What to do if you think your partner has borderline personality disorder

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Drawing: Angelique Alzona

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder that affects the way you view yourself and others. People with borderline personality disorder may have difficulty regulating their emotions, coping self-image and experience issues a pattern of unstable relationships. At the heart of the mess is an intense fear of abandonment, what can make romantic relationships particularly difficult. It is estimated 1.6% of the general population has borderline personality disorder, and if you are in a relationship with someone who has—or you might suspect—BPD, it is important to educate yourself about the disorder, for the benefit of your relationship. But don’t rush…

First, you need a diagnosis

You can recognize aspects of borderline personality disorder of their representation in popular media and the benefits of diagnosis have even played publicly via headlines in recent years. Actor Pete Davidson was famous for his voice struggle with BPDand said he worried that his diagnosis would prevent him from having a healthy relationship with his only-time fiancee Ariana Grande. Ultimately, however, putting a name to his experiences was useful to him: “I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder a few years ago,” Davidson later said in an interview published in Variety,and i was still so confused all the time, and i just thought something was wrong and i didn’t know how to deal with it… then when someone finally tells you, the weight of the world feels lifted from your shoulders. You feel so much better”.

Whereas a diagnosis can certainly be helpful to someone with borderline personality disorder, it is important not to attempt to diagnose someone yourself. Dr. Lawrence Tuckera Newport Beach therapist, recommends approaching someone gently, when they are in a stable mood, and suggesting they see a professional –but without mentioning BPD specifically. “Just tell them you’re worried about their behavior because you love them and want them to be happy,” Tucker advises.. “Offer your support every step of the way.

It is crucial to recognize that many people can attach a a lot of of stigma to mental health problems. Some might not yet be willing to admit you have a problem. Everyone’s mental health journey evolves at their own pace, and it is essential to take this into account. The most important thing you can do for your partner is of be patient, and stay aware of the fact it may take them some time be ready to accept help.

When a loved one is ready to ask for help

There is no “cure” for BPD, but the trouble is treatable—llifestyle changes As therapy and socket medications can help relieve symptoms. The road is different for each person, but with the right treatment and support, many people with borderline personality disorder can and do find better ways to function, and their relationships can become more stable and rewarding as a result. Remember that your partner’s decision to look for the treatment will have an impact on you too, and that you have to support their efforts. If you don’t think you can do it, it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship.

A a therapist who specializes in helping people with BPD is essential. most effective therapy for borderline personality disorder is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), so look for a therapist who can support that. (Our guide on how to find a therapist is here.)

Cath, a 24-year-old who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2020, recalls: “I was always emotionally unstable and reacted to things in a much more intense way compared to my counterparts. .. so that’s what made me go out and try to get a diagnosis.” After diagnosis and treatment, things impwandered. I’m extremely self-aware and, on a rational level, I understand that I’m overreacting to things,” Cath said. “I can’t always control the emotional part of my brain. The things that help me cope are [my partner]…or take deep breaths to relieve my anxiety.

Encourage, understand and appreciate your loved one with borderline personality disorder

According to Cath, “The best way to show support is to be understanding and empathetic, and to offer reassurance and validation when [they] expressing a feeling in a certain way, no matter how strange it may seem to a neurotypical person. A person with borderline personality disorder can often feel unappreciated in their relationships. The best way to combat this is to show your partner that you love and appreciate them. in the as they will receive it better.

Rresearch the signs and borderline personality disorder symptoms and be prepared to support your partner however it manifests. A person with borderline personality disorder typically experiences “black and white thinking,” meaning they can think in absolutes…Go of loving you to be mad at yourself at times. However, even when a person with borderline personality disorder expresses that they “hate” you, they are probably also feeling a real fear that you will abandon them.

This imbalance can make connections altogether volatile, so it is important to provide comfort and reassurance to the extent that you are able to. It can be useful, during times of conflict, to remind your partner that you understand that they feel overwhelmed, and that you will not leave them and continue to support them.

Understand it’s not your partner’s default. No one wants to be ruled by their emotions, and it can be difficult to manage symptoms, especially at first. When they experience a ignite, remember they’re not really into it control over their actions. Neuropsychiatric research has found evidence of structural brain abnormalities in people with borderline personality disorder—which means that biological factors influence their behavior. YesYou wouldn’t blame a loved one for having cancer, then you shouldn’t blame a loved one for having a mental illness.

Find a support group

BPD is a permanent condition, but tThe right treatment and support can help people with the condition build more stable and fulfilling relationships. On your side, remember that in order to provide the best support to others, your health matters too. Take care of yourself. There are many support groups for those struggle in relationships with someone who has BPD. To start looking support groups for family membersContact the local of the National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI).

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