A. In both diagnoses, individuals display significant emotio…

A. In both diagnoses, individuals display significant emotional dysregulation. B. In both diagnoses, individuals display aggression toward people or animals. C. In both diagnoses, individuals tend to have conflict with authority figures.


When studying and diagnosing psychological disorders, it is crucial to understand the similarities and differences between different conditions. This analytical paper aims to explore the shared characteristics between two specific diagnoses: borderline personality disorder (BPD) and intermittent explosive disorder (IED). Both of these disorders involve significant emotional dysregulation, aggression towards others, and difficulties with authority figures. By examining these similarities, we can enhance our understanding of the underlying factors that contribute to these disorders and potentially develop more effective treatment strategies.

A. Emotional Dysregulation

One shared characteristic between BPD and IED is the presence of significant emotional dysregulation. Emotional dysregulation refers to difficulty in managing and controlling one’s emotions, resulting in intense and unpredictable mood swings (Linehan, 1993; APA, 2013). Individuals with BPD and IED often experience intense emotional states that can escalate rapidly and unpredictably, leading to impulsive behaviors and interpersonal conflicts (Linehan, 1993; Coccaro et al., 1997).

In both diagnoses, emotional dysregulation arises from underlying factors such as deficits in emotion regulation skills, heightened emotional sensitivity, and difficulty in modulating arousal levels (Gunderson & Zanarini, 2013; Coccaro et al., 1997). While these factors may manifest differently in BPD and IED, they contribute to the shared experience of emotional dysregulation in individuals with these disorders.

B. Aggression

Another important shared characteristic between BPD and IED is the presence of aggression towards people or animals. Aggression refers to behavior intended to cause harm or inflict pain upon others, and can manifest in various forms such as physical violence, verbal aggression, or relational aggression (Coccaro et al., 1997; Paris, 1997).

Individuals with BPD often exhibit impulsive and self-destructive behaviors, including aggression towards others (APA, 2013). This aggression can be fueled by intense emotions, perceived abandonment, or fears of rejection (Paris, 1997). Similarly, individuals with IED experience recurrent and extreme episodes of impulsive aggression, often triggered by minor provocation or perceived threat (Coccaro et al., 1997). In both disorders, aggressive behaviors can have a detrimental impact on interpersonal relationships and contribute to significant impairment in various life domains.

C. Conflict with Authority Figures

Lastly, both BPD and IED are characterized by challenges and conflicts with authority figures. Authority figures refer to individuals who have legitimate power or control over others, such as parents, teachers, supervisors, or law enforcement personnel (Gunderson, 2014; Coccaro et al., 1997).

Individuals with BPD often struggle with authority figures due to difficulties trusting and forming stable relationships (APA, 2013). They may perceive authority figures as threatening or controlling, leading to resistance or defiance of their rules and directives (Paris, 1997). Similarly, individuals with IED exhibit a pattern of oppositional behavior towards authority figures, such as engaging in arguments, breaking rules, or even committing criminal offenses (Coccaro et al., 1997).

These conflicts with authority figures in both BPD and IED can be attributed to the underlying emotional dysregulation, as well as a desire for autonomy and avoidance of perceived threats to their sense of self (Paris, 1997; Coccaro et al., 1997). However, it is worth noting that these conflicts may manifest differently in each disorder. For example, in BPD, conflicts with authority figures may be driven by fears of abandonment or rejection, whereas in IED, conflicts may arise from a general propensity for aggression and defiance.


In conclusion, the shared characteristics between BPD and IED provide valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms and challenges faced by individuals with these disorders. Emotional dysregulation, aggression towards others, and conflict with authority figures are prevalent in both diagnoses, although they may manifest differently in each disorder. Enhancing our understanding of these shared characteristics can inform the development of more targeted and effective interventions for individuals with BPD and IED, ultimately leading to improved outcomes and quality of life for those affected by these disorders. Future research should continue to investigate the specific mechanisms through which these characteristics contribute to the development and maintenance of these disorders, and explore novel treatment approaches that target these shared features.