Remaining in a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder requires honesty and outside support.
If your partner is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, maintaining a healthy relationship can be both challenging and distressing. However, with attentiveness, patience, and understanding you can foster a positive connection despite the diagnosis.
A person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder will become aggravated by seemingly trivial situations. Oftentimes, they will lash out at the people closest to them. It’s important to remain calm during moments of aggression. If you cannot reason with your partner, walk away from the situation to give them space to regain their composure.
Remember the phrase, “Fight fire with water.” Yelling back at your partner will only fuel their anger. Refrain from yelling and interrupting your partner. Try to encourage soothing activities to distract them such as gardening, painting, or listening to music.
2. Encourage Communication
At times, it may seem easier to shut each other out, rather than openly confront an issue. It’s imperative to remain open with one another, even when you are aware of differing perspectives.
Actively listen to their concerns, giving them full attention without the presence of background distractions, such as a television or radio. Be sympathetic towards their emotions and ask them to do the same for you.
Explain that you’re not upset with your partner, but aggravated by specific behaviors they are eliciting. An individual suffering from BPD will frequently misinterpret a complaint as an indicator their partner does not love them anymore. Be direct and explicit, highlight the specific behavior, then explain why this action upsets you.
3. Implement Structure
Your partner may throw hurtful insults, engage in reckless behavior, or storm off at inappropriate moments. Sometimes they will act incredibly compassionate towards you, other instances they will be cold and cruel. You feel as if you’re dating a completely different person depending on the day.
Set a defined list of boundaries in the relationship that clearly illustrate which actions will not be tolerated. A person with Borderline Personality Disorder needs structure in order to help them feel secure and regulate their emotions. Strongly reinforce rules, otherwise, your partner will continue to cross these boundaries, acutely aware of the lack of repercussions.
4. Do Not Ignore Threats
If you partner verbally expresses intentions to harm themselves or you, do not ignore the threat.
The threat to you: If your partner threatens to harm you, do not tolerate this behavior. This is an indicator of abuse, in which case you need to remove yourself from the relationship. No matter what a person is going through, your own safety and well-being take priority. If you partner consistently threatens to leave you in moments of anger, explain that you will never have a functioning relationship if they use scare tactics to avoid facing problems.
The threat to themselves: Up to 80% of people suffering from BPD will express thoughts of suicide. Even if this is a common threat for your partner, never ignore a person expressing intent to harm themselves. Confront the issue by sitting down and talking with them about these emotions. Do not hesitate to contact a therapist or professional for further support. Remember that you don’t need to confront this battle by yourself.
5.Take Care of Yourself
If we spend a large portion of our time taking care of another’s well-being, we sometimes forget to focus on ourselves. It’s okay to take time away from your partner. Continue to engage in hobbies you enjoy and remember to maintain a social circle outside your significant other.
Remaining in a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder requires honesty and outside support. Seeking a couple’s therapist, or individual counselor, will help you remain open and comfortable in the relationship.
In the instances that the relationship becomes overwhelming, remind yourself of the three C’s:
I didn’t cause it.
I can’t control it.
I can’t cure it.
You can be there to support your partner, but you cannot be held responsible for their actions. No one causes the onset of Borderline Personality Disorder. Explain that each partner needs to spend less time pointing fingers, and more time learning how to maintain respect, despite each other’s flaws.