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These two features constitute the first pair of so-called 'dialectical dilemmas', the patient's position tending to swing between the opposing poles since each extreme is experienced as being distressing.Next, they tend to experience frequent traumatic environmental events, in part related to their own dysfunctional lifestyle and exacerbated by their extreme emotional reactions with delayed return to baseline.Linehan groups the features of BPD in a particular way, describing the patients as showing dysregulation in the sphere of emotions, relationships, behaviour, cognition and the sense of self.She suggests that, as a consequence of the situation that has been described, they show six typical patterns of behaviour, the term 'behaviour' referring to emotional, cognitive and autonomic activity as well as external behaviour in the narrow sense.An 'emotionally vulnerable' person in this sense is someone whose autonomic nervous system reacts excessively to relatively low levels of stress and takes longer than normal to return to baseline once the stress is removed.It is proposed that this is the consequence of a biological diathesis.

On the other hand, they have learned to give the impression of being competent in response to the Invalidating Environment.

Any failure on the part of the child to perform to the expected standard is therefore ascribed to lack of motivation or some other negative characteristic of her character.

(The feminine pronoun will be used throughout this paper when referring to the patient since the majority of BPD patients are female and Linehan's work has focused on this subgroup).

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is based on a bio-social theory of borderline personality disorder.

Linehan hypothesises that the disorder is a consequence of an emotionally vulnerable individual growing up within a particular set of environmental circumstances which she refers to as the 'Invalidating Environment'.