Borderline personality disorder: A tumultuous relationship filled with love (author’s perspective)

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Borderline personality disorder: A relationship where love must triumph doubt.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the least talked about mental illnesses despite the complexity and commonality of it.

The lack of discourse, awareness and research into the disorder has led to many misconceptions about the people who live with it. One of the misconceptions is that people living with BPD are volatile, unpredictable and incapable of holding a loving relationship. While those living with BPD can be unpredictable, they are by no means volatile or incapable of love. This article will detail the best ways to deal with your BPD-positive partner while staying fair to yourself.

A lot of neurotypical partners often feel underappreciated, misused and unheard. Your partner does not want to hurt you in any way but sometimes we are all slaves to our minds.

Listen live on

Imagine that your brain is a train station with tracks leading in every direction possible. Each thought in your head is represented by a train arriving at the station. You are also at the station and are witnessing the many trains come and go. You are not in control of the station’s schedule, nor can you get the trains to change direction. You do however have the power to choose which train to follow away from the station.

Those living with BPD often do not have the ability to choose what train they hop on. This is what is known as an intrusive thought. These thoughts often contain unprecedented and untrue anxieties about their partner. Unwillingly, the individual hops on the train and keeps on riding. This leads to a lot of rifts in partnerships but a little bit of knowledge and patience can get the train on the right track.

This visualization strategy is a great step in the direction of understanding how your partner with BPD thinks and lives. Keep in mind however, that the metaphor is an extreme and those living with BPD are not incapable of choosing what they wish to think on. However, anxiety can very much so take over your thinking.

The best and most sound advice to give someone who is coping with a loved one’s BPD is to be patient. BPD is a complex disorder without a cure or even a concrete plan of treatment. Each person with BPD has it a little different but at the end of the day they are very sensitive people that just need a little extra support.

The tone in which you would deal with a lover must be softer but not to the point of patronization. The hard reality of it is that if you do not have BPD and are dealing with a loved one that does have BPD, you need to take the lead as a mediator rather than an upset party. Sometimes people dealing with BPD have trust issues and deal with irrational thoughts quite often. Use logic and make the person feel heard and understood before becoming defensive.

Acting defensive is the number one way to reaffirm someone with BPDs suspicions of you. Take your time and deal with each thought rationally and fairly. Validate your partner’s thoughts, it is an easy thing to do and immensely effective. This is not to say that you should be walking on egg shells, it is a partnership and each partner’s feelings need to be validated. BPD can lead to frustrations of many kinds, sadness and even great doubt about the future of the relationship. The important thing to remember is that you love each other and relationships require a lot of work. When things are rough just take a break from each other and breathe. Sometimes even the closest of couples need some time apart.

At the end of the day the best advice for coping with the BPD of a loved one would be to be patient and to practise open communication.