Living With Someone Borderline Personality Disorder

How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosed

What It’s Like to Live With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline personality disorder is a complex condition that doesnt present itself the same way in every person.

Some mental and psychological disorders have similar symptoms, so its vital to see a licensed mental health professional for an assessment and the right diagnosis.

To diagnose, your provider may go through the following:

  • A detailed interview with your doctor, a mental health provider, or both
  • A psychological evaluation
  • Medical history and/or a medical exam
  • Discussing signs and symptoms, including criteria in the hallmark signs of BPD

Most diagnoses are in patients 18 and older. BPD can, however, be diagnosed in younger patients.

If you are experiencing the mentioned signs and symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder, please consult a mental health professional.

People with this condition often experience suicidal thoughts, such as mental images and fantasies about self-harm and plotting suicide. You should contact a suicide hotline number, a close loved one, or a mental health provider to get help.

Suicide prevention resources can be found below.

Support Your Partners Treatment

Thereâs no medication that specifically treats borderline personality disorder. But there are therapies, like dialectical behavior therapy , which is the go-to treatment. âTrying to get them into a DBT program is very helpful,â Lobel says, because it teaches people with BPD healthier ways to respond and interact. Youâll want to find a therapist whoâs has experience working with DBT and with people who have borderline personality disorder.

Let your loved one know DBT can help anyone, not just folks with BPD, because it âhelps people communicate and increase their tolerance for stress

Provide recognition when they make progress. âCompliment and comment on any positive changes and behaviors you notice,â Lobel says.

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Ways to Deal With a Person Who is Borderline: Do not judge their character, but focus on the behavior that you want to address or set limits on. Do not give in to their wants or demands, or rescue. Borderline Personality Disorder is a debilitating mental illness characterized by severe emotional pain, frequently coupled with physical violence. It is estimated that approximately 13% of the American population suffers from some form of this illness. The cause of this disorder is not yet known, although many believe it is rooted in a person. It’s generally only the people who know borderlines intimately who are aware of the extent of their emotional difficulties. Some sociologists believe that we are living in a “borderline culture,”.

This is because individuals with BPD tend to suffer painful feelings of emptiness almost all the time. They desperately seek out others to make them feel whole. This causes anxietyand fearof.

Get instant access to this FULL series on borderline personality disorder :

. Brendan Kelly, Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, told Insider: “Very commonly, people say that a person has traits of borderlinepersonalitydisorder, because there’s a reluctance to make a diagnosis early on, partly because diagnosis does not automatically lead to a very clear treatment and treatment varies.”.

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Recognizing Red Flags Of Bpd

If you think that someone you love might have borderline personality disorder, and they are expressing suicidal thoughts and feelings, this should not be taken lightly. Seek professional help immediately. If your friend or loved one is exhibiting any suicidal warning signs, contact a mental health professional, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK . Or , or take them to the nearest emergency room. If the person is acting and not willing to accept treatment, call the police, your local hospital emergency department or 911 if you feel that they are in danger. Also take precautions to consider your own personal safety. It is important not to put yourself in harms way, experts say.

How Bpd Affects Your Relationships If You Have It

How to Live with Someone with #Borderline Personality Disorder #Living ...

The most common BPD behaviors and symptoms could be detrimental to any relationship. If you have been diagnosed with the condition, you likely know this already. People with BPD are more likely to have many romantic relationships, which are often short-lived.

This could be because you purposefully broke off the relationship for fear your partner might do it first. It could also be because your partner wasnt comfortable facing so much difficulty.

Its important to know that you can have a healthy relationship despite your personality disorder. Treatment, along with a strong support network, can help you find stability in your emotional state and in your relationships.

Treatment wont cure BPD, but these options can help you learn to cope with the symptoms and react in ways that arent as harmful to you or your partner.

treatment for bpd

The most common treatments for BPD include:

  • Therapy.Dialectical behavioral therapy is commonly used with people who have BPD. A therapist will help you learn to respond to emotional situations with reason and proper judgment. This will reduce the dichotomous thinking that so many people with BPD have.
  • Medication. There is no medication that can treat BPD, but antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, and antipsychotics may help treat some of the symptoms.
  • Hospitalization. If you begin showing signs of self-harm or suicidal ideation, a doctor may hospitalize you for observation and intensive therapy.

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What Risks And Complications Can Bpd Cause


It is common for people who live with BPD to self-harm. Some people find self-harming can help them to deal with painful feelings. But it can cause serious injury, scars, infections, or accidental death. A big focus of BPD treatment is to find other ways to deal with painful emotions.

