Dysfunctional behaviors are conceptualized as maladaptive affective coping attempts in borderline personality disorder (BPD). The recent benefits-and-barriers model extended the affective function assumption by adding self-esteem as a barrier to engaging in dysfunctional behaviors. Patients with BPD (N = 119) carried e-diaries to report their current selfesteem, emotional valence, tense arousal, and whether they engaged in dysfunctional behaviors 12 times a day for 4 days. Dynamic structural equation modeling revealed that on the within-person level, high momentary negative affect predicted dysfunctional behaviors, and on the between-person level, low trait self-esteem predicted dysfunctional behaviors. We also found an association between engaging in dysfunctional behaviors and momentary self-esteem and trait levels of valence and tense arousal. Moreover, our results indicate a deterioration of, rather than relief from, negative affective state after dysfunctional behaviors. These findings highlight the importance of emotion-regulation skills and reestablishing a positive self-view as important treatment targets to reduce dysfunctional behaviors in BPD.