When Your Loved One Has Borderline Personality Disorder

What can I do when I feel overwhelmed?

Because a family member with BPD may not be able to provide the empathy and self-awareness necessary for a relationship, it’s vital to have other supports in your life. Carve out time to spend with friends and engage in leisure activities.  If you need to talk about the experience of living with someone with a  mental illness, support groups, mental health professionals, religious leaders, and your doctor can be excellent resources.  You also should consider how to involve other family members in the care and support of someone with BPD. No single person should be responsible for communicating calmly and responding to crisis situations. The more people who know effective strategies for responding to the individual, the less often crises will erupt.

Will they ever completely recover?

Unlike with physical illness, recovery has a different meaning when it comes to mental health. Recovery does not imply the total elimination of symptoms, the lack of need for medication or therapy, and functioning comparable to persons without the disorder. Recovery from Borderline personality disorder looks like fewer threats of self-harm, reduction of frequency of emotional outbursts, and a decrease in the intensity of reactivity. Relapse may occur, but crises will resolve quickly and you will feel more prepared to handle the situation. In turn, your loved one will feel encouraged to take small but steady steps towards a fuller and healthier life.

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