8 Important Ways To Love Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

How to help them through their fears.

Someone with borderline personality disorder, taking mask off Africa images, icon0.com | Canva

Many people struggle with learning how to love someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD). The relationships can be volatile, intense, and heated due to the overwhelming feelings of abandonment, jealousy, and insecurity. What is borderline personality disorder and why is it difficult to form a secure and loving relationship with someone who has this personality disorder? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, BPD is "a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships."


The borderline person lacks a sense of object constancy. When their partner is not available, they feel that their partner is no longer there. This causes the borderline person to accuse their partner of things such as cheating, wanting someone else, or not loving them. Often the borderline person can be depicted as having what psychoanalyst John Bowlby describes as an insecure attachment or disorganized attachment, whereby the expectation is that others will not be there for them. Therefore, they fear that they will become abandoned, causing the relationship to feel insecure.

RELATED: 6 Things To Know Before Falling In Love With Someone With PTSD


It is difficult to love someone with borderline personality disorder because the person with BPD will test their partner's love to prove their love for them, but it will never be enough. Reacting to their feelings or avoiding them will confirm how they already feel, where the partner is perceived as abandoning them and does not care. These responses further invalidate the borderline person. So, how does a partner respond when they feel wrongly accused of mistreating them or abandoning them in some way? How do you love somebody with a borderline personality disorder? Loving someone with BPD requires a partner to be attentive and understanding to how they feel, without getting drawn into being responsible for their feelings.

Here are 8 important ways to love someone with borderline personality disorder: 

1. Do not label or judge them

When loving someone with BPD, it is important to see their behavior as a reaction against feeling abandoned. Do not react. Otherwise, you will escalate their reaction.

ways to love someone with borderline personality disorder Pexels / ANTONI SHKRABA production


2. Do not take their reactions personally but listen to what is underneath it

The partner of a borderline must demonstrate that they are there for them. So, listen to how they feel, without necessarily feeling responsible for their feelings.

3. Listen to their feelings, without taking on the blame

Essentially, angry outbursts are purely ways to communicate how they feel deep inside. It is important not to be offended, but to allow their feelings to be felt and expressed so that they can be better understood. You do not need to take on board that you’re to blame, but rather understand how they feel, so you can be attuned.

ways to love someone with borderline personality disorder Pexels / Keira Burton


RELATED: How My Borderline Personality Disorder Makes Dating Difficult

4. Validate how they feel without taking responsibility for their feelings

If you feel responsible for how they feel, then you will get drawn into enabling the destructive behavior to continue. This makes it all the more impossible to love someone with BPD.

5. Let them know you were not coming from a place of rejecting them

To love someone with BPD, it is important to understand and acknowledge their feelings, whilst also demonstrating that your actions were not coming from the place that they see you: "I am sorry you feel so upset that I came home late from work. I couldn’t leave earlier and I had an urgent meeting, so I couldn’t call you." By acknowledging their feelings, you are showing them that you’re not the person that they made you out to be. Instead, you are someone who does care about them and would never abandon them. This will provide them with a corrective emotional response of an attuned partner who understands them and is willing to work through it, without taking on board the projection as the bad guy.

6. Widen the lens in how they see your behavior

By showing them that you are there, you can modify their perception of you as abandoning them, while also getting them to re-examine their response, and assisting them in putting the past behind them and not projecting their past wounds onto the present situation. It assists the borderline person to mentalize and stay present in the moment, rather than seeing things from the perspectives of their past wounds, through discharging those feelings onto the partner who then feels responsible for them. In loving a person with BPD, the partner must separate themselves from feeling blamed for these feelings and not feeling responsible for them, but understand how their partner is feeling, without taking their reactions personally.


7. Raise the unwanted behavior instead of walking on eggshells or placating it

It is also very important to address unwanted behavior without blaming or judging the person. In loving someone borderline, placating unwanted behavior or not addressing their behavior enables it to continue, until it gets out of control and takes over the relationship. Therefore, the borderline person needs a strong person to set realistic limits on unwanted behavior, with healthy boundaries as well as emphatic attunement and understanding. If their partner gives in placating their behaviors and then reacts in the heat of the moment, they further reinstate the triggering wound which causes them to act out. This leaves the borderline person to defend against feelings of worthlessness and abandonment, in ways that can push the partner further away.

8. Help them work through the feelings of abandonment

The person who is borderline needs to stop projecting how they feel onto others and making them responsible for their feelings. They will keep feeling abandoned until they address their feelings and work through them. It is imperative to address these abandonment feelings, so that the borderline person becomes aware of them, understands their triggers, and modulates the feeling. In this way, they can see their partner clearly in the present situation and not project their past wounds on their partner. If the partner of the borderline can assist to help modify the internal working models, by overcoming the perception of abandonment, then the borderline person can form a secure and loving relationship.


If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

RELATED: 10 Supportive Things To Say To Someone Struggling With Their Mental Health

Nancy Carbone is an author, relationship therapist, and psychodynamic therapist. She specializes in the treatment of personality disorders and relational trauma and is accredited as a mental health social worker.