Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
To learn more about the condition, I spoke to Dr. Barbara Greenberg, who treats BPD, Thomas*, a year-old who dates someone with BPD. If you look at your own relationship history, you will probably notice a pattern of dating the same type of men. For men with BPD, this pattern isn't going to be as. Borderline Personality Disorder is a chronic and complex mental health disorder marked by instability.
I must be loved by all the important people in my life at all times or else I am worthless. Nobody cares about me as much as I care about them, so I always lose everyone I care about—despite the desperate things I try to do to stop them from leaving me.
If someone treats me badly, then I become bad. When I am alone, I become nobody and nothing. These thoughts may be completely at odds with your own perception of your partner, but it is imperative to understand that for them, they are very real, and can drive them toward extreme and seemingly irrational behavior.
Navigating through this emotional minefield can be difficult and painful for both of you, but knowing that their thoughts and behaviors are the product of intensely powerful perceptional distortions deeply rooted in their mental health disorder, rather than a reflection of your own shortcomings, can bring some comfort. For Thomas, educating himself about BPD helped him move from self-blame to empathy and compassion: There are a lot of nuances, complexities, and lines to be read through with BPD, but mostly I see Borderline Personality Disorder as an illness about pain, fear, and struggling to cope with all of that.
But the common conception is just [that they are] crazy, which is an extraordinarily damaging misconception to those who suffer from it. For relationships to have a chance of succeeding, this is a critical piece: Call for a Free Confidential Assessment.
In part, this is spurred by the myth that BPD is untreatable, a false but prevalent belief that can too often remove hope. 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.
What You Need to Know When Dating Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder
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: Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Unstable and intense personal relationships, marked by alternating idealization and devaluation. Persistently unstable sense of self.
Dating a borderline male
Risky, potentially self-damaging impulsivity in at least two areas e. Around eight to 10 percent actually commit suicide. Chronic feelings of emptiness. Frequent, intense, inappropriate temper or anger.
Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms. 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. People with BPD should have opportunities to talk about their interests and thoughts about the news, family events, and other leisure activities.
Take the time to laugh at a funny joke or eat dinner together several times a week. The less an individual feels like his or her mental illness is under the spotlight, the more opportunity they have to explore other aspects of themselves.
- Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
How can I communicate effectively during a crisis? When a loved one becomes reactive, they may become to insult you or make unfair accusations. The natural response is to become defensive and to match the level of reactivity. They struggle to gauge what is a minor issue and what is a full blown catastrophe.
They interpret your defensiveness as not being valued. Instead, when they become reactive, take the time to listen without pointing out the flaws in their argument. Try not to take it personally. If the person does point out something you could improve or have done wrong, acknowledge their point, apologize, and suggest a way you can improve on the matter in the future. What if they threaten to hurt themselves? A crisis is escalating if a person with BPD begins to threaten to harm themselves.
Sometimes self-harm signs may be less overt, such as scratching the skin, eating less, coloring or shaving off hair, or isolating from others. Recognizing early signs can help prevent an emotional crisis from becoming more serious or requiring medical or psychiatric attention. Instead, you invite the individual to talk about their emotions and allow yourself to gauge whether professional assistance is necessary. All threats of suicide should be taken seriously.
Even if the behavior is attention-seeking, it can result in seriously harm or even death. This sends the message that they have an enormous amount of power over all arguments. Instead, ask your family member what they would feel most comfortable doing when they threaten injury.