Someone with Borderline Personality loves you — Here are 6 ways to love them back.
If you feel like one moment your partner loves and adores you and the next they’re verbally abusing and abandoning you for no reason, your partner more than likely has borderline personality disorder (BPD). Though it's not an extremely common disorder, it’s found in approximately 3.2 million adults in the United States alone, primarily young women. The disorder is challenging, to say the least, and it makes holding together a stable relationship seem unattainable. But, it’s not impossible!
BPD is an emotional disorder characterized by mood swings and instability. "The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder are varied and complex, but the common thread is that everyday life feels impossible to deal with," reports this BPD article from Clearview Women’s Center, a clinic that specializes in BPD and other emotional disorders. "For people with BPD, it can be difficult to sustain relationships, maintain a healthy self-image and manage anger."
The blog post also identifies a tendency to engage in damaging behaviors, including substance abuse and self-harm. Other symptoms include unstable interpersonal relationships, feelings of hopelessness, rapid changes in mood, issues with abandonment, dissociative or paranoid symptoms, and feelings of emptiness.
With all of those symptoms driving a wedge through your relationship, it’s clear how difficult it can seem for a relationship to thrive. If you love someone with borderline personality disorder, use these tips to help make your relationship work.
1. Rely On Strength and Patience
BPD can possibly be damaging to the patient, as well as, the patient’s partner; this is why it takes a very strong individual to make it work. It may benefit you to seek counseling to improve your emotional strength and practice using the patience necessary to make a relationship successful.
2. Accept Your Role as Emotional Support
Kraft Goin, MD, of the University of Southern California reports, "Borderlines need a person who is a constant, continuing, empathic force in their lives; someone who can listen and handle being the target of intense rage and idealization while concurrently defining limits and boundaries with firmness and candor." It’s up to you as the emotional caretaker to ensure that you keep up a steady routine, set and maintain boundaries, and allow them to face the consequences of their actions. Firm, but unconditional love will steadily improve their condition.
3. Encourage Responsibility
Allowing your loved one to face the consequences of their choices helps them to gain a little more control. It also helps to take the pressure off of you, which you’ll need more than you may realize. If your loved one smashes up a car, it’s not your responsibility to take the blame.
4. Offer Protection
You will need to protect several people in a BPD relationship — yourself, your loved one, family members, or random people — from occasional outbursts. This includes financial, emotional, and physical protection. By placing restrictions on bank accounts and educating other family members (especially children) on the condition, you can save yourself and others from a world of hurt.
5. Understand The Disorder
The absolute best way to deal with a disorder is to understand it. The more you understand the causes, symptoms, and treatments of BPD the more you’ll be able to maintain patience, find strength, and live a semi-normal life with your loved one. Understanding the personality disorder is your guide to handling it.
6. Hang On to The Good Times
Above all, don’t forget the reason that you love your partner in the first place. If you can hang on to the good times and all that they mean for you, your partner, and your relationship, it will make the difficult times significantly easier. Any time you find yourself struggling to find hope, acknowledge the reasons you love your partner, whether verbally or in writing. This could make all the difference in the success of your BPD relationship.