially outpacing the 4.62 rate among control women.

As for the male partners of BPD women, the data is equally troubling:

These men exhibit physical violence at a rate of 1.34. This is double the rate of control men, who exhibit at a rate of 0.66. 

Likewise, they show psychological violence at a rate of 11.91, more than doubling the 4.74 rate observed in control men. [1]

Related: Autism Statistics Friendships, Dating, Sex, Marriage [& Related Disorders]

21. Contrasting Mean Rates Of Experienced Violence

Contrasting Mean Experienced Physical and Psychological Violence in BPD and Control Couples datingarmory_com

When looking at experienced violence, BPD women face physical violence at a rate of 1.51, significantly higher than the 0.31 rate for control women.

In the realm of psychological violence, BPD women experience it at a rate of 13.37, over three times the rate of 3.88 among control women.

The male partners of BPD women are not immune to these heightened experiences:

These men experience physical violence at a rate of 6.34, almost ten times the 0.66 rate among control men.

In terms of psychological violence, they experience it at a rate of 23.54, more than five times the 4.29 rate for control men. [1]

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Summary

To sum it up, both the exhibited and experienced rates of physical and psychological violence are alarmingly higher among BPD women and their male partners compared to control groups. This underscores the urgent need for specialized intervention and support.

Resources

[1] Bouchard, S., Sabourin, S., Lussier, Y. and Villeneuve, E. (2009), Relationship Quality and Stability in Couples When One Partner Suffers From Borderline Personality Disorder. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 35: 446-455. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0606.2009.00151.x 

[2] Zanarini MC, Parachini EA, Frankenburg FR, Holman JB, Hennen J, Reich DB, Silk KR. Sexual relationship difficulties among borderline patients and axis II comparison subjects. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2003 Jul;191(7):479-82. doi: 10.1097/01.NMD.0000081628.93982.1D. PMID: 12891097.

[3] Stuart, G. L., Moore, T. M., Gordon, K., Ramsey, S. E., & Kahler, C. W. (2006). Psychopathology in women arrested for domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 376–389. doi:10.1177/ 0886260505282888

[4] Reuter, T. R., Sharp, C., Temple, J., & Babcock, J. C. (2015). The relation between borderline personality disorder features and teen dating violence. Psychology of Violence, 5(2), 163–173. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037891 

[5] Benjamin, L., & Wonderlich, S. A. (1994). Social perceptions and borderline personality disorder: The relation to mood disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 610–624. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.103.4.610

[6] Zanarini, M. C., Frankenburg, F. R., Reich, D., Marino, M. F., Haynes, M. C., & Gunderson, J. G. (1999). Violence in the lives of adult borderline patients. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 187, 65–71. doi:10.1097/00005053-199902000-00001

[7] Hamberger, L., & Hastings, J. E. (1991). Personality correlates of men who batter and nonviolent men: Some continuities and discontinuities. Journal of Family Violence, 6, 131–147. doi:10.1007/BF00978715

[8] Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Bates, L., Smutzler, N., & Sandin, E. (1997). A brief review of the research on husband violence: I. Maritally violent versus nonviolent men. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 2, 65–99. doi:10.1016/S1359-1789(96)00015-8

[9] Edwards, D. W., Scott, C. L., Yarvis, R. M., Paizis, C. L., & Panizzon, M. S. (2003). Impulsiveness, impulsive aggression, personality disorder, and spousal violence. Violence and Victims, 18, 3–14. doi:10.1891/vivi .2003.18.1.3

[10] Ross, J. M., & Babcock, J. C. (2009). Proactive and reactive violence among intimate partner violent men diagnosed with antisocial and borderline personality disorder. Journal of Family Violence, 24, 607–617. doi:10.1007/s10896-009-9259-y

[11] Kingsbury, S. J., Lambert, M. T., & Hendrickse, W. (1997). A two-factor model of aggression. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Pro- cesses, 60, 224–232.

[12] Spidel, A., Nicholls, T. L., Kendrick, K., Klein, C., & Kropp, R. P. (2004). Characteristics of female intimate partner assaulters. In annual meeting of the American Psychology-Law Society, Scottsdale, AZ.

[13] Ehrensaft, M. K., Moffitt, T. E., & Caspi, A. (2004). Clinically abusive relationships in an unselected birth cohort: Men’s and women’s participation and developmental antecedents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 258–270. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.113.2.258

[14] Maneta, E. K., Cohen, S., Schulz, M. S., & Waldinger, R. J. (2013). Two to tango: A dyadic analysis of links between borderline personality traits and intimate partner violence. Journal of Personality Disorders, 27, 233–243. doi:10.1521/pedi_2013_27_082

[15] Dutton, D. G. (1994). Behavioral and affective correlates of Borderline Personality Organization in wife assaulters. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 17, 265–277. doi:10.1016/0160-2527(94)90030-2  

[16] Horowitz LM, Rosenberg SE, Bartholomew K. Interpersonal problems, attachment styles, and outcome in brief dynamic psychotherapy. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1993 Aug;61(4):549-60. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.61.4.549. PMID: 8370851.

[17] Bhatia, V., Davila, J., Eubanks-Carter, C., & Burckell, L. A. (2013). Appraisals of daily romantic relationship experiences in individuals with borderline personality disorder features. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(3), 518–524. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032870

[18] Stepp SD, Smith TD, Morse JQ, Hallquist MN, Pilkonis PA. Prospective associations among borderline personality disorder symptoms, interpersonal problems, and aggressive behaviors. J Interpers Violence. 2012 Jan;27(1):103-24. doi: 10.1177/0886260511416468. Epub 2011 Aug 22. PMID: 21859760; PMCID: PMC3575083.

[19] Meyer, Björn & Pilkonis, Paul. (2005). An attachment model of personality disorders.

[20] Gunderson, J. G., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (2008). BPD's interpersonal hypersensitivity phenotype: a gene-environment-developmental model. Journal of personality disorders, 22(1), 22–41. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi.2008.22.1.22

[21] Skodol, Andrew & Clark, Lee & Bender, Donna & Krueger, Robert & Morey, Leslie & Verheul, Roel & Alarcón, Renato & Bell, Carl & Siever, Larry & Oldham, John. (2011). Proposed Changes in Personality and Personality Disorder Assessment and Diagnosis for DSM5 Part I: Description and Rationale. Personality disorders. 2. 4-22. 10.1037/a0021891.

[22] Social Consequences of Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms in a Population-Based Survey: Marital Distress, Marital Violence, and Marital Disruption, Mark A. Whisman and Yael Chatav Schonbrun, Journal of Personality Disorders 2009 23:4, https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi.2009.23.4.410 

[23] Skodol, A. E., Siever, L. J., Livesley, W. J., Gunderson, J. G., Pfohl, B., & Widiger, T. A. (2002). The borderline diagnosis II: biology, genetics, and clinical course. Biological psychiatry, 51(12), 951–963. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0006-3223(02)01325-2

[24] Navarro-Gómez, S., Frías, Á., & Palma, C. (2017). Romantic Relationships of People with Borderline Personality: A Narrative Review. Psychopathology, 50(3), 175–187. https://doi.org/10.1159/000474950


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About the author 

Coach Colt here, the founder of Dating Armory, your go-to source for no-nonsense, practical relationship advice. I'm a bisexual male in a same-sex open relationship and a researcher in sex, love, and relationships with 7+ years of experience. I specialize in helping both men and women navigate the crazy world of dating.

Don't miss my other guides packed with practical dating advice (no bullshit repeated Platitudes) and tons of real life examples:

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