People you live with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can be very intense, and handling Stress. This can lead them to attack the people in their life. As a result, they often have turbulence relationships which are as harsh for the rest of the people there as BPD for the person living there. If you live with someone who has BPD, this is not news to you, but you may have losses on how to do anything about it.
Daniel S. Lobel, Ph.D., Clinic psychologist which specializes in supporting loved ones of people with BPD, has tips on how to help yourself, your partner and your relationship to reach a healthier place.
Learn more about borderline personality disorder
Living with a borderline personality disorder or living with someone who has it can be isolating. People with BPD and the people who live there often feel completely alone. Education is key, especially when it comes to the behaviors that lead to this disease.
People with BPD tend to attack and attack the person who doesn’t have it, Lobel says. “So people who are with people who have BPD end up feeling bad.”
Learning about how BPD causes this helps people who don’t have it understand that it’s not them. Lobel suggests these sites to learn more about borderline personality disorder and find support:
Take care of yourself first
Before you do anything else, “you have to stop the person from hurting you to move the relationship forward,” Lobel says. Trying to help them when they are mistreating you, calling you, living in passive and aggressive behavior is not safe for you and you are unlikely to help your partner.
Instead, he says, the first step is to set a boundary over your well-being. He suggests telling his partner, “I can’t be with you unless you’re okay, and for me to be okay, I have to stop you from hurting me.”
If your partner says you can’t stop, you’ll probably need professional help before you can move forward. The aim of this step, according to Lobel, is to let your partner know: “you must stop abusing me or we have nowhere to go.”
Set and stick with boundaries
“People with BPD try to get other people to do for them what they should do for themselves,” Lobel says. And they often get it, because the other person just wants to stop screaming, so they give in.
Instead, tell your partner, “I’m not going to get involved in things that are unhealthy.” This may mean insisting that they not use it drugs or alcohol in the house or not join if they do. It could mean leaving if your partner calls you or despises you.
Enforcing emotional boundaries, too
People with borderline personality disorder often bring people close to them to their emotions.
“They think,‘ If I’m angry, you have to get angry, too, ’so they’ll create a circumstance that will make the other person angry,” Lobel says.
If you can spot these trends, you will go a long way in stopping this co-dependent cycle.
Lobel suggests telling his partner, “You’re angry. I understand. I don’t need to be angry to understand that you are angry. We can talk about your anger, but you can’t call me or be abusive. “
If they can’t stop the behavior, you can tell them “You have to handle it all yourself.”
Replace the unhealthy connection with a healthy connection
Fighting or defending yourself from a partner who treats you damages your interest and your ability to do nice things with them. This makes it harder to connect.
Lobel says making a change, like stepping away when you are treated badly, frees up emotional time and space so you can have positive interactions, like watching a movie or walking together. These are more positive ways to show love.
“Consistency is so important,” Lobel says, “because people with BPD test the limits. If you set a limit, they may see ways to push or invade it.” If the pattern between you has been to let the boundaries stretch or break for a long time, it will not change overnight.
“You can’t change the border one day and wait for them to comply,” he says. “In the short term they will try it harder.” This means that things are likely to get worse before they get better.
“But if you can get over that part and if you’re very consistent,” Lobel says, “they’ll start accepting your limits.” They won’t stop testing your limits, but they will do less and less.
Support your partner’s treatment
There is no drug that specifically treats borderline personality disorder. But there are therapies, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which is the preferred treatment. “Trying to get them involved in a DBT program is very helpful,” says Lobel, because it teaches people with BPD healthier ways to respond and interact. You will want to find a therapist who has experience working with DBT and people with borderline personality disorder.
Let your loved one know that DBT can help anyone, not just people with BPD, because it “helps people communicate and increase their tolerance for Stress“.
Offer recognition as they move forward. “Compliment and comment on the positive changes and behaviors you observe,” Lobel says.
Know when to protect yourself
“The final limit in a relationship with someone who has BPD is to tell them, ‘I can’t stay,'” says Lobel.How do you know when it’s time to draw that line? Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Physical violence. No one should remain in a relationship where there is continued physical violence, Lobel says. “Someone will get hurt, the police will be involved, nothing good can come of it.”
- There are too many boundaries. When there are so many topics or types of interactions that you need to avoid to prevent your partner from flirting, you’ve eliminated most potential sources of communication, intimacy, and connection.
- Your partner is unwilling to make changes. “If the person insists,‘ nothing’s wrong with me, it’s all you, ’it’s a red flag and you’ll probably have to pack your bags,” Lobel says.
- Your mood is constantly bad. “Are you walking all the time miserable?” Lobel asks. “If you feel shit about this relationship all day, every day, you have to leave.”