10 ways you can support someone living with Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD makes the world an unpredictable, scary place sometimes. This is because everything seems unpredictable and chaotic inside, as well as outside. While there are many things about BPD that you have to live to understand, here are 10 ways that you can support someone living with borderline personality disorder.

1) Be Patient

This is one of the most important things to remember. It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t see the results you want, but be patient. Understanding takes time and commitment, even though it may seem like they aren’t making any improvement. There is often a deep, deep fear of abandonment and fear of rejection. What may seem like impatience to someone else, may read as an extreme emotion to a person with BPD.

2) Be Open-Minded

Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the stereotypical personality disorders. People often think of it as somebody who is manipulative, attention-seeking and impulsive. While some people do act like this, they don’t all act the same way. It’s important to be open-minded about their behavior. They may do lots of things that put you off because you think of it as the ‘typical’ BPD behavior, but it’s important to realize that everyone is different.

3) Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Borderline Personality Disorder hinges on emotional dysregulation. This means that they will struggle to deal with their emotions, especially negative ones. It could be very easy for you to take their behavior personally and think that they don’t like you. But this is not the case. They will often react and behave in a certain way because of their disorder and it’s not anything to do with you. Just remember: their behavior has nothing to do with you.

The peaks and valleys of borderline aren’t always easy, but they can be beautiful.
Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

4) Don’t Tell Them What To Do

Although your intentions are probably very good, it’s best not to tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing. This includes telling them that you think their behavior is unacceptable. All this will do is cause a rift between you and them and it won’t help the situation in the long run.

5) Praise Their Good Behavior

For someone living with BPD, everything can seem very bleak. Even if they are making good progress with their treatment, it may still feel like nothing is changing. That’s why you need to praise them when something positive happens. Every little thing must count so make sure you let them know how much you appreciate what they are doing right now.

6) Don’t Push The Subject

You may want to help them by talking about their disorder, but it’s best not to push the subject. When people with BPD are asked questions about their disorder, they will become very defensive — which makes them retreat into themselves even more. It’s better to wait for a time that they express an interest in talking about their disorder.

7) Understand That They Are Doing Their Best

People with BPD are often criticized for “not doing enough to get better”. It’s important to remember that they are doing everything in their power. It’s a delicate balance. When you see that there are improvements, or times when they are doing well, it’s best to praise them and appreciate what they are doing.

8) Be Gentle

Some people with BPD can be very sensitive, particularly around particular issues. That’s why you need to think carefully about how you phrase things. If something is upsetting them a lot then try to steer the conversation in a different direction or you risk upsetting them even more.

9) Don’t Take Things Personally

This ties in nicely with not taking their behavior personally. When someone has BPD, they will often act impulsively without thinking about how their actions might affect others close to them. This can spiral into them taking your critique personally, and then boom – a cycle begins. This can be very hard for people who do not have this disorder but it’s important to remember that patience is a virtue here, and while it may seem like they want to hurt you, it’s more often than not a completely different matter.

10) Love Them For Who They Are

Last but not least, you need to love them for who they are. If you have chosen to love someone with BPD then it means that you are accepting of their disorder and want to be there for them no matter what. It’s important that you don’t try to change them and accept them for who they are, abandonment issues and all.

At Sphere Health, we’re all about help that really helps. If you think a friend or family member might benefit from these tips, please share this article with them! Every little bit helps and we’re certain they’ll appreciate it. For more information about BPD, visit our website at www.asksphere.co.