feelings switch

How to communicate with someone with BPD


I received an email last week asking me if I could help with some suggestions for someone who wanted help on communicating with a friend who has BPD. I am still working on a detailed response and as such this post will be updated as I add more of my thoughts on this matter, but I felt I already had enough to say on the subject to make a post out of it as well as respond to the email.

I also hope that in reading this some of my fellow BP’s will comment with their own ideas and suggestions about what helps when trying to communicate with someone who has BPD.

Any way here goes…

*Please bear in mind these thoughts and suggestions are only based on my own experience and what I think helps for me, they may not work for others as everyone is unique, BPD or not!*

Listen without interrupting even if you have a valid point, if they need to let it out first let them, they may not be able to if you don’t and will then clam up and refuse point blank to discuss.

Validate their feelings, but don’t say things like ‘I know how you are feeling’ this will instantly trigger a ‘how the fuck could you know’ thought process. I hate when people use the word ‘know’ because for me everything said after that word immediately becomes ‘blah, blah, blah’ because my head is screaming ‘how the fuck could you ‘know’ anything?’ maybe saying ‘I can ‘see’’ or ‘I can ‘hear’ that you are feeling some bad things right now… ‘ or some other way of replacing it with something that indicates you recognise but at the same time shows you don’t really know but would like to, would be better.

Take them seriously.

Don’t raise your voice in an argument even if they are screaming and shouting at you, regardless of how angry you are, raising your voice will make them feel you are patronizing and treating them like a child – even if they are behaving like one, this won’t help.  Tone is taken a lot harshly to someone with BPD.

If they ask you to do something reasonable do it – for example I recently asked someone to block me on facebook as I kept sending them messages and they wouldn’t so it continued and it wasn’t good for me to be sending them messages, I still felt like crap when they did block me, but at the same time I was relieved because I no longer had to fight the temptation to bombard them with messages.

If the same argument keeps coming up over and again consider if you have actually made any effort to change things or have just expected them to change. For me this recently led to a big blowout because my OH wanted me to explain why I was upset and I just lost it because I said ‘what’s the point, it’s the same thing again’ I gave up but resentment and anger just boiled because I had tried to be more flexible and less pressurizing on the issue but got zero effort to meet me in the middle from my partner trying to give a bit more knowing how much it meant to me.  As with any relationship even without BPD in the mix compromise and meeting in the middle are often required in relationships, and it is so much harder for a BP to change than it is for non-BP’s so if we are making a effort to meet you in the middle you need to double your effort to meet us there because it is so much harder for us to even try to do this!

The BP will try to push you away out of fear of abandonment causing her to ‘strike first’ before you can do it to her. Trying to negotiate a compromise will be difficult but if you really feel you were never going to abandon her then just do your best to make it easier for her to cope with this difficult time – you are probably hurting too but if you can be friendly about things she may come around or you may be able to salvage something if you can just hold on to the strength she lacks.

For me the eyes have it – I can see your hurt, anger, disgust even if your voice is telling me something different and I will either ignore it burying the feelings it creates to explode another time or let rip calling you a liar as you say you love me when your eyes are filled with hatred, or you say I’m not here to upset you when your eyes are smiling that I am upset that you are there.

There is some literature about BPD that say you should never counter-defend, argue back or argue your point at all and while I agree that doing so only provokes further BPD responses at the same time I don’t think anyone should allow themselves to be a doormat to BPD and just take it all without arguing back because then the BPD wins and this will always be used against you too – yet another no-win, argue back inflame things at the time, don’t argue back, make things worse in the long run as the BPD will again build up resentment of you being a weak, coward who can be controlled and manipulated. You just need to be careful ‘how’ you argue back, doing it as gently and as without ‘blame’ as you can and taking in all the other suggestions here too.

You think you are dealing with a rational, sensible adult who can give and take, share and understand, her empathy will be great but her ability to withstand any hint of criticism or demonstration of belief in her (good things and bad things) will trigger all kinds of abandonment fears. in other words praise can be as bad as criticism as she may feel that in ‘doing’ well you will no longer be there for her as she no longer ‘needs’ you in your eyes.

At the end of the day BPD is shit and any situation will always be a no-win situation for both parties in some respect. All you can do is do your best not to inflame the situation with knowingly wrong responses – and yes some people once they are aware of wrong responses will then deliberately use these to cause hurt and pain if they have lost all love for the BP or do not respect them, parents are often the worst for this as they feel to ‘blame’ for the child’s condition and want to shift blame back to the BP.

Loved ones should work closely with the BP so that you can both better understand when the BP is talking for you. Read books on BPD together, encourage the BP to be as open as they are comfortable with about their feelings, without being pushy – they may need some time to process ‘why’ they are upset before they can explain it to you, so even if you can see they are upset but they say ‘I’m fine’ just remind them that when/if they are ready you will listen.

Never, ever start a sentence with “we need to talk…”. My most dreaded phrase. The terror!

Communicate carefully because it is fraught with danger!

Be prepared for what ever you say to be misunderstood, twisted and interpreted in a different way to what it was meant, either accidentally or deliberately to suit the bp’s emotions at the time.

Don’t always just be a listener or just be a problem solver, try to get a balance between the two and judge when the BP just wants to let off steam – in which case they need a listener, or if they need help in which case they need the problem solver. I know this is difficult but the BP may not always be able to tell you which she needs, you have to guess (problematic in itself I know!) by what she says and how she says it.

Try to put your own feelings aside temporarily to focus on the BP’s feelings because as bad as yours may be imagine them ten times stronger and not having the strength to handle them.

If the communication is happening in the middle of an “episode”, dont take what the person with BPD says personally. A lot of time attacks will be made, but more than likely the terrible things that are said arent meant.

If the communication is not face to face also remember never respond to a message immediately if you are angry – wait till you have calmed down or you will say the wrong things, but be careful not to delay responding too long – if you can’t say anything nice then a polite ‘I’m sorry I really can’t reply right now, I will get back to you when I can’ will let the other person know you will come back – but make sure you don’t use this to fob them off and not come back with a reply at all, the BP’s ability to trust is weak enough already.

Use the same rules of thumb that apply in all communication – be polite, listen, pay attention, don’t presume you know what they are saying, don’t finish their sentences, avoid going on the offensive, repeat back to clarify, stick to the topic, don’t change subjects, check and double check. Keep your communication pure and simple.  Do not contaminate it with sarcasm, witticisms, or put downs.  When you do that, people stop listening to what you say and get flooded with emotions and thoughts regarding how you are treating them.think about body language and facial expressions – these communicate more than words, as do tone and other non-verbal means of communication.

183 comments on “How to communicate with someone with BPD

    • Hello Ive been in a relationship with a beautiful woman whome i adore for three years she was diagnosed with PTSD 1.5 years ago and I am starting to think that PTSD/BPD are very close or at least an attractant to each other,everything you said in this post she does to the letter fact,evrything you said they will say she has said.
      What you wrote here does help my understanding allot and even though you admit that allot of times there going to be no way to help and me the non will lost,I think you for your insight,I just hope that the no wins dont out pase the progress,and all trust is lost,I am trying ,harder than I have for anything in my life ,I have not given up and dont plan to,perhaps one day she will understand at least from me,my love is not attached to a plan or pain just open l;ove which i offer freely.She is a woman that I adore,and is my Angel Eyes.
      Cameron 44

      • Thanks for sharing Cameron, I have referred to my personal opinion that BPD is a form of PTSD in previous posts, because most commonly BPD comes about as a result of traumatic experiences… So I can see how a lot of similarities in behaviour can be drawn between the two. Good luck, I hope you and your Angel Eyes manage to come through the difficult times :)

    • One thing I dont understand,a BPD knows what frustrates her/him and wants to be listened to and needs the freedom to ask for their needs and wants the respect to get what they need,can they not at the very least give me the respect to understand i would not be there if I did not want her for the rest of my life,can I not get at least the respect that sais I also know what i want?I know the limitations, and I’m willing to do the work,the door to everything I am is and has never been closed to her,I guess I’m hoping on hope,just tell me that given the hell we have both been through,given my not understanding and given her misunderstand my intent,we still cant go 4-5 days without her coming back and just wanting to be held(she wont let me come to her) I did that once big mistake,but hey tell me people do make it,and if they don’t….you know what just lie to me ok,

      • We don’t always know what frustrates us, more often we feel frustrated but cannot put our finger on the cause until it is too late :/ I think people can make it and I have heard stories of couples that do so I would not give up all hope, it is possible. However, for there to be any chance of things working the BPD has to want and be willing to get help to learn to manage living with BPD, if they can’t/won’t get help and/or don’t want to get better then things are not likely to turn out good :(

      • Thank you showard76,I am hurting and I’m lost here,however I cannot thank you enough for the strength and absolute WILL of inner strength you infuse with everything you write given a man that loves so deeply and has been fighting for 3 + years to get any real loyalty in favor from my Angel Eyes,I SALUTE you! you are an amazing woman and as far as I am concerned you have the trust of the nation!
        Your ability to set aside that alarm in your mind to run and to look for a weakness or other non genuine motive in the hearts pouring out all over you every day is a feat not done by many,woman or man.
        I think you are increadible,and even though my Angel Eyes has ran away again,I still feel it a need within me to not only keep loving her,but admire and love you for what you do.
        Thank You,Cameron E

      • Thank you so much for your kind words :) I just try my best to give my honest opinion based on my own experiences, I may not be right and openly admit that I may get things wrong because everyone is different so I cannot speak for others only myself, but I am glad that what I say helps people to see things they may not otherwise see and helps them in some small way :) Sharon

      • In my opinion, nobody diagnosed with BPD or who suspects they may have it, should be in any kind of romantic relationship until AFTER they have received some treatment (a few months worth) and learned new coping/management skills which they are actively using every single day.

        Unfortunately, many people suffering from the disorder have a history of bouncing from person to person (part of the maladaptive coping mechanism/identity-issue symptom) and on the rare occasion that they bounce to a decent person, someone who is looking for and offering a healthy, loving relationship (as opposed to someone who will add to the damage, which many are magnetically attracted to), it seems very common that the “norms” of a healthy relationship, which include a willing desire to communicate and a natural empathy and caring toward what your loved one is feeling, actually ignite the symptoms of BPD even further to the point of the original (emotionally) healthy person risking psychological trauma. Even more tragic is the reality that the more these suffers fight to attain real intimacy with a healthy partner, the more they fear that person hurting them and the more difficult it becomes for them to sustain any healthy parts of the relationship. Basically, the disorder will win (by sabotaging the relationship) if they do not know how to combat the symptoms.

        In what Cameron wrote, there is a lot of logic and rational thinking. “I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t care.” However, symptoms of BPD do not allow for logical and rational thinking. That’s why DBT is available, to help them find a way to steer emotional (often fear-based, protective) thinking into something less destructive and less black or white. Additionally, any healthy individual not only expects respect and consideration from their partner, but they should demand it – or the relationship is not healthy. BPD’s cannot offer that on a regular basis due to their impulses, fluctuating moods, black and white thinking and their pattern of fixating attention on specific people at random time to “prove they are worthy” (of love, friendship, etc.). Loving someone who suffers with this horrible disorder will very often leave you feeling confused and hurt and wondering how someone who sometimes seems so incredibly loving can suddenly appear to not care about you at all. Your concerns and your pain will feel like they are meaningless to them. (This is not true in most cases but accepting that they caused the pain is often another triggering event so many will avoid accepting responsibility). That type of psychological weight and conflict is the same type of invalidation that can cause BPD! Of course, many with BPD are undiagnosed and most who know something is wrong (and would be diagnosed with BPD) hide it and fake their way through the relationship until cracks appear in the mask – then they often abandon the person who, by that time, might very well love them, in an effort to avoid the abandonment that they have convinced themselves is coming anyway.

        In my opinion Cameron, the best thing you could do for someone whom you suspect has BPD is to love them but create a boundary that prevents you from being emotionally/romantically involved with them until after they have completed a bit of therapy. I don’t say this because someone with BPD doesn’t deserve a loving partner; quite the opposite actually. I say this because by adding intimacy and romance to the relationship, you are essentially adding wood to an already-burning trauma-fueled fire that is always secretly burning inside of them. Getting too close to them can actually be counter-productive because the level of intimacy and love is an abandonment trigger to every single one of them. Curiously, if you look at how many BPD’s have engaged in and, more importantly, SUSTAINED unhealthy/abusive relationships, you’ll find data that clearly suggests that the disorder and a lack of love/interest in them as a whole, actually makes them feel more comfortable/safe. That’s sad, yes. But as I said, too much is too intense for someone who hasn’t been shown the tools and techniques to manage their fears and emotions.

        Now, if we’re sticking with reality, if they are the type who chain-date or always have someone for “comfort”, there’s a good chance that you’d be subjecting yourself to a friendzone/supportive role while they run off and have relations with other people – including people who might hurt them or treat them poorly. That too carries a heavy psychological toll on someone who cares for a suffer.

        People CAN and DO recover from BPD. They can, as the DBT motto goes, “create a life worth living”. But it takes time and an enormous amount of strength and courage on their part. Personally, I think the best way to love them, initially, is to be supportive and understanding while maintaining a well-defined role in their life. But as I said, when you add romance and intimacy, the odds of people becoming hurt skyrockets and the internet is filled with stories of failed relationship attempts (which are typically authored by hurt, angry people who don’t understand the disorder and who seem to foolishly believe that suffers purposely hurt people).

        I cannot think of anything worse than loving someone while helplessly watching them sabotage a relationship where you continue to try and offer them love, understanding and acceptance. Actually wait, I can think of something worse: watching them silently regret it for the rest of their lives; catching them driving past your house, following you on Facebook, asking friends about you, randomly showing up at places you used to frequent, but being too ashamed to approach you directly because they actually believe you are better off without them in your life.

        If you care about them, don’t take the chance by becoming romantic. Stick with friendship and love them like that. Hopefully they’ll reach a place where a romantic relationship has a real chance.

      • Thanks for such a detailed insight Magick, I think you have made some great points! I agree a BPD shouldn’t be in any kind of relationship if they are not getting help to manage their condition. Personally even though I am much better than I was, I intend to stay clear of the pressures of a relationship for a while yet as I don’t want to risk it knocking me back!

        I can particularly relate to this line – ‘a lack of love/interest in them as a whole, actually makes them feel more comfortable/safe.’ I have found since ending my last relationship that I am much more comfortable with people who have this attitude to me, I became very attached to one person who was like this especially and because he was like this when he moved on I didn’t get the usual ‘abandonment’ trigger that I would have had if he had shown more interest in me, we had 7 wonderful months of ‘non-relationship’ I wish all my relationships could be like that was because while I miss him (another unusual thing for me) I can handle it! He demonstrated high levels of apathy towards all aspects of life, including me, and for someone as overly emotional as I am being BPD that apathy was so grounding and helped my recovery after the previous relationship so much!

        And this bit made me cry ‘Actually wait, I can think of something worse: watching them silently regret it for the rest of their lives; catching them driving past your house, following you on Facebook, asking friends about you, randomly showing up at places you used to frequent, but being too ashamed to approach you directly because they actually believe you are better off without them in your life.’ because that too sounds so much like me, everyone who is ‘out of my life’ now I do believe with all my heart are better off without me (and in a few cases I am better off without them) but I would be too scared, ashamed and embarrassed to ever try to approach them in the future… although as yet there are none I regret but I could see myself in that position easily… :(

      • This thread is like a bible to me. So full of wonderful insightful comments. I read Magicks comments and yet another sad penny dropped that the more loving and caring I am to my partner the harder it is for her.
        I’m running out of ideas. I’m non BP but I have abandonment issues and every time she is triggered she says she is leaving me. I managed to get this under control in my mind that she doesn’t mean it and remain constant with my message that I’m going nowhere. But so bewildering and fluctuating is her behaviour added to the fact I’m not made of stone, that I became more and more upset by her threats (who wouldn’t but even more so someone who has a fear of rejection themselves) and found myself not knowing if she meant it coz she doesn’t wanna be with me or coz she feels I’ll be better off without her.
        My heads mashed!!
        If I show no visible stain from her threatening to leave she thinks I don’t care.
        If I do show emotional strain she feels bad and thinks I’ll be better off without her.
        All roads lead to her leaving me- whatever the reason- which I’m not sure of coz her messages are so distorted.
        If I get on with my life whilst she shuts me out in her mind I’ll meet someone else.
        Anything I do or say is seen as an attack. If I go out with other people she gets threatened by it. I’m financially better off than she is and my life has been a breeze compared to hers. She won’t meet anyone from my life for fear of them judging her. She won’t let me into her house for fear of me judging her. We hardly see each other as she has such huge anxiety issues. She thinks she’s not good enough for me.
        No matter how much I tell her I love her and show her support and understanding, she still finds a negative in all I do or say. I know this is coz she’s viewing life thru the distorted lens that she got as a child from an unloving mother and abusive father which led her to a life of abusive relationships and negative messages.
        I am her first female relationship and I thought that would help but it actually makes it worse. I act as a mirror and a trigger for all her insecurities. She resents me and sees everything about me as a poor reflection on her life. I trigger her just by being me.
        She thinks I’d be better off without her even though I utterly adore her and think she’s wondeful. And I’m beginning to think, after reading Magick comments, that she’d be better off without me coz my loving her is seeming to cause more pain than comfort.
        I feel lost in the most tragic situation. And the most tragic thing of all is that when we are together and she’s not triggered we get on so well. We can even laugh about her ways. She’s aware of them when she’s being logical but more often than not she’s emotionally distressed- triggered by so many things and more often than not, by me just being me.
        I’ve mentioned BPD at times but she just sees this as a criticism and shuns any therapy- partly because of her financial
        Situation.
        She’s currently doing a degree to secure a better future and I keep thinking maybe if we can get to her graduating and getting a job and her being on a more even keel financially , that might help. But sometimes just me mentioning her getting a job – coz I’m taking a healthy interest in her goal- she sees it as me saying she’s not good enough coz she hasn’t got a job or money and that triggers off her saying ‘you go and find someone more suited to you who has money etc’
        The truth is I couldn’t care if she lived in a shoebox! I love her whatever. But I know her condition means she doesn’t see it like that.
        I’m lost. Can’t win. And can’t seem to get to a place where we can talk about ways to manage the situation coz those are seen as me criticising her and saying that I’m not happy and that leads to more talk of ‘you’d be better off without me’
        Everything is a trigger which triggers another trigger and so on.
        It’s like watching an emotional pin ball machine in total overdrive.
        To try and get to a place where we can talk about remedies and solutions seems impossible coz of all that those talks themself trigger.
        I’m lost.

