Help Your Loved Ones in Dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder

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Mental disorders are the most difficult ones to deal with. Physical pain may get alleviated, but how do we alleviate the ghosts of our own mind? The worldwide prevalence of mental disorders is roughly 13.4%. This is serious because this prevalence represents an exponential growth in something which did not even exist a few decades ago. So what has changed over past few years which had caused our own mind to become troublesome? Even though the most common sub category of mental disorder remain anxiety disorders, there is still a neglected category of psychiatric disorders- the personality disorders, which is characterized by behavioral patterns or habits that hinders normal survival in the society difficult. There is a whole classification of these personality disorders, of which borderline personality disorder (BPD) remains a major concern. As hard as it is for the victim to live with this ailment, the close acquaintances suffer a great deal, primarily because those having a borderline personality hurt the ones they love. Following information would help you understand your loved ones facing this challenge.


1. What are Personality Disorders?

Personality is the summation of all that a person has acquired in his/ her lifetime, manifested or reflected in behavior, making them unique individuals. Even though each and every individual’s personality varies, there are certain norms of the society and day to day behaviors which are mandate to be followed. Personality disorders represent the abnormal behavioral patterns or features of patients, which are not acceptable by the society, and which make their survival difficult with other people, and in their own head. People with personality disorders face immense challenges in coping up with even slight deviations from what they expect from the world, their relationships and themselves.


2. What causes these disorders? When are these recognized?

Like almost all other diseases, these disorders have roots in genetic and environmental factors. There is definitely a genetic susceptibility in people who have a family history of these traits. Of other environmental causes, childhood trauma including abuse in all forms, and a neglected childhood remains a major cause. Also, variations in brain pattern might contribute to them.

Most commonly, personality disorders are diagnosed in adolescence and early adulthood.


3. Why BPD is a unique ailment, and why is it difficult to manage?

Much of the distress in borderline personality disorder is due to the intense and irrational emotional fragility and unpredictability among victims. This affects their relationships with almost everyone, especially the close ones. They either revere their closed ones way too much than normal, or devalue them in no time. There would be nothing in between. It is very difficult for patients to return to normal even after a slight emotional trauma. Any form of emotion is experienced for a longer time than normal people. Since their overall behavior fluctuates way too much from exuberant to mournful even in a span of certain hours, it is very difficult to describe them under a specific category. All these behavioral patterns make it extremely difficult for people to abide by the expectations of patients.  


4. What are the precise symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder?

The main manifestation of this unique disorder remains extremely variable mood swings, from too much happy to too much sad or angry. Following are the symptoms to watch for if you are suspecting someone to be combating it:

  • Unstable·relationships with closed ones (these patients tend to either be too much loving or too much abhorrent or furious)
  • Constant fear of being left alone or rejection by the society
  • Extreme, unpredictable and frequent mood swings
  • Frequent feeling of being lost and aimless
  • Outbursts of anger over normal things
  • Variable image about self
  • Being sad about unnecessary things over a long period of time
  • Feeling too much guilt or pain about petty things
  • Too much engagement in sources to instant pleasures (extravagant expenditure, unsafe sex, promiscuity, binge eating)
  • Suicidal thoughts and
  • A vicious cycle of impulsiveness followed by indulgence in reckless behavior, ultimately resulting in guilt, sadness and suicidal thoughts.


5. So can this be treated? Or is it the end of everything?

If your wife, husband or child has BPD, it does not mean that the world has come to an end. As the rule goes- “there is always a way”, you can deal with this situation and you can help your loved ones in their hard time. We do not mean that it would be easy. You would have to be very patient but you can prove to be of great value in helping your loved ones. There are various therapies and treatment approaches for BPD patients, which includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving. Drugs might also be considered but the benefit is not much. Psychotherapy remains the best treatment modality amongst all.


6. What can you do?

We know it is hard for you to hold on. We know it is not an easy way, but your loved ones need you, and you must not turn your back on them.


  • First of all, you need to be in the right mental state to realize that even though things are a little twisted, they would be fine in sometime. In your mind, accept your partner or children or friend the way they are. They cannot be changed, but if you love them enough, you would help them sail through.
  • You can join some appropriate support group for friends and family of BPD patients. It would make you realize that there are others who are going through the same situation.
  • Learn them inside out. Although BPD patients are unpredictable, there are certain behaviors or patterns which can trigger their altered responses. You should cautiously observe their behavior and avoid doing things which makes them mad.
  • Talk cautiously. BPD patients can be the best ones to talk to when they are in their right minds. However, the frequency and duration of this state of mind is capricious. So when they are not in their best minds, talk with care. Avoid mentioning things for which they can take an offence. Do not take their case. Watch and observe the mood, and then select your words carefully.
  • Make them feel loved. No one can ever be perfect. But the reason that people survive is because they have someone by their side despite the flaws. Make BPD patients know that you love them even when they are not so perfect.
  • Remember that they do not mean it. It is quite obvious if you lose your mind over things that they say, the verbal abuses that they impose over you. But what you need to keep in mind is that they do not mean it when they say that they do not love you or that you are a disappointment. Keep your calm.
  • Do not say things with cryptic meanings. Make direct statements. They might misinterpret all that you say. So leave no leeway for the same.
  • Do not forget that they value you far more than what they can express.


You might be surprised to know that many famous personalities have suffered through this disease, including Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Wine house, Angelina Jolie- Pitt and Princess Diana.

We hope you could find at least some tips to be able to cope up with this difficult situation. We wish you and your loved ones a very happy living. 

TAGGED IN : Managing Mind Mental Health

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