Borderline patients may be distinguished from patients with personality
disorders through the former's use of transitional objects. The
transitional relatedness of the borderline patient is generally rigid and
maladaptive. By comparison, transitional relatedness, both past and
present, is essentially absent in patients with severe character disorders.
The borderline patient's capacity for transitional relatedness indicates
achievement of a developmental level that has implications for diagnostic
classification and psychotherapeutic strategy.