      • Hi Merh,

        So sorry to hear about your situation. Reading your comment and what you are going through I keep coming back to the same thought, ending this is the only thing you can do for both of you, it sounds like you would both be better off without each other because there is just so much triggering activity in your lives together. I’ve said this many times and will keep saying it because I think it is important, sometimes love alone is not enough and sometimes if you love someone that much the best thing you can do is set them free, let them go, if they come back (and you want them to, and things have changed – i.e help is being sought to manage the emotions) they are yours, if they don’t they never were… :/ Sharon

      • Thanks for your reply Sharon
        As I’m sure you can imagine this is not what I want to hear or admit because I just thought I’d been reunited with someone from my past that I love dearly and just want to, quite simply, share my life with. Unfortunately there are so many aspects of my life, (which by comparison and by her acknowledgement is more privileged than hers) which trigger off all the injustices she has suffered in her life.
        I am a mirror to her and what is reflected back seems to cause her so much pain. And this in turn causes me pain. Knowing the person I love is in pain by my presence when I’m not doing anything other than being me.
        It’s so cruel and unfair. I feel so upset and angry and resentful towards all the people who have made such a kind beautiful person think that she is so undeserving of love and happiness.
        I have my own issues too. I can’t bear that I won’t be with her coz I know how happy we could be. And my ego can’t bear that someone else could succeed where I failed. And yes, I know that’s selfish to think like they but I’m being honest.
        I can’t bear the thought of going through my life knowing that I can’t be with the only person I have ever truly wanted to be with.
        But I know neither of us can go through our lives with this amount of conflict and trauma.
        When things are good and communication is open I can’t concieve that we won’t get through it and make it to a more settled place together.
        But when it’s trigger time, I barely even know what day it is, so bewildering are the twists and turns that come from her skewed perceptions.
        I read that BPD is contagious in that the non BP starts thinking in those distorted ways- if they themselves do not have strong boundaries. I think this has happened to a degree with me. There are times when I don’t know what to believe.
        But I know what a healthy relationship entails and I know this isn’t one and I’ve been clinging to the hope that one day it will transform into one.
        I know if I leave she will never come back to me. Twice I have walked away, before I had even any knowledge of BPD, thinkin it might jolt her into seeing reason, and because I couldn’t handle or understand the push pull thing.
        I didn’t realise the damage that would cause as I didn’t understand the profound fear of rejection. Yes it did jolt her into pleading with me to return, but when I did that sense of longing for me was replaced with a resentment of me for leaving her, no consistent understanding that I too was acting out of fear- just saw it as me doing something to her- and it shattered any trust she had in me. And though I’ve worker hard at trying to rebuild it and ‘take it on the chin’ as you suggested in one of my earlier posts, things don’t really seem to be moving on.
        But I don’t want to be the one who leaves coz I know this will close the door for good. Can you suggest how I let things go for now but leave the door open?
        The other day she said she was leaving me for my own good. I didn’t want her to coz I love her and I was so terribly upset. But part of me wanted to say ‘ok, but I’ll be here if you change your mind’ but I was scared in case that was seen as me not caring.
        Not sure how to let her go without it appearing that I want her to if you see what I mean.

      • Ohh yes, I can understand fully, no-one ever want’s to hear that ‘giving-up’ is the best option but I don’t see it as giving up more doing what is right, healthiest and best for both parties survival… Yes, strong boundaries are very important but the BPD needs to be willing to get external help as well, it is not something a couple can overcome by sheer will and love, support is needed, for both parties, if there is to be any chance. As Magick has also said, a BPD should not try to maintain any kind of relationship unless they have been having therapy for some time and are in much better control of themselves… I wouldn’t say BPD is contagious but whenever people are in high stress/emotion relationships behaviours can rub off and influence the other person’s behaviour. I don’t know if there is a way to end it with the ‘door open’ because as you know her abandonment issues will be triggered by you leaving and then you will be split black so she will likely slam any open door in your face, I guess the best you can do in that position is tell her that the door is open, maybe try being friends if she will allow it but expect the worst. Maybe you could send a gentle reminder that the door is open for ‘friendship’ a short while after the split and at regular (but not too frequent) intervals, it may work, it may not, but at least you will know you have tried? :) And maybe if while you are still trying to decide how/when/if to end it she say’s she is leaving you again then go with what you wanted to say but make sure to add at the end that you still love her but you want her to be happy and if she thinks leaving you is what is best then you are willing to give it a try for her…? Hope this helps?

      • Sharon
        It helps massively. Just being able to off load to someone who understands.
        I’ve read so much on BPD and feel I have a great understanding of it but my friends and family don’t – to the point that very few know we got back together last year after we broke up, because they just cannot comprehend the condition and just see it as someone being ‘mental’ or ‘weird’ or ‘high maintenance’. Yeah I know they’re only concerned about me but their lack of understanding, and anyone elses, upsets me. It’s just ignorance coz its not something that affects them. I guess coz it affects me and coz it even more so affects and afflicts someone I love I have a greater understanding.
        Both sadly and thankfully, that understanding is leading me more to the conclusion that us not being together is the healthiest option.

        Not so easy when I have my own issues- I display a lot of co dependency/rescuer tendencies. And I’m a big old soppy romantic who believes love will conquer all and we’ll all live happily ever after. not always the case though is it?

        Your time and advice has been greatly appreciated. Thankyou.

      • Hi Sharon
        My head is that mashed I’m not sure if I’ve responded to you to say thanks for your reply.
        Yes it helped – sadly to reach the outcome I was trying to avoid.
        I’ve had to step away because I just couldn’t handle it and I know me being there was causing her accumulatively more upset than me not.
        I’m so sad and angry and confused and feel a mixture of so many emotions.
        I feel bad for letting her down but I honestly and truly believe staying would have caused us more harm than good.
        I was aware me being in her life was causing her distress and me not being in her life will cause her distress. Can’t win!
        And the same is true for me. I want to be with her so much, but the emotional trauma caused by us being together was too harmful and abusive to bear.
        We’re both lovely kind people but being together brought out the worst in each other.
        That’s a sad thing to admit but it did.
        I displayed my worst, a raging temper. I knew it was there but it was stronger than I realised and more frequent than ever before. It was like a volcano that had lain dormant for years.
        And I believe for everything a reason, so maybe we were together to unearth the worst parts of us so we can heal them.
        I don’t know. Coz there was a lot of good too and my mind and heart were opened up more than ever before.
        I’m going to miss her so much and I’m going to spend the rest of my days thinking ‘what if’ and lamenting the missed chance we had to be together. Like we had when we were 17.
        But we’re just not emotionally compatible.
        I showed her this blog thinkin it would make her see how much I cared and loved her and tried to understand.
        But instead it made her angry that i’d ‘betrayed her confidence’ and labelled her.
        That’s the way she sees it and I respect that c
        But I know I came on here for advice coz I was at a loss what to do.
        Anyway what’s done is done. My door will always be open and maybe one day we will get to a place emotionally where we can be together. And if not I’ll forever lament the loss of the love of my life.
        If only she knew that or/and if only I could have found a way to cope with the roller coaster.
        Thanks for sharing your insights Sharon.
        Take care.

      • Hi, sorry to hear things ended that way, but I’m sure it will be for the best in the long run, now you can begin your healing journey. Even though it will be hard for a while eventually you will feel a lot better for having let go. it’s a shame she felt that way about you showing her the blog, I can understand why she did but at the same time it would’ve been nice if she could see that it meant you were still trying to find a way to make things work. Best wishes and good luck to you moving forward from here :)

      • @showard76 i’ve been dating the most gorgeous, intelligent girl i have ever met for around 2 years and over time it has become more clear that she suffers from bpd. she has never been to a psychologist to discuss the feelings she has (she’s definitely indicated many of the major bpd feelings – ‘i feel empty’, ‘i feel numb’, ‘i have no friends’, ‘i feel worthless’, ‘i wish i was invisible’, ‘i hate you, i love you’) and 2 out of the past 3 times i’ve brought up talking to a psychologist (haven’t proposed bpd yet) she got upset and tried to push me out of her life. should i ask her if she thinks she may have bpd and show her a few pieces about it?

        i’m totally stuck as to what to do – it seems that if i’m the one to tell her she may have bpd she’ll throw me out of her life, but she is unlikely to feel better about herself without treatment. what can i do? i have read stop walking on eggshells, the essential family guide to bpd, and am reading borderline and the buddha – they have helped me understand what she goes through and figure out ways to not escalate touchy situations but still leave me at an impasse about presenting bpd to her as a potential reason for why her feelings are so tumultuous. i can see myself growing old with her and do everything to be there for her and she will often find reasons to shut EVERYONE out of her life. it seems so painful and it hurts me so much to see her suffering too.

      • Difficult one, suggesting to someone that they may have BPD is very risky, and if she reacted badly to the suggestion of a psychologist I suspect her reaction to this suggestion may be even stronger! Some of us want nothing more than someone to tell us what they think is wrong with us, if ‘we’ think there is something wrong ourselves. But if we are in denial then suggestions that something is wrong are likely to only be met with anger and pushing away :( It is so difficult to find that middle ground, I guess if you have some books you could just leave them lying around or be ‘reading’ one when you see her, if she likes reading she may be tempted to have a look and it may be a way to point her in the right direction without actually having said anything? But in the long run she will have to want to get better and be willing to put in the work to do so! Best Wishes

      • hi there…..my husband and I have been together over 23 years ! I was diagnosed, rightly so, with BPD in August, its now February. I’m amazed at how textbook BPD I am. He is trying so hard to understand BPD. We’ve had some whopper arguments. Reading this outloud to him really helped. Cameron, hang in there. I know I’ve given Kevin a helluva hard time, more than prob most guys would’ve put up with. But he loves me unconditionally & tells me he wont leave me. I just wanted to say that there are some of us that do make it and I’m, altho high-functioning, VERY BPD. When I was diagnosed & he realized I had a “real” problem, everything was completely turned around.

    • Great article and one of the best I have seen. I have been recently diagnosed and I have to admit although am certain I do have this, I was not to happy to hear some of the things that were said about BPD behavior. First of all, my diagnoses came because most people do not function as well as I do. I have learned on my own to develop a comfort zone and stay within it. I have to admit though, now that I am aware then I am more then willing to take a step back and reevaluate my behavior. The only way a person should have to continue acting like a bpd would be someone who didn’t understand her condition. My dr gave me the “tough love” and I could handle it quite well. There is no reason to tip toe around someone who is aware that they have this disorder. We are in control of our own thoughts and have control over this. A person such as myself with this disorder must take responsibility of their own actions, choices and behaviors. Until now I look back and know I made bad choices out of lack of understanding. I know now that i have intense emotions but will not lash out and will my best to prove to other people suffering that we can be “normal” functioning and no one has to see we have this disorder! yes it takes strength and I thank god everyday that I have this strength! I would like to raise the ball as we can overcome this disorder and for those who think a person is not in control is wrong. a person with this disorder has 100% control and the ability to make the change. Weather or not they have the strength is where my sympathy comes in and I hope that you can find that I sure did :)

      • Thanks Cheryl,
        Indeed, a bit of support while a person learns to understand and control their condition is good but tip-toeing around forever is no good for anyone! My diagnosis also came late due to how my lifestyle had been ‘contained’ for many years. I hope Quiet sees your response to her comment :)

  1. thank you i too have bpd and your answers fit me completely, if possible could i please print this out, you seem to have thought it all out well, i just cant explain to people in the way you can so it would help me a lot, adele

    • Hi Adele, thank you, yes please feel free to print and distribute or share how ever you need/want, the reason I write is to help others understand better what BPD is like, the more people it reaches the better :) Sharon x

  2. This is wonderful, right on. Id also like to add, that for me, if the communication is happening in the middle of an “episode”, dont take what the person with BPD says personally. A lot of time attacks will be made, but more than likely the terrible things that are said arent meant, and for myself anyway I feel terrible about it later.

  3. my step daughter has bpd and i have been on the recieving end of some serious violant attacks but i never stopped believing in her or stopped loving her.this started in jan 2009 and resulted in many prison sentences for her although i attended every court appearence and maintained she was not a criminal but ill.
    since feb 2010 she is in a mental health hospital diagnosed with bpd but the fight still goes on with the authorities who seem to think they have full control over her and she has no rights.

    the best advice i can give is communication not confrontation,just keep your belief
    mike

  4. One thing I’d add is that it’s probably best to expect that the relationship with a BPD sufferer won’t last a long time. Be thankful for the time you do have getting to know the person. One day, one week, one moment at a time. Don’t cling. I made the mistake of thinking the young person we cared about would always be around. I’ve learned now but I wish I would have been less “intense” from the beginning as regards my expectations.

    I think that for those with BP it’s very much a one day at a time thing, and remembering that is true will keep the pressure off the person with BPD, letting them know you aren’t “pushing” her or him to “perform” in any particular way.

    With that in mind, I think it’s helpful to communicate in a way that let’s your BP friend or family member knows you care for them in this moment, not demanding of them more than this moment. Don’t remind them about the past or ask commitments about the future. Just be in the “now.”

    For me personally that was the hardest lesson to learn because I am very loyal and have had many life-long relationships among family members and friends. The BP young person that we cared about is no longer in contact with us. That needs to be “okay.” I need to be able to let them go while at the same time keeping the door wide open if they ever desire to reconnect.

    From the non-BP side I think this means having some good old fashioned boundaries in place for every relationship. Why? Unless you’re a therapist, you won’t know if the person we are getting to know has BPD (or any other invisible disability) or not until we know them really well. Just keep it friendly and pay attention to all the other things Sharon has said. She is very wise.

    • Thanks Bob, yes I agree lowing expectations is probably also a very good thing, as is living in the ‘now’. While I love to make plans for the ‘future’ at the same time I always feel there is no future for me and therefore I live for the moment, taking each day as it comes – the future, hopes and dreams are all just ‘maybe’s’.

      • Well, Sharon, your future, at least in regard to helping people through your blog, looks bright to me. Perhaps the feeling that there is no future for you is “the BPD talking.” Thank you again for your work. It’s priceless.

  5. wow, thank you so much for writing this, Sharon. To say that it is a relief to have these things put into words is an understatement. In my recovery process, I am exactly at the point of intensely trying to figure out how to present myself in relationship — all kinds of relationship. It’s easy with my fellow recovery friends, but with people outside those circles, I think they need an instruction manual — one that is helpful enough, but doesn’t send them running either. It’s really hard, but articles like this are making great strides. It’s really difficult for me to accept that people feel they have to hold back or concentrate on strong boundaries with me; that hurts, but I know that it’s true. I have to practice it myself to accept the possibility of abandonment in every moment. That delicate balance of presence and detachment is so very difficult. I acknowledge the wrestling match that goes on in me and in others. Huwaaaah.

      • Thanks to you and the other posters. I can’t get enough of stuff written by those who have bpd, there are always more specifics and makes it easier to put myself in the persons shoes I am talking to. My step daughter has bpd and has a 21 month old son. She is not taking to being a mother at all but I am trying to communicate as best I can with her. Thanks to all your experiences (she won’t admit she’s bpd nor do I mention it to her) I can at least visualize whats happening in her mind before I open my big mouth,

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  13. All I can say is WOW. Your article hit home with me and made me cry. Thank you so much for helping others understand BPD. I have growing compassion for people who suffer from this disorder. There is alot to take from it to in helping deal with people in general. It makes perfect sense. I recently met a beautiful young woman who has a heart of gold and is so kind to others. She works as a nurse and is an amazing woman. I fell deeply in love with her and when I met her she had plans to move to another state. I came up with a plan to keep her around 2 more months so we could spend more quality time together and we both decided we were going to commit to each other over the long distance. We were in love. I helped her move and financially supported her move. I started having some emotions of my own regarding some of her behaviors within the last week before she moved. She roughly accussed me of not emotionally being there for her during the 2 weeks before her move and then after, although I helped her pack, put stuff in storage, took her on trips, paid for everything, fianacially supported her, paid to have her truck repaired, rented the u-haul, loaded the trailer, drove 16hrs to another state with her, paid for gas and helped her move in. During the weeks before her move I was away on a job and she told me she would need me, but when I would call her, she would remain mostly silent on the phone even when I prompted her to talk and asked how she was and she would mostly reply “Fine”. I thought it was so odd and simply took it as she was upset, so I kept asking and she would give me 1 word “conversation ending” answers. I was so confused and eventually started getting a little mad because I was trying, sitting in silence with her and she wasn’t seeing it or responding to it. As time went on she would kind of hang it over my head about how I wasn’t emotionally there for her and I would tell her that I was, she just didn’t seem to take advantage of it and take my prompts or express herself. After time, my tone changed a little bit, because I was always apologizing eventhough I was there for her more than any of her friends or family. I think she expected me to deal with her perfectly, but anything I did or said did not seem to help at all…actually, only make things worse. That was November. Since then I have been down there multiple times and although we have had a couple breakthroughs, the relationship continues to deteriorate and I have been begging for months for her to forgive me for things I have said when we fight and any other single thing that I have done to hurt her. She comes across very victimized and has a way of demonizing me. We had a big argument and I called her a bad name and I cried and took responsibility and showed much regret and have spent sooooo much time trying to repair what damage was done by that, but she has not seemed to recover. She kind of forgave me, but would continuously throw in little digs and say things that were hurtful and to remind me. We did get back to a better place over valentines day, but only after a big blow out and her having a 2 hour conversation with my Mom who is a behavioral specialist. Things were good for a week and then I travelled abroad for 2 weeks and little things started coming back up. Upon my return, I didn’t take a phone call from her to welcome me back, because i left my phone on the plane and since I called her back an hour later, she got very upset. I tried to explain about customs, baggage claim, a 22hour round the world trip and jet lag from a 12 hour time difference and she didn’t really care. I gave her an opportunity to tell me what she wanted to tell me when she first called, but she got passive aggressive with me. It seems to be all or nothing…very black and white thinking…and a lot of projection and transference. The relationship is about over. She “is not with me” anymore and seems to just have anger and hatred towards me and can not find a way to be nice or even have a normal conversation. My therapist proposed BPD to me a couple days ago and it is starting to make more sense. I plan on stepping back and letting things cool down enough that maybe she can have a calm conversation about what we want to do with the belongings that we have of each others and some money that she owes me. I can tell you that I thought I was going to marry this woman and I told her that and what was the most amazing relationship has seemingly left us both with broken hearts. I have been in therapy since 2001 just to work on my stuff, but PDs are something tough. I do not see how this relationship could work unless she went in to therapy, but I am the victimizer and I don’t think that she would want to. I almost had her going to couples therapy, but there was no follow through on her part and she just kept being angry with me. I wanted to be with her more than anything, but I don’t think it would be healthy for me until maybe she went to therapy and realized some of the ways she sabotages her success on her own. I plan on using all of your advice for any future interactions, but I am curious for your advice about my situation. She has been nothing but inflexible and mean to me, so I don’t know how I could even really help. Maybe in time? I appreciate your time and advice in advance!!! Blessings

    • It would seem she is doing a lot of black and white thinking, splitting and putting you in the devalued place for perceived injustices against her. Unfortunately when she is in this ‘victim’ role there is not a lot you can do, by helping her in any way you take on the role of ‘rescuer’ which just gives her further ammunition and if you fail to help she places you in the role of ‘persecutor’ and the same occurs (This is the ‘Drama Triangle, your therapist will be able to explain it in more detail). Like you say unless she is willing to get help (therapy) for her issues it will just continue to be a battle. Giving her time and space is good, and you do need to have the conversations about the things between you at some point (sooner rather than later I think)but be prepared for this to be volatile if she remains in this state. I wish I could give you more positive advice, but the ball is in her court, you can’t fix her and if she doesn’t want to get help for herself you would be better off backing away, but the best thing you can do there is leave it open for her (if that is what you want) for her to contact you should she want your support in getting help (Don’t tell her should ‘should’ go into therapy, but maybe just refer to how having therapy helps you without making it sound like you are suggesting it to her – if she thinks you are telling her to get therapy she will probably blow up again, because until she realises for herself that she needs and wants to get help any such suggestions will be met with rage and ‘blaming you’) Good luck. I hope you manage to recover from the damage this relationship has caused you.

