Jill Boultinghouse, MFT Therapist and Counselor

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Borderline Personality Disorder: Gone Girl’s Amazing Amy

This summer I read the wonderful and shocking novel “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.  I enjoyed the book so much that I suggested it to my friends, mother, and sisters.  We all enjoyed reading in detail the mind (and trying to understand the motivations) of the main character “Amazing Amy”.  Many have wanted to discuss Amy’s pathology with me to gain a further understanding into this truly amazing character.  Amy, you see, is amazing in more ways than one.  Yes, she is beautiful and intelligent.  Her ability to plan, strategize and stay focused on the goal is truly incredible.  However, what is also incredible is her pathology.  Amy not only is antisocial (previously known as  a sociopath), but she also has, in my opinion, borderline personality disorder (BPD).  People with borderline personality disorder have difficulties regulating their emotions.  They have dramatic highs and lows of emotions.  Amy goes through emotional swings of loving her husband to wanting the greatest harm inflicted upon him.   Those with BPD have problems primarily around coping with abandonment.  Amy has a history of feeling emotionally abandoned by friends and her husband and the feelings of abandonment are so severe and extreme for her that she lashes out to hurt those who she perceives have left her.  This dynamic causes Amy and others with BPD to have rapid changing views of others.  Amy’s disorder, like most BPD persons, started early in life.  BPD is a pervasive pattern of unstable relationships, emotions and self-image.  BPD is not appropriate to describe those with an incident of instability.  Amy and others with BPD have life long history of unstable interpersonal relationships. These life-long unstable relationships usually show idolizations early on in the relationship and then later inappropriate and intense anger towards the person.

So, how did Amazing Amy become so amazingly pathological?  Was it her parents’ fault?  Or the fame from the books that were modeled after her?  And what hope is there for Amy and Nick?  Researchers today don’t know what causes BPD; however, there are many strong theories. The popular belief among clinicians is the BPD is caused by genetic/biological factors along with social factors.  It is a complex disorder with a complex origin that involves complex treatment.  Treatment usually warrants intense psychotherapy and psychotropic medications.  Age and maturity (after 50 years old) usually help diminish the intensity of the disorder.

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