If so, you already know that BPD not only affects those with the diagnosis—it affects everyone who cares about them. People with BPD have difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior and that can take a heavy toll on their partners, family members, and friends. People with borderline personality disorder BPD tend to have major difficulties with relationships, especially with those closest to them.
The wild mood swings, angry outbursts, chronic abandonment fears, and impulsive and irrational behaviors can leave loved ones feeling helpless, abused, and off balance. But you have more power than you think. You can change the relationship by managing your own reactions, establishing firm limits, and improving communication between the two of you.
In fact, patients with the most support and stability at home tend to get better sooner than those whose relationships are more chaotic and insecure. Guide to Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery.
The destructive and hurtful behaviors are a reaction to deep emotional pain. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder is not always easy. BPD is rarely diagnosed on its own, but often in conjunction with co-occurring disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, an eating disorder, or substance abuse.
Your family member or loved one with BPD may be extremely sensitive, so small things can often trigger intense reactions. Once upset, borderline people are often unable to think straight or calm themselves in healthy ways.
They may say hurtful things or act out in dangerous or inappropriate ways. This emotional volatility can cause turmoil in their relationships and stress for family members, partners, Having a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder friends. Many people in a close relationship to someone who suffers from BPD often know that something is very wrong with the behavior of their loved one, but have no idea what it is or if there is even a name for it.
Learning a diagnosis can often come as a source of both relief and hope. If you answer "yes" to most of these questions, your partner or family member might have borderline personality disorder. You may find yourself putting most of your energy into the person with BPD at the expense of your own emotional needs.
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But this is a recipe for resentment, depression, burnout, and even physical illness. Avoid the temptation to isolate.
Make it a priority to stay in touch with family and friends who make you feel good. You need the support of people who will listen to you, make you feel cared for, and offer reality checks when needed. Give yourself permission to have a life outside of your relationship with the person with BPD. Join a support group for BPD family members. Try to avoid this pitfall. Using Your Senses to Alleviate Stress. Learn to manage stress.
Many friends or family members often feel guilty and blame themselves for the destructive behavior of the borderline person. You may question what you did to make the person so angry, think you did something to deserve the abuse, or feel responsible for any failure or relapse in treatment.
The person with BPD is responsible for his or her own actions and behaviors. Communication is a key part of any relationship but communicating with a borderline person can be especially challenging.
People in a close relationship with a borderline adult often liken talking with their loved one to arguing with a small child.
People with BPD have trouble reading body language or understanding the nonverbal content of a conversation. They may say things that are cruel, unfair, or irrational. Their fear of abandonment can cause them to overreact to any perceived slight, no matter how small, and their aggression can result in impulsive fits of rage, verbal abuse, or even violence.
The problem for people with BPD is that the disorder distorts both the messages they hear and those they try to express. Listening to your loved one and acknowledging his or her feelings is one of the best ways to help someone with BPD calm down. When you appreciate how a borderline person hears you and adjust how you communicate with them, you can help diffuse the attacks and rages and build a stronger, closer relationship.
If your loved one is raging, verbally abusive, or making physical threats, now is not the time to talk. Listen actively and be sympathetic. Focus on the emotions, not the words. The feelings of the person with BPD communicate much more than what the words he or she is using.
Listen to the emotion your loved one is trying to communicate without getting bogged down in attempting to reconcile the words being used. Do what you can to make the person with Having a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder feel heard. Try to stay calm, even when the person with BPD is acting out. Avoid getting defensive in the face of accusations and criticisms, no matter how unfair they may be. Defending yourself will only make your loved one angrier.
Walk away if you need to give yourself time and space to cool down. Seek to distract your loved one when emotions rise. Try exercising, sipping hot tea, listening to music, grooming a pet, painting, gardening, or completing household chores. Talk about things other than the disorder. Discussions about light subjects can help to diffuse the conflict between you and may encourage your loved one to discover new interests or resume old hobbies.
If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide Do NOT leave the person alone.