  14. Thanks for your thoughtful reply!
    Yes, I agree. The first thing I noticed about her was her black and white thinking. Also how amazing she is in helping everyone, but not so amazing, especially in communication, with her own stuff. I honestly don’t think she can even see her own stuff or how it sabotages something that was so beautiful and sincere. She has a great grasp on what should happen and how a couple should be, but holds me to levels of perfection and behavior all the while not quite adhering to the same standards. I am finding she can not really take responsibility for her own behavior, but of course, is very technical and critical of mine. She projects so well that everything she accusses me of, I think the same of her. It’s odd. Overall, I hurt her more and first, but I was also accussed first of doing something “not being there for her” when I clearly was. That was confusing. Also when I asked her what exactly “being there for her” really meant, she couldn’t quite define it, but said to be the same way she was with me when I had a couple emotional episodes related to her moving and how private she is with her friends and family. I do know that when I was going through my stuff, that I helped her help me and let stuff go, but she doesn’t help me and will not let stuff go. I still scratch my head, because she really NEVER came to me with any direct feelings, she just kinda internalized them and then somehow blamed me. She definitely threw the first zinger with that and I have only been trying to understand since. It’s been tough, because I was the most amazing man she had ever met and in my heart, I know she means it. I guess the BDP is like an “Inner Mafia” as my sister calls it and ends up controlling her. Im so broken hearted, I love her a lot and really was routing for her and us.I know she is special and its a shame to think this couldn’t work, but I have to be loving to myself too regardless of the pain and loss. I don’t plan on giving up in a sense, but I have to change my priorities and focus, because she is not helping us. She claims she has done everything she possibly could and gave herself to me on a silver platter and in many ways she did, but she doesn’t seem to have the awareness that most normal relationships have highs and lows and a lot to overcome and can’t be based on just one “honey moon” part of the relationship.
    Drama triangle…yes, I am aware of it. She recently directly told me that the harder I try, the further she is from me, which is a crazy thought, but I understand that it gives her ammunition.
    Believe me, in the 2 hours she spent on the phone with my Mom, there was a world of change in her and I know that she would respond so well in therapy if she wanted to go and I wish her that peace and self collection more than our relationship working.
    Yes, this is where I am at, giving her space. She has said that maybe in a couple months that we can talk. Maybe she is more aware of her behavior than I think she is? Not sure…
    I am backing away, because there is no other option and I will always leave the door open to her, because I care. I know it won’t be easy, but obviously no one has ever really been able to see her BDP and hasn’t offered any help. We talked about therapy so I know its a possibility, but as you know, it takes follow through for there to be any gains. I know I can’t fix her and Im am surely a fixer and problem solver and that’s what’s made this all the more difficult.
    I am learning too. She has been the best reflection of me and the bravest woman to be able to help me see my own stuff, which I am mostly aware of because of all the years of therapy. My heart goes out to anyone that has BDP, because it seems so extreme and very confusing. This world is confusing enough, let alone having to combat yourself in the process.
    You are so blessed to at least be conscious of it. I will send you strength and love for taking the time to help me. Blessings!

    • I’m glad to be able to help. Indeed living with BPD is very confusing, as a general rule I am not the kind of person who changes her mind about things, but when it comes to relationship stuff the BPD makes me very fickle and indecisive, not fun! :/

      • I am sure it is hard to manage. Have you ever been able to recover from a relationship fight and forgive someone and try to move on? Or do people with BPD usually just move on and find other associations? I am only asking, because it seems like she wants to keep me on the line, but anything else is very vague. I am getting mixed signals. I have to say that I know her love for me was real…at least I hope it was. We have been in a relationship for 7 months, but the last 3 have been rocky. She did seem to recover once and things were great for a couple weeks, but then they started sliding again. Just curious…I guess it won’t change what is going on right now anyway.
        Thanks again.

      • I have recovered from fights and moved on, but then I have only really had two proper relationships – one of 16 years and one of 3 years. I think moving on by finding other associations is more common for us and giving mixed signals too, as I have done both since ending my latest relationship.

  15. tough to read this because my partner has BPD and I have some fairly serious PTSD and agoraphobia AND we co-parent a teenager with Autism. So, sometimes I just need him to suck it up and try harder but then I’m supposed to keep the pressure off but guess what- pressure’s ON and I can’t do it alone. Surely there’s some room somewhere for him to be accountable for the damage he causes, to be responsible for making repairs and stepping up to responsibility as well. I don’t believe for a second that it’s harder for him than for me.

    • I agree L, indeed it must be just as hard for you, my tips above don’t cover every situation and where both partner’s have their own conditions things are much more complicated, managing to gain a fair balance of responsibility whilst allowing for each person’s difficulties is so hard. I know you can’t do it alone and need him to be there for you too, I hope he can suck it up and do that!
      And as the parent of an autistic child myself I know what you mean about the pressure being on, in many ways while I was married with my husband who had a brain tumour and raising my autistic son and daughter with a heart condition it was like I was on hold, a pressure cooker waiting to let off steam, the BPD building up so once the family life issues were not so strong I cracked and spiralled into crisis, after 16 years putting myself last and caring for everyone else it was my turn to need looking after, only there was no-one there to do it for me.

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  17. Hello, I wonder if you can help me, my best friend has bpd, she only told me about it a year ago, and that’s when we became close. I’ve gone to counselling sessions with her, read books on bpd and do all I can to help her. She feels as if she’s a burdon on me tho, and always says that if it ever gets too much for me, she will disappear from my life in a flash. Obviously I dont want this at all, I just wanna help her, but this past week she’s become very distant, she’s not making any effort, which is uncommon, has cancelled plans twice this week with me, which is also strange, I’ve told her she’s been distant and asked her if there’s anything I’ve done wrong, but she either ignores what I say or says I’m being silly, I just want her to let me in, anything you could suggest, I will be more than grateful.

    • It’s a difficult one, because it may be that there is something else going on, not BPD, that is behind this change in her behaviour or she could be feeling smothered and has started to fear abandonment as a result of how close the two of you have become (see http://showard76.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/abandonment-and-the-borderline-personality/ for how these fears may be affecting her). She could just simply be low and needs a bit of space. I guess the best thing would be to not push too hard, keep in touch but if she insists there is nothing wrong don’t push it, just monitor the situation and see if you can pick up any other clues. If after a couple of weeks there seems to be no improvement or it is getting worse then try asking her again if everything is okay and say that you feel things are not the same as they were and could she help you figure out what has changed? I hope things improve, I’m sorry I don’t have any more advice to offer :(

      • Thankyou for your reply, it turns out i have said something to upset her, which I didn’t mean in the way she took it, I’ve said sorry to her, but some of the things she’s said have really hurt me, like she doesn’t know how she feels about me and that she doesnt know where my loyalties lay, it’s very difficult, I’m finding this friendship so hard, but the last thing I want to do is lose her, I said I want things to go back to how they were and she agreed but I also want her to know how much I’m hurting, I just don’t know how.

      • As they say it can be like ‘walking on eggshells’ negotiating a friendship/relationship with someone with BPD as we can be on a hair-trigger emotionally, but as you say at times we can’t see how much the other person may be hurting too (not seeing this is a clue to how badly in crisis your BPD friend is, because when we are well we pick up on such things easily). I think at the moment her BPD crisis levels are very high which is why she is so difficult to cope with and communicate with. Despite this I think that telling her straight is the best thing, just beware ‘how’ you explain it, avoid making it sound like her fault (even though it is) and avoid saying things like ‘you make me feel’ (even though she does) try to keep it detached a little by explaining something like ‘I am feeling very hurt because I value our friendship and want to be able to be there for you when you need me, but I need someone to be there for me when I need it too’. I hope this helps :)

  18. To be honest I just feel angry after reading this. I was with a woman with all the BPD characteristics who began out as oddly controlling and needy and ended up verbally emotionally and finally physically abusive and stalking and a major user. She scared my young son deeply and had since sought out my friends and used her convincing manipulative projection of her behaviour to turn one that I know of against me. She latched onto them and seems will lie about me by describing her abuse as mine, to keep them. She would deny her violence to me and my son in the face of blatant evidence ie broken furniture, police following her while she was trailing my son and me in a taxi as we tried to escape her. She escalated in abuse the more I pulled away, and oddly cited her reasons for doing this as her needing more space and me crowding her.

    The experience was traumatic, expensive ( as we had to run to a hotel to escape her perpetual abuse and then relocate when she refused to let me off the lease. While chaining the gates shut so I couldn’t get my stuff out) and scary. My son is still scared of her, and I ams till healing from the damage.

    This post sounds like it is expecting people in my position to be beyond the ” perfect ” partner. You cannot truly suggest I stand there and accept another adult yelling at and abusing me in front of a child, ( who is scared) and just let that go as thenBPD person letting off steam. It really ends up as the abuse cycle. And that’s no good.

    The advice to try to put your feelings aside and focus on the BPs feelings is not a one off experience, it’s constant, and in my experience only deepens the further it goes. That paves the way for abuse. It just is one sided. No family can revolve around one member just because that person destroys everyone’s lives if it doesn’t. That’s just bullying.

    Maybe things are different if the BP person gets help. And is willing to work o. Themselves. I know I have, so what’s the deal? BP person throws shit on people and says oh you made me do it with your less than perfect responses to my abuse?

    I’d like to know your response to this.

    • Sorry to hear what you have been through.

      Indeed, I would in no way expect you to put up with such behaviour and put your child through it, the suggestions in this post are really only any use if the person with BPD is one who wants to (and is working towards) recover, one who is getting help. A BPD who is not aware/will not accept their condition, will not get help or uses BPD as an excuse to behave badly does not warrant the other person making an effort to use theses tips to help communication until they are well enough to get back to ‘normal’ communication. At the end of the day it is all about helping the BPD who ‘wants’ to get better to cope as they go through the long journey of learning how to control their emotions, behave ‘properly’ and take responsibility for their actions rather than the BPD being in control.

  19. Amazing post. I’m sending this to my boyfriend! Although he does one truely simple thing that really helps me when i’m in the middle of an episode, he walks over to me…and hugs me. I try to push him off but he just keeps hugging me and says, ‘I know, it’s ok, it’s going to be ok’, in a really calming way. I then end up crying, which is probably what i’m trying to avoid in the first place, then really low, deverstated feeling. Its is horrible but it calms me down which is what I need at the time. He will then make me a cuppa tea and comfort me by sitting on the sofa and giving me a cuddle. Its annoying at first because you think, ‘get the hell off me!!’ but it really works because underneath it all, we don’t want to argue, we just want to be loved x

    • That’s great, I’m sure that would work for some others too. For me that would provoke me and exacerbate the situation but we’re all different! I only recently realised that when I am about to slip into an episode which starts with bursting into tears what I really need is to be left alone to have a good cry no comforting (which feels patronizing at such times) and no tough love (‘snap out of it, everything will be okay’ – which feels like they don’t give a shit) – both of which provoke me to getting deeper into the emotion, just let me be and I’ll come down after I’ve had my self-pity moment, lol :) x

      • Haha, it does provoke me, makes me more angry and I try push him off because the last thing I want is to be touched, but he is alot stronger than me and just holds me until I realise I can’t get away lol. Maybe I cry because there is nothing else to do to release my frustration but its one thing that works for me, which I never thought would. By him saying, ‘everything will be ok’ and calmly, is his indirect way of saying he understands and is there for me. It all depends how you do it or say it, I guess. Although I totally agree with you, I do feel I need to be left alone alot of the time but in this incidence it’s an argument thats escalating between us weather through panic or anger and he see’s me falling into the red mist! x

  20. This was a great insight to the working mind of a BP. Thank you so much.
    My question is this: I cheated on my BP with my ex girlfriend who called and told her.
    We got past that. 3 months later I just talked to my ex, and she called my BPD gf and told her again. Fireworks, then got over it. 3 weeks later she exploded, and I left.
    We have a kid together. I love my BPD gf with all my heart. We were looking at rings 2 months ago and then 2 weeks later it was over. It has now been a little over a month since we’ve slept together. I am currently going to counseling.
    Can I earn her trust back and get our family back together?

    • Difficult question! Earning the trust of a BP after a betrayal is very hard, especially when she has already given you chances in the past, most of us do not forgive easily and almost certainly she won’t forget, which could lead to the whole issue of the ‘past’ being dragged up whenever there is a disagreement between you. For starters I think you would need to ‘prove’ you are not having and will not have any further contact with your ex because that would almost certainly be one thing that would be a deal breaker and I can guarantee your BP will not trust you to have any contact with your ex, cause I’ve been there on that one! Good luck, give it a try, but don’t be surprised if you have to work very, very hard to get her to give you another chance!

  21. Thanks for the advice, best help I’ve had. Although tbh, I’m still struggling with it all. And finding it hard to cope with. But I guess it will take time

  22. I read the article, and all that kept popping into my head is how much you’re advice enables all the terrible terrible behaviors of a bpd. I’m 33 years old, and after dealing with my bpd sister for so long, I can tell you the last thing I feel like doing anymore is laying my feelings aside for this ungrateful person who never sees that I do it. She is so self-righteous, and everything you prescribe on here involves giving in to her sense of self-righteousness. Surely, this can’t be the way to cope…a life-time of dealing with her by giving in to all her capricious behaviors and placating them.

    • Until the person with BPD is getting enough help and support to cope with their emotions and learn to control them they need to be treated like a child who lacks the understanding and ability to manage the way non-bp’s do, that is the point of this advice to demonstrate this need. As they get help and gain better understanding they should be gently encouraged to progress and improve, and most of all take responsibility for their behaviour in much the same way as you would teach an ungrateful child to do. She does not mean to be like this and it is true that she does not see what you do for her, but she lacks the capability to recognise this, but it can be learnt I have learnt to control myself better and it feels good to finally have a better understanding of the feelings and emotions that before were just volcanic eruptions. Your sister needs help, the hardest thing is whether she wants to get help/better if she does she can and will, it just takes time :)

  23. My daughter had bpd, as you all know living with someone with this condition is so stressfull. I wish she would move out, but this would bring more stress to me. She is so nice, so ‘normal’ to everyone else, but she makes my life unbearable at times. I do everything you advise, it is hard when all I get is negativity. My daughter has changed me so much, I used to be strong, in control, confident and so happy, I am tired, nervous, no confidence, I am broken.

  24. Thank you for taking the time to provide this valuable info. My daughter(22) who is still at home deals with BPD. It is a learning process for her sister and I. We are still trying to figure out how to talk to her and ways to help her. Took awhile for her to get the correct diagnosis so it has been a rough road. Since I had no clue what I was doing, I ended up on the bad side by trying to “fix” her and it has taken me most of this past year to slowly work (WORK!) my way back to good side where she seems to not hate spending time with me. I just have to be very careful what I say and really think before I speak or I am back there fast ( though it doesn’t last long. I quickly take measures to make things right if I slip up). I am more of a fixer than a comforter though. Being a single parent since my girls where young I had to take a strong lead to keep it all together. Now I have to learn to be more commpassionate and understanding because that’s what she needs at this time. So it isn’t just the person with BPD who needs help. I admit that I need just as much help so that I don’t make things worse. She starts with a new therapist this next week who specializes in BPD and I am hoping my daughter will learn some coping skills that will give her some relief from the turmoil. I am also hoping for some sessions of my own with her so I don’t undo all the therapists efforts in the car on the way home. lol….funny but true. I hope I am not wrong in my thinking, but I feel that the family should be involved. It seems like we could so easily undo all the good if we aren’t “trained” also. Any, thoughts or suggestions appreciated.

    • Hi, Thanks for sharing. I can understand how difficult it must be for you and your daughters, indeed it isn’t just the person with BPD who needs help but those closest too them as well! I hope the new therapist will make a difference and think the idea of some sessions yourself is good too. Fingers crossed you all get the help you need! Best wishes Sharon x

  25. Fantastic blog. It’s really helpful. I am in a relationship with a woman that has led me to read about BPD. She displays many traits. And so do I. I think! I really don’t know. My head is in such a spin I don’t know if I am BPD or just so co dependent that I have thought if you can’t beat em join em and now behave in the same ways that have bewildered and confused me for 18 months.
    I certainly have strong abandonment issues as does my partner. We are both 43 year old women, very different lives- which causes huge consternation as I work and am
    Solvent and currently she isn’t (doing a degree). I have (out of relationships) good self esteem and she doesn’t. She thinks I’m too good for her. I think she’s too good for me. We are the same, as in have the same fear- but for different reason. My dad left the family home when I was 4 but maintained a good relationship with me and still does and other than that I had a good childhood- but that fear of abandonment and rejection has never left me. Out of a relationship I’m ‘fine’. In one I’m insecure and have always chosen people who have chosen me- safe. Now I finally choose the one I want ( we originally met aged 17 but never approached each other coz we feared rejection!! And we’ve got in touch via friends reunited) and its very very difficult because of our fears of rejection and emotional instability. She grew up in a violent home and was emotionally neglected by her mum and led her to a life of abusive relationships and a childhood where she was bullied and ridiculed and a life of low self esteem and self worth. Men used and abused her. And the ones that didn’t she pushed away.
    And now here we are- could have been childhood sweethearts but instead we’re knocking (emotionally ) lumps out of each other. I don’t know to what degree both or either of us are BPD but from the off she has displayed many traits and I don’t know whether mine were already there or I’m just so weak that I don’t know how to deal with the hurricane I never expected and I’ve just joined in with behaviour I didn’t have any prior knowledge of.
    I’ve since read up and know a lot about it.
    Twice I have walked away coz I could not bear the pain of her pushing me away. I realise me going has further exacerbated her fear of me leaving coz I actually did. But I just couldn’t handle it. I came back, first after a week following horrendous rows and name calling and twisting facts which I could not believe. Then I left again 6 months later after more pushing away. I didn’t realise how damaging this would be coz I wasn’t aware I was dealing with BPD. I went for about a week. Then we decided to go no contact- which I thought would bring us back together stronger but instead, even though she suggested it, she saw it as me abandoning her and so when I did get back in touch on our agreed date, and not respond to her please in between coz I wanted to prove to her I could honour our agreement, she saw that as me abandoning her and told me she’d met someone else, which triggered me off so I ran away screaming and refused to read her messages for fear of more tales and taunts of her new love- which caused me incredible pain.
    We finally got back together but we have never got past that last break up. I am
    The one who wronged her and did it to her. When she says that I get defensive and say I wouldn’t have done it of she hadn’t pushed me away in the first place. This makes her feel invalidated ( like everyone else has made her feel) and i in turn feel invalidated and line everything is my fault and now it’s just tit for tat. I want to forget it. Draw a line and move on. But she brings it up often, which then triggers my rage at the injustice of what she’s saying and that triggers her rage at me not listening, me invalidating coz I try to point out its a joint response we had and no ones to blame, but we just both responded to fear and can we move on? When we got back together I told her how sorry I was that I responded that way and I did coz I was scared but she just says ‘oh so it’s all my fault’. Aaaaarrrgghh!!!! And now I don’t know how to respond. Do I just shut up
    And take the blame? What? She’s shut me out, knowing how scared that makes me but I can’t say anythin cos I ‘did it’ to her when I left so that then provokes feelings of inequality that it’s ok for me to behave that way but not her. The whole thing is bewildering. It’s like the only way we can redress the balance is if she leaves me so I have the same pain she had. But it’s not a competition and I have, accumulatively had the same pain. Every day my heart is in my mouth thinking is this the day she leaves me to get revenge. It’s like a death sentence hanging over us. And we just can’t communicate. When she feels like this there’s no communicating. Just twisting the facts to fit her emotions. That’s how I know she’s BPD. So how do we solve this thing that she won’t let go of- perceiving our break all as me leaving her and causing such pain without acknowledging that she pushed me away in the first place. Now I just apologise for not being strong enough or knowledgeable enough to stay. Help please!

