Tips for Couples Living With Borderline Personality Disorder | Everyday Health
Marital therapy often doesn't work when your partner has borderline or narcissistic But just about all therapists understand what hurts and helps relationships. Loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a roller coaster See my blog on “How to Spot Manipulation” and my books and e-workbooks for. We bring our personalities into all our relationships. greater likelihood of marital dissolution than people without personality disorders. The typical portrayal of the person with borderline personality disorder, similarly, suggests . Age," to discuss today's blog, or to ask further questions about this posting.
People with borderline personality disorder BPD struggle to understand how wives, husbands, friends, and other family members experience their intense reactions, mood swings, and risky behavior. Needless to say, if you have a loved one with BPD, life can be fraught with crises and conflict. You may wonder whether you should let them borrow money again or answer the dozens of voicemails they left on your phone. Dealing with borderline personality disorder requires skills for deescalating crises and fostering independence in your loved one.
With the right tools and community strategies, it is possible to help your loved one towards recovery. Article continues below Concerned about Borderline Personality Disorder?
Living with & Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
Take our 2-minute quiz to see if you may benefit from further diagnosis and treatment. Take BPD Quiz Signs and Symptoms Only a doctor or mental health professional can officially provide an official diagnosis of a personality disorder, but there are several key symptoms you can observe that might indicate a person has BPD.
Some studies suggest that there is a genetic component, meaning the disorder can be hereditary. Hostile family environments, childhood abuse and neglect, and separation from caregivers can also increase the risk. Some research indicates BPD can emerge when parts of the brain that help regulate emotions and aggressive impulses are not functioning well. Psychotherapy, otherwise known as talk therapy, can be incredibly valuable for treating BPD. In addition to learning about the signs and symptoms of the disorder, individuals can gain skills for managing difficult emotions, developing and maintaining relationships, reducing impulsive decision-making, and improving daily functioning.
The therapy helps people change unhealthy patterns of behavior by becoming more mindful about the emotions and reactions they are experiencing in the moment. To date there are no drugs approved by the FDA that have been specifically created to treat personality disorders. However, some people find that medications can help reduce anxiety or impulsivity in individuals.
These might include antidepressants, mood-stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications. If an individual with BPD experience intense symptoms, such as self-injury or physically harming others, they may be in need of inpatient treatment at a hospital or other residential program. How should I structure the home environment? People with BPD benefit from a home environment that is calm and relaxed.
All involved family members including a boyfriend or girlfriend should know not to discuss important issues when the individual is in crisis mode. Stop to take a breath yourself when they do become emotionally reactive. People with BPD should have opportunities to talk about their interests and thoughts about the news, family events, and other leisure activities. Take the time to laugh at a funny joke or eat dinner together several times a week.
The less an individual feels like his or her mental illness is under the spotlight, the more opportunity they have to explore other aspects of themselves. How can I communicate effectively during a crisis? When a loved one becomes reactive, they may become to insult you or make unfair accusations. The natural response is to become defensive and to match the level of reactivity. They struggle to gauge what is a minor issue and what is a full blown catastrophe.
They interpret your defensiveness as not being valued. But just about all therapists understand what hurts and helps relationships. If you focus in on these factors rather than trying to convince the therapist your partner has problems, the sessions may be useful.
In this article, clinical psychologist and author Dr. Susan Heitler and I suggest 10 essential limits you might want to set, preferably in a marital therapy setting in which: The therapist is experienced with borderline and narcissistic people The focus is on problemsolving in the here and now rather than blame-storming The therapist is able to coach the both of you into learning better communication skills.
You can set these by yourself, if your partner won't go to counseling. But make sure you're prepared.
Read the limits sections in my books and work with your own therapist to rehearse. The Warm Up If your therapist has a clue, he or she will attempt to set the stage for mutual listening, reflection, and cooperation. That may be hard for you, but even more difficult for your partner, whose disorder rebuffs attempts to make changes. Heitler says, "Because emotional escalations are central to their dysfunctional interactions, folks with BPD need to start by learning new rules for managing anger.
Heitler says that narcissists, on the other hand, need an initial and central focus on improving their listening skills.
Are You Trapped in a Relationship with Someone Suffering From BPD? - The Good Men Project
She says, "Their 'it's all about me' orientation to life blocks ability to hear others. They may need particular help in hearing others' feelings, as many narcissists take the others' upset feelings as critical statements about themselves. The longer you've been stuck in unhealthy patterns, the longer it may take. But even if your partner won't try them, you can make big changes in your relationship by following these guidelines yourself.
Living with & Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
After the therapist has taught these basic factors, consider working with him or her to implement the following 10 critical limits. The limits are for both of you to follow. With them, your relationship has a good chance of becoming safe and successful.
Without them, trust, intimacy and love can be destroyed. The 10 Essential Limits Keep in mind that a limit is not about rules or telling the other person what to do.
You can't control their behavior; you can only control your own.
Limits are based on your personal values and about what you will do to take care of yourself. For more information about limits, what they are and what they're not, and how to set and observe them, see my book The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder.
Your job is verbalize your own thoughts, feelings, concerns and preferences. By contrast, assuming you know the other person's thoughts and motivations e.
Mindreading is one of the biggest obstacles to effective communication; it is invalidating, provocative, and almost always based on misinterpretations. Build routines of taking a time out when things begin to get heated.
People who are furious simply can't think straight; their brain is so focused on their feelings that logic gets thrown out the window. This is especially true with BPs and NPs.
You can test this yourself. Think about something you said in the moment of anger that you regretted the next day or week. Talk about time-outs at a calm before they are needed, letting your partner know how this will work and assuring him or her that you two will come back to finish the discussion when you are both calmer.
Your partner, of course, has the option of initiating a time out too.
Find a safe place that is sacrosanct to you where no one else can enter when you need to be alone. Early exits when either of you is beginning to feel a temperature rise prevents unsafe, hurtful mistakes--verbal as well as physical.
Take the pot off the stove by removing yourself early on from a situation you may not be able to handle calmly. Regularly do things you both enjoy and share positive reactions to your partner. The two of you need positive shared time and interactions to keep the relationship connection solid. Positivity makes relationships worth having.
The more appreciation, agreement, affection, playfulness, attention, etc you offer each other, the sunnier your relationship will be. And the more you give, the more you'll get. Focus on what you can do to improve situations rather than criticizing each other.