The term ‘borderline’ has been used to describe mental states on the border between neurosis and psychosis: an individual with ‘psychotic’ symptoms but not psychotic nor becoming psychotic. While the term first appeared in the psychoanalytic literature in the 1930s (Stern, 1938), beginning with Knight (1953), it was more widely used. It most often refers to rapid changes in self-image, lability of mood and behaviour and a life dominated by intense and manipulative relationships. The common defences include splitting, primitive dissociation, projective identification, omnipotence, denial, disruptive acting out, destructive idealization, devaluation and dramatic and sudden shifts in affect.
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