    • P.S her fear is that I’m going to go again. The answer is for me not to go- even though the pain of our frequent misunderstandings and my unsolved fears of rejection do make me feel like bolting for the door. I want to be with her so much but there are so many complications and we hardly spend time together and when we do it’s hardly on our own coz she has a young daughter she won’t leave with anyone – all these things I tell myself and she does will improve in time the more secure she gets- but in the meantime we’re chipping away at any security we have by constantly raking over old coals. In moments of clarity she says give it time. But in between we’re both terrified of being rejected and I know time and just sticking with it might help- but how can we make it better so we’re sticking with something that doesn’t cause us so much fear in the interim ? Am I making sense. God, it’s so confusing. Don’t know which way is up.

    • Hi, Thanks for sharing. I think the key thing is whether either or both of you has/ does not have BPD if you recognise the traits then at least you have things to work on/with to improve life for both of you. A diagnosis isn’t so important. Dealing with the things you identify as problem behaviours is more relevant. It would appear you are the slightly stronger more aware one of the two of you having been the one who has recognised the BPD and (I can see this is probably true for both of you) co-dependency. While it may feel unfair, as you have been as hurt as her in all that has happened, it looks like you may need to continue being the strong one who takes it ‘on the chin’ at least until both of you have some help (therapy?) and learn to control your emotions better – which is what I think you probably both need to be able to survive this together. Good luck! x

      • Thanks for your reply. Take it on the chin is very apt. I’m reading your reply after yet another spat between us where I have done nothing wrong other than suggest we draw a line and wipe the slate clean regarding our behaviour. But because I’m the one who is percieved to have behaved badly the last, then she sees this is an injustice and imbalance ie I had the last word so I’m not allowed to call the shots! It’s just ridiculous and never ending. So how to we wipe the slate clean? Both say at exactly the same time lets wipe the slate clean then it’s equal? Oh my god it’s driving me insane. But thanks for your reply. I can’t control her behaviour and perceptions only my own. I can wipe my own slate clean and behave according to my code of ethics from here on in. And if that’s not the same as hers and it creates conflict then I don’t know. But right now I don’t care. X

      • I think you are right, you can’t control her behaviour only your own, and if she won’t listen or compromise there isn’t much you can do to reduce conflict :( Best wishes, hope things improve for you both soon! x

  26. I have been in a relationship for 7 years now and it has worked.He is slightly a sociopath but more on the side of antisocial. Disorder.
    I have never known what was wrong with me.
    But with him I’m ok I’m safe and I feel secure.
    He listens, leaves me alone when I’m acting in a rage and cutting names into my body.
    Later after the storm I calm down and apaologize.

  27. I am aggitated more than usual this month.
    I feel. Enraged one minute my heart banging against my ribs hard, I wreck my home tearing down things on the walls, screaming at God for making me so I can live a life without love & happiness.then I walk back and forth for hours it gets so bad that I feel like I will pass out.I then sit and cry unable to move because I’m so drained by the anger.I feel so hurt and mentally take a look at people around me and how they don’t really care about me they must be up to something or using me.then I feel intollerably alone and unloved. My friend came over and wrapped
    his arms around me and held me then he said I don’t want to hurt you

    but you can never have a relationship because you have been through
    so Mich you have been on ur own si
    nce u were were 13 .and you never got to be a kid & ur parents didn’t love you.I made him leave. I wanted to scream so I’m broken and I don’t deserve love because my parents didn’t fucking love me.I got a knife thoughtbi will make everyone who doesn’t love me pay they will hurt when I’m gone and they are all to blame because they leave me. I’m all alone I hardly leave my hone over the last year I have stopped going outside. No movies Jo social engagements.

    got to be a kid. I made him leave he made it worse I got up got a knife

    and thought about ending my worthless existence everyone would be
    better off and then they will pay by feeling

    • :( sorry to hear what a bad time you have been having, it always seems to be worse at the holiday season too for some reason :/ Do you have a therapist or any help for dealing with your emotions? It can make a huge difference! xx

  28. I have not done it but have thought about doing it. I sat on my couch and carved the word whore into my arm finally I layer there unable to move just drained and feeling hopeless and as if I had lost my grip on realitythat I am Jo longer in charge. Of my body I’m just empty.there’s no more fight in me I’m too tired of it all.no one understands how this feels to be trapped in a hell and its my mind that is causing me hell.I don’t smile I can’t sleep I am worse now because my boyfriend tried to make love to me and I cried then I just laid there I had gone somewhere else drifted off into another place in my mind. I was thinking he doesn’t love me he’s using me for sex does he know that I can’t feel his touch oh God just get off of me.I jumped up hit him and screamed no laid on the ground in a fetal position feeling crazy.
    he said he was sorry and went into the other room that’s great he doesn’t live me he’s just using me he needs to come in here and hold me but I don’t want to be touched am I crazy am I losing my mind he’s spent . Years dealing with my sickness.I don’t know what’s wrong with me and I don’t want to be sick I want to be normal and just be relaxed. Earlier last month I had a friend say omg I have never seen you like this just happy and care free your always so uptight and unhappy.I push everyone away when they get to closeout do it intentionally.I do ditto punish myself and to ensure that I will jot get hurt or be rejected.I’m practically a shut in now.I have beautiful kids and I look at them now and see how terrible it must be to have a mom that is mentally ill.then I’m searching online tonite I’m sick of being sick I need to fix this shit before I kill myself. I don’t want to hurt the people closest to me anymore and I don’t want to not be right in the head. So I see your blog and its like breathing in morning air. Or feeling the sun warm you through.I have come to believe that that warm feeling I get from a sunny day that’s what it must feel like for normal people when they were growing up and their parents loved them and protected them.I’m a good mom I do anything and everything for them I hug them kiss their little heads and tuck them in I listen to them and repress my rage fits when they are around but my son is just like me hut I got him into therapy right away. He has severe anxidtys and flight or fight response it is genetic.I will tell you something my mother would be in closets rocking back and.forth holding knives to her wrists she raged.too cutting tires on my dads car swearing that he was. Heating she was in and out of mental institutions. Through out my childhood. Then at . She said she fought with the devil all night about me and the devil won she kicked me out in just a t-shirts and panties. I was homeless for 3 years. I’ve been beaten kicked down shot at stabbed raped knocked out by a Guy with the end if his pistol tied up and handcuffed in a house up north I could only get up to peethen handcuffed to the wall again. This girl came to a party the Guy had he came up the ladder to the loft and saw me beaten and handcuffed. She got some guys to help her they beat him up bad and got me out of their. I owe her my life yet 2 years after we met and were insepperabke I pushed her out of my life.I always do that I don’t know what’s wrong with me

    • I know what you mean about getting tired of it all and feeling like you are trapped in hell! I think you could do with the help of a good therapist to open up to and once you have let all the hurt out you can work with the therapist to try and start rebuilding your life so you can be happy. It is achievable, I am working my way there now and have come so far in just a year I’m beginning to feel happy for the first time in many years :)

  29. Thank you for sharing this, it’s really helpful and I find myself revisiting the post often to get ideas on how to communicate with my brother, who has BPD. I live on the east coast and he lives on the West. One question I have is, what is the best way to speak or write to him about what is going on in my life, you know like in an email, or postcard, or phone convo? One thing that has been a prob in the past is I feel like I will listen to him or ask questions about his life then when I talk about what is going on with me, he accuses me of “showing off” or being self centered when really I’m just trying to have a conversation. It makes me feel like I have to be careful not to talk about anything that has to do with myself, but the result of that is he ends up having no idea what I’m doing (career wise) and then starts accusing me of “abandoning” my family and choosing to live on the East Coast for no good reason. It makes me feel like I can’t win either way if I do or don’t talk about what I am doing. Would appreciate some practical tips from anyone here on how to communicate long distance with a loved one who has BPD.

    • I think it may be a good idea to structure your conversation before you call (I think a phone call may be best), write down what you want to share about your life then make sure to balance it out with an equal amount of questions/comments to find out about and acknowledge his. Maybe keep calls shorter and spread information out over a series of shorter calls rather than one long one as well, as it could feel like too much to process in one go and when there is a lot to process details get lost and the focus ends up being on negative (against us) rather than positive things. I think the same would apply to emails, letters and postcards. Little and often, and keep it balanced. If you run out of questions/comments to focus on his life but still have things left to say about your own save them for another time or he will just think you are being self-centred, but if you have very little to say about your own and lots to ask him again balance it. Hope this helps? :)

  30. Thank you for your article! It was both hopeful and saddening… at least, to know what it’s like for the other person. I am 26, female, and I was diagnosed with BPD in the Fall of last year – a culmination of years of self-mutilation, depression, anxiety about being left alone. As far as relationships go, I want the one I’m in now to last forever. As part of being sexually abused, I have always had a fascination with bondage and seeking out pain with my sexual partners. The partner I’m with now is more about dominating emotionally. As weird and unhealthy as it may sound, my boyfriend is my ‘daddy’ – not biological, of course. With him, I can be vulnerable and act childish and he gives me the ‘punishment’ I deserve for my bad behavior, but always cuddles me afterward.

    He understands that I have BPD, and works with me on my self-mutilation and my not-good-enough-for-this-world feelings. I am thankful for not being a physically violent BP, but having my son who is my world (5-years-old) did steer me away from my downward spiral. I just want to be more in control for him and for the sake of our relationship, that is the reason why I’ve continued with my therapy. I just wished I weren’t like this at all, but I guess my point in writing this is (if there ever was one) one must have a yin to their yang – in any relationship. If one person is a nervous, moody, wreck the perfect fit has to be someone who is calm, centered, and non-judgmental.

    • Thanks Lauren, I think having someone calm, centred and non-judgemental is definitely a great help in a relationship for someone with BPD, glad you have managed to find someone like that to be your rock :)

  31. “Listen without interrupting even if you have a valid point, if they need to let it out first let them, they may not be able to if you don’t and will then clam up and refuse point blank to discuss.”

    Alright, duly noted… but are they allowed to interrupt you and even change the conversation, go on a tangent about what they’re interested in and disregard the original topic that the non-BP is interested in? That’s not really fair if so.

    “Validate their feelings, but don’t say things like ‘I know how you are feeling’ this will instantly trigger a ‘how the fuck could you know’ thought process.” — Alright, I hate when people assume they KNOW what I’m talking about or ‘feeling’… however, voicing that thought isn’t justifiable, nor should be tolerated by anyone.

    “If they ask you to do something reasonable do it…” — Alright, I follow you, just hope they can do it in return… “…for example I recently asked someone to block me on facebook as I kept sending them messages and they wouldn’t so it continued and it wasn’t good for me to be sending them messages” — What~ You expect someone else to do something to prevent something you should have enough control to stop yourself from doing? Also, what happened to “fear of abandonment”, now you’re encouraging people to abandon them.

    “If the same argument keeps coming up over and again consider if you have actually made any effort to change things or have just expected them to change.” — Yes because it’s solely the non-BP’s responsibility. “I had tried to be more flexible and less pressurizing on the issue but got zero effort to meet me in the middle from my partner trying to give a bit more knowing how much it meant to me.” — He’s tolerating constant repetitive arguments and verbal abuse, and he’s not ‘meeting in the middle’? He asks what’s wrong, and you don’t respond and even snap at him…. you’re not meeting him, he’s already there. — “…if we are making a effort to meet you in the middle you need to double your effort to meet us there because it is so much harder for us to even try to do this!” — How are you making the effort? All you are doing is complaining and not telling him what’s wrong… you expect him to read your mind? Then you go on to how he has to work twice as hard… that’s not really fair or worth it for the Non-BP, especially when it’s related to imagined fear of abandonment.

    “The BP will try to push you away out of fear of abandonment causing her to ‘strike first’ before you can do it to her.” — There’s nothing he can do then, since it’s all in her head. What would the ‘comprimise’ be? Him doing 10X more of the work, and a promise for marriage and life-long commitment to someome who is prone to sexual promiscuity and cheating due to these fears fo abandonment.

    “For me the eyes have it – I can see your hurt, anger, disgust even if your voice is telling me something different” — Except that they end up imagining things that aren’t there.

    “…the BPD will again build up resentment of you being a weak, coward who can be controlled and manipulated.”– Everything you are suggesting the person do is allowing themselves to be controlled and manipulated. Work harder to maintaint he relationship and have the BP do nothing but complain about her own problems. Tolerate a BP yelling your ear off and hitting you and make sure you maintain a proper tone, while they take any they wish. Even if you do all of these things, she’ll end up thinking you’re abandoning her in her head and believe it as true. Oh yeah, and you have to work twice as hard to maintain an already failed relationship with someone emotionally unstable, neurotic and psychotic.

    “…her empathy will be great” and “Try to put your own feelings aside temporarily to focus on the BP’s feelings because as bad as yours may be imagine them ten times stronger and not having the strength to handle them.” What? Empathy for others with BPD maybe, but not their object of affection (and later hatred).

    “…dont take what the person with BPD says personally. A lot of time attacks will be made, but more than likely the terrible things that are said arent meant.” — Y’know, I’ve heard quite a bit of BP’s, or atleast those whom are high-functioning and/or have comorbidity with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Terrible Two’s, mate), are prone to damaging themselves and calling the police and make false accusations. Some even make false allegations for rape. Is the Non-BP supposed to tolerate this and not take it personally? It’s not just words, but actions that inflict harm on others, and they should definitely be taken personally and as a sign to, yes, abandon the BP.

    “‘I’m sorry I really can’t reply right now, I will get back to you when I can’ will let the other person know you will come back” — Unless they blow up at this and assume that you’re going to abandon them or that you’re ‘with that girl from work’ or ‘that girl in class’.

    I’m curious, if BPs expect all of this, what happens when two BPs date each other.

    • Hi, some fair comments there, but also some unfair ones too! You have a lot of anger have you been hurt by a B relationship?

      The reality of it boils down to commons sense… most of these suggestions are based on conflict resolution techniques where the person on the receiving end of the negative behaviour is the one in the position to either escalate or reduce the tension and bring the situation to a calm end. It’s not just about BPD when you think of it like that. Yes, this is not necessarily fair on that person but it’s not about having to be like this 24/7 when a BP goes ‘off on one’ they are like a child who needs to be calmed down by a mature sensible adult, someone else behaving all ‘me, me’ like the BP is doing is not going to help…

      Sometimes abandoning the BP is the only helpful resolution for both parties. My ex was a cheat and liar himself, as a BP having to deal with that was what pushed me to cheating as I was not like that myself, I had previously held down a 16 year relationship with none of these issues, I’m not excusing my behaviour, I was wrong for things I did but the whole relationship with this guy was a disaster from the beginning. I worked hard to try and overcome my BP tendencies, he did nothing to try and improve his own behaviour!

      Emotionally unstable – yes, neurotic and psychotic – No, not in most cases you may wish to look up the meaning of these words! sorry if you don’t like that but you shouldn’t throw around nasty statements like that without being sure of the correct application of the terminology you are using!

      Those who make such sick allegations are in the minority and many, many more women cry ‘rape’ who do NOT have BP or any other mental health issues, these women who just ‘regret’ after the fact that they had sex with someone that maybe they should not have done and want them to take the blame – I think these ‘normal’ women are far more dangerous in that respect…

      If two BP’s date each other then both need to work on getting better, and most likely should consider that they should not be in such a relationship as they know that if both of them ‘blow’ at the same time there is little chance of a healthy resolution to the situation.

      At the end of the day the BP has a responsibility to work on getting better to reduce and remove these conflict situations and if they ever want a healthy non-toxic relationship they need to get help, but so long as the BP is willing to do this and is demonstrating they are trying to change and get better is it really too much to ask that the person who professes to ‘Love’ the BP try to use some of these techniques to help support their loved one while they are battling along the journey to recovery? at the end of which hopefully the need for the non-BP to have to manage these situations will no longer exist…

      • I have to say, I’m pretty much with Kyle Stanley. I’ve been involved with a BPD for the last 2 years and it has been 6 1/2 days of sheer hell compared to a meager 1/2 day of slight pleasantness out of every week. M waited until he had his foot in the door before showing his true colors. I was in the process of looking for work after being off recovering from cancer surgery and knee surgery. I had several thousand dollars left to sustain me until I started back to work, but not enough to support another person, especially someone with all the addictions and problems M has. The minute he was moved in, he decided he didn’t have to support himself. He ate me out of house and home. He hounded me through phone calls and texts whenever I was out of his sight. He snooped through my mail, my personal belongings. He erased items from my computer because he didn’t like them…pictures and videos of friends and a couple of articles pertaining to topics he didn’t approve of in some way. He threatened both friends and family when they attempted to intervene in my behalf when I wanted him out. He stole my $400 camera, some jewelry and broke beloved antiques I’d collected throughout my life. All this was done and defended with angry outbursts about how none of it was his fault.

        Without going into detail, I realized he was totally off his rocker and took him to a hospital for help. (he had been up screaming and yelling for almost 2 weeks without a break and then finally crashed) He was put in a locked ward for 10 days and placed on medication. He was diagnosed as Schizophrenic. Within 6 days, he had gone off and found a way to get alcohol which led him to look for crack. He was robbed at gun point, his car and leather coat stolen and left in the middle of the night in below freezing temperatures. He’s had heart attacks in the past and went through triple bypass surgery. He was diabetic, hypertensive, obese, and a heavy smoker. The night he was robbed, he ended in the hospital again and I was the one called at 3 am. I did not want to be involved anymore. I told them so but they allowed him to call me crying like a tiny baby and begging me not to abandon him. I’m a kind person in my heart and just couldn’t turn my back on such sorrow and fear and utter confusion. M was transferred back to the locked ward for another 10 days where he was re-diagnosed. This time as Bipolar. Wrong again, in my opinion.

        At first he seemed to make a real effort and there were some really good days with what seemed a light at the end of the tunnel. But the more he was encouraged by his doctors to change his behaviors in regards to alcohol, smoking and eating, the more resistant he became. He decided it’s all my fault that he has health problems. Apparently, I stress him out by making it impossible for him to do what he wants, though he has managed to find his way to alcohol and total angry drunken tirades. He sneaks all the stuff he’s not supposed to indulge in and then tells me it’s my fault when he gets sick. According to him, I shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy anything that’s prohibited to him. In other words, if he can’t have birthday cake, I shouldn’t go to my grandchildren’s birthday parties and have any because it’s not fair. If he can’t control himself in the face of temptation, then he shouldn’t be expected to go with me. But then I shouldn’t go without him either because it’s not fair for me to go and have fun without him. You see how impossible his rationale is?

