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Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

  1. Read as much as you can about BPD — knowing about the disorder helps you deal with it.
  2. Understand that BPD behaviors aren’t about you. Try to depersonalize what’s happening.
  3. Collaboration for change. Accept that families can help, can learn effective skills and become therapeutic partners. They can reinforce treatment. 
  4. Be realistic. You will not eliminate another person’s borderline behavior, no matter how well you communicate. Only that person can do that. Your goal is simply to communicate in a way that respects you and the personal with borderline personality disorder. Click for more tips on communicating with someone with BPD.
  5. maintaining other sustaining life roles such as friendships, leisure activities and work.
  6. Maintaining good health, emotional and spiritual well-being.
  7. Don’t invalidate their emotions. Everyone experiences emotions, and people with BPD experience them in spades – that is the very nature of emotional dysregulation. When a loved one of a person with BPD invalidates the emotions of someone with BPD, the result is shame and mistrust in expressing their emotions.
  8. If you live with someone who has BPD, join a support group or consider therapy for yourself to help you deal with the issues you face.
  9. Even if you understand BPD behaviors, you need to know your own limits and stick by them — don’t ever allow yourself to be abused.
  10. Realize that sometimes the only thing you can do is leave the relationship when your loved one repeatedly runs over your limits or when your loved one refuses treatment.

Sources:

Sources:

Tips for Friends and Family of Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Spectrum BPD pamphlet

Helping Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

 

48 REPLIES 48

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Great post, Brodie. Thanks.

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Hi Brodie

This information is extremely valid for carers who care for someone with BPD. 

No 10: is a hard one to accept, although through education, support and a clear understanding of your own limits it will assist in coming to that decision. Guilt and loss are words that carers are often not even aware of when coming to this point, so support is highly recommend through this stage of grief.

We all want to do the best for the person we are caring for - sometimes mental illness crosses over to abuse or domestic violence. It is often hard for carers to distinguish what is the mental illness and what is behavioural. As we know behaviour can be changed, as carers, the only person we can change is ourselves and our reaction. We need to have clear boundaries, which in turn assists the person we are caring for.

Thanks for raising such helpful info

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Hi guys,

There's the 4th Annual Borderline Personality Disorder Conference happening in Melbourne soon. I can find out the details if anyone is interested.

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Right now I am really overwhelmed. I am tryjng to support my daughter who is suffering terribly with her BPD atm. I have no time for my other children or myself, everyday at some point I consider calling in emergency services or taking her to the hospital,(if she would go). 

She has children and they are suffering as we all are.I look after them sometimes but I have 5 children at home and am studying full-time. We have tryed unsuccessfully to get help several times in the past, I think she needs medication but she wont take it as she is breastfeeding and she doesnt trust herself not to od.

Very difficult times atm, I feel as though something bad is going to happen, but am at a loss to do more than I am. Outside help normally makes things worse and in the end nothing is changed. She still has BPD and the medical profession are useless in dealing with it. There are very little resources in my town. Basically if you ask for help, all you get is people who dont understand the illness and then involving others who just make everything worse.

 

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Hi Deby,

Welcome the the forums. 

I can hear that you feel pretty stuck at the moment.  It seems you've reached out for help, but have been largely disappointed with services that don't seem to have expertise in MH. 

You mentioned that you think about calling emergency services every day. If you feel like that your daughter or anyone is in immediate danger (harm to self or others) don't hesitate to contact emergency services. If your daughter is assessed as at immediate risk, she may be able to be assessed by a crisis assessment team. 

 

Do you have any other supports (family, friends) that you can speak with? Or who could provide you with a break?You got so much on your plate. It's important to also take sometime to care about you. Even if it's just for five minutes to take some time out? There are also family services that may be able to provide you with support. What state are you? I may be able to provide you with more information. There's also ARAFMI, which is a service that provides support to carers. 

 

You might also find these BPD resources provided by @chemonro useful. @isabella as a person with a diagnosis of BPD can you offer any advice to Deby about how to support her daughter? @BananaHammock , I understand that you care about someone with BPD. Any words of advice for Deby?

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Hi Deby,

 

Sounds like a very frustrating position. As mentioned already, don't be afraid to call somebody if you feel your daughter or anybody else is in danger. 

