How To Help Loved One With Borderline Personality Disorder

Knowing how to help a loved one with borderline personality disorder can not only strengthen your relationship with the person, but also increase the happiness, safety and overall well-being of your loved one. The best way to help a loved one with borderline personality disorder is by providing a stable relationship and engaging in activities which will build self-esteem.

  1. Be supportive and accepting. Those with borderline personality disorder have an increased feeling of rejection and abandonment, whether real or imagined. It is essential to be supportive and accepting of your loved ones the way they are, without conditions.
  2. Encourage safe behavior and activities. Suicidal tendencies and self-harm are commonly seen in borderline personality disorder. Be aware of the warning signs associated with suicide and self-harm. Help your loved one find alternative outlets for harmful behaviors. Avoid situations and activities that may increase harmful behaviors.
  3. Provide relationship stability. A loved one with borderline personality disorder needs to feel stability and security in a relationship. Assure your loved one you will not abandon her and follow through.
  4. Follow a predictable routine. Establishing a predictable routine and preparing a loved one for changes in the routine are essential for those with borderline personality disorder. Any changes in routine, even minor changes, cause anxiety and fear of abandonment, as well as a lack of trust. Following a predictable routine will give your loved one a sense of security and stability and increase trust levels. Prepare for changes in the routine well in advance if possible. Thoroughly explain why plans are changing and make sure changes are minimal.
  5. Be positive and avoid negativity. Keep a positive attitude in every situation. Help your loved one see the positive side of things as well. Even in a bad situation, it is necessary to find something positive to focus on.
  6. Engage in meaningful activities with your loved one. Participate in positive activities that your loved one enjoys. Encourage her to keep busy with things she enjoys and actively engage with your loved one in those activities. When you focus on activities your loved one enjoys, she will feel an increased sense of self-worth.
  7. Remain calm during anger or mood swings. Remind yourself not to take it personally when anger outbursts occur, even if they appear to be directed at you. Outbursts and mood swings can happen often and without warning. Prepare yourself for these moments and remain calm when they occur. Remaining calm and not reacting will help the moment pass more smoothly and reduce the potential for escalation.
  8. Understand possible side effects of medication. Research the possible side effects of any medication your loved one is taking for borderline personality disorder. Some medications may cause worse side effects then what they are treating. Understanding the possible side effects and noticing the signs will help you to better understand your loved one’s behavior and reactions. Discuss problematic side effects with your loved one and her doctor. Your loved one may not be aware she is experiencing side effects.

Resources:

NIMH

Mayo Clinic