        In January he had a minor stroke. He was warned by his doctors that it would happen. He cried like a big baby, acted like the fear of dying was going to be what actually killed him, and expected me to have sympathy over his predicament, all while I was also expected to stay by his side without sleep because he thought it was terrible of me to need my own sleep while he was slumbering away. When he came home with permission to return to work the next day, he chose to call off for 4 days (using paid days unnecessarily) because he was “afraid” to face work. When he went back, he complained to all until they sent him home. Then spent almost two weeks telling me what a heartless b*tch I am for expecting him to follow all his doctors’ orders. At the end of his two week manic party, he went off and got so drunk he fell down the stairs where he laid crying and yelling for me to help him. My neighbors loved that! He’s too big for me to lift. I couldn’t and wouldn’t help him in his drunken stupor. I was ready to call the police when I received a phone call from one of his co-workers. He had called her looking for sympathy and telling her he had fallen and could she please call me to let me know he needed help. Then while I was speaking to her, he staggered through the door screaming about how I had pushed him down the stairs. ( he thought I was on the phone with the police and he wanted them to think I had tried to harm him). His co-worker heard everything he said and now his employers are aware that M is probably NOT the man for the promotion they had discussed with him.

        After that weekend, he was very contrite. Swore off cigarettes, and admitted that he had been drinking all along but wouldn’t tell me how he got the alcohol since he isn’t permitted any cash in his pocket (it’s a trigger) I think he’s stealing, because I’ve also found junk food wrappers for items I absolutely will not buy. Then in April, I discovered a full ashtray hidden in one of my dressers as well as several cigarettes. He denied smoking and tried to convince me it was “old.” He refused to acknowledge that old or not, he had broken the rules regarding my home by smoking and stashing it in my dresser. (there’s nothing in the house that he can call his own as he has nothing from his entire life except some clothes)

        The very next day following the ashtray discovery, he had a full blown stroke while behind the wheel of the car with me in the passenger side. We were entering a very busy intersection of a super busy highway. He actually fell over against me and I had to struggle to get control of the wheel and brakes. I managed to do it and got us down a steep hill into a parking lot. I though I was going to collapse from the ordeal. Called an ambulance and he was in the hospital for 18 days. I won’t take up more space with the nightmare hi hospital stay and treatment brought on.

        Since then he looks for every excuse to take another day off even though he’s used up all his sick days. He goes to work, consumes huge amounts of all the kinds of food he shouldn’t be eating, and stares at the TV until it’s time for bed. He expects me to sit and stare at TV with him even though I don’t watch much ever, and even though I don’t particularly like his viewing choices. He’s jealous of the time I spend in my garden, of the time I spend talking to family and friends, and even of my needlework. He has no interests of his own except eating, sleeping, and watching TV. According to him, all the things I do are stupid and a waste of time, not to mention that any accomplishment I’m proud of is, according to him, worthless. I am an accomplished seamstress, having sewed for wedding parties and had my daughters win modeling awards for my clothing in Phila.

        Some of the tips you’ve given were already used by me, but while they seem to have an effect for about 30 seconds, it doesn’t last. Just this morning I apologized for being perhaps a little unfair. I was trying to make coffee and he was blocking my way to the water. He does this every day without fail and I’ve been steaming over it. I no longer feel like I can say anything without risking him acting like it’s the end of the world. I blew up at him. Later I apologized and explained what was really going on and asked him to please in the future, just get his glass of water and then move to allow me to get some for the coffee instead of standing there blocking my way. This too was an occasion for an argument. Instead of accepting my apology, and agreeing to maintain awareness that he resides in another’s space, he picked a fight. He launched into how not EVERY morning does he block the counter because yesterday he got his drink while I was in the bathroom. Oh, ok. One day out of 700 makes all the diff. My mistake. Don’t mind me if I refrain from apologizing again.

        I could go on and on with all these types of scenarios, but the bottom line is that I perceive the behaviors behind them to be nothing short of complete immaturity and a desire to ignore accountability. I absolutely understand the mechanics of brain chemistry and emotional traumas. I understand that perception can cause humans to take actions that may not truly be warranted but at the end of the day, we either recognize that our choices are what have lead to the end results, or we continue to blame any and all for our troubles. There is power in taking ownership of our choices because we can change them. There is no power in blaming others because we can’t change others. I’ve discovered first hand how powerful M can be when it’s about something he wants for himself. He is perfectly capable of being reasonable and using sound judgement. Those who refuse to help themselves, maintain their refusal because they actually like feeling like a victim. It gets them attention. It relieves them of the work required. And it saves them from the embarrassment associated with an acknowledged mistake. What these types want is for the rest of the world to accommodate them at all costs because in their mind, no one else has it as bad as they do.

        “Try to put your own feelings aside temporarily to focus on the BP’s feelings because as bad as yours may be imagine them ten times stronger and not having the strength to handle them.” This comment underscores what I’m saying. How do you know the non-BP’s distress isn’t as bad as yours? Because they seem to handle it better than you do? At what point is the Non permitted to have deeper emotions? I’ve got to say, I’m really tired of hearing about how terrible it is for the BPD sufferer. I had cancer…there’s fear for you. I lost my career due to a knee injury and at the age of 51 I had to try to find something else to make a living. Lots of fear there. Nothing like possibly losing everything ever worked for because of a health issue. I have severe arthritis that causes horrible pain every day. But I get up and push through the day every day without being mean and spiteful to others just because life is so unfair. Maybe it’s really all about how we’re raised. I was taught to take responsibility for myself and my own welfare. M on the other hand was doted on by his mother, never had to pay for his mistakes, was bailed out every time he did something stupid, illegal, or dangerous. He was never permitted to go homeless…the VA or Mommy bailed him out every time he lost his home because of his behaviors. Maybe what’s really going on is that we’ve continued to raise a generation of spoiled rotten children who have been mislead into believing life shouldn’t be hard and if it is, it must be someone else’s fault.

      • I’m sorry for your experience and I repeat myself again these tips are only meant for ‘temporary supportive gestures for those who love and want to help a BPD who IS working on helping themselves’ if they are not then ditch them, they deserve it! Anyone not willing to try and help themselves does not deserve the help… but those who are do…

        Sorry, but if he was that horrible from the moment he moved in why did you put up with it so long anyway? you had enough to deal with with your cancer, you didn’t need that as well! And to be honest with the severity of the symptoms you describe it sounds more like Anti-social personality disorder.

        Honestly, how and why did you put up with all the things you have described here? You are so angry that is clear, but I (sorry if you don’t like this but you have been blunt on my blog…) think a lot of your anger is with yourself for letting him treat you this bad and you kept letting it happen! I would be angry with myself if I allowed someone to behave like this – but you could have stopped it, kind heart is not excuse for letting someone get away with all that!!

        Apologies, you won’t like this either but from your own descriptions you sound just as immature and selfish as you are saying he is, what is wrong with you waiting until he has moved over to get your coffee? why does he have to be the one in the wrong? you are both clearly trying to do something at the same time regularly, why not get your coffee before he gets his water, or after he has got it, sorry I think you both have a problem if you can’t deal with such a simple thing sensibly!

        Personally, I have worked hard and continue to do so to improve my control over BPD, rather than letting it control me. I chose to end my relationship as it would be better for both my partner and me as I could not remain faithful, I was taking responsibility for my actions. But if a person is not willing to work for it then they should not be allowed to play the victim and want others to accommodate them! I have only ever asked for temporary support, such as the tips here, while I learnt how to control the child-like parts of my behaviour that would cause me to react inappropriately, BPD is not an excuse but it was the reason and I just needed time to learn how to overcome things, but while I was doing that I needed a few ‘allowances’ to be made to make things easier for all around me. These tips won’t work as long term solutions or with someone that is not making any attempt to better themselves….

        You don’t need to tell me about fear – Me, I have had two cancer scares in the past year, surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells, and in addition to BPD I have hypermobility and Fibromyalgia – so I know about living with daily pain, I just don’t get any medication for it because I have to be careful with taking painkillers as I am now awaiting further investigations for kidney disease, the pain of which wakes me up in the middle of the night screaming… and my GP thinks I may have chronic fatigue syndrome. I cared for my husband who dies of a brain tumour in 2009 for 11 years of our 16 year relationship and raised a daughter with a heart condition and son with epilepsy, adhd, aspergers and dyspraxia. I was sexually abused as a child, and as an adult. I have had to leave jobs due to my illnesses and then try to get a new job when I am well enough with the difficulties of having a ‘mental health’ condition on my records ‘cancer’ doesn’t put off employers as much as the mental health label! So I fully understand your fears and have faced many of them myself, and guess what I’m only 36!! How much more am I going to face by the time I reach your age!? I’m not telling you these things for sympathy, or as a ‘poor me’ but you shared yours so I wanted to let you know BPD is not my only label and I know what it is to live with hell, fear and worry’s for a ‘future’ above and beyond having BPD. And I too get up each day and push on without being mean and spiteful to others. In fact anyone who knows me in person would tell you I ‘give’ far too much, help too much and care too much – without ever wanting (or getting) any of the same courtesy’s back off even the people I have helped (and just saying thank you isn’t that hard is it?)

        The nature/nurture debate, it has a part to play I agree, and yes there are a lot of ‘spoiled’ children out there. But I too was raised to work hard, and look out for myself, well that is not entirely true, from around the age of 12 I was already standing on my own, looking after myself and couldn’t wait to be able to leave home as I had no support my family (if you have read some of my other posts you will know but I’m not going to go into it here) and was taking responsibility as a child for doing things that ‘should’ have been down to my parents to do, I was far from spoiled, I had nothing, so how we are raised is just one of many factors that affects who we become.

        And I know that because of what I am saying in response to your comment you are now going to respond with ‘TYPICAL BPD RESPONSE’ – no, wrong, typical BPD response to what you have said would be ‘You f*cking twat, this is bullshit, you are wrong!’ but I am NOT saying you are wrong about your partner, I am only pointing out that you don’t seem to be able to see flaws in your own behaviour – admittedly only based on what you have said here, but you have shared a great deal of anger and also clear signs having some issues of your own, whether you like that being pointed out or not, sorry, just being honest. Yes he has some major problems but I think your perception is skewed almost as much as those of us with BPD have a skewed perception when we are unwell, and this is the one are are not going to like most of all – you sound like YOU

          have BPD with the intensity of your emotions and black and white thinking!!

          One last thing – do yourself a favour – throw him out!!

    • Hi Kyle, I’m a BP and we don’t cry rape, we are the attackers, actually. And right now I’m compelled to respond to your long comment in typical BPD fashion because it sounds as though you’re kinda skeptical and, dare I say, trying to invalidate everything I feel about my rotten, miserable life. Here it is in a nutshell: there is NO successful way to handle somebody with BPD, if by “successful” you mean something like “peaceful.” We have no peace, we aren’t reasonable, we’re either wildly obsessed or completely indifferent, we either think you’re an angel sent from God Himself or we’re screaming obscenities an inch away from your face, we either eat nothing or everything in the house, we get into uncontrollable rages for days at a time until we’re spent and don’t even remember why we got angry in the first place… Some of us can’t hang on to a job and are violent (hand raised). Just don’t get around any if you crave a normal, conflict-free existence. Seriously, if you can’t even read an article about the condition without taking affront than don’t even attempt a relationship with somebody who has it, you’ll regret it.

      • Hi Brenda, I think a lot of BP’s will agree with what you have said, much of it has been true for me, the violence and rages are some of the few things I don’t experience myself (unless extremely provoked by someone else being that way towards me, which thankfully rarely happens). I definitely agree that if someone wants a ‘normal’ relationship then they need to steer clear of people with BPD! :)

  32. Thank you so much for this post! I just started suspecting my bf has a BP and I don’t know what to do. We’re only 4 months together but he already insisted on living together and we even moved into a bigger apartment that he found cuz I mentioned I wasn’t having enough space 2 weeks after we moved into his place.. I like him, and maybe even love, but I think i takes more than 4 months to make big commitments. I want to help him but I don’t want to promise him I won’t abandon him because I don’t how it’s gonna work yet. Maybe your article doesn’t entirely solve my problem but it really, really helps!! Thank you!

    • Glad to help, I think you are right to feel that four months is too soon to commit long term. I hope things work out for you, if he has BPD things could get very tough at times and you need a lot of strength to be able to cope with his rough patches, best wishes x

  33. This was a great read, Sharon… Sometimes when I read your blog I feel like I got something going on with me (I notice similarities) but then I’m like maybe I am PMSing.. ? Anyway, haven’t been here in a while and I’m glad to be here.. Take care.

    • Thanks Darlene, To be honest I think most people could relate to having some of these experiences/feelings at times particularly when life is difficult, I guess the difference may be that for those with BPD it is unending and the emotions/feelings are more extreme and intense? :)

  34. I am dealing with someone who is a full blow high functional bpd that goes dissassociative at a moments notice. I was once this way but finally realized its time to grow up. Just as the smokers cry, I keep wanting to quit, you can if you want. I was a former bpd and a former smoker. I have lost all sympathy for this condition as I finally put my big boy pants on and grew up. Now I see it for what its, an excuse for accountability. Life can be bad at times, its the same for us all. Everyone has their own story, how you decide to learn from it is what matters. No one should have to alter their entire existence for a bpd and the typical refusal to change. The only exception is a child you bring into this world. If a bpd doesnt like honest criticism, it will be a long life alone or with someone who is manipulative for their own means. Kid gloves are for the kids. Time to be accountable.

    • I understand what you are saying but some people need help to do that just as some people need help to quit smoking, I think the parrallels between the two are actual useful here… both are medical conditions – smoking is an addiction, BPD a mental health condition. It is not just an excuse, but yes the person has to want to change, just as you have to want to stop smoking. Asking people to have some compassion and help/support their BPD as they go through the recover (quitting) process is not too much to ask these tips are not meant to be a prescription for letting the BPD carry on like this permanently, if the BPD does not want to change/quit/get better then they don’t deserve this support…

  35. very good post, still leaves me/us (partners of BDPs) with very little hope of recovering a normal and decent emotional life!

    I had been trying for a few years many of the strategies listed, they only work to control the situation during the crisis; but the frequency and abusive level of these episodes do not change -quite frankly the whole of my psychological equilibrium, my motivations and intellectual capacities at work are being hit hard; I feel I should look for treatment of myself at this point and give up on the relation; I already tried to have my partner gain knowledge of her condition via cognitive-behavioural couple-teraphy.

    • It isn’t meant to be used as a long term solution to the problem, only to support the BPD whilst they have these issues until they improve. If the BPD is not making any effort to get better and not getting help/treatment and has no intention of helping themselves they don’t deserve the support and you a right to consider giving up on the relationship, you can’t live like this permanently!

  36. You shouldn’t communicate with the BPD. The relationship is inherently abusive, and nothing you can do will help the BPD, it will only hurt you. Sever all ties to the BPD as soon as possible and don’t look back. Live your life. Interaction with the BPD will destroy you. No doubt he or she will threaten suicide, or start cutting themselves. So be it.

    • I wasn’t going to share this comment until I saw your follow up comment as I thought this was nasty and unnecessary but your other comment puts it into context which is why I am allowing this one, if you leave comments and want the blog owner to allow them you need to remember to set the context as you do in the other comment because one’s like this just seem like trolling or abuse and are unlikely to be allowed when comments are moderated as they are here…

  37. I left a comment earlier but it was removed. I am the brother of a 50-year-old woman with BPD. After decades of incident after incident, I saw my parents lives destroyed. My sister has a unique way of finding the chinks in the armor, and she goes in for the attack when it is most effective. If a direct attack doesn’t work, she becomes self-destructive in a gambit to regain my mother’s support. Despite all this, I did everything I could to help her. Hours on the phone, always getting pulled into her dramas. She inflicted such stress on my father in the last year of his life that he finally told my mother he was sorry to have to leave her with this nightmare, and died. My sister has repeatedly threatened to kill me.

    Do I understand that someone with BPD is suffering? Yes. And my heart breaks for my sister. But if someone in your life has BPD, and you try to pull him or her into the lifeboat, it will capsize, and everyone’s life will be destroyed. This comment probably won’t make the cut either, but I’ll try again. SAVE YOURSELF. The person with BPD
    cannot be saved. If you stay with him or her, your life and the lives of the other people that you love will be destroyed. And whether you stay in the life of the person with BPD or cut off all ties, their pain will be the same.

    • I wasn’t going to allow your other comment until I saw this one, I gave the reasons there so won’t repeat myself. Thank you for explaining your situation here. I agree that if a person with BPD is not making any effort to get better, get help etc. then the best thing to do is save yourself people with BPD can be saved but they have to work on it too not expect someone else to fix it all for them but if they are willing to try and are doing thier best to get better then they deserve the help and support of those close to them, such as doing some of the things in these tips ‘temporarily’ to try and help things go smoothly until the person with BPD no longer needs to be treated this way, that’s fair isn’t it?

      • Thanks for posting my comments, and let me apologize for the strident tone of my initial post. To answer your question, yes, it’s certainly fair that a person with BPD be given a chance to get better, and be given the loving support of family in their journey toward healing. I think it’s important, however, to draw a line in the sand. A person with BPD can destroy a family, and many simply cannot or will not get better. My sister certainly destroyed my family, and only after 35 years of attempting to help her have I finally decided to liberate myself from having any contact with her. In retrospect, I wish I had done it decades ago, even though it might have meant cutting off all ties with my entire family.

      • Thank you :) I agree there is only so much toxicity anyone can handle, from someone with BPD or anyone else for that matter, if there is no effort to change you have to think of your own well-being, some people cannot be helped and will not help themselves and the only person anyone can change is themselves, no-one else can do it for you. I hope you can manage your own healing journey now you are free from the toxicity :)

  38. I am the daughter of a mother I believe was BPD (she has been deceased 11 years). It was a HORRIBLE existence. I loved her andws sad when she died, but relieved, as well. I have to say as I read your post I found myself getting very very angry. I reminded myself that you were addressing adults and not children. I also reminded myself that you are a BPD. I commend you for working on the issues you face and for even acknowledging that you have BPD. On the other hand, this was very obviously a post written by a BPD person…it’s everyone else’s responsibility to deal with your issues because it’s too hard for you. Nothing inKyle’s reply was nasty, simply posting how he saw it (and I 110% agree with him on every point). I think your BPD status makes it impossible for you to comprehend the impact of your behavior on non BPs or fully accept responsibility for your actions.

    What you suggest is simply for anyone dealing with you to simply accept anything you dish out. Sorry, BPD must be horrible for you to deal with but you really have no concept of how miserable you make life for everyone around you.

    • Sorry to hear of your experience, not all BPD’s make life miserable for those around them but I can understand how you must feel from your own experiences.

  39. Phenomenal post. This has been one of the most insightful and helpful pieces of literature I have read about BPD thus far. Thank you!

  40. What you say is interesting but comes off as very high- handed to me. Why on earth would anyone want to live this way? So sorry for you, but I would simply walk. It sounds like you are expecting others to assume a life of hell. No thanks. I want reciprocity and love and compassion with a mature equal. You must get that what you say is ludicrous.

    • Everyone is welcome to their opinion, had you read the previous comments and response you would know that these ‘tips’ are only meant to be a short term ‘help’ for communicating with someone with BPD who is trying to get better, no-one should have to live like this I fully agree but while the BPD is learning new skills they need support and understanding to get there, but if they are not willing to get better and improve their skills so these tips are not needed in the long term then I agree walking away is the best option!