 

Have you talked with her about how you feel, about your concerns? Does she know you're there for support? I find it can be frustrating, when all we want to do is stop their pain, to 'fix' what is going on currently for our loved one. Unfortunately any change needs to come from within, all we can do is remind them of how much we care and offer our support - often it will be pushed away or even not believed, and that can be hard to accept, though try to remember it's not about you when that happens.

 

Stick around the forums, even if it's just to vent sometimes, it can be very therapeutic and lets you know you're not alone. The best thing we can do as carers for someone with BPD is to take care of ourselves (mentally, physically, emotionally) and that will keep us strong and clear minded.

 

Take care,

BH

 

 

 

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Yes please! That would be wonderful.

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

Hi Deby and CherryBomb,

 

Uhhh ... I really don't know what to say.But I will try.

Deby - I am managing my BPD secondary to my ADHD atm with my psychiatrist medication wise and with my psychologist. I diagnosed myself with BPD and asked a long term psychologist what he thght about my diagnosis ... he thght I might be onto something. One visit, 1st visit with my psychiatrist confirmed it and then the ADHD.

A few things that come to mind:

  1. in my case and most clinicians/literature believe that bpd is extremely difficult to treat,
  2. a lot of professionals 'shy away' from us as we are difficult by nature to treat
  3. Issues such as ADHD/Depression etc that respond  to medications are generally treated first to try to stabilise the 'easiest' disorders ... they then look at meds or therapy for the BPD. But we all respond differently to medications.
  4. I have a 'triage' of professional support - GP, psychologist and psychiatrist. however my family and friends, who know what is going on, don't really help me or know what to do .... so day-to-day stuff is up to me.
  5. Reading books/forums and blogs have helped me feel not so isolated:

Getting away from the 'theory' and more on my experiences which may/may not work for your daughter Deby:

  • Self talk is helpful for me - trying to be positive
  • I HATE CHANGE so people think I am a control freak - but if I know something is going to happen, I can prepare for it. IE if my partner goes away for a weekend/a month I need to know ahead so I can visualise and prepare myself for the change
  • I am really good at emergency situations and moments of distress as I can disassociate myself from the pain of others and am really practical, focused and calm
  • Some days just gettiing out of bed, having a shower and then laying back on the bed for the day is enough. I don't stress anymore - small goals and being nice to myself
  • I am trying not to drink as much as I used to as my ablitity to leave myself is stronger when I have been drinking every day
  • I feel invisible when alone  .... like I don't exist, others will forget me or hate me which makes it hard to 'reconnect' with people/friends/collegeaus either by phone/text/email or f-f. So I get scared of getting/reading a txt etc.

I am actually all of these in different variances: http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201112/i-hate-you-dont-leave-me/the-many-faces-borderline...

But mainly I am:

  • So petrified of being abandoned again that I over compensate by being independant and see my life as a chess game  - I need an exit strategy or be able to see 3-4 steps ahead. It drives people nuts.
  • Some people see me as manipulative - i do too sometimes - but it's a control thing
  • I am trying to learn not to accuse people (partners mainly) of doing something like moving a washing basket when in fact I did it but did not remember
  • I have about 10 memories from childhood up until around 28/29 then sketchy from then on.
  • Frequently feel spacey, unreal, or out of it.
  • I have no idea of who I am so rely on others perceptions and cues ... I look in the mirror and don't recognise me.

Finally I think of exit strategies for life on a daily basis but only as a way to relieve the pressure of living - I don't follow through with it.

I wish that my partner of 18 months would read up on BPD and ADHD so that he could help me manage/recognise/grow. But he won't. Not many people do.

I have done a lot of reading/research and buying of books on BPD and am starting a BPD DBT group therapy course in a few weeks - instead of admitting myself as an inpatient for four weeks. It's a deal I made with my psychiatrist.

Deby - have you had the time (??!!!!) to read how to manage your daughter? Perhaps start with a small issue that you notice with her and try some techniques on how you communicate with her. But really, unless your daughter is willing to understand what, when how and why, there is nothing you can do. Except manage yourself and your emotions ...

 

Sorry about the book.

 

I love typing/writing.

 

 

Re: Borderline Personality Disorder tips for family and friends

I am new to this forum. I agree about no 10. When the sufferer is your child it is almost impossible to leave the relationship. I have tried to distance myself but keep getting drawn back. Setting boundaries is the hardest thing to do especially when it wasnt done properly before. The process of retraining yourself is exhausting when trying to survive dealing with the sufferer at the same time.

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