The answer is a resounding yes. Ballas has the details :
A good example is borderline. If a psychiatrist calls it borderline, it may or may not be, actually, borderline personality, a la Kernberg. So if a patient happens to know she was diagnosed with borderline (which she rarely will-- it's kept secret or encoded as "bipolar") it doesn't mean she can look it up on the internet for more information, because that's not what the psychiatrist meant by the diagnosis. [...]i It's not at all a diagnosis, it's a heuristic.
Devoid as these personality disorder heuristics are of their originally intended meanings, they do, however, reliably imply the same things to other psychiatrists. Those "things" however, are uncoupled from the "official" diagnosis. The heuristic may have a lot, or absolutely no, relationship to the diagnosis. In other words, the term "borderline" is immensely reliable among psychiatrists, but not at all between psychiatrists and non-psychiatrists, who think it means something else. What psychiatrists should have done is invented their own special word for the heuristic of "borderline." But they're lazy.
So, as a public service, I'll tell you what psychiatrists mean when they say borderline. Once again, I'm saying that this is how the diagnosis is used by many psychiatrists. If you email me and say that I'm a jerk for not understanding the term, then you need to go buy yourself a helmet.
First, borderline is a heuristic of countertransference: if the psychiatrist feels frustrated, or exasperated, then the patient is borderline.
Second, borderline is meant as a synonym for any of the following: needy, argumentative, touchy/hypersensitive.
Third, it is generally reserved for the following four types:
- Very attractive female, who comes for problems the psychiatrist considers ordinary: men, work/school, problems with parents, etc. It is diagnosed here most often by female psychiatrists, and carries the connotation: "Grow up."
- Overweight, typically white, female, who needs/wants benzos, especially Klonopin. The implications are lack of self-control, and reliance on external supports.
- Thin female with a lot of anger. By example, the woman who comes for treatment of "depression" but describes most life events in terms of attacks, sleights, harm, etc-- i.e. power differentials.
- Gay man.
People have the magical device of their fatbrain to explain away everything inconvenient and surround them in a bubble of loving and happy safety past which no messy outside can trespass.ii Part and parcel of the functioning of this device is the moving of causality away from things that they can control, towards things they can not control. While it's technically possible that obesity is caused by a mix of genetic and behavioural factors, you are also guaranteed to find, in any actual, concrete fat fuck, that he significantly overweights the impact of genetics (outside of his control) and significantly underweights the impact of behaviour (supposedly within his control, or at the very least his nominal empire). Similarly, the girl psych that didn't become a better psych than she is did so not because she was lazy, but because she wasn't blonde. She thinks this, even if she never dares verbalize itiii.
Meanwhile, extremely good looking, young women that are also intelligent have much more serious problems than moderately good looking, moderately intelligent, no longer so young women that end up with a psychiatric practice. The psych herself has some excuses ready, the slavegirl has none. Moreover, the psych herself is well used to the soviet bureaucratic routine of creating and deploying excuses, the slavegirl is not, nor does she perceive the value in becoming.
So, yes, the indication for her is "grow up". Quite exactly correct.
What that "grow up" actually means, however, is "find an excellent master to make you into what you are - we down here in the pits have neither the means to crucible your soul, nor any call for fine steel".———
- Omitted because nonsense. [↩]
- Eric Arthur Blair aka George Orwell has a pretty decent discussion of the phenomenon :
In MAX AND THE WHITE PHAGOCYTES there is one of those revealing passages in which a writer tells you a great deal about himself while talking about somebody else. The book includes a long essay on the diaries of Anais Nin, which I have never read, except for a few fragments, and which I believe have not been published. Miller claims that they are the only true feminine writing that has ever appeared, whatever that may mean. But the interesting passage is one in which he compares Anais Nin–evidently a completely subjective, introverted writer–to Jonah in the whale's belly. In passing he refers to an essay that Aldous Huxley wrote some years ago about El Greco's picture, The Dream of Philip the Second. Huxley remarks that the people in El Greco's pictures always look as though they were in the bellies of whales, and professes to find something peculiarly horrible in the idea of being in a 'visceral prison'. Miller retorts that, on the contrary, there are many worse things than being swallowed by whales, and the passage makes it dear that he himself finds the idea rather attractive. Here he is touching upon what is probably a very widespread fantasy. It is perhaps worth noticing that everyone, at least every English-speaking person, invariably speaks of Jonah and the WHALE. Of course the creature that swallowed Jonah was a fish, and was so described in the Bible (Jonah i. 17), but children naturally confuse it with a whale, and this fragment of baby-talk is habitually carried into later life–a sign, perhaps, of the hold that the Jonah myth has upon our imaginations. For the fact is that being inside a whale is a very comfortable, cosy, homelike thought. The historical Jonah, if he can be so called, was glad enough to escape, but in imagination, in day-dream, countless people have envied him. It is, of course, quite obvious why. The whale's belly is simply a womb big enough for an adult. There you are, in the dark, cushioned space that exactly fits you, with yards of blubber between yourself and reality, able to keep up an attitude of the completest indifference, no matter what HAPPENS. A storm that would sink all the battleships in the world would hardly reach you as an echo. Even the whale's own movements would probably be imperceptible to you. He might be wallowing among the surface waves or shooting down into the blackness of the middle seas (a mile deep, according to Herman Melville), but you would never notice the difference. Short of being dead, it is the final, unsurpassable stage of irresponsibility. And however it may be with Anais Nin, there is no question that Miller himself is inside the whale. All his best and most characteristic passages are written from the angle of Jonah, a willing Jonah. Not that he is especially introverted–quite the contrary. In his case the whale happens to be transparent. Only he feels no impulse to alter or control the process that he is undergoing. He has performed the essential Jonah act of allowing himself to be swallowed, remaining passive, ACCEPTING.
- Not because she'd catch herself - but because verbalizing would create a need for even more cover-up. That's the situation in the brain, very similar to a Soviet state : a disident is not one who threatens to upset the whole political organisation of society through his acts of speaking out. He is merely one who gives extra work to the bureaucracy - now they have to write even more paperwork to bury his nonsense. [↩]