    • I find your response to blog unbelievable. It raises awareness and gives an honest outlook on the daily patterns of mental health issues. I don’t understand your logic on this and how we can read same article and perceive it totally different. I agree that nobody should be put through hell and wonder how much of the manipulation techniques are purely down to traits in their character more so than the illness itself???
      I myself have suffered with severe anxiety and years later now suffer with bouts of depression. I agree that some people do give up to readily and I find that confusing, but can also understand that there is maybe not the correct support and most people are given tabs and sent on their way,. rather than the NHS investing time into community. I myself benefited from cognitive therapy and found I became a more educated person, mixing with all walks of life and building on self esteem through sharing experiences and taking the help available, this took a while, didnt happen overnight. What you may perceive to be selfishness could perhaps be lack of empathy, support and frustration. Everybody needs to have hope and strive to something better, my confidence and belief in myself at times has stopped me from seeing bigger picture and to hear someone more or less say we “choose” this way of life is downright offensive and ignorant. If it were a choice then I’d want a happier existence. I have been told to give myself a shake before and comments like that just make me feel worse. It makes me doubt myself and how the world views me as a person. I have a good grasp of english, would say I can express myself and my needs and desires fluently yet comments like that can in effect keep me feeling low. I suppose communication is the key to this matter, from both sides and to listen to what each person is saying. Too many people base things on assumption and I personally find it infuriating.
      It takes all kinds to make a world, we should not be boxed in all as one. My inner strength and pushing myself to get better most likely strive from seeing my life as it is. I do not describe myself as having a mental health problem. I refuse to be defined in this way. I am merely myself who happens to be suffering with a mental health issue in which at times is a struggle but other times is enlightening as it has opened my eyes to all walks of life and this in effect has made me strive to get a positive out of all this. God forbid that everyone must suffer in this way before understanding our plight.

      • Thanks Kerry, I hope Klr sees your response to their comment! You are so right about communication being the key and also the lack of appropriate help/support/treatment. If people treated other people with health conditions the same way they do those of us with mental health conditions there would be uproar – I mean imagine someone saying “I’m sick of that Cancer excuse X is using not to work” or “Cancer is just an excuse for his bad behaviour” or “man-up you should be over that cancer thing by now” no-one would stand for it, but people say those kinds of things about people with mental health problems all the time and practically get cheered on for it! :( It’s time for a change!

  41. Dear Sharon, I have the impression that the fastest way to put myself in my ex BPD fiancee’s shoes is to imagine how I would act if was driven 90% by emotions rather than reason. Or if I was undergoing torture. It has been very hard for me to figure out my ex when I apply the consistency of reason & logic. Many times, I would catch her inconsistencies & she would flare up & refuse to talk any further in order to set the record straight. However, when I imagine how one would decide & act on the basis of how they PURELY FELT at the time & dissociated themselves from the painful consequences of their decisions & actions, then it all makes sense — she would say what will make her feel the best & not what is true or accurate. She “lied” in the way torture victims would tell their torturer what they wanted to hear to avoid confronting the severe pain of the truth. Have I got it right?

    • Yes, very much so, we are driven almost entirely by emotions and when those emotions kick in it is like we are along for the ride and someone else is driving! That is how ‘out of control’ it feels and why it is so hard for us to ‘stop’ as we can feel like we are screaming in a cage ‘Don’t do this, I don’t want to do this’ but we cannot stop it happening :( and very true about the way lies would be to avoid severe pain, telling people what they want to hear regardless of the consequences of that because the reality would be far worse :/

      • Thank you for the most honest & courageous reply, Sharon. You have made me understand & appreciate the BPD perspective. I empathise with torture victims because I know quite a number. I believe my ex perceived me as her torturer rather than her helper when I was forcing her to face up to the consequences of her actions. When she told me that she did not want to see me suffer or be the cause of my suffering, it most likely added to her pain as well, which made her decide to break off our engagement & break off contact with me totally. My ex BPD must have raw emotional wounds that need healing before she can be able to feel & face new truths & realities — otherwise, it will just be pain compounded over pre-existing pains.

      • Glad to help :) Yes, she may indeed have perceived you as her torturer rather than helper. I am reminded of the drama triangle here, where people (either by choice or unknowingly) take the role of either ‘victim’ ‘rescuer’ or ‘persecutor’ from Transactional Analysis – you may want to read about it to further understand how she was most likely taking the role of ‘victim’ (who is in fact in control in the drama triangle)? I think her pain is worn like an open wound that is constantly being scratched, that is how mine feels most of the time… :(

  42. Hi again, Sharon!

    I feel there are a few misconceptions needed to be addressed regarding my original lengthy post and your equally lengthy response. Because so much happened in such a short time with M, perhaps I left out some vital information that would shed light on my reasons for some of my actions.

    You asked why I allowed him to remain so long if he was horrible from the start. The fact is, I asked him to leave within two weeks of coming there. Unfortunately, in my state, if a person has listed an address on legal documents such as a driver’s license, then the premises are just as much his as the original occupant. Legal steps must be taken to evict him. That can take up to 4 months during which time, he is permitted to remain in residence. Doesn’t seem quite fair but that’s the way it is. He had changed his residence within two days of arrival without me even knowing it.

    It was during the 3rd and 4th week of his stay that he did all of the awful things listed…camera, computer, etc. while I was away visiting with a daughter I hadn’t seen in a year. She had been in the military for the past 10 years and stationed too far away. Now she had come to my other daughter’s home for a 4 day visit and I went to see her. Within an hour of my leaving home, M started texting me for absolutely ridiculous reasons like where are the clean towels, where do I keep my plastic baggies, when am I coming home. The questions progressed to who all was there and then eventually became about my ex-boyfriend I hadn’t seen in over a year. Suddenly I wasn’t really visiting my daughter but off with my ex for a sexual escapade. The texts turned to horrible disgusting name calling. I called the police but they didn’t want to get involved as they saw it as a domestic dispute. I was afraid to go home because of the threats he was making against me and my belongings. My son-in-law tried to talk sense into him and asked him to simply leave before things got ugly. Instead, M threatened to kill him. It took two weeks of me hiding out at my daughter’s before I could arrange for my brother to go to the house with me. In total, I had received 1200 texts in just a little over 4 days and an additional 300 in the following week. The final texts threatened suicide, and then a desperate plea for help. At first I thought it was a bluff but then he didn’t try to contact me again. That was when I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong and I felt it was my duty as a human being to get him to a place that could help him.

    There’s an even bigger reason for my having “put up” with it for so long. M and I have known each other since I was 6 and he was 8. We walked to school together, played together, and mourned the losses of our fathers together. He was 11 when he lost his father to Hogkins Disease after a 5 year battle. I was 9 when mine died at a very young age after a two year struggle with a failing heart. Our mothers bolstered each other when one of them threatened to collapse under their sorrow. I remember M as the smiling, silly, sometimes hilarious, often times sweet boy he was all through our growing up years. We lost touch all through our adulthood and didn’t find each other again until a couple of years ago. So, of course I trusted that he was the same person…perhaps not such a smart thing to do, but very definitely a human response to finding an old and dear friend.

    I hesitated to put him out of my home after his diagnosis because I thought there was hope for the return of the promise that was once M. I wondered what could have happened to him to leave such terrible scars. In addition to all these things, he is all alone in this world. His parents were both only children so there were no aunts, uncles or cousins. He had one sister. His mother died a few years ago and his sister followed several months later. There is absolutely no other living relative to help him. Without help, he will surely be dead within a very short time. So, maybe that’s where you get that I’m angry at myself. Yes, I sometimes feel trapped by personal values. It’s not always easy to stand for personal beliefs about humanity when you’re the one who has to keep making sacrifices. Sometimes I wish I could get rid of my morals and values and not worry about anyone else.

    As for your “kind heart” comment…. I have been very involved in his treatments and because of that, his health care providers are on a first name basis with me. The have assured me over and over that his behaviors will lessen and improve once his medications are where they need to be. The problem with that is that he keeps having other health issues because of his mental health illness interfering with his ability to understand and maintain treatments (or so they tell me) and then his meds are suspended in order to take care of the physical problems. It’s like starting all over at square number one every time.

    About the coffee thing…. that was just one example, but let me clarify about sensible behavior. M can not drive himself to work since his stroke. This means that I have to get up extra early to get him there. I have no problem getting up earlier than him in order to make coffee and get awake. He’s the one who has a problem with me getting up earlier. He gets angry because my alarm wakes him before he has to get up. He only gives himself enough time to shower and eat before needing to leave. That isn’t enough time for both of us to get ready. The solution had been for him to wake me up when he gets up and give me 5 minutes to run the water for the coffee, as well as using the bathroom before he gets in the shower. The water can’t be run while showering or he’ll get scalded. He has agreed but then goes and blocks my way to the water rather than moving aside. I’ve waited for him to finish but instead of him also waiting until I’m done running water, he goes into the shower and starts screaming if he gets burnt. There’s also a time issue here…if the coffee isn’t on immediately, then it’s not done early enough for me to have a cup before I have to get behind the wheel of the car. I’ve already given up my own morning showers and begun taking mine at night in order to accommodate him, so please don’t tell me about making sensible compromises. It’s his turn. Weren’t you the one who was saying about a meeting in the middle? I’ve met him more than half way. So if you think I’m immature and selfish for wanting to at least be able to get a cup of coffee before I go so far out of my way to make his life a little easier…then so be it. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I’ve shared everything I own with him…my home, my furniture, my vehicle, and my bank account. I’m the one who sees he gets to work on time and to his doctor’s appointments. I’ve made it a point to make sure the meals served in my home are streamlined to his diabetic diet. I make sure there are no preservatives in his food that can interfere with his meds. Being all about the organic and natural ways of living, I bake my own bread and grow my own vegetables. All of this takes hard work and I share the bounty of that work with him. My day begins at 5:30 am and ends somewhere around 11 pm. I’d hardly call that selfish. But maybe you would because I dared to suggest that at least something should occasionally go my way.

    About that TYPICAL BPD RESONSE … I don’t assume anything about what’s typical…your comment certainly threw me since it was the farthest thing from my mind. Who’s assuming what? Please don’t presume to know how I would or would not respond simply because you read one post written by me. ABOUT ME BEING BPD…. that made me smile. You are assuming a great deal about my perceptions. Just so you know, because I tend to see the best in everyone, I’m constantly double checking myself when I find myself getting angry or upset. I ask myself do I have a reason to be upset? Is it plausible? Are my expectations reasonable? Are there other factors going on that may be contributing to my emotions? This is how mature responsible adults who are aware of themselves should behave, in my opinion…. though it’s often not what happens.

    Please explain from where you got the notion that I see things in black and white. The world I live in contains many, many shades of gray and only a little bit of black and white. But when you get down to the nitty gritty, we ALL have some notions about right and wrong based on our personal beliefs which will undoubtedly differ from many other people’s beliefs.

    One final thought…the intensity of my emotions. You’re absolutely correct. I’m hopping mad. I spent a year and a half bending over backward, suspending judgment, sharing all I own, helping to shoulder another’s responsibilities, believing the professionals who were dealing with M’s illness, going out of my way to include him in family activities, helping him to get his finances straight, etc… all because he said he wanted to get well. He said he was following doctor’s orders and recommendations, so I dug my heels in when he suffered a set back. And after all this time, I’ve discovered that he was lying and manipulating, taking advantage of my trust that he meant what he said. You betcha I’m mad. That doesn’t make me BPD. That makes me very human…an imperfect human, but not BPD. (besides, my job has put me through every kind of psychological testing known to mankind as a requirement for my job…I score as an evenly balanced personality. In fact, I was told that there are only 1% of the world’s population with a personality score such as mine. General Patton was one of them.) ;)

    • Hi, sorry for the delay replying, I have to admit I have found it difficult to respond but I am not one for trying to leave things out just because they are difficult in some way (only downright abuse and trolling does not get approved) it just takes me longer to be able to respond appropriately especially if something has been triggering… but that is a good thing, it shows control on my part not to just lash out in my reply :)

      I am genuinely so sorry to hear of the conditions that prevent you from being able to just throw him out, how awful I had no idea places could impose such restrictions upon you and your home! I do hope you have at least got the legal steps in motion even if it will take time? I take it domestic disputes are not handled well by the police in your state either? The law here is very different on both things so it would be easier to deal with your situation here…

      I can also understand the long friendship and not wanting to give up on someone who has been part of your life so long, but I guess there just comes a point where things are too toxic for it to be safe to hold on to that any more (I recently had to end a 30 year friendship with my best friend as I could not put up with her controlling, manipulating and threatening me any more).

      Fair enough about the coffee situation, I’m sure you can understand that without the full details it is hard to be able to make a fair comment, and at the same time it is hard to give a full picture without writing an essay, so we are both at a disadvantage there! If you read that bit back from your first comment as though someone else had said it I think you may have thought that a bit of compromise wouldn’t hurt, given that you have a kind heart? I may be wrong again, but it seems logical to me that most people would think of compromise. I don’t think you are selfish, you have done way more than anyone should be expected to do for this man.

      If you look through previous comments on this and other posts everyone always has the automatic reaction that any response I give is a ‘typical BPD response’ even if it is actually far more fair and logical than their own ‘attacks’ on me based on their experience with the BPD in their lives – yes, it was unfair of me to assume you would do this also, but it is the default reaction everyone gives, and foolishly (?) I tried to pre-empt it!

      The black and white thing just comes from the way you explained things, but as expressed above a full picture cannot be gained from a single comment, so I guess the grey/colourful parts were missing… only the good and bad (black and white) being visible…

      Yes, you have a right to be angry with everything you have been through. I hope you manage to get a resolution to the situation soon! :)

  43. I totally understand this feeling. I am a single parent of 3 boys aged 14.12 and 4. I feel like I’ve always to be the strong one and covering my emotions but in effect its actually caused me to emotionally burn out. I feel I’ve let them down, let myself down and am not the adult/parent that I wanted to be. I am no way trying to play the victim here, not the case but the guilt, self doubt in my abilities and what effect I could potentially be having on my kids’ outlook to life and how they are in the future eats me up inside. I have actually contemplated asking my parents to take them, not because i don’t love my boys, quite the opposite in fact. I feel I am damaging them at times and want them to have the best and to brace their future in a positive way. At same time I know it opens their eyes to reality and posssibly shows them what not to do. I need to cushion these thoughts in my head, its not running away or in denial, its because I know that these thoughts will only keep me feeling down on myself. Guilt is a terrible soul destroyer. I try to accept whats done is done and move on. No-one is perfect after all.

    • Recognising this is very important Kerry, it will help you be able to work on doing better at the things you want to be better at. Your kids probably don’t feel you have let them down out all but I know how it can feel that way as I feel it too for my children. And yes, letting go of the guilty feelings is vital for helping you progress, you can’t change the past but you can have a better future – no regrets but lessons learned from mistakes made is how I view it :)

  44. I am wondering, have you ever heard of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Rules of the Discernment of Spirits? You can google it but discernment strikes me as possible therapy for the religiously inclined. Anyway, I do sympathize with your pain & wish you strength in dealing with what seems like an everyday struggle. In any ways, you must be developing strengths perhaps even you are not aware of — which is why you are generous in sharing your story & helping people like myself understand. Cheers!

    • Thanks Don, personally I am not religiously inclined but I can understand why people feel a need to put faith in something outside themselves. I did Google St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Rules of the Discernment of Spirits and I’m sure some people would feel comfort in this, but it isn’t something I could connect with myself.

  45. I just discovered this page through someone on facebook sharing it. I have Bpd. it is very explanatory, and things i thought were “just me” all my life are actual symptoms of this disorder. how it has been a struggle. reading some of these articles is like deja’ vu.I want to say thank you for creating this page.

  46. What about talking with/ responding to someone (my teen girl) who is rude, disrespectful, a real bitch in the late AM, (partly cause she didn’t get up to take her meds hours earlier which would have regulated her mood better). THEN about an hour later, after her meds kick in, she acts as if nothing is wrong, no recollection, no acknowledgement or apology for hurting me AND she is trying to talk to me and ask favors of me. I know she is disabled, but I can’t take it anymore! How do I tell her, when she is in a good mood, that she was horrid to me earlier? Is there even a point to it? Does she remember?

    • Ohh that doesn’t sound good :( I think you should at least try talking to her about it when she is on her meds, she may not remember that she does it but maybe together (when she is medicated) you can figure out some way to help thinks go more smoothly in the mornings? Maybe you could even ask her if you can record what she is like to show her when she is not like it so she can see how bad it is? It has to be worth trying to discuss it and find a way to improve it :) Good luck!

  47. Wow, just came across this blog and it was just what I’d been looking for. It’s fantastic! Perhaps you can advise me too if you have the time. I guess my story is familiar, but I’ll go into detail anyway – I say that, but I could write a book if I “went into detail”.

    Anyway, I’ve been together with a female Borderline (now 23 years old) for coming up to 2 years – a roller coaster ride, I must say.

    Luckily, after years of self-diagnosis and analysis, my partner concluded last month that she has BPD – this was the first time I looked into the disorder myself and for once I fully agreed. Everything… all of the arguments and actions and perceived irrationalities were all textbook borderline traits and in many ways a massive weight was lifted in finally putting our finger on what the problem appears to be.

    Let me rewind to the start. When we met, it felt like love at first sight. I’ve never connected like that with anyone and while she clearly had issues of her own, we were soon going to dates and getting to know one another. I was told the story of her ex-boyfriend, how he was abusive and how she hadn’t been single long. There were many warning signs I failed to acknowledge, come to think about it.

    Anyway, while unofficial, our relationship continued to bloom – or so it seemed. We spent quite a fair bit of time together and it really felt intense and romantic. Then about a month after meeting her, I suddenly get a text message saying “I can’t do this anymore”.

    Turns out, her ex-boyfriend was or had been back on the scene and she couldn’t be with me anymore as it was eating away at her conscience. Through my experiences throughout the last 2 years, I have come to certainly believe her when she says her ex was abusive, and had a controlling grip over her. I know many BPD’s can exaggerate their past relationships, but I doubt this is the case here, having witnessed his nasty side myself.

    Either way, the unhealthy ‘attention game’ she appeared to be playing caught up with her and while he continued to be abusive and play mind games, I struggled to come to terms with how something that seemed so perfect, had imploded so easily. I wasn’t about to fight for her, just gave my advice and kept my distance. A week or so later, I was talking to her late night online and she was in a bad state. After convincing her that this guy was clearly not worth the time and that she deserved so much better, she confided in me that she had made a huge mistake – she’d taken an aspirin overdose. I convinced her to immediately wake her mother and go to the hospital.

    She survived, but the doctors told her she was lucky – had she fallen asleep that night and not had her system flushed, things would have been very bad indeed. Of course, being the guy I am, I couldn’t stay away and visited her in hospital. Meanwhile the ex was threatened to stay away for good by all parties.

    All I wanted was to help this girl and I believed that by being the genuinely-caring and good natured person I am – a stark comparison to her pervious partner – I could show her how I managed to survive my depression and grow into the more mature person I am today. I personally have a history of teenage depression and have also had suicidal and abandonment issues of my own.

    We pushed on from the suicide attempt and saw no less of each other, but early days were difficult. There were plenty of male ‘wolfs’ hovering around giving her attention and preying on her vulnerability and of course, having already been “betrayed” by her earlier (with her running back to her ex) my insecurities and paranoia surfaced often, which only complicated the problem. And it’s not that they weren’t justified, either.

