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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Persons with borderline personality disorder are often described as affected by extreme emotional fluctuations. This article analyses their fundamental emotions: dysphoria and anger, despair, boredom, shame, and guilt. Our focus will be mainly on the two distinct life-world configurations that originate from dysphoria and anger: the dysphoric life-world and the life-world of anger. The first is characterized by a quasi-ineffable constellation of feelings in which Self and Others are irritatingly indefinite. In the second, the vague sense of Self and Others disappear: the Self is the victim, the Other the Offender. This emotional intensity does not allow borderline persons to distance themselves from what they feel here-and-now, thus feelings and values overlap. We call this “frustrated normativity.” Borderline persons are guided by the value of authenticity thus entering into collision with the social norms/conventions which they consider inauthentic and therefore an unwarranted challenge to their truly natural being: spontaneity.

Keywords: anger, authenticity, borderline, dysphoria, emotions, frustrated normativity, life-world, limit situation, values

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