How To Communicate With Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

How To Communicate With Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

How To Communicate With Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality disorder (BPD) is an often misunderstood mental illness affecting the sufferer’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Sufferers struggle with interpersonal relationships and self-image due to emotional instability, impulsive behaviors, and intense fear of abandonment.

2.6% of people in the U.S., or 6 million Americans have BPD, and women are nearly ten times more likely than men to be diagnosed with the disorder.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a long-term pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior.

People with BPD typically experience disturbed patterns of thinking and extreme emotions, manifesting as frantic feelings (emotional dysregulation), intense anger, anxiety, or depression.

Other symptoms include:

  • Unstable relationships.
  • Impulsive actions (including self-harm).
  • Dissociative symptoms (feeling cut off from oneself).
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense reactions to stress.

These experiences may result in social isolation that perpetuates further instability in life.

Is it something I can recover from?

If you’re worried about your symptoms, it might be tempting to wonder if you have BPD. Still, for most people, recovery is possible and usually comes about as a result of ongoing treatment and support.

(Having a mental illness like BPD does not prevent anyone from being successful.) If you’re concerned that you may have BPD, seek a therapist or psychiatrist specializing in treating BPD or other mental illnesses. 

The best way to get over someone: It’s normal to feel sad when a relationship ends; after all, breakups are often accompanied by feelings of rejection and loss.

But many people fail to realize that getting over someone doesn’t mean forgetting them entirely; it means coming to terms with their absence in your life.

How can I recognize symptoms in myself and others?

Not everyone who’s been diagnosed as having BPD has these symptoms, but many do.

Some common symptoms include rapid changes in mood, volatile temper and angry outbursts, bouts of depression and anxiety; impulsive behavior; feeling like your life is unreal or dreamlike, and trouble controlling emotions when you’re stressed or down on yourself.

They are impulsive spending money, abusing drugs or alcohol, or over-eating.

Also, note that substance abuse and self-harm are some of the most dangerous and common symptoms people with BPD have.

If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to get help from a professional immediately.

It can be beneficial for family members and friends to learn about BPD to understand better what their loved one is going through and how they can help them manage their illness. 

What should I do if I’m concerned about myself or a loved one?

Make an appointment with a professional  If you or a loved one is suffering from behavior associated with BPD, it is highly recommended that you speak to a therapist or psychiatrist.

Having proper professional guidance will help you overcome these rough patches and improve your relationship. 

Therapy for people diagnosed with BPD will most likely focus on regulating emotions, managing relationships, and stopping harming yourself or others. 

Medication might also be prescribed if your symptoms are very severe and you have trouble controlling yourself during periods of high emotion (common in people who have been abused).

How should I approach someone if I suspect they have BPD?

There are many stigmas attached to mental illness, and you will not be judged for your suspicion if you think someone has BPD.

The best way to broach such a sensitive subject is by being calm and kind; as difficult as it may be, try not to get defensive or angry because getting into an argument with someone suffering from BPD only reinforces their behavior.

But before confronting them, it’s essential to gather as much information as possible about what they are going through and how they perceive themselves. This can help you better understand why they act in specific ways.

Remember that those who suffer from BPD often have difficulty understanding and communicating their feelings, so don’t expect them to explain everything. They may even deny having any problems at all.

Be patient but persistent in helping them see that there is hope for recovery and encourage them to seek professional help.

You might also want to consider joining a support group where you can meet others dealing with similar issues.

What are some excellent ways to cope with living/working/having relationships with someone who has BPD?

Establishing a relationship with a person with BPD is similar to establishing any other kind of relationship.

The difference is that there are unique ways in which you can try and help your loved ones. Show them love and support, take an interest in their life, give them space when they need it, be open about what you want from them, but also ask for what you need from them.

This might sound like common sense advice for most people in relationships. Still, it’s often more complicated than it sounds if your partner suffers from BPD.

It can be tough dealing with emotional instability or severe reactions and behaviors when they have BPD because even though they may be trying hard not to hurt you, they may not always know how to control themselves around others.

What are support services available for me as a family member/friend/colleague, etc.?

Look for local support groups for family members of people living with BPD. Even though it’s not always comfortable, sharing your experiences and learning from others can be invaluable.

In addition, you may also want to look into individual therapy; talking things through with a professional therapist can provide insight and support you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Finally, suppose you work in a healthcare setting. In that case, there are often resources available to help staff better understand how to best interact with patients who live with BPD.

It might also be helpful to seek out mental health professionals specializing in treating BPD; this is especially true if your loved one is resistant or even hostile toward treatment and medication. 

Remember that while you can try to facilitate change in another person’s life, they ultimately need to take responsibility for their actions and behaviors.

Sometimes all it takes is being there, even if it feels like nothing is changing at first, making all the difference in their recovery process.


Communication plays a vital role in any relationship, whether romantic or not. Unfortunately, people suffering from BPD are often not good at communicating their needs and fears.

If you’re trying to help a loved one deal with BPD, remember that they need extra help regarding healthy communication. Be sure to listen carefully and validate your loved one’s feelings. Remember that no matter how upset they get, they aren’t intentionally trying to hurt you.

If your loved one feels threatened by something you say or do, try putting yourself in their shoes; In contrast, they may not always say so out loud; people with BPD are often sensitive and easily hurt by well-meaning words and actions.