    She didn’t cheat on me per se, but there were various moments that would be deemed inappropriate behaviour for someone who is supposedly in love. Flirty text messages to other guys, fancying friends of mine. I saw it all as attention seeking rather than a disorder and dismissed it all as immaturity and perhaps just someone being a bit of a selfish b*tch. Of course on reflection now, I see things differently.

    Anyway, the first 6 months continued like this, although I did feel we had made progression on the ‘other guy attention’ side of things, but her BPD spurned moments where we would argue. I like to believe I’m a rational person – in my nature as a Libran – and I can be quite hard work myself when I deem something unjust.

    This of course created a clash and while I have never been violent towards anyone, it reached a point where I was raising my voice aggressively sometimes, when a point I was making wasn’t being received, despite it’s obvious logic.

    This reached a crescendo around our first year anniversary. I got angry at her for losing money while we were out and with her “in her shell” reaction and not expressing her emotions to me back, I lost my nerve. She had also been self harming, cutting herself quite a lot over the previous week or so, and in the extreme of the moment, and stress of it all, I really lost it. I tried to cut myself to show her just how it was all affecting me. That I was hurting beyond what she could imagine and her cuts were superficial in comparison. “This is self harm” I shouted, trying to show her what her own self-destructive tendencies were doing to me, in a bid to help her realise the damage she was causing.

    I know that was an awful awful thing to do to her and it’s hard to forgive myself in retrospect. I thought I was proving a point at the time and I was in no reasonable headspace to ground myself either.

    We broke up the next day. She slept with someone else she had history with within 3 days. This man was hovering for the next month, although she kept pushing him away and I’m sure they only slept together the one time. However, despite us repatching things the next week and subsequently over the next month, she didn’t push him away completely and after seeing one of their conversations online, I knew something was up, confronting her and eventually discovering the truth.

    I thought that was the end of the line, but somehow we managed to decide to try again and commit to one another properly. I held responsibility for my side of all previous arguments of course, as my own rage had got the better of me.

    Basically, every argument we’d have, I’d come away being the more apologetic. In the case of me cutting myself, I should have been for sure, but most arguments were always always created through her BPD and I was the one exaggerating things to take so much of the blame. My emotions were just never grounded and that was feeding the problem.

    After another episode during Valentines Day this year- in which she acted extremely jealous and insecure over a sentence I said, which led to me eventually cracking and having an emotional outburst of my own – I gave up drinking alcohol. I had never been a heavy drinker, but these arguments were always worse when I was drinking, and I wanted to do anything I could to pinpoint the issues here.

    Despite this, every month or so there would be a splitting moment where our relationship would be thrown into question. This insecurity is obviously hard to take for both of us and about a month ago I said enough is enough. I had certainly calmed down a lot since giving up alcohol and when the arguments would occur, I’d know I had acted rationally and was able to stop blaming myself for it all the time.

    I laid everything out and said, this is who I am and I can’t stress out anymore about us. I want a peaceful loving relationship where you trust in my character at the very least and thus we can overcome any insecurities. I was very concise and said I would be willing to walk away if we couldn’t change the things that were happening, or do our best to try. And not like we have in the past. I was really at the crossroads by this point.

    It was around this time though that she discovered BPD as a possible explanation. I looked it up and agreed, but didn’t do enough exploration and another week passed. This time she split again pretty heavily and made a mountain out of a minuscule molehill, storming home and saying we have to split up. Distraught, but ready to throw the towel in finally, I looked up more about BPD and spent an entire day reading as much as I could find on the matter.

    It explains everything. All of her behaviour. All of her actions. It explains why I have even returned to the teenage headspace at times and acted irrational/angry/sucidial at times too. It has really been an eye-opener for me. My only problem now is that there is a lot of advice out there and I don’t know what to believe.

    We are genuinely in love with each other. Between the splitting, our relationship is amazing and she’s only insecure about it, or dissatisfied with it, when her insecurities and extreme BPD emotions take over. Neither one of us want this to end. This is why she is now seeking professional help. She has yet to have her first appointment, but she has recognised her condition and does want to change.

    She doesn’t want to lose me and I don’t want to lose her. I don’t want to risk leaving her temporarily either. Not because I think she won’t come back at some stage, but because of the damage other men might do if they were able to get close. And I think her vulnerability if I was to leave her, would be so high that other guys would certainly be swooping. I have questioned my own ego side of things on this, and yes of course it plays a part. But I genuinely genuinely want what is best for this girl and will do anything I can to help her get through this.

    There is another huge aspect to this that I have overlooked. Her family.

    For the last two years – and I guess throughout previous relationships – her mother, whom she lives with, has always blamed the boyfriend for everything. As mother’s do. I can’t blame her. Aside from the exaggerations Borderlines use to justify their side of the story, she has also witnessed a couple of my emotional outbursts in response to her daughters BPD. Therefore, her mother doesn’t have much faith in me and sees me as the problem, almost disassociating herself from her daughter’s condition.

    Even now, with my partner preaching to her mother about how it is a condition that is causing this, her mother refuses to believe and acts as if I myself have invented this condition as a way of controlling her daughter, despite the fact it was her daughter who discovered it. She genuinely thinks I’m a bully, or an abusive controlling person. That couldn’t be further from who I am. She works in the medical trade, as well.

    Aside from her paranoia about myself, I have never met anyone in my life who has so many pre negative conceptions. She seems to live her life as if everything in the tabloids is going to happen to her on a daily basis. This obviously reflects upon her daughter. They are close, but in a weird way as I have never seen them hug and it is a very formal relationship in my opinion.

    All of this makes it particularly hard to think walking away is the right thing at all. My partner is surrounded by this mentality at home and I honestly feel my presence – as long as I keep my own emotional and dependant side grounded – is a beneficial one. From what I have read, this very kind of upbringing/dissociative parenthood can create these disorders in the first place.

    At the same time, I really want to help this girl in any way possible and don’t want myself to be blinded by love, or by my own egotistical needs – if they are in play here – that may hinder her development. It’s a tricky one.

    I wouldn’t leave my girlfriend if she lost her legs in an accident. And from where I’m sitting there’s little difference, now that I’m aware of the disorder. But when people say the best thing I can do for her is to walk away…? Bit impossible to do that really. If it is honestly the best best thing I can do for her, I will do it and try my best to gather the strength to do so. But she will see it like me walking away from her after losing legs in an accident and that would not be what I would be doing. And I don’t want to do that. I want us to have the happy life that we dream of together. She wants that.

    Can she not work through therapy with me in her life, holding her hand and supporting her through it? It must be possible.

    • Hi, Apologies for the delay replying! Thank you for sharing so much of your difficult situation. I think that as your girlfriend is now seeking treatment and both of you are gaining a good understanding of BPD that yes, it is possible for you to stay together and for her to work through her therapy with you there to support her. Go for it, I admire your strength to accept and deal with her condition in this way, my ex left it too little, too late, to really try to understand my BPD and he was actually, truthfully, controlling and manipulating so it was the best thing for me to ave left him. She can and will get better if she wants it, as it sounds she does. I wish you both the bet of luck, having you by her side could make the whole recovery process so much easier :) best wishes Sharon

  48. Thanks so much for the very useful comments. I just have a question. I had 3 very romantic days last week with my boyfriend whom I love for more than 5 years. We have broken up several times and got back together again. Everytime he left me for no rational reason or any explanation. I went through terrible times of depression and confusion. After this long time, I just realized there is nothing wrong with me and it is him who is suffering from BPD.

    Two days after out romantic days he became angry with me for not replying his sms on time. He left me again….I am fighting hard with myself not go to the depression phase.

    I have kept smsing him. I try not to blame him or complain about anything. But he’s stopped replying me back. I really don’t know what works better now? Shall I have to continue contacting him to show my love and care towards him or I better leave him alone and give him space?
    I’ll appreciate if you help me to save me and him from this hell.
    Thanks a lot in advance

    • Hi, It’s up to you but personally I think it’s probably best not to sms him anymore, give him some space. He will most likely come back again but then you need to think about if you can continue with this on/off relationship where he will be great for a while then leave you and be ignorant, as it is likely this pattern would continue for a long time… Good luck whatever you decide but put yourself first! :)

  49. This post and the subsequent comments are helpful in a deeply profound way. It seems I have had several friends (or friends of friends) over the years with this condition. In all cases, the person suffering from BPD had no awareness of the following facts: (A) they often or continuously processed information incorrectly/inaccurately, and (B) subsequently had a continuing pattern of burning bridges. Currently, I have 2 close friends with this condition and it is maddening. In both cases, their highest value, it seems, is being right. Yet, because of their seeming inability to process information accurately, they often misinterpret. Their recounting of events is often inaccurate. But because they sincerely believe their accounts are the God’s truth, anything which confutes their story is, de facto, a lie. Additionally, both men are high D or choleric personalities, which only compounds the problem. In their minds everyone else is wrong. When it comes to hard truth, as in there “may” be an issue with them, they are unapproachable. The assumption is that there is no problem with them, ergo the issue is always everyone else. Even though this is not the case, it is sincerely believed by them at the deepest heart level. It has made having a relationship with them exhausting, frustrating, maddening, and heart-wrenching to the extreme. I feel hopeless. Because of their condition, they need help…not just for their own sakes but for the sakes of their families and friends. But their condition seems to inoculate them against getting help. What to do? I feel lost, hopeless…powerless to help them.

    • Yes, there nothing worse than someone with BPD who ca not see or will not acknowledge they have a problem. There is not much one can do to help these people because until they are ready to accept there is something wrong they will always blame everyone else. I wish I had something more helpful to say but you can not make anyone see they have a problem, it’s like any other condition (alcoholism springs to mind as a similar process) until they admit to themselves (even if no-one else initially) that something is wrong they are not going to get help, and even when a problem is acknowledged they have to want to get help… it really is down to them :(

  50. Hi my name is Lily and i have bpd and ocd i just found out last year …… I am so happy i found this group at this time in my life my father has been admitted to the hospital over a month and a half and the doctors have been giving him every test possible and everything is coming back clear it is like the strangest situation i have ever witnessest and i have been a personal support worker since 2006 i am so disappointed that not one doctor can figer out what’s wrong with him ……anyhoo i need support from the right people and with that sayed the best support for me is from other Bpd just like me ~O:-) …….sending good vibes to everyone ~;-) and thanks for reading

  51. How do I start this. Our daughter has BP, she is 28, has three children. She was caught shop lifting for a major retailor( where both her father and I work) over $900. She also wanted to committ suicide and went to the ER. I had her go to a hospital for a few days. Then she got in a violent fight with her fiance, he went to jail so she didnt have to. Thats when we took the two oldest children. They needed to be safe and happy until she could get better( start). We love our daughter and want her to get to a better place. But we are tired frustrated and tes hurt. Her brother dosent evan want to see her. :( there is do much more to say in between all I have written. The children went home yesterday the youngest one will come back on Saturday. We feel she is giving up on on beiing a fulltime mom. She wants us to take the boys on the weekends every weekend. We are fifty work time and she dosent. Hincw the money problems. We dont know what to do anymore we want to help and we are. But there are limits right?

    • Sorry to hear about your situation. Yes, there are limits, she is clearly in a very bad place at the moment and in need of help and support but she has to make an effort herself too and want to get better, she can only expect people (even close family) to be willing to support her if she is trying to help herself, because no-one can do it for her, she is the only one who can make herself get better, with some professional help on ‘how’ to do that and love and support of people close to her, but he cannot just leave it all to you. She needs professional help and possibly a bit of tough love now, let her know you love her and will always support her but that she needs to put in as much effort herself! Good luck :( x

  52. Showard, your shared experiences are helping people. Thanks for putting the effort in.

    I’ve loved with a person who suffers from BPD for a long time. Only, I’m pretty sure she’s undiagnosed. I say she has it, because the girlfriend I had *after* the BPD relationship actually *was* diagnosed with it, and they shared almost the exact same traits.

    Many of the points of communicative advice you’ve shared, I’ve unknowingly tried over the course of knowing her, and some have worked very, very well. The only problem I have now is that I can’t seem to get her to believe the positives I convey.

    I’m not good at expressing my emotions as it is, but it seems as though I have to step fully out of my shell and risk getting my head bitten off, in order to get her to come out of hers. While it used to warm her in the past, I can’t just tell her I care anymore; I have to physically show it, or it feels as though she thinks I’m feeding her a line.

    On the other hand, even though we rip on each other all the time, she’ll believe every single little joke I make about her if it’s too close to one of her insecurities: namely, being cold and unapproachable.

    I’m a confident, ambitious man who’s never had any serious problems with women, but this one, I really, really care for. I’m not under the illusion I can fix her. But I so wish she could understand that I actually do want her in my life for many more years than she’s already been in it.

    She chose another man over me in the past, which didn’t last. Could she have interpreted my leaving her and starting another relationship as come kind of twisted form of betrayal? I did promise to stick by her, no matter what. And I have, and she knows it.

    But she darts in and out of being real with me. One minute, she says I give her hurt treatment and don’t care, the next, she says I care about her too much and nothing I say matters to her.

    How can I strike the balance between being there for her, but not being around so much that she takes me for granted? It seems impossible.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. I think your final sentence sums it up perfectly ‘It seems impossible’. All you have described seems very typical BPD, the push/pull behaviour, the intense need for you to ‘prove’ as words are not enough. If someone seems to care too much we (BP’s) can recoil and back off feeling smothered, but show you can and we can push, testing your boundaries “how much do you care? how far can I push before you leave me anyway? because I know you will!” – that’s the bit I hate the most personally! Knowing and understanding that these things will happen regardless of what you do is probably the best you can hope for in dealing with it. Then you can be firm but fair with her, telling her she’s pushing, you’re not going anywhere but it she must stop doing it (I just had a guy do this with me, no-one has ever done it before and it worked wonders!). Lot’s of the BPD reactions we don’t even notice e are doing unless someone is firm with us and tells us straight, no accusation or attack, just simple plain language “You are pushing me away, I don’t want to be pushed, I want to be there for you, stop it okay” and keep it up, it actually works. As for the balance it’s pretty much the same thing, spend time with her but just be firm about the other time ‘Not tonight, I need to just have a night to myself, I’ll come see you tomorrow’ She will hate it but so long as you keep your word she will accept it as much as she doesn’t want to be without you for a single night – just make sure you are 100% honest about what you are doing on the other nights, lying or not telling her for fear of upsetting her are sure fire ways to infuriate her! She may sulk if you are spending the night with your mates instead of her but if you said you were staying home and went out with your mates she would find out and be furious, so yeah just be honest.
      Firm boundaries and honesty, those are the keys to good balance :) Good luck!

      • Thank you for replying. It’s appreciated.

        In regard to your advice about being firm, I’ve reacted to her pulling away mode with almost every reaction possible; I’ve told her what she’s doing and asked her to stop politely, I’ve gotten angry at her for it, I’ve acknowledged and been patient, and I’ve ignored it. All with mixed results.

        Sometimes getting angry at her opens her up, but she resents me for pushing so hard. Being patient with her works, but only if I keep 100% cool and reassure her about how special she is to me, which makes me wonder if she goes silent so she can hear me say sweet things. I don’t know.

        Shortly after I wrote the previous post, I wrote her a short, caring email that thawed her frost, and she began to contact me almost every morning – so happy to speak with me. Two weeks this lasted, until she finally opened up her heart to me in the first time in a long time (I sensed something was wrong, and was right).

        Sensing something amiss, I told her how conflicted she seems and, for the first time in a long time, told her that I love her very much. She started crying and further opened up to me. I comforted her.

        But when she went into detail about the issue upsetting her, I just couldn’t handle the jealousy that ravaged my body — she was upset about another man’s lack of wanting anything to do with her again.

        It was catch-22; if I kept calm and listened to her describe how much he’s hurting her, then I’ll go crazy. But if I establish a boundary of “I can’t talk about this with you. It hurts me”, then she’ll withdraw.

        I tried and I tried so hard not to, but I did the latter, and she withdrew again. I just couldn’t suffer in silence, loving this woman with all my heart, while she complained to me about yet another man mistreating her/upsetting her.

        There’s such a twisted history between us. Not too long ago, it was the other way around.

        To be honest, I got a bit angry with her (she belittled our relationship/whatever it is), even though I know she may’ve just been belittling it in the emotional moment.

        Now, because I reacted, she’s barely talking to me . . . again. Ignoring me in patches . . . again. I’ve known her for nearly ten years and this has happened so many times.

        I’ve studied much on BPD to better understand her and myself (she’s undiagnosed). So this time, I’ve told her that I notice when she withdraws and that this time I’ll try to not to push her to open up. But I let her know I’m still here if she wants to talk, and I think the world of her. I’ve also gone on holiday, which I’m on as I type.

        I’ve a fear of losing her if I give her space. Pushing has caused everything from:

        Fighting;
        Not speaking for months;
        Yelling at me to leave her alone;
        Accusations that I’m annoying her for a laugh;
        Her pushing back and telling me everything on her mind.

        And backing off/being understanding has caused everything from:

        Her thinking I don’t care;
        To consoling herself with sex/porn;
        Cheating on me;
        Coming back to me remorsefully;
        Chasing me;
        Weakening the relationship;

        Lose-lose situation it seems. But I don’t think I can stop loving her on some level.

      • Hi sorry for the delay replying. It does sound like this vicious circle will not come to an end any time soon, and if it does it won’t be a happy ending. What she really needs is to recognise she is unwell and get help, but trying to get her to see that can in itself lead to even more pain and arguments. I can only wish you the best and hope that somehow you will find a happy, healthy balance with her one day…

  53. hi sharon,

    i’ve recently been replaced by a boyfriend who i suspect is BPD. he told me he loved me within a week, his tagline for the relationship was “breaking up is not an option”, he has a history (before me) of heroin addiction and unstable relationships where he even stalked a girl for a year, things like that. but of course, when i met him, he was in GREAT condition. got out of rehab a year prior, and just seemed like an all-around ace guy. i knew about the heroin and broken marriage, but i am just now learning things about the stalking, etc. so in our relationship, i was not that easy to deal with. i still had baggage with an ex-boyfriend, so my BPD suspect was constantly going through my emails, my phone when i wasn’t in the room, parked outside my cousin’s house once, things like that. at the time, i justified it and placed the blame on myself because he DID find inappropriate conversations (i know, it was my bad) in my emails. they didn’t mean anything, but i can understand why it hurt him and made him paranoid. he convinced himself that i cheated on him. he said he believed me that i didn’t, but i don’t think his fears went away. i feel awful now because i had no idea he might be BPD at the time, and i can’t believe i triggered these fears in such a fragile person. so we had been together for almost 3 years, things were a lot better between us, then he saw a picture on facebook (he got on his housemate’s account to go look at my ex’s page) and assumed my ex and i were together one weekend just because we were at the same music festival. i proved to him that this wasn’t the case, but he still went on the attack. that turned into him canceling our trip to california to visit his family, canceling our hotel reservations that weekend, constantly getting on my case about random things to help him build his trust in me, like eating better, sleeping better, just RANDOM stuff that didn’t relate, but he was like “accountability” etc etc, so i was like ok makes sense? kind of? i felt like nothing i could do would calm him down or make him happy. 3 weeks later, he tells me he is in a relationship with someone else. threatens to block me when i try to have a conversation about it. puts up the relationship on FACEBOOK a few days later. takes the girl to the BEACH when he was about to take me to the beach. then starts sending me emails making me feel totally worthless and as if it was MY fault he cheated. i am driving myself crazy trying to figure out how my loving, affectionate, absolutely perfect boyfriend (with the bitter, sarcastic spells here and there of course) turned out like this. it’s like i’m a piece of trash now. he has absolutely no remorse or emotional attachment. he always talked about marrying me and our kids and this and that. i’m SO messed up still, and it’s been a couple of months. ugh. help.

