Living With Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

Life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) patients is uncomfortable for anyone.

As you know, it is difficult for you to bear BPD people’s sudden emotional outbreaks and tantrums. They exhibit intense feelings of emotion, anger, desperation, and hopelessness.

In the long run, you may find it very difficult to live with a BPD patient. Even so, many people devise ways to stay with them and live a happy everyday life. Over time, you will develop the ability to tackle the disorder without damaging the patient.

Traits of borderline personality disorder

A dysfunctional amygdala is the cause of the severe symptoms of the disorder. The amygdala is an almond-shaped mental controller set that lies deep in the brain. It sends warning signals of danger when encountering situations that evoke intense feelings.

When the amygdala is hyper-reactive, it sends out false alarms of danger that give rise to chaotic behavior.

Without a doubt, the symptoms of BPD are pretty abnormal and unbearable for those living with them.

Their mental health condition is weak and constantly exhibit super-strong negative emotions. Frightening or painful circumstances make them all the more prone to negativity, even to the extent of self-harm.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) describes the mental traits associated with BPD men and women as “markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

Some of the significant characteristics of BPD are:

  • Recurring negative feelings daily.
  • Severe BPDs fail to function normally.
  • Often feel intense, overwhelming emotions that they cannot control.
  • Highly prone to drug abuse, rage, self-harm, and violence.
  • Severe mood swings and instability.
  • Became hurtful, abusive, and violent towards those living with them.
  • Strong dissent over not getting something they want
  • Fear of abandonment, rejection, and loneliness
  • Depression, anxiety, and intense bouts of anger

Despite the negativity, they strongly feel love, sympathy, and care for those living with them. At workplaces, they manage to remain calm and duty-bound.

The frequent ups and downs in relationship cycles wreak havoc on you while living with your loved one with BPD.

Effects of living with BPD patients

Living with someone with a borderline personality disorder is not easy. If you like to live with them, it calls for adjustments in your life on every front.

You have to live with constant crises in your relationship with them. You are sure to have many arguments and conflicts to the extent of breaking up the relationship with your partner or family member. Sudden swings in your partner’s mood can be mentally distressing for you.

Furthermore, BDP may constantly interfere with your work and activities. Their interference removes your freedom to do work or study that requires focus and attention.

Persons with BPD problems find it difficult to get along well with co-workers, teachers, bosses, or reporting authorities.

Unfortunately, BPDs are subjected to various health conditions that make them regularly sick and weak. People living with them have to attend to their health care needs frequently.

Living or relationship with a BPD woman or man can cause problems arising from addictions. BPDs have a strong tendency to become addicted to smoking, drinking, or drug abuse.

Besides this, they often get into legal trouble. Their outbursts of anger lead to aggression and physical violence against others. Similarly, their impulsive behaviors can cause substance abuse, reckless driving, destruction of properties, shoplifting, or violations of public rules.

Many doubt the possibility of living in harmony with people with BPD. There are several preconceived misconceptions and doubts about such a relationship.

However, sharing a life with BPD individuals is possible, provided we understand and accommodate their particular conditions.

Manipulative and impulsive Behavior

According to Michael Baugh, LCSW, at the Third Wave Behavioral Center of Issaquah, BPD arises from a combination of biological factors and a history of being invalidated. A BPD patient cannot regulate emotions. They become highly manipulative and impulsive in their behavior.

Baugh says, “Individuals at the emotional end of the spectrum (like many people with BPD and many good therapists) are more easily and strongly triggered by events in their environment, and it takes longer for them to return to baseline—but they can learn the skills to manage these intense emotions.”

According to Baugh, a sensitive child is continuously compelled by his family to calm down his impulsive behavior. He suppresses his emotions for a period. But he will exhibit intense emotional outbursts later on when the intensity of his suppressed emotions ramps up. In such a situation, everyone in the family has to deal with emotional outbursts.

Importantly, people diagnosed with BPD do not make any conscious decisions to manipulate anyone. The patient’s behavior may appear manipulative as he resorts to extreme behavior to meet his needs. As a result, family members may reinforce extreme behavior by fulfilling his demands in response to tantrums.

Marginal efforts to recover

Unfortunately, most people with BPD may not try hard to recover from the disorder.

“It isn’t that clients aren’t motivated, but that there is significant emotional, cognitive, and behavioral dysregulation associated with the disorder,” says Joan Wheelis, M.D., director of the Two Brattle Center in Cambridge, Mass.

Most BPD patients do not even realize how severe their deficits are. Most are intelligent, productive, and talented enough to make conscious efforts.

Ways to Cope with the symptoms of BPD

Persons with BPD symptoms struggle to live happy and everyday life. Importantly, you can do some things to relieve them of emotional pain. It would help if you tried to help them cope with the symptoms and overcome the disorder.

If you live with a BPD patient, try learning as much as possible about borderline personality disorder. In all possibilities, you can discuss the matter with a licensed mental health professional and learn about managing the symptoms of BPD.

Let us look at some possible ways you can help people with BPD.

Be ready with a safety plan

Extreme BPD conditions may result in painful emotional breakdowns, including a suicide attempt. In such a scenario, you may have to call for mental health emergency services.

It would help if you had safety plans before a crisis happens.

Persons with BPD often fly into a rage and physically assault you and others. If you live in the United States, you can call 911 for help. In addition, you can seek the opinions of a therapist, psychiatrist, social worker, or counselor about the best ways to handle individuals with BPD.

Seek help

BPD is a severe mental disorder that needs special attention and care. BPD patients should not be left alone to experience the trauma of emotional ups and downs. Fortunately, there are several methods of treatments for BPD. Seek the help of a mental health professional to deal with BPD symptoms. Certain prescription medications for anxiety and depression may also help.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has shown promising results in treating bipolar disorder and BPD.  Mindfulness may be especially effective in changing impulsivity-related symptoms.

Educate yourself on how to manage your dear ones with mental disorders. You can draw inspiration from podcasts, videos, and books on topics ranging from self-care, mindfulness, coping with anxiety, or depression, physical health, and healthy relationships.

Give good care

Every individual with BPD requires appropriate care, both mental and physical. It is possible to reduce or eliminate the emotional pangs and irritable behavioral issues experienced by the patient. A mental health professional can help the patient cope with the symptoms of a mental disorder.

Eating regular meals with balanced nutrition is imperative for good physical and mental health. Also, regular exercise and a minimum of 7 hours of continuous sleep are necessary for good mental health. Also, give the patient enough time to pursue interesting hobbies and activities for mental relaxation.

Give support

Sadly, BPD patients stay aloof and away from their dear and near ones as they have low acceptance from them. But instead, family members and friends should support the individual with BPD, especially when things get complicated.

Bipolar people get relief from mental stress and irritation when they have friends and family members who love and care for them.

Educate yourself about BPD

Lack of awareness about BPD is the biggest drawback to managing this mental disorder. The patient and others living with them should learn everything about BPD’s symptoms, causes, and treatments. This knowledge helps manage BPD symptoms and get the best medical support to alleviate the issue.

The final thought

It is quite a terrible thing to have borderline personality disorder. Most people are not even aware of the details of BPD problems and the treatments for it.

Besides the misunderstanding, there’s also stigma from the people with whom the patients live. Even some medical professionals categorize individuals with BPD as abnormal people. As a result, the patient’s BPD condition gets worse.

Luckily, borderline personality disorder exists in less than 2 percent of the population.

Living in harmony with BPD patients is possible, provided you understand and care for the affected person. With the help and support of you and others, it is possible to cure or reduce the severity of this mental disorder.

Read next: What are the causes of BPD?

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