Still, to Paddy, it is worth it. But it is nowhere near as hard as being the one with BPD. My girlfriend is not a burden, her BPD is. For most, it may hold little that feels inspirational.

10 Tips for Dating Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder | LoveToKnow

Hearing someone else share your struggles and negotiate the realities of the illness can be both comforting and illuminating. Borderline Personality Disorder is a chronic and complex mental health disorder marked by instability, and interpersonal relationships are often the stage on which this instability plays out. Barbara Greenberg , a clinical psychologist who treats patients with BPD, explains:. Often, this emptiness and intense fear of abandonment are the result of early childhood trauma and the absence of secure, healthy attachments in the vital formative years.

Paradoxically, the overwhelming fear manifests in behaviors that deeply disrupt the relationship and pushes partners away rather than pulls them closer, resulting in a stormy and tumultuous dynamic that typically emerges in the early days of dating. When they are in relationships they get very intensely involved way too quickly. But then what comes along with it, a couple of weeks later, is: Everything is done with passion, but it goes from being very happy and passionate to very disappointed and rageful.

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.

Passion and Fear in BPD Relationships

To diagnose BPD, at least five of the following symptoms must be enduring and present in a variety of areas:. 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. For more, read here and here. Unlike narcissists, who often avoid therapy , borderlines usually welcome it; however, before recent treatment innovations, its effectiveness had been questioned.

Today, BPD is no longer a life sentence. Studies have shown that some people recover on their own, some improve with weekly therapy, and some require hospitalization. Long-term treatment is required for maximum results, with symptom relief increasingly improving. A year study showed substantial remission after 10 years. Most individuals with BPD have another co-occurring diagnosis, such as addiction or depression. Acute symptoms diminish more readily than temperamental ones, such as anger, loneliness, and emptiness and abandonment or dependency issues.

Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and expert on relationships and codependency. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 28 years and coaches internationally.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Relationships

Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. Retrieved on January 16, , from https: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Oct Published on Psych Central.

Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Find help or get online counseling now. 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. These might include antidepressants, mood-stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications.

If an individual with BPD experience intense symptoms, such as self-injury or physically harming others, they may be in need of inpatient treatment at a hospital or other residential program.

People with BPD benefit from a home environment that is calm and relaxed. All involved family members including a boyfriend or girlfriend should know not to discuss important issues when the individual is in crisis mode. Stop to take a breath yourself when they do become emotionally reactive. People with BPD should have opportunities to talk about their interests and thoughts about the news, family events, and other leisure activities.


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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. When a loved one becomes reactive, they may become to insult you or make unfair accusations.

Finding Peace Amongst the Turmoil

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.


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  5. 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. 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.