Sunday, January 13, 2013

Coping with a Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) deals with more than just the person with the disorder.  A big part of this disorder has to do with how a person handles relationships. So that means if you love someone with BPD, you most likely experience some challenging behavior patterns. Many people with BPD manage it very well and you would never know they have it, but some people have it more severely. Those people's symptoms are much easier to see.  

Common symptoms of BPD include:

  • Strong fears of real or imagined abandonment
  • Low self esteem
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate or unnecessarily strong emotional responses 
  • Emotional unpredictable
  • Impulsiveness
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships
If someone you love has BPD please understand that much of this disorder is based in fear and insecurity. They are not trying to make your life hard or be difficult. They will often see insult and rejection where there isn't any. Because of this they may respond extremely emotionally. A person with BPD has an exaggerated fear of abandonment. To them this emotional response seems rational because their fear is very real to them. 

Showing some one with BPD empathy and patience can go a long way in calming their fears. Do not respond emotionally to their exaggerated fears or this could make matters worse. Keeping your emotions in check will help. Preparing yourself mentally that they are likely to be emotional can help you respond better in the moment. 

Set boundaries to help protect yourself. (2013) suggests, "You may decide that you will not tolerate your loved one telling you that they hate you, and that if they do that you will need to take a break from communicating with them for a predetermined amount of time. Communicate your expectations about this.It is also important to set good boundaries and not become so involved in your loved one’s struggles that your own health suffers."

So to conclude, be understanding, patient, and calm. This pared with good boundaries should improve your relationship with your loved one. If this isn't enough don't be afraid to get relationship counseling from a professional. 

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