Dealing With A Person With Borderline Personality Disorder
Impulsive and risky behaviour. Sharp mood swings. Distorted self-image. Fear of abandonment. If anyone close to you exhibits more than one of the aforementioned characteristics, there is a high chance the person is dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
BPD is a serious mental illness characterised by episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. So, how to deal with a person having BPD.
1. Do not judge
People with BPD already have insecurity issues. It is then unfair for you to burden them the more by judging. You should instead focus on the behaviour that you want to address or set limits on. Be firm but not harsh. Listen to them, allow them to take responsibility for their own behaviour and sort things out.
2. Know the triggers
People with BPD usually have situations, actions or words that trigger them into anger or acting impulsively. This impulsive action is sometimes of the dangerous variety. Therefore, if someone around you has this disorder, be observant enough to know these triggers and avoid them.
In addition to this, know the signs that show the person is about to do something impulsive or have a mood swing. This calls for patience and understanding.
3. Do not take things to your heart
BPD can have an adverse effect on your relationship with that person. It can, if allowed, be a major strain on the relationship. Usually, when a person with BPD gets angry or triggered, s/he loses all sense. The person seems not to be aware of his/her behaviour; pushing you away physically or with hurtful words.
However, always bear in mind that the disorder is the root cause of it all and they have no control over it. You should let them know how it affects you once things are calm.
Let them voice their concerns or express themselves, but point out the behaviour that hurts you and set limits or boundaries. Do not give in or put up with it.
4. Do not ignore
Remember, if you keep letting them do whatever they want, you are encouraging them to behave this way. You have to be firm and say things with love and conviction at the same time; like a parent correcting a misbehaving child. Do not let a person with BPD get away with bad behaviour or risk being walked over.
5. Being in a relationship with them
A person with a BPD is often invested heavily in others to get the love they want. They might come across as needy and clingy at times due to their fear of separation. Because they give so much of themselves, they lash out at and resent their partners when they feel the feeling is not mutual. This is usually due to their inability to really express themselves.
Being in a relationship with such a person means you love them for who they are but must balance that out by being firm when you need to be. Do not agree to every whim of theirs.
6. Encourage responsibility
Don’t always try to rescue that loved one who is suffering from a BPD. Don’t be manipulated into taking responsibility for their irresponsible actions. If they smash up the car, don’t replace it. If they rack up credit card debt, don’t bail them out. If you keep rescuing them from the consequences of their actions, they will have zero incentive to change.
7. Don’t encourage arguments
Your loved one may misinterpret what you mean. Things you say, especially in anger might be wrongly interpreted because s/he does not really have a grasp for nuances. Do your best to keep your cool no matter how angry or frustrated you are.
8. Be consistent
Keep your word always. This is because you would be held to it and when you disappoint, a person suffering from BPD would take it to heart and react, most times going overboard with the reaction.
9. Get medical help
Much as this is the last in the list, it should be the first thing you do. Consult with a psychiatrist and get s/he the help needed. If medication is needed, know which and what tines to administer them. It is safer not to leave the responsibility to always take the drugs to the person with BPD.
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