31.05.2019

BPD or borderline personality disorder is a very serious illness that should not be ignored. And it is quite easy to do it for a person that suffers from BPD if there is no one around to help them. But in case they do have a partner in their life – it may be quite a lot easier for them to battle their fears and anxieties. Today we will discuss borderline personality disorder causes, what to do when you are dating someone with borderline personality disorder and what is like loving someone with BPD.

borderline personality disorder relationships

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is a psychiatric illness characteristic of people who are characterized by instability of interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, emotional instability, impulsivity. These symptoms occur at a young age, become apparent in many life situations and lead to maladjustment in society.

Often, people with BPD receive an incorrectly prescribed drug therapy due to which their condition only worsens. But in most cases, the “frontier guards” are unaware of their diagnosis and, accordingly, do not know that their condition is amenable to correction.

Psychiatry considers BPD a personality disorder, a group of diseases that includes various types of pathology, from dissociative disorders to narcissistic disorders.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Signs of borderline personality disorder include pronounced instability of interpersonal relationships, self-identification, emotional instability, and pronounced impulsivity. All signs of the disorder occur at a young age and manifest themselves in various situations. For diagnosis, you must have, in addition to the general criteria of personality disorder, five (or more) of the following characteristics.

  • The tendency to make excessive efforts to avoid a real or imaginary fate to be abandoned.
  • The tendency to engage in intense, irrational, and unstable relationships, characterized by alternating extremes like idealization and depreciation.
  • Identity disorder: a noticeable and persistent imbalance of one's own image or self-feeling.
  • Impulsiveness manifested in self-harm.
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, hints or suicide threats, acts of self-harm.
  • Affective instability, mood swings (for example, periods of intense dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety, usually lasting for several hours and only occasionally for several days or more).
  • Constant feeling of emptiness.
  • Inadequate manifestations of intense anger or difficulties associated with the need to control the feeling of anger (for example, frequent instances of irritability, constant anger, repeated fights).
  • Transient stress-induced paranoid ideas or pronounced dissociative symptoms.

Now that we know the definition and the symptoms of BPD, let’s talk about borderline personality disorder relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Relationships

dating a girl with borderline personality disorderLove, no matter how strong, cannot cure mental illness. But there is a scientifically proven fact: a stable and supportive relationship improves mental health. Even patients with severe disorders are less likely to suffer from seizures and spend more time in remission. Borderline personality disorder and dating can coexist, yet it requires lots of effort by both partners to make it work.

If you think, “Why would I hear any sort of recommendations? I need to run away!” note that about every fourth person is not healthy. And if we take the borderline states (that is, mildly pronounced disorders), then to one degree or another, almost every second person in the world is abnormal at some period of their life. Since few people like going to psychiatrists, their state may become clear only after many years of relationships. And at some point, you can get quite ill, and, probably, you will count on support from other people, and not on the fact that your partner will run away in fear at the thought of your illness.

How Is Dating Someone with BPD Like?

Dating someone with a borderline personality disorder

Many people with BPD are quite happy with their social and personal lives, but this is exactly the case when one cannot rely on their feelings and the will of fate. A lot of work is needed from the couple to improve their relationship, and lots of improvements have to be made. A person with BPD needs to be aware of every conflict situation, and, most importantly, learn to express their feelings without aggression. And their partner, respectively, should learn to support them and calmly answer even the most bizarre of questions.

There is a common piece of advice which you should remember – you should never just leave a person that suffers from BPD during the moments of hysteria to “let them calm down,” this doesn’t work, and it can end very badly.