You can find more information about Self-harm by clicking here.


People who live with BPD are more at risk of suicide or of attempting suicide. Most people who live with BPD who feel suicidal will feel more positive within a few hours. So it is important to use techniques to try and distract from the strong suicidal feelings.

You can find more information about Suicidal thoughts by clicking here.

Drugs and alcohol

People who live with BPD may:

  • behave impulsively,
  • misuse prescription medication, or
  • take illegal drugs.

You are more likely to die by suicide if you are also using alcohol. So If you are feeling suicidal you can help keep yourself safer by making sure that you dont use alcohol.

You may be at an increased risk of becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs if you have BPD.

If you drink a lot of alcohol or use drugs, you may find it difficult to get treatment for BPD. But NICE guidelines state that you should be referred to a service that can help with your substance use. And you should be able to continue with BPD treatment where appropriate.

You can find more about Drugs, alcohol and mental health by clicking here.

Impulsive behaviours

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Asking questions and providing information to your doctor or health care provider can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website for tips at

More information about finding a health care provider or treatment for mental disorders is available on our Help for Mental Illness webpage, available at .

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Dont Ignore Threats Of Suicide Or Self

Threats of suicide or self-harm are common amongst people with BPD and many people see these threats as attention-seeking and manipulative, particularly if their loved one has yet to follow through. However, actual suicide and self-harm are also common amongst people with BPD and threats should never be ignored. About 10% of those living with BPD die by suicide and, contrary to popular belief, 80% of people who plan to attempt suicide signal their intentions to others, including by talking about it.

If your loved one is threatening to take their own life or hurt themselves, dont argue with them. Dont accuse them of being manipulative or just wanting attention. Instead, recognize that they are in deep pain and express your concern while maintaining your boundaries. Call their doctor, 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and stay with them until they are in the care of a professional. While it is never your fault if a loved one attempts suicide or self-harms, it is vitally important to do what you can to keep them safe.

Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis

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Because young people with BPD may project symptoms that seem similar to other personality disorders, it is often confused with bipolar, depression, or anxiety disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health offers this description:

Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with BPD may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last from only a few hours to days.

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Signs That Bpd Splitting Is Sabotaging Your Relationship

Borderline splitting occurs when the person disowns their feelings so they do not get in touch with them. Therapy assists the borderline to deal with their feelings, instead of blaming their partner for their past wounds.

The borderlines partner can feel blamed for being the problem. Often, whatever they say can be taken the wrong way, so they either give up or defend. In this way, the BPD splitting destroys the relationship.

When their partner attempts to explain how they are taking them in the wrong way, the splitting person becomes more defensive, causing their partner to blame them in return.

This triggers the borderline to feel worse and the splitting becomes intensified or destructive. In this way, the person that is splitting believes that their partner is at fault because of what they are feeling.

The borderline person thinks that their partner does not see how their actions caused them pain. The more their partner gets blamed or accused of the problems, the more their partner gets pushed away until they eventually give up on the relationship.

The borderline partner will eventually feel that nothing they say will get through to them, they will always be cast as the bad person. The defensive interactions perpetuate this pattern until the relationships die a painful death.

Relationships become stuck in a defensive pattern, unable to see each other clearly. BPD splitting destroys relationships in this way.

How Does Bpd Affect Your Life

If you have borderline personality disorder, you may often experience intense emotions that you have trouble controlling.

Think of the angriest rage or the most intense adoration you ever felt. People with BPD can feel overwhelmed by strong emotions.

Not only are the emotions difficult to handle, but they can influence the way you act, which may later regret. This can leave you feeling emotionally hurt and deeply affect your self-esteem.

A lack of self-control is what typically defines BPD and can seriously damage your personal relationships.

Others may avoid you or say they cant be around you because of the things you do that they deem inappropriate or hurtful. People with BPD often fear abandonment or being alone.

Here are some common thoughts and behaviors of people with BPD:

  • black-and-white thinking, called splitting, where you think people or situations are either good or bad with no in-between
  • thinking that friends or partners will leave you, so you must reject them first
  • getting very frustrated with others
  • changing jobs, goals, plans, and hobbies often
  • quitting before failing

If youre living with BPD, there are certain challenges you may be experiencing frequently. Here are some possible issues and how you might work through them.

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I Dont Have Multiple Personalities

Due to it being a personality disorder, BPD is often confused with someone having dissociative identity disorder, where people develop multiple personalities.

