1 – Learn About The Illness
If you didn’t already know, dealing with a borderline personality disorder is very hard to medically diagnose. In essence, there are tons of misconceptions about it and persons with BPD experiences. Hence, properly educating yourself on the matter, its prognosis, and the symptoms that come with it will ensure that you have a better understanding of what a loved one is dealing with.
However, to be properly informed, it’s best to take recommendations from reliable sources. Some of these include the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the National Institute on Mental Health. Besides these two, there’s still the option of contacting a professional within the mental health sector to have a deeper conversation.
When the issue of borderline personality disorder is properly demystified, only then can you work past the initial confusion that comes with it. Doing so will also ensure that you appreciate the work that a loved one puts in to battle with these things for your sake and it allows you to help them along their journey of healing.
2 – Validate Their Feelings
Persons suffering from BPD tend to experience a ton of intensity and reactions that an ordinary person wouldn’t. Hence, it is often difficult to relate to it if you don’t have a one-on-one experience. However, while it may seem tempting to talk them out of something, this is not recommended since it can seem kinda irrational, and insensitive.
So, it’s best to keep in mind that these are the real feelings of someone and dismissing their emotions is not something that you should do. Doing so is counterproductive and painful for them. However, providing some form of validation is a great way of helping them.
For the most part, when you mirror back what they say to you, this can be a very effective tactic. If you say to them that you can see just how much they’re hurting and that it must be difficult to feel that way, this can show them that you do indeed care. Responding with “there’s no real reason for you to feel like this” is beyond insensitive and even cruel.
So, the next time that they talk to you, it’s best to listen and respect them while being empathic and compassionate. When you do your very best to show them that they are heard, this can do a lot for them. It even strengthens your bond.
3 – Simplifying Your Message
Depending on how they’re doing, a person with this disorder will distort your message. Simply put, they will in their minds conform the worse within themselves or of you. In more than one instance, innocent statements will seem like a huge attack or an offense to them.
So, if you know that this has happened to you in more than one instance, it’s best to take a step back and think about how you can better get through to them. If for some reason you decide that you really can not get through to them, you’ll need to remove the true intentions of your message. Reading Stop Walking on Eggshells is a great book to help you get started on this.
When communicating with someone who has BPD, keep in mind that their emotions are running high. Hence, simple sentences are great and they’re direct. This reduces the instance of misinterpretation. While this may still happen, it will facilitate better communication. For advice contact the Clarity Clinic.
4 – Encourage Responsibility
When your loved one is suffering from BPD, you’ll do your very best to take care of them. This is natural and recommended. However, encouraging them to share some responsibility once in a while is important. This in no way shape or form means that you love them any less than you did before or that you’re leaving them alone.
If they’re angry and break things, or run the credit card bill up, it’s okay to allow them to face the consequences of this. It gives them the chance to see that they do in fact need help. Doing so also provides space for you to cope with the aftermath and truth be told, this experience is more empowering than you think.
5 – Set Boundaries
While encouraging responsibility can feel cruel, it’s the same for the concept of boundary setting. When boundaries are set and stuck to, you’ll both be able to structure the things in your lives. This creates the path for them to better understand and be accountable for the harsh choices that they’ve made. It also prevents you from having to deal with unacceptable behavior.
In essence, setting boundaries is a great way to solidify your relationship. Boundary setting is the ideal solution for achieving some realism and helpfulness. Additionally, new ideas should be introduced in a calm manner without shaming or accusing them.
It should be noted that these can be rejected and nothing is wrong with that. They may even think about this as a form of rejection. So be prepared for things to become worse before it becomes better. Loving your special person is about battling through the hard times and being there for them no matter what; when you set boundaries, you’ll see just how beneficial it can be.