Caring about someone with borderline personality disorder BPD tosses you on a roller coaster ride from being loved and lauded to abandoned and bashed. Having BPD is no picnic, either.
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You live in unbearable psychic pain most of the time, and in severe cases, on the border between reality and psychosis. Your illness distorts your perceptions, causing antagonistic behavior and making the world a perilous place. The pain and terror of abandonment and feeling unwanted can be so great that suicide feels like a better choice.
If you like drama, excitement, and intensity, enjoy the ride, because things will never be calm. Following a passionate beginning, expect a stormy relationship that includes accusations and anger, jealousy, bullying, Dating a female with borderline personality disorder, and breakups due to the insecurity of the person with BPD.
Nothing is gray or gradual. For people with BPD, things are black and white. They have the quintessential Jekyll and Hyde personality.
They fluctuate dramatically between idealizing and devaluing you and may suddenly and sporadically shift throughout the day. You never know what or whom to expect. They can be vindictive and punish you with words, silence, or other manipulations, which can be very destructive to your self-esteem. What you see is their norm. Their emotions, behavior, and unstable relationships, including work history, reflect a fragile, shame-based self-image.
This is often marked by sudden shifts, sometimes to the extent that they feel nonexistent. For them, trust is always an issue, often leading to distortions of reality and paranoia. They may try to bait you into anger, then falsely accuse you of rejecting them, make you doubt reality and your sanity, or even brainwash you as emotional manipulation. It Dating a female with borderline personality disorder not unusual for them to cut off friends and relatives who they feel have betrayed them.
They react to their profound fears of abandonment with needy and clingy behavior or anger and fury that reflect their own skewed reality and self-image. In a close relationship, they must walk a tightrope to balance the fear of being alone or of being too close.
To do so, they try to control with commands or manipulation, including flattery and seduction. Whereas narcissists enjoy being understood, too much understanding frightens the borderline.
Generally, borderlines are codependent, and find another codependent to merge with and to help them. They seek someone to provide stability and balance their changeable emotions. A codependent or narcissist who acts self-sufficient and controls his or her feelings can provide a perfect match. The person with BPD may appear to be the underdog in the relationship, while his or her partner is the steady, needless and caretaking top dog.
They each exercise control in different ways.
The non-BPD may do it through caretaking. Passion and intense emotions are enlivening to the person without BPD, who finds being alone Dating a female with borderline personality disorder or experiences healthy people as boring.
Codependents already have low self-esteem and poor boundaries, so they placate, accommodate, and apologize when attacked in order to maintain the emotional connection in the relationship. Setting a boundary can sometimes snap them out of their delusional thinking. Calling their bluff also is helpful. Both strategies require that you build his or her self-esteem, learn to be assertive, and derive outside emotional support.
Giving in to them and giving them control does not make them feel more safe, but the opposite. See also my blog on manipulation. BPD affects women more than men and about two percent of the U. BPD usually is diagnosed in young adulthood when there has been a pattern of impulsivity and instability in relationships, self-image, and emotions.
They may use alcohol, food, or drugs or other addiction to try to self-medicate their pain, but it only exacerbates it. Like all personality disorders, BPD exists on a continuum, from mild to severe. To diagnose BPD, at least five of the following symptoms must be enduring and present in a variety of areas:. The cause of BPD is not clearly known, but often there has been neglect, abandonment, or abuse in childhood and possibly genetic factors.
Research has shown brain changes in the ability to regulate emotions. For more, read here and here. Unlike narcissists, who often avoid therapyborderlines usually welcome it; however, before recent treatment innovations, its effectiveness had been questioned. Today, BPD is no longer a life sentence.
Studies have shown that some people recover on their own, some improve with weekly therapy, and some require hospitalization. Long-term treatment is required for maximum results, with symptom relief increasingly improving.
A year study showed substantial remission after 10 years. Most individuals with BPD have another co-occurring diagnosis, such as addiction or depression.
Acute symptoms diminish more readily than temperamental ones, such as anger, loneliness, and emptiness and abandonment or dependency issues. Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and expert on relationships and codependency. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 28 years and coaches internationally.