Sunday, April 3, 2011

Emotional Intelligence and borderline personality disorder

I came across a word, "emotional intelligence" a couple of years ago. I wasn't quite sure what it really meant even though I had heard about IQ all the time. But there were people who excelled in certain areas, that include math, science, writing, music and art but most of whom I knew didn't become successful in life. Well, I guess it depends on what defines success, but I guess "success" which I am referring to here is overall accomplishments in career.

My borderline mother did not have high emotional intelligence. She was constantly distressed and didn't really know how to deal with her overwhelming emotions or reactions to the situations, which were very minor to others. It wasn't her fault, because she had poor coping skills because of her mental condition. I share some of her daily distress, and the level of stress she experiences from uncomfortable situations (ex: there was no parking spot left)..was probably twice or three times higher than mine. Understandably she wasn't really capable of holding down a job consistently. She was smart and talented. She excelled in school according to my uncle and aunts, and I was really impressed with her artworks that she had created in the past. But because of her low emotional intelligence, it was difficult for her to cope with people whom she didn't get along with and to deal with stressful situations at work. So anyways she was a stay at home mom, and didn't really have a consistent job. She had four children, so that gave her a reason for not being able to really have a regular full-time job. But at the same time, she wouldn't have been capable of holding down a job regardless of her children because of her mental conditions.

But I think emotional intelligence can be improved by learning how to communicate with people and situations more effectively. I used to be a lot more emotional and impulsive, but thanks to my therapist's help, I have been doing much better at work. I think my emotional intelligence has improved over the course of several years because of all the practices that I have been doing. Life is all about balance. It's important to excel in school, but it is equally important to learn social skills. Without having these two skills, one wouldn't succeed in today's competitive world.

People with borderline personality disorder suffer from overwhelming emotions, so even though he or she manages to do well in work, one wouldn't maintain that level of stress. But I really believe that they can change. Even my mom would be able to get help and learn to improve her conditions. But the most challenging part is to get her understand that she needs help!


  1. I agree that Emotional Intelligence is just as important, if not more important, than your IQ. I am also a stay-at-home mom. I'm glad that you're doing much better now. I hope that someday we can erase some of the stigma around BPD, and your mom will get the help that she needs to lead a better life.

  2. thank you for your comment..yes I wish my mom would get help because it is hard for me to see her suffer from this illness and I know that she can still learn better coping skills to deal with her mood swings. But she is already 65 years old, and I did suggest her to seek some kind of help many times but she gets very defensive and angry so I have given up on her. :(