Life with a borderline personality disorder (BPD) patient is not comfortable for anyone.
As you know, it is difficult for you to bear up the sudden emotional outbreaks and tantrums of the BPD people. 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. Nevertheless, many people devise ways to stay with them and live a normal and happy life. Over time, you develop the ability to tackle the disorder without being inimical to the patient.
Characteristics of borderline personality disorder
It should be noted, severe symptoms of the disorder happen because of an amygdala dysfunction. The amygdala is an almond-shaped set of mental controllers that lie deep in the brain. It sends warning signals of danger when you encounter 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 quite abnormal and unbearable for those living with them.
They are mentally weak persons who continually exhibit super-strong negative emotions. Frightening or painful circumstances make them all the more prone to negativity even to the extent of self-harming.
Some of the major characteristics of BPD are:
- recurring negative feelings on a daily basis
- severe BPDs fail to function normally
- highly prone to drug abuse, rages, self-harming, and violence
- becomes abusive and violent towards those living with them
- strong dissent over not getting something they want
- fear for abandonment, rejection, and loneliness
- depression, anxiety, and strong bouts of anger
Despite the negativity, they do have a strong feeling of love, sympathy, and care for those living with them. Normally, in workplaces, they manage to remain calm and duty bound.
Frequent ups and downs in the relationship cycles wreak havoc on the life both BPD and people living with them.
Effects of living with BPD patients
Living with a BPD person is not easy. It calls for adjustments in your life on every front.
You have to live with constant crises in your relationship with him or her. 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 the moods of your partner can become mentally distressing for you.
Furthermore, BDP may constantly interfere with your work and activities. Their interference takes away your freedom to do work or study that requires focus and attention.
Persons with BPD problems find it hard to get along well with co-workers, teachers, bosses or reporting authorities.
Unfortunately, BPDs are subjected to a variety of health conditions that make them regularly sick and weak. Persons living with them have to be frequently attending to their treatment and health care needs.
Living with individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder can give 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 with others. Similarly, their impulsive behaviors can cause substance abuse, reckless driving, and destruction of properties, shoplifting or violation of public rules.
Wrong Notions on Living with BPD People
Many doubt the possibility of amicably living with BPD people. There are several preconceived misconceptions and doubts about such a relationship.
However, it is possible to share a life with BPD individuals provided we understand and accommodate the special conditions of the patient.
Manipulative and Impulsive Behavior
According to Michael Baugh, LCSW, at Third Wave Behavioral Center of Issaquah, BPD arises from a combination of biological factors and a history of being invalidated. A BPD patient has an inability to regulate emotions. They become highly manipulative and impulsive in behavior.
Baugh says, “Individuals at the emotional end of the spectrum (like 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, an emotional child is compelled continuously by his family to calm down his impulsive behavior. He suppresses his emotions for a period. But he will exhibit strong 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 with BPD do not make any conscious decision to manipulate anyone. The behavior of the patient may appear manipulative as he resorts to extreme behavior to get his needs met. Thus the extreme behavior may get reinforced as the family members quickly respond to such tantrums by fulfilling his demands.
Marginal Efforts to Recover
Unfortunately, most people with BPD do 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 of the BPD patients do not even realize how serious their deficits are. Interestingly, a majority of them are very intelligent, productive and talented enough to make conscious efforts from their side.
Ways to Cope with the symptoms of BPD
Persons with BPD symptoms struggle hard to live a happy normal life. Importantly, you can do a couple of things to relive them from emotional pain. You should try to help them to cope with the symptoms and overcome the disorder.
If you happen to live with a BPD patient, try to learn as much as you can about Borderline Personality Disorder. In all possibility, you can discuss the matter with a licensed mental health professional and learn about managing the symptoms of BPD.
Let us look at some of the possible ways you can help people with BPD.
Be Ready with Safety Plan
Extreme BPD conditions may result in painful emotional breakdown including an attempt to suicide. In such a scenario, you may have to call in mental health emergencies.
You should be ready with safety plans in place before the crisis happens.
Persons with BPD issues may at times fly into a rage and physically assault you and others. If you are living in the United States, you call 911 for help. In addition, you can seek the opinions of a therapist, psychiatrist, social worker or counselor about the ways to handle individuals with BPD.
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 dealing with BPD. Seek the help of a mental health professional for dealing with BPD symptoms.
Give Good Care
Every individual with BPD requires good care, both mental and physical. It is possible to reduce or get rid of emotional pangs and irritable behavioral issues experienced by the patient. A mental health professional can help the patient capable of managing the symptoms of mental disorder.
It is important to eat regular meals with balanced nutrition 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, let the patient find enough time to pursue interesting hobbies and activities that give mental relaxation.
Sadly, BPD patients stay aloof and away from dear and near ones as they have low acceptance from them. But instead, the family members and friends should support the individual with BPD especially when things get difficult.
Bipolar persons 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 condition is the biggest drawback in managing this mental disorder. Both the patient and others living with them should learn everything about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of BPD. This knowledge helps to manage the BPD symptoms and get the best medical support for alleviating the issue.
The Bottom Line
It is quite a terrible thing to have a borderline personality disorder. Most people are not even aware of the details of the BPD problem and the treatments for the same.
Besides the misunderstanding, there’s also stigma from people with whom the patients live. Even some medical professionals categorize individuals with BPD as abnormal people. As a result, the BPD condition of the patient gets worse.
Luckily, borderline personality disorder exists in less than two percent of the population.
Happy living 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.
For Further Reading: Borderline Personality Disorder Relationship | BPD Treatment