When your partner has Borderline Personality Disorder

Before we start, let me just clear a few things. I am NOT an expert. I do not know everything there is to know about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BUT I am writing based on my own experiences during my two year relationship. 
Next, I should probably explain what BPD is:

"A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self image and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Fear of abandonment
2. Unstable or changing relationships
3. Unstable self-image; struggles with identity or sense of self
4. Impulsive or self-damaging behaviors (e.g., excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
5. Suicidal behavior or self-injury
6. Varied or random mood swings
7. Constant feelings of worthlessness or sadness
8. Problems with anger, including frequent loss of temper or physical fights
9. Stress-related  paranoia or loss of contact with reality"
*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association

Being in a relationship with someone who has BPD is harrowing at best. At worst it can be toxic, demeaning and destructive to both parties involved. However, it is not impossible to have a successful partnership.
So! Here are a few tips from my heart to yours:

1. Check for multiple diagnoses. For a long time I displayed several symptoms of conflicting mental illnesses. Getting a confirmed diagnosis was essential in determining how to handle everything. If your partner suffers from Bipolar and BPD for example, it may be difficult for them to control moods while simultaneously experiencing a depressive episode. Knowing the full facts are necessary.

2. Don't take things personally. Honestly, this is a hard one, I'm not even sure how my boyfriend does it. I've experienced several bouts of anger which has resulted in me spewing several things that I didn't mean and later couldn't even remember. I've cursed at him, I've hit him, I've bordered on actual abuse. But within all of that, he has been able to maintain a calm, even composure. He once told me that he is able to do this because he never remembers arguments. He doesn't collect a list of missteps or errors. With each new day, he gives me a new slate to write on. I implore you to do the same. Regularly reviewing arguments and words said can keep you in a circle of pain. Do yourself a favor and work on continuously letting things go.

3. Hold your partner accountable. I fully agree with my last paragraph. However abuse is NEVER okay. Do not allow yourself to be bashed without holding your partner accountable. Your partner needs to apologize when an offense is committed. They should also commit to working on their negative behaviors. They should not be allowed to railroad you. You are a support system but you are not a doormat.

4. Take time to breathe. Constant emotional turmoil is hectic. It is important that you balance your life with friends, family and personal time. Don't feel guilty for taking time off to relax and rejuvenate yourself.

5. Don't negate genuine feelings. Sometimes it's easy to dismiss your partner's emotions. You're used to the ups and downs and rollercoaster rides. But your partner deserves to feel heard. Just because your partner is sad, doesn't mean that you can blame their disorder. Their sorrow is a genuine emotion and validation is the best response.

6. Don't read the blogs. Or the books. Or the forums. Or anything on social media. They make people with BPD sound like hell. It is an unfair, biased portrayal by people who have been hurt. Their pain is real, but every person with BPD is different and deserves a chance at love and friendship.

All in all, love them. Love them with everything you've got. Give them the same chances you'd give anyone else. They're totally worth it.

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