How to Love a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Just like depression, borderline personality disorder in women is quite more common than in men. To find yourself dating a man with a borderline personality disorder is unlikely, a quarter of all people with BPD are men. To find yourself in a relationship with a person with BPD is quite easy: these are emotional, sociable people who, in the literal sense of the word, cannot live without love. But they quickly become frustrated and therefore, may continue looking for romantic partners even after meeting one. The essence of their relationship style is perfectly described in the book “I Hate You - Don't Leave Me: Understanding the

Borderline Personality”: a constant storm of emotions and contrasts. Today you are a queen/king for them and a week later they call you an arrogant selfish person. In the morning they are singing in the bathroom, and in the evening, they complain that they have been unhappy all their life, and nobody understands them. The peculiarity of the people with BPD is a comprehensive predominance of feelings over the mind. At the very physical level: they have a hyperactive amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions, which are mostly negative. Their way of thinking is black and white, every single moment is either filled with pleasure or brings them agony and a lot of discomfort.

People with BPD have difficulty in understanding what they really are and what they want from life and from you: this is called identity disorder. It is very painful. Often, people with BPD cause physical harm to themselves only because they feel stressed out. As for gender differences, dating a girl with borderline personality disorder is a bit harder than dating a man with the same illness. They are naturally more inclined to depression and being more emotional in romantic relationships. Dating a woman with borderline personality disorder may be hard for some men, but this doesn’t mean that it’s a valuable reason to break up with a woman you love. Borderline personality disorder in men is still a problem that cannot be ignored, but it easier for them to battle it.

To maintain balance, a person with BPD needs to “attach” themselves to a more stable person and look at themselves through their eyes. No partner will be able to help them with their issues, which go back all the way to their childhood, and therefore, such a relationship will be difficult. But this does not mean that they are doomed to failure. With sufficient awareness on both sides, there is a chance to learn how to make such a relationship easier for both partners.

What Not to Do If Your Partner Has BPD

Ignore. To ignore a person with BPD during their lowest moments is not only meaningless but also dangerous. If you leave the house by slamming the door, it will be perceived by them as "they are gone forever, nobody needs me, why should I even live after that?" It can even reach suicide threats that may seem trivial to you. This may be so, but you should always remember that the majority of people with BPD attempted suicide at one point or another. BPD relationshipsOne of these attempts risks becoming the last. Emotions are so strong and unstable that they muffle the voice of the mind completely. As a partner that is trying to be tolerable towards a person with BPD, you shouldn't take the mean things they say during such moments to heart. When the storm subsides, a person with BPD is unlikely to remember all the bad and mean things they’ve said to you.

Provoke. The psyche of a person with BPD is easily excitable and unstable, and therefore, they are easily amenable to provocation. If you decide to defend your opinion and get very aggressive during a conversation – you may get an impulsive reaction in turn. Such a reaction may involve swearing and different types of accusations.

How to Deal with Someone with BPD?

Recognize the seriousness of their feelings. No matter how absurd the drama that you’ve had to face may seem, for a person with BPD, all the experiences are absolutely real. They feel rejected, lonely, practically non-existent during these moments. Just admit it – you can rarely truly understand their feelings, which constantly come off as being overwhelming. You can also distract them from intense experiences: this is not always an option, but a good movie or passionate sex may be just the thing they need from time to time.

Think with your mind. In psychotherapy, the main methods of helping people with BPD are revolved around learning how to control emotions and training one’s logical thinking. In this, you can also help your partner fight their illness. One of the ways to do it is to guide them through stressful situations and provide them with all the necessary help.

The reality check. How can you make BPD and relationships work? You can help your partner overcome a stressful situation by telling that there is no reason to be afraid. To do so, you have to provide them with some rational real-life examples. This is especially important when it comes to irrational fears that they may have (like being left alone and broken for the rest of their days). It is important to remind that the bad moments will pass, yet their life will move on.

Positive Aspects of BPD Relationships

Lots of people that suffer from BPD are sociable, very passionate, very sensitive, and creative. They get easily addicted to both people and affairs that they are interested in. They love all things that are new and unusual. With them by your side, you will definitely not get bored by the lack of emotions and events in mutual life. They are eccentric and wild; they are passionate and energetic.

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