But this isnt the case at all. People with BPD dont have more than one personality. BPD is a personality disorder in which you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result of this.

That doesnt mean that dissociative identity disorder should be stigmatized, either, but it certainly shouldnt be confused with another disorder.

Why Can Dating Someone With Bpd Be Difficult

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Dating someone with borderline personality disorder can bring a unique set of stressors making typical relational issues feel more tumultuous. People living with BPD usually have a long history of unhealthy traits, emotional instability, and patterns of conflictive interpersonal relationships you might be their favorite person for awhile, but then they may drop you when they fear youll abandon them.

When a person has BPD, they often feel emotions more intensely, are easily triggered, have abandonment issues, a frail sense of self, and react impulsively and unpredictably. These mental health issues can take a toll on you, your partner, and the relationship.1,2,3,4

Being in a romantic relationship with someone with BPD may often feel like youre walking on eggshells- not knowing what to say or do because anything could potentially set your partner off. Even when things are going well, you are left to wonder, when is the next shoe going to drop? and whether your BPD partner might end the relationship in a fit of rage.

Subsequently, feelings of guilt, self-blame, and shame could surface because you may feel responsible for your partners drastic mood swings and erratic behaviors. These emotions are certainly reasonable when you are in a BPD relationship. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to better manage your emotions and reactions as well as improve how you relate with your loved one while building a fulfilling relationship.2,5

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Learn About The Illness

Borderline personality disorder can be a confusing diagnosis, and there are many misconceptions about what people with BPD experience. Educating yourself about the condition, its symptoms, and prognosis can help you gain a clearer understanding of what your loved one is going through. You can read about the illness online from reliable sources such as the National Institute on Mental Health or the National Alliance on Mental Illness , or you can contact a mental health care professional directly for a more personal conversation. Demystifying borderline personality disorder can help you cut through the confusion, more deeply appreciate your loved ones struggle, and feel better equipped to support them through their healing journey.

Managing A Romantic Relationship

In addition to couples therapy, there are therapies that have been shown to be effective for a person with BPD, in terms of helping with relationships:

  • Dialectal behavior therapy : DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that relates a person’s thinking to their behavior. There are four main skills taught in DBT, one of which is managing interpersonal skills.
  • Mentalization-based therapy : MBT is a therapy that focuses on helping someone make sense of what is going on in their mind and the minds of others.
  • Medications: There are currently no medications specifically approved to treat BPD, but doctors may prescribe medication to help improve certain symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Research suggests that some medications can help a person manage their anger, impulsivity, and depression. On that note, though, it’s important to carefully weigh the side effects of a medication with its potential benefit.

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Setting Healthy Boundaries With A Borderline Loved One

One of the most effective ways to help a loved one with BPD gain control over their behavior is to set and enforce healthy limits or boundaries. Setting limits can help your loved one better handle the demands of the outside world, where schools, work, and the legal system, for example, all set and enforce strict limits on what constitutes acceptable behavior.

Establishing boundaries in your relationship can replace the chaos and instability of your current situation with an important sense of structure and provide you with more choices about how to react when confronted by negative behavior. When both parties honor the boundaries, youll be able to build a sense of trust and respect between you, which are key ingredients for any meaningful relationship.

Setting boundaries is not a magic fix for a relationship, though. In fact, things may initially get worse before they get better. The person with BPD fears rejection and is sensitive to any perceived slight. This means that if youve never set boundaries in your relationship before, your loved one is likely to react badly when you start. If you back down in the face of your loved ones rage or abuse, youll only be reinforcing their negative behavior and the cycle will continue. But, remaining firm and standing by your decisions can be empowering to you, benefit your loved one, and ultimately transform your relationship.

How To Set And Reinforce Healthy Boundaries

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD and Anxiety

Talk to your loved one about boundaries at a time when youre both calm, not in the heat of an argument. Decide what behavior you will and will not tolerate from the person and make those expectations clear. For example, you may tell your loved one, If you cant talk to me without screaming abuse at me, I will walk out.

  • Calmly reassure the person with BPD when setting limits. Say something like, I love you and I want our relationship to work, but I cant handle the stress caused by your behavior. I need you to make this change for me.
  • Make sure everyone in the family agrees on the boundariesand how to enforce the consequences if theyre ignored.
  • Think of setting boundaries as a process rather than a single event. Instead of hitting your loved one with a long list of boundaries all at once, introduce them gradually, one or two at a time.


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