I probably shouldn’t say this

I have become concerned about Miley Cyrus.

In her magnum opus, 7 Things, she discusses a recently ended relationship and highlights seven areas of dissatisfaction with her ex-partner.

From this description, I notice that her ex-beau fulfils the diagnostic criteria for ‘borderline personality disorder’ or BPD.

To quote Ms Cyrus’s concerns:

You’re vain, your games, you’re insecure
You love me, you like her
You make me laugh, you make me cry
I don’t know which side to buy
Your friends they’re jerks
And when you act like them, just know it hurts
I wanna be with the one I know
And the 7th thing I hate the most that you do
You make me love you

According to the DSM, five of nine listed features are needed for a diagnosis.

It seems this person would qualify by fulfilling the criteria for: frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation; identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self; impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging; and affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood.

A similar diagnosis could be made using the World Health Organisation’s ICD-10 system where he or she would qualify for ’emotionally unstable personality disorder: borderline type’.

It’s probably worth noting that ‘borderline personality disorder’ is one of the more contested of the psychiatric disorders – with debates focusing on whether the diagnosis just pathologises people who are very hard to get along with.

Despite these difficulties, Ms Cyrus notes that there are seven things she likes about her ex-partner, which include “Your hair, your eyes, your old Levi’s”.

From her recent break-up I suspect these didn’t fully compensate for the pattern of relationship instability, although if she did wish to continue, both members of the couple could see a psychologist or therapist specialising in relationship difficulties.

However, research has shown that 75% of people diagnosed with BPD no longer qualify for the diagnosis after six years and so it could be worth waiting, or perhaps even thinking about dating someone slightly older to reduce the chances of repeating the same relationship pattern.

That’s very kind of you to offer Miley, but I’m waiting for Shakira.

Link to Miley Cyrus’s 7 Things.
Link to Wikipedia on Borderline Personality Disorder.


  1. Marc
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Well done! However mighn’t all these pop-tartlets meet criteria for Histrionic Personality Disorder, including your beloved Shakira?

  2. Posted August 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I wish all retrospective diagnoses were carried out this lightheartedly.

  3. Neuroshrink
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree with your analysis of these lyrics. What I am more interested in is the circumstances in which you were doing this analysis: are you also giving talmudic-scholar-level attention to the liner noted from High School Musical 3?

    If so, let’s start working on criteria for Pop Culture Hyperfocus Disorder. It’s not too late for you to be a case study in DSM-V! It will help, of course, if we can convince a drug company that this is treatable with one of their patented remedies.

  4. cavall de quer
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Getting much jollier comments with the new format – good-oh!

  5. pazenadam
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Psychiatrize not, lest ye be psychiatrized.

  6. Posted August 13, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink


    Could you also see if you can apply this kind of analysis to some other questions that arise from song titles.

    Exactly how many roads must a man walk down, before you can call him a man? I am not satisfied with an answer that is said simply to “be blowing in the wind”, and this kind of evasive answer must be indicative of some psychological disorder on the part of the Mr Dylan.

    Equally perplexing is the notion that if you love someone, you should set them free, but if you are the one being freed and you don’t know you are supposed to return, then all sorts of abandonment issues will arise, when they don’t need to, once again requiring some kind of psychological or pharmacological intervention.

    These may be easier to start with than working out what the implications are of someone who claims that “dee do do do, dee da da da is all I want to say to you.”

  7. Posted August 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    osh, you’re hilarious! Thanks!

  8. Posted November 19, 2010 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    But pepople with bordeline personality disorder arnt hard to get on with well i dont think im hard to get on with i just seem to like my own way

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