Living with someone with borderline personality disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) not only affects the person who has it, but also the people living with them. People with BPD have difficulty regulating their emotions and behaviour and that can cause a lot of problems for those around them. Fortunately, living with someone with borderline personality disorder means you can help them (and yourself) by setting healthy boundaries, improving communication, and by stabilizing the relationship. This way it’s easier for someone with BPD to regulate their emotions and behaviour, and to create a healthy and strong relationship. By applying the tips and tricks on this page living with someone with borderline personality disorder becomes much easier and less tiring. It’s important to practice a lot with your partner and to allow the other to make mistakes, because both practicing and making mistakes are important in a relationship.
- What is borderline personality disorder?
- What causes Borderline personality disorder?
- How is borderline diagnosed?
- Borderline personality disorder treatment.
- Borderline personality disorder self-test.
- Coping with borderline personality disorder.
- Interesting borderline personality disorder facts.
- Online counseling for Borderline personality disorder.
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At Barends Psychology Practice we offer (online) therapy for borderline personality disorder. Contact us to schedule a first, free of charge, online session. (Depending on your health insurance, treatment may be reimbursed).
Living with someone with borderline personality disorder – setting healthy boundaries.
In school, on the road, at work or in public spaces there are rules and guidelines. These rules and guidelines help us to behave in a certain way. This prevents people from getting confused, fuzzy, angry or upset. These rules and guidelines are healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries are also extremely important when it comes to living with someone with borderline personality disorder, because they make behaviour and expectations predictable within the relationship. At the same time these healthy boundaries in a relationship reduce the chance that people with BPD feel confused, annoyed, angry, upset or sad.
For example: if one of your boundaries is: “no contact during working hours”, then it will be easier for someone with BPD to accept that you won’t pick up the phone if he or she calls you. If you don’t have this healthy boundary, then someone with BPD may start to worry that you don’t want to pick up the phone if he/she calls you, whereas you may be in a meeting at that time.
Although setting boundaries can be quite challenging, in the end they will help build a sense of trust and respect between the two of you.
Setting healthy boundaries can be challenging because people with BPD may interpret setting boundaries as a sign of rejection (which is something they fear the most). A possible response may be that the one with BPD reacts out of proportion to the newly set boundaries (with rage, anger or abuse). By giving in (to keep the peace) you reinforce negative behaviour and you’ll find yourself in a downward spiral. Therefore it’s important to stick to the new healthy boundaries and respond the way you agreed upon. Here are a few steps to help you:
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An example for a consequence could be: ¨If one of us continues to use ultimatums or continues to be verbally abusive, the other person should call in a time-out of a week in with absolute radio silence¨. In this example you can see that negative behaviour needs to continue for a while (you can set a limit of course) after which the consequence will be enforced.
Living with someone with borderline personality disorder – improving communication.
Communication is important in every relationship. Communication with someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD), however, is the most important ingredient for a successful relationship. People with BPD have difficulty reading non-verbal signs and have problems regulating their emotions. This means that you need to be very clear about your intentions, thoughts, and emotions, and try to leave as little room as possible for their own interpretation of events. Below are a few tips and tricks that will improve your communication with someone with borderline personality disorder. For more general communication tips, please go to: communication in relationships.
Living with someone with borderline personality disorder means you have to be aware of the way you communicate, the things you do to calm down your partner and to focus on the good things in the relationship. It’s a constant effort that will pay off in the end. Patience and persistence is key to make a relationship with someonewith BPD successful.
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Living with someone with borderline personality disorder – putting things in perspective.
Living with someone with borderline personality disorder can’t be compared to living with someone without any mental disorder. As mentioned in the pages on this website dedicated to borderline personality disorder (BPD), people with BPD have a fear of (potential) abandonment/rejection and experience difficulty regulating their emotions. Therefore, I recommend you to put the relationship in perspective. Can you expect the same from someone with BPD as from someone without? Is it reasonable to assume that your BPD partner understands your motives and behaviour as well as others do? These are just a few questions that may help you to put your relationship with someone with BPD in perspective. Here are a few things you need to take into consideration:
A better strategy would be to stay neutral and to highlight possible explanations, arguments And how his/her feelings/emotions may affect his/her judgment. This way someone with BPD will not feel rejected by you. At the same time your partner with BPD will get more insight in the way his/her feelings and emotions could affect her judgment regarding the situation.
Living with someone with borderline personality disorder isn’t like any other relationship. These relationships require more attention and effort than the average relationship. On the other hand, a relationship with someone with BPD can be very rewarding and a lot of fun, if you apply the above mentioned steps. In case you have questions regarding certain points, please contact us.