One of the most effective ways to help a loved one with BPD gain control over his or her behavior is to set and enforce healthy limits or Having a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder.
Setting limits can help your loved one better deal with the outside world, where schools, work, and the legal system, for example, all set and enforce strict limits on what is and what is not acceptable behavior. Establishing boundaries in your relationship can replace the chaos and instability of your current situation with an important sense of structure and provide you with more choices about how to react when confronted by negative behavior.
Setting boundaries is not a magic fix for a relationship, though. In fact, things may initially get worse before they get better. The person with BPD fears rejection and is sensitive to any perceived slight.
But remaining firm and standing by your decisions can be empowering to you, beneficial to your loved one, and ultimately transform your relationship. Decide what behavior you will and will not tolerate from your loved one and make those expectations clear.
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Even if this is the case with your loved one, you Having a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder still offer support, improve communication, and set boundaries while continuing to encourage your friend or family member to seek professional treatment.
BPD therapies, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy DBT and schema-focused therapy, can help your loved one work through his or her relationship and trust issues and explore new coping techniques, learning how to calm the emotional storm and self-soothe in healthy ways. This may be easier for your loved one to agree to and may eventually encourage him or her to pursue BDP therapy. Encourage your loved one to explore healthy ways of handling stress and emotions by using sensory-based stimulation, practicing mindfulness, and employing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.
Again, you can participate with your loved one in any of these therapies, which can strengthen the bond between you and may encourage your friend or family member to pursue other avenues of treatment as well. By developing an ability to tolerate distress, your loved one can learn how to press pause when the urge to act out or behave impulsively strikes.
If you're not familiar with...
Change can and does happen but, as with making any changes to the brain, it takes time. Help for Families — Videos, book recommendations, and links to support programs for family members of people with BPD.
What you need to know...
Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center. Family Guidelines — Guidelines on helping a loved one with BPD including setting limits and managing crises. Why BPD relationships are so complicated — Discusses the features of borderline personality disorder that make it difficult to maintain good interpersonal relationships.
Help for Families — 5-step program from author Randi Kreger to help you better manage your relationship with a loved one who has BPD.
Borderline Personality Disorder — A concise overview of what is currently known about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of borderline personality disorder. National Institute of Mental Health.
Anything to Stop the Pain. Treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder — Explore the types of treatments currently used in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. The content of this reprint is for informational purposes only and NOT a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. ORG Trusted guide to mental health Toggle navigation. What you need to know about BPD People with borderline personality disorder BPD tend to have major difficulties with relationships, especially with those closest to them.
Learning all you can Borderline Personlity Disorder: Remember the 3 C's rule Many friends or family members often feel guilty and blame themselves for the destructive behavior of the borderline person.
The 3 C's are: I didn't cause it. I can't cure it.
People who have borderline personality...
I can't control it. Out of the Fog.
When Your Loved One Has...
Calmly reassure the person with BPD when setting limits, by saying something like, "I love you and I want our relationship to work but I can't handle the stress caused by your behavior. I need you to make this change for me. Think of setting boundaries as a process rather than a single event. Instead of hitting your loved one with a long list of boundaries all at once, introduce them gradually, one or two at a time.
Make threats and ultimatums that you can't follow through on. As is human Having a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder, your loved one will inevitably test the limits you set. If you relent and don't enforce the consequences, your loved one will know the boundary is meaningless and the negative behavior will continue.
Ultimatums are a last resort and again, you must be prepared to follow through. No one should have to put up with verbal abuse or physical violence. Just because your loved one's behavior is the result of a personality disorder, it doesn't make the behavior any less real or any less damaging to you or other family members. People who have borderline personality disorder (BPD) are not simply Of course, having a relationship with someone who has feelings that.
Caring about someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) tosses you on a roller Following a passionate beginning, expect a stormy relationship that includes accusations They have the quintessential Jekyll and Hyde personality. Borderline Personality Disorder is a chronic and marked by instability, and interpersonal relationships are often In reality, [they] may have just not been aware whatsoever,” she says.
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