    • Hi,
      Sorry to hear about the terrible time you have been having. I think it may be worth you seeking professional help yourself to deal with and heal from what you have been through, the end of a relationship with a BPD can be very traumatic with no closure, loose ends, and confusing mixed messages. There is no shame in needing help to deal with how hurtful, powerful and damaging this has been. So, I would suggest you seek help, even if just a counsellor to talk to for a few sessions just to get out all out so you can start to move on. Good luck x

  54. Thanks so much everyone for sharing, this has truly provided me with validation. I recently visited a friend out of state, whom I have known for 20 years. She expressed to me years back that she has been diagnosed with BPD, from more than one mental health professional, however I made great efforts in accepting her for who she is, disregarding the illness. I realize, that this was a huge mistake.

    Going to visit her was a lot of fun, however I observed her inability to cope, pattern of unhealthy relationships and I have to admit ,extreme selfishness. I listened to her for hours discuss these unhealthy relationships, provided validation and praise. However, when I began to offer her an opinion, she verbalized that she did not want to listen, which was very hurtful to me. I then noticed as the day progressed, that when I would share things about my love life, she would zone out. I later attempted to confront her on my feelings, which led to her verbally attacking me, saying things that I’m too hurt to even repeat. This argument has now taken our 20 year friendship to a place that is very dark, and unforgiving on my part.

    After reading the responses from everyone, has now allowed me to not personalize her actions as much. I also know that if we continue our friendship, a great deal of distance is needed. I consider myself a strong, opinionated and assertive woman, which appears to now be problematic in our friendship. I am someone who has patience, empathy, but will not be a doormat for my friend. I do not believe that we can even have healthy communication, until she goes for help. Please feel free to email me words of wisdom/advice. Thanks

    • Hi Heather, yes I think you are right that while she is clearly so unwell and not getting help that healthy communication would be extremely difficult! You are also right that you should not allow yourself to be a doormat for your friend and not to personalize her actions – they are not about you, they are very much about her, her illness and inability to recognise what she is doing or control it because she is unwell. The biggest difficulty is not being able to advise her
      that she needs help she is clearly not getting! :( If I ever come across or figure out a way people can get someone with BPD to listen to that advice and seek help I will be sure to share it, I think a lot of people would love to know how they can do that!!

  55. This post really hit home. After a long string of abusive relationships, I am finally with someone who is gentle, caring, loving, and pretty much perfect for me in every way. I’ve always had emotional difficulties and have engaged in self-destructive behavior, but after moving in with him a few months ago, this whole new monster emerged. Normally I consider myself to be level headed, logical, and deeply empathetic. I guess I’m used to being the rock in otherwise unstable, abusive, and explosive relationships. When I am triggered now I become filled with an unbelievable amount of rage, fear, anxiety, and the world becomes this terrifying and unforgiving place. It is like a switch that once it is turned on, and it doesn’t stop until the bulb dies out. I don’t think clearly and I know that. Unfortunately, my boyfriend is usually the object of my outbursts, and he becomes this evil, hateful, and deceitful person in my eyes (even though he is anything but that). I cry and scream and abuse alcohol and cut myself and start these wild, one-sided fights about things that don’t even make sense to him (or me the next morning for that matter). I have embarrassed myself in front of friends, caused him a great deal of stress, and hurt our relationship. I really want to stop acting like this but sometimes I don’t know how. And I feel like it is getting worse. I’m 23 and I am deeply ashamed to say that I have fresh scars all over my legs because I have felt so unbearably hopeless that I didn’t know what else to do except make myself bleed. The only thing that really helps is learning to identify when I am triggered, and to take my medication (anti-anxiety pills) and get away from people until my sanity comes back.

    • Hi Tanya, thanks for sharing. It is a living hell coping when you are in crisis mode (which is what it sound like you are in from what you describe). Are you seeing any professionals to help you? Some DBT might be good for helping you stabilise again if you can access it!?

  56. Hi sharon.

    I posted today on another of your topics about BPD ending relationships, I wrote my whole story there. Long story short.. my ex gf im 99.9% sure has BPD but she never actually let it be known. All she said was that she had depression. Ive read 2 of your posts and have read every comment and response from bloggers and I am confident that my recent ex is BPD. She matches every trait thats been mentioned. I have a few questions for you and Magick… my ex has studied psychology and has obtained a degree. So its clear to say that she understands behavioural disorders. Why has she stopped seeing a psychologist when she should know she needs help? Shes taking medication but she thinks she can fix this herself. From what I went through, I honestly think its impossible to help herself alone. We have been apart for nearly 3 weeks now and the last I heard frm her was that she is fixing herself , finding her self confidence and is rekindling her faith. YET… she posts heartfelt victimising quotes and statuses on facebook for the world to think I was the worst boyfriend alive, which is so extremely hurtful and cruel. Why does she try make me look like I ruined her life , when in reality I was there for her everyday , keeping our relationship together even when I was constantly blamed for everything. All I was, was supportive and attentive to her needs etc.
    So basically… why is she not getting help? Why is she ruining my self worth and telling the world on fb that indirectly I am a monster? Do BPD sufferers draw the line somewhere and realise one day that I was actually there to help and love her and NOT to hurt her? Shes a very clever girl but its as if she knows the answers and she knows what she needed to do but chose not to. Its terribly hurtful and confusing.

    • Hi again Ty, apologies for the delay replying! BPD can make clever people do foolish things, she may believe there is nothing wrong with her, be in denial or may think it is everyone else who has a problem not her – these and many other possibile reasons could explain her reluctance to get the help she needs. She may think she can deal with it by herself given her knowledge of Psychology, or maybe the psychologist was, like many in the profession, disbelieving of BPD themselves and convinced her there is ‘no hope, no treatment’ as we are often labelled untreatable (due to too many years of trying to treat BPD with medications and therapies meant for other conditions that had little or no effect on BPD sufferers that it was assumed ‘we’ were the problem not that the treatment was wrong). With regard to her posts about you that sounds like she is splitting and painting you black, in that state of mind she will only see you as entirely bad, mean, evil even (did you read my post about splitting and black & white thinking?). She may never bring you out of the ‘black’ but hopefully will stop victimising and insulting you when she has a new focus for her attentions (negative or positive)…

  57. Hi sharon.

    Sorry just to add. Shes gotten her sister and mother to block me from facebook. I dont understand how they are supporting her when they dont even understand what was really happening? In my other post I explained that she had a traumatic childhood due to her father …. and her mother couldnt deal with it so she became addicted to sleeping tablets, which led to my ex fending for herself and little sister for years. The problem I have seemed to gather now is… theres no one in her life to tell her wrong from right. Her mother seems to be overwhelmed with guilt from abandoning her in the past that her mom seems to be “pussy footing” around her. So now my ex has no support nor guidance from anyone.
    Her mother is only there to “protect” her yet she cant see how much damage my ex has done to me and our relationship.

    • She has probably convinced them that you are the ‘bad’ person in all that has happened, and I agree her mom is likely pussy-footing around her out of guilt from her own past but this is no help or support to your ex even though both may think it is…

      • Thanks again for the reply. I know I shouldnt be hanging on.. to an extent im actually not but id like to know once ive been split black , is it possible to be split white again? Ive came across a few stories that suggest you can be split white again. I know not all bpd are the same so surely there are cases of them understanding that things were great and they want their ex back.

  58. I’m an Aspie with a quiet BPD husband of 16 years. I found many of this advice unhelpful in our situation. I go beyond meeting half way and carry the entire relationship while he lies and has affairs. It’s been a heartbreaking nightmare. The lies alone have scarred me enough for several lifetimes.
    Your part about seeing anger in eyes? That’s what you see but doesn’t probably exist. I was accused of having disgust in my eyes during sex just because he felt unworthy. I adored him and made him my world and he treated me so coldly, and like a plaything without feelings. His last affair where he ran off with someone half his age and I was frantic for 10 days fearing suicide, caused me to have a severe existential breakdown followed by PTSD. I’ve spent the past year having flashbacks, total emotion numbness and complete distrust of everyone.
    Clearly what works for some doesn’t work for all BPD’s, just the same for Aspergers or anything that affects us emotionally and mentally. BPD doesn’t give anyone the right to be abusive or unfaithful in a committed relationship. I echo the above comment, you must be in a therapy to be in a relationship with BPD. It’s only fair, or you might rip your perceived love one apart. I was the kindest, strongest, most open, judgement free, loving person when we met. Now I don’t know who I am and if I can even feel again.

    • yes, I fully agree what works for some won’t work for others, with 256 ways to be diagnosed BPD some of us are going to be very different in the way we work, think and respond. And I also agree that having BPD (or any other condition) does not give people the right to be abusive or unfaithful.

  59. Magick
    I just want to say your post is the most positive post I have seen on BPD and gives me hope I am doing the right thing.
    Having been involved with somebody who exhibits the classic BPD history from being young through to her late 40′s.Unstable family life, bulimia, alcohol abuse, abusive first marriage, dugs in 20′s, multiple affairs, no real sense of self, an emptiness and an ability to chnage according to who she is with. Most people
    meet her and see this attractive outgoing lively woman – I have seen the other side – many times. The lonely lost confused person who uses alcohol to numb emotions

    I am now in the position you describe.

    Trying to be there as a friend after a relationship…a 12 year affair (yes I know it is wrong but …too long to explain)

    She is still married and currently talking about a divorce from her husband but whilst seeing me she met a young guy who ‘is so on her wavelength, instant connection, never had this feeling before, everything about him is so good, they just stare into each others eyes for 20mins etc…) she is 48 with a 4 year old daughter and I am very close to the daughter (not mine )

    I sensed she was treating me differently earlier in the year – distancing me then suddenly wants sex and then back – I knew she was lying about something and challenged her on her behaviours – unexpectedly she broke down and said she needed help…

    I am paying for her counselling and have said I love he but cant be in a relationship with her even if she wanted at the moment – but wish it were different but I am her friend and will always be there for her and her daughter.

    We now talk about her feelings, I listen and challenge .I have told her she doesnt need to lie to me about anything and want to know if I am doing the right thing – she says I am the only person who has cared about her and stuck around and she cries when we talk about how she treated me and says she feels ashamed and embarrassed and cant undertand why I am being there for her

    - it hurts sometimes when she talks about this new guy – and even though her counsellor has said she shouldnt be in a romantic relationship I know she still see him in this light even though she talks about it only being platonic.

    but I am afraid she will get her divorce and jump straight into another bad relationship – the counsellor she is seeing is art therapy with experience of BPD. How long should I wait to see any benefits as not sure if DBT might be better but don’t want to break a good counsellor relationship

    Any views on anything please

  60. I am a physician….I was married to a borderline and bipolar wife and our relationship lasted 30 years. She was not too bad till she had a series of losses….mother, grandmother, and empty nest. Then she totally flipped…Well, we are no longer together as her bipolar got the best of her and she refuses medication.
    Recently I have a dated a couple of woman that I believe have borderline. This has been the most insightful board in terms of how to deal with someone with this illness. My biggest mistake has been that they make you feel great…you are the one….this is the one for you. Best date ever. So, you turn around and give your warm ..heart…make plans for the future which after reading this site I now know how this might scare them and so they pull the rug under you in order to protect themselves. Now I know that I need to be a little more indifferent with them and now over show my affection as they do…since this might actually threaten them.
    Thank You…Abe

    • Thanks for sharing Abe, I would say maybe not so much scares them but due to the fear of abandonment they are so scared you do not mean what you say they push you away to protect themselves from what they see as inevitable ‘everyone always leaves’, but trying to win them back if they do push you away can lead to a no-win vicious circle of this push-pull behaviour if they are not well and not seeking treatment to overcome their emotional instability. I hope your improved insight helps you find a more stable basis for a relationship in future :)

  61. This part of your post was significant:

    “If they ask you to do something reasonable do it – for example I recently asked someone to block me on facebook as I kept sending them messages and they wouldn’t so it continued and it wasn’t good for me to be sending them messages, I still felt like crap when they did block me, but at the same time I was relieved because I no longer had to fight the temptation to bombard them with messages.”

    Showard, what would you have said if that person asked “if it’s a problem, why don’t you just block me yourself?” ?

    • Thanks for asking, that was exactly what they did say at first, hence I continued to message them, so I explained “If ‘I’ block you then I can just unblock you if the temptation to message you gets too much, as it has done, but if you block me then I don’t have that option…” eventually they blocked me, which was best for us both…

  62. It’s late and I’m tired but I just read Majick’s post about how getting close to someoe with BPD can trigger its most hurtful aspects. I think this is what happened. He was obsessed with his previous ex who seems to have done some pretty nasty things. It makes so much sense but it makes me sad – he couldn’t love me because I loved him,

    I too have read those sites full of posts from people convinced BPD people do all this out of malice. I feel that way sometimes – because I am in terrible pain.

    And I am co-dependent, and full of my own rage…

    He used to say, when he’d hurt me, that I shouldn’t take it personally. I used to think it was arrogance. But maybe it was truth, albeit partially and confusingly expressed.

    I wish I’d known all this at the start. But the mask he wears over the pain and rage only slipped very slowly. I think I could have stayed with him, if we’d both known and both tried.

    But he split up with me three times, and the third time I felt as if I’d been skinned alive. There can be no going back – I have my own mental health problems, and it would harm me horribly (and do him no good either, I suppose).

    Oh, this is all so very, very sad.

    • You could be right, when a BPD is at their most vulnerable and unwell they are more likely to lash out because to believe that someone could be true and love them seems so impossible to be real it can only be a lie (distorted logic) and so they are tested to breaking point :(

  63. i was diagnosed with BPD four years ago after attempting suicide. the time since then has been unbearable as ive just tried to get on with my life but as such has come to a head. ive been married for 7 years and love my wife to bits. only problem is she only wanted a name/label for my condition. now she has one its as though she doesnt want to know,or cant be bothered with finding out about it. i showed her a webpage (wish i found this one first as it explains it a lot better) that expalined how a BPD sufferer feels emotions and how things can be fragile at best, and, expecting a caring loving answer, all i got was “thats you down to a t, YOU need to go to the doctors” is it normal to feel helpless and unloved or am i really blaming it on BPD?

    • Hi Chris, sorry to hear about your wife’s unwillingness to understand your condition, and yes it is normal to feel helpless and unloved, especially if someone is behaving like they don’t care! I don’t understand that about some people, like you wife, how much they want a label for something but then once they have one they have no interest in finding out what that label means – surely that is the whole point of getting a label in the first place – to understand? I do hope she will take the time to read up and learn about BPD because she is (unintentionally?) risking eventually losing you by not doing so because recovery for you is something that will require input from her to support you. I do hope she will pay attention and gain some understanding!

  64. I need help and am looking for resources. I think I have finally figured out that my husband has BPD. We have a one year old and the last year has been the worst. He is finally seeing a doctor but only for anxiety and depression issues. I went and talked to his doctor with him yesterday about our issues and that I suspect he has BPD. My husband drinks a lot with his medication and drinking makes his symptoms and issues worse. I am trying to help but don’t know where to start. I have been angry, upset and mostly exhausted and trying to change but that takes effort and time and changing what my husband sees is not something I can control. I am trying to be calmer, listen, not push and help him and us but he gets into his mode, blames me for everything that is wrong with his life. I called his doctor with my concerns before he agreed that I could come talk to his doctor with him. I did not tell him that i called his doctor as I knew it would only make matters worse. His doctor mentioned it yesterday and after he came home all he could concentrate on was that I had gone behind his back and that he doesn’t trust me and cannot trust me. His doctor advised him to stop drinking but he went and got beer on his way home. He sais he will stop after yesterday but he has said this so many times. If he asks me to buy beer and I don’t he get mad and if I do, he drinks and gets worse. He agreed to go to counselling with me initially but later said he wont go. I don’t threaten anymore, I don’t cry anymore (at least try not to in front of him). I do ignore sometimes or say we can talk about a particular issue later as its impossible to communicate with him. I am on eggshells all the time. I have work, a one year old to take care of and worry constantly about how his behavior will affect her emotionally. I worry about his work and job and him missing so many days. I don’t know what to concentrate on and where to start. I want suggestions for help groups. Ideas on how to work on his drinking first and then help him with other things. He wants me to show him I care but being there for him and doing everything I can for him isn’t enough. Although i have a job, he supports us financially and that’s what he does for the family and i do nothing. I have issues, i haven’t understood him in the past but I dont want to leave him. I want to help but how can you when nothing you say is right, nothing you do is right?

    • I can see your pain and difficulty. I actually think the best thing may be for you to get a therapist of your own to help you cope as unfortunately the one thing none of us can do is make someone else change their behaviour, the only person we can change is ourselves, but having someone to talk to and let out our concerns is always helpful, but I do think it should be separate from his. Hopefully he will go to counselling with you eventually, but I think he probably needs to work on his own issues, with his own therapist, privately first before he will be ready and well enough to work on things together? In the meantime as hard as it is if you really don’t want to leave all you can do is continue to try and be supportive and encouraging. And yes, the drinking is likely to be something that need to be addressed first, hopefully this may be of some help… the most difficult thing may be a bit of tough love, declaring to him (when he is in one of his good moods) that you are setting a boundary on alcohol that you refuse to buy it for him at all, you are not saying he can’t drink only that you will not support, encourage or participate in that aspect of his behaviour because you love him and do not want to see him harming himself through drinking (firm boundaries are hard to set, harder to keep – especially if he gets angry, but vital for really showing him you mean business, i.e. that you love him deeply. If you do not hold firm to your boundaries he will feel you don’t love him, even if his behaviour about you keeping them suggests that is his feeling that is nothing compared to what he will not express if you give in to him!). It may be worth reading up on AA support (not necessarily to make him go but to get more ideas for helping with that issue independently from the other stuff). I wish you the very best and hope he gets better :)

  65. This particular female bpd with a heart of gold whom I utterly adore tends to lean towards restraining orders. She avoids relationships and me. If I leave it will she’ll come back? I don’t know what else to do.

  66. my ex girlfriend borderline broke up with me at the end of November and we live together through December she left January to stay with her mom.anyway we slept together two weeks ago for a week and then she cut me out of your life again on Monday and then she started telling you that there’s somebody else that she’s dating after she said she wasn’t dating anybody because she’s in therapy for sexual abuse and I don’t know if she’s sleeping with anybody or not but she told me before that somebody told her to tell me that she didn’t sleep with somebody so I would stop pursuing her so she told me Sunday that she’s in love with this guy and he’s the best thing and I am NOT a good guy and I’m bad and she said she loves him and she’s being with him now so I don’t know if that’s her way of just pushing me away even further but she blocked my Facebook email everything so I can contact her and she changed her phone I went to her work tonight to do my income tax because you work for money she looked at me before she left and she looked angry that she put her head down and just walked past me quickly as she leftI went past her apartment to see if he was home and she apparently didn’t go home after work and I spend some time down that wayit’s over between the hours of 8 o’clock and 1030 she went home so I don’t know where she went off when she doesn’t have a lot of friends but I think it could be another guy and it really hurts because I love her and I know I’m sick right now because of everything she said we got enmeshed together

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