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What I Need From Loved Ones as Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

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A lot of people will come across someone who has borderline personality disorder (BPD). These same people are often unsure what to do when it comes to wanting to help someone with BPD if they are struggling or even undiagnosed.

I hate the term “dealing” because saying you are “dealing” with a person with BPD can make it sound like they are a burden, which isn’t the case at all. I think everyone around the person with BPD could practice a few steps of their own without automatically thinking their loved one needs more medication, a hospital visit or a doctor. It’s important to remember that even when a loved one is in therapy, a lot of traumatizing stuff will come up after some sessions. So it’s always good to be considerate of that instead of suggesting a person isn’t helping themselves when in fact they really are trying to.

I wish I could say an average person usually thinks with logic, but this hasn’t always been the case with people I have come across in my life. From time to time, humans will react on emotions regardless of the situation. I think what people with BPD long for is someone who can validate their emotions, regardless of how little or big your judgment may think it is. I know the complex and stubbornness someone with BPD can display in certain situations of hurt. But this is where people can practice certain skills to help calm them down. First, remind them you love them. Then ask them what specific thing has upset them. Listen to them, and do not tell them how they should be feeling/acting. Just sit with them through it and remind them their feelings are valid and you are there to support them.

Following up is essential to reminding the person with BPD that you are here for them. The next day send them a message suggesting to see them and invite them places. When someone with BPD is sick, the last thing they need is to be isolated and discriminated against. Obviously make time for yourself, too. But if you’re out with friends, tell your friend with BPD you want them there and make them feel loved. As soon as you isolate someone with BPD, he or she may start to stress from anxiety and feelings of abandonment. Even if they turn down your offer, keep suggesting small things and just listening to them.

Allowing the person struggling to be themselves. For a person with BPD to really want to improve, they need a positive environment and patience. You cannot rush someone’s recovery, as it can stunt their growth. You are valid to be angry at them if they hurt your feelings, but this is where so many loved ones get it wrong. You have to try to view the behaviors they’re working on as an illness, not a choice.

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Image by Dragon Images

Originally published: October 26, 2016
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