Difference between Codependency and Borderline Personality Disorder

There are several mental conditions that manifest themselves in erratic behavior, spontaneous actions and emotional outbreaks. Both codependency and borderline personality disorder are such conditions, but they are different in some respects. Let’s take a closer look at these differences.


Codependency syndrome refers to the type of interpersonal relationships in which an individual constantly feels the urge “to care” about a close relative’s or friend’s questionable mental condition, harmful addiction or dysfunctions. A codependent person can’t wait “to help” somebody to the point that he is willing to create harmful situations himself in order to have the means to solve it later. In  romantic relationships, a codependent person would do his best to sacrifice everything he has in order to please the beloved one. Psychologists view such relationships as unhealthy and traumatic for both sides.

Codependency vs Borderline Personality Disorder

Signs and symptoms of codependency:

  • Instability in relationships
  • Low self-esteem
  • A need for acceptance
  • Excessive worry and fear of being alone
  • Overwhelming feelings of emptiness
  • Swapping one’s needs for the needs of someone else, usually a person one is involved with

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by instability of moods and patterns of behavior. A person with borderline personality disorder is emotionally troubled, which causes social and interpersonal problems. The common features of borderline personality disorder include a fear of being rejected by loved ones and high susceptibility to negative criticism.

Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder:

  • Unstable and unhealthy personal relationships
  • Mood swings
  • The fear of being abandoned
  • Sudden emotional outbreaks
  • Self-destructive and suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Overall impulsivity and uncontrollable behavior 

Comparison chart

Codependency Borderline Personality Disorder
A codependent person wants to be a victim A borderline person doesn’t want to be a victim, but feels like he deserves it
A codependent person gets satisfaction by helping others A borderline person needs to be taken care of
A codependent person does not depend on the opinion of people around them A borderline person depends on the opinions of other people

Codependency vs Borderline Personality Disorder

What is the difference between Codependency and Borderline Personality Disorder?

  • An individual with codependency syndrome sometimes wants to become a victim, to be sacrificed, while in the case of borderline personality disorder one feels one deserves to be a victim. A borderline person may want to be hurt or even commit suicide.
  • A person with codependency can get satisfaction when he is actually helping someone who is  dependent on him. In case of borderline personality disorder, the one who suffers needs to be taken care of.
  • Codependent persons do not care much about what other people think or do about their actions. A borderline person, on the other hand, highly depends on the opinion of other people and is especially susceptible to the negative criticism which exacerbates the mental condition.