This is what it's like to date someone with Borderline Personality Disorder | Metro News
Jun 29, A woman with borderline personality disorder writes about the cycle of dating she goes through. Sep 16, One of the main criteria of diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is difficulty maintaining relationships. If you're not familiar with. Sep 6, To learn more about the condition, I spoke to Dr. Barbara Greenberg, who treats BPD, Thomas*, a year-old who dates someone with BPD.
Although each person has their own unique experience, these are some common thought patterns people with BPD tend to have: I must be loved by all the important people in my life at all times or else I am worthless. Nobody cares about me as much as I care about them, so I always lose everyone I care about—despite the desperate things I try to do to stop them from leaving me.
If someone treats me badly, then I become bad. When I am alone, I become nobody and nothing. These thoughts may be completely at odds with your own perception of your partner, but it is imperative to understand that for them, they are very real, and can drive them toward extreme and seemingly irrational behavior. Navigating through this emotional minefield can be difficult and painful for both of you, but knowing that their thoughts and behaviors are the product of intensely powerful perceptional distortions deeply rooted in their mental health disorder, rather than a reflection of your own shortcomings, can bring some comfort.
For Thomas, educating himself about BPD helped him move from self-blame to empathy and compassion: There are a lot of nuances, complexities, and lines to be read through with BPD, but mostly I see Borderline Personality Disorder as an illness about pain, fear, and struggling to cope with all of that. For them, trust is always an issue, often leading to distortions of reality and paranoia. They may try to bait you into anger, then falsely accuse you of rejecting them, make you doubt reality and your sanity, or even brainwash you as emotional manipulation.
It is not unusual for them to cut off friends and relatives who they feel have betrayed them. They react to their profound fears of abandonment with needy and clingy behavior or anger and fury that reflect their own skewed reality and self-image. In a close relationship, they must walk a tightrope to balance the fear of being alone or of being too close.
To do so, they try to control with commands or manipulation, including flattery and seduction. Whereas narcissists enjoy being understood, too much understanding frightens the borderline.
Generally, borderlines are codependent, and find another codependent to merge with and to help them. They seek someone to provide stability and balance their changeable emotions. A codependent or narcissist who acts self-sufficient and controls his or her feelings can provide a perfect match.
The person with BPD may appear to be the underdog in the relationship, while his or her partner is the steady, needless and caretaking top dog.
They each exercise control in different ways. The non-BPD may do it through caretaking. Passion and intense emotions are enlivening to the person without BPD, who finds being alone depressing or experiences healthy people as boring. Codependents already have low self-esteem and poor boundaries, so they placate, accommodate, and apologize when attacked in order to maintain the emotional connection in the relationship.
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Setting a boundary can sometimes snap them out of their delusional thinking. Calling their bluff also is helpful. Both strategies require that you build his or her self-esteem, learn to be assertive, and derive outside emotional support. Giving in to them and giving them control does not make them feel more safe, but the opposite. See also my blog on manipulation. The less an individual feels like his or her mental illness is under the spotlight, the more opportunity they have to explore other aspects of themselves.
How can I communicate effectively during a crisis? When a loved one becomes reactive, they may become to insult you or make unfair accusations. The natural response is to become defensive and to match the level of reactivity.
They struggle to gauge what is a minor issue and what is a full blown catastrophe. They interpret your defensiveness as not being valued. Instead, when they become reactive, take the time to listen without pointing out the flaws in their argument. Try not to take it personally.
If the person does point out something you could improve or have done wrong, acknowledge their point, apologize, and suggest a way you can improve on the matter in the future. What if they threaten to hurt themselves?
A crisis is escalating if a person with BPD begins to threaten to harm themselves. Sometimes self-harm signs may be less overt, such as scratching the skin, eating less, coloring or shaving off hair, or isolating from others. Recognizing early signs can help prevent an emotional crisis from becoming more serious or requiring medical or psychiatric attention.
Instead, you invite the individual to talk about their emotions and allow yourself to gauge whether professional assistance is necessary.
When Your Loved One Has Borderline Personality Disorder
All threats of suicide should be taken seriously. Even if the behavior is attention-seeking, it can result in seriously harm or even death. This sends the message that they have an enormous amount of power over all arguments. Instead, ask your family member what they would feel most comfortable doing when they threaten injury. They might want to speak with their therapist, call a hotline, or walk with you into an emergency room.
Allowing them some amount of agency in of deescalating a crisis can help calm out of control emotions.