How to Avoid Being Manipulated by Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

Manipulation is one of many ways that people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) attempt to control others in their lives and influence their behavior. It is not usually a conscious decision on the part of the person with BPD to do this, but that doesn’t mean that it’s OK to allow it to continue.

It’s important to recognize when you are being manipulated by someone with Borderline Personality Disorder and learn to avoid falling into the trap.

What are the signs of manipulation?

Let’s take a look at how you can tell you are being manipulated:

  1. When the person with BPD is approaching you for a favor, are they warmer or more flattering than they are at other times? If their demeanor changes dramatically when they need something from you, that is a sign of manipulation.
  2. How do you feel when the person with BPD is asking you to do them a favor? Do you comply out of guilt or shame knowing that you will be made to feel bad if your answer is no?
  3. People with Borderline Personality Disorder often get angry or rage with little provocation. This alone can be seen as a form of manipulation. If you avoid saying or doing certain things out of fear that your actions will trigger a rage from the person with BPD, this in and of itself is manipulation.
  4. Beware of coming to the rescue of someone who is always the victim. The person with BPD may be soliciting your help under the pretense that they are helpless without you or the victims of others’ bad actions.

How can I avoid being manipulated by someone with BPD?

The best way to avoid being manipulated is to give yourself permission to refuse the manipulator’s requests. You must not buy into the idea that not acting as they want you to makes you responsible for their feelings.

It’s easier said than done. In my case, when I first began to say no to the person in my life with Borderline Personality Disorder, I knew I was acting appropriately in asserting myself, but I was still consumed by guilt afterward. The love I feel for my nephews was frequently used to get me to come and babysit them with no advance notice. My BPD sister-in-law would call me in the middle of an emotional breakdown and ask me to come over right that minute and take care of my nephews so she could go out. One day I even left a lunch date before the food arrived just to comply with her wishes.

Sometimes when I arrived she would be acting completely normal again and would be dressed and ready to go out. I was fully aware that my affection was being used as a tool to get me to serve my sister-in-law’s needs, but I felt obligated to my nephews and terribly guilty when I said no.

Now I realize that my life, my desires, and my needs matter, too. I have learned to keep it simple and short and to stick to my guns when I don’t want to do something she wants me to. I do this by practicing detachment. I keep my emotions at a distance and simply assert myself calmly, remembering that saying no is not a sign that I am a bad person. In doing this consistently, I find myself accumulating less resentment toward my sister-in-law. I feel better saying yes when it feels right to me as opposed to doing so primarily out of guilt or shame.

Learning to say no to someone you care about who has Borderline Personality Disorder is often very difficult, but in doing so you set boundaries that allow you to take better care of yourself and have a relationship that is free from manipulation.

Tags: , ,

70 Responses to “How to Avoid Being Manipulated by Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder”

  1. Meghan 07. Jan, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    Wow talk about negative framing of those with BPD. I was shocked to see this headline at the top of the page that I had expected to offer information in SUPPORT of persons suffering with this diagnosis. This labeling of their difficulties with mood regulation as “manipulation” only strengthens a stigma they already struggle to cope with, and the following “advice” may help keep boundaries, but it does not help the BPD person. Is it your job to help? No, but that’s what people do for those they care about. Sacrifice everything? No – absolutely not. But there is a huge difference between having healthy boundaries and a healthy understanding and closing someone out due to lack of understanding and fear, two factors with the author here.

    I am really sorry that the author of this article felt “manipulated” by their sister-in-law when in reality what the BPD person is really trying to manipulate is themselves. One thing they got right was that persons with BPD who experience panic due to mood disregulation do not intentionally “manipulate”. I suggest that anyone with a BPD person in their life read the article here if they care to actually help the person with BPD while keeping their own HEALTHY boundaries:

    This article, among many others, clearly states that setting tough boundaries does NOT help the BPD person,

    “Avoid boundaries, limits, contracts, and tough love.

    These methods are not effective with people with BPD. Be sure that families understand that boundaries are generally viewed as punishment by the person with BPD. Be sure they understand how to change behavior by explaining reinforcement, punishment, shaping, and extinction so that they do not reinforce maladaptive behaviors.”

    Best of luck to all of you with BPD in finding people in your lives who understand that you are not bad and that you need support just as much as a person going through a physically debilitating crisis, and to those who are struggling with giving support.

  2. Jay Doe 24. Mar, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    My BPD stalker tells people that she will/has self-harmed to get them to do anything controlling to me…sad…

  3. Kyle 12. Apr, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I thought this was a really helpful article. With all due respect to Meghan, the strategies in this article for establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries are geared primarily toward the preservation of the person with whom the individual with borderline personality disorder is interacting. I think it’s important for people (especially those with BPD) to understand that not everyone is their therapist, and that sometimes certain behaviors are expected and mandated in certain situations. Establishing clear expectations and contingencies, in my opinion, ultimately helps the person with BPD be more successful behaviorally regardless of their immediate (often irrational, angry, and unregulated) emotional reaction.

    Unlike other types of psychological disorders (eg anxiety, depression) the interesting thing about personality disorders is that they often cause as much – if not more – distress to others as they do to the individuals who have them. It is the same with antisocial PD, narcissistic, etc.

    I thought this was a compassionate article that took into account the needs of the person with AND without BPD. People with BPD need healthy people around them for support, and keeping these sorts of boundaries helps toward that goal.

  4. Jonathan 28. Apr, 2012 at 2:38 am #

    This is an extremely helpful piece. The only way to deal with BPD when its symptoms flare up is to ‘Take your ball and go home,’ so to speak. One must learn how to do this in a way that is self-preserving but without obvious anger toward the other person. This is very difficult, because BPD tends to bring out the worst in NONs – especially those who are less experienced with the disorder. The ‘crazy-making’ and emotional dysregulation of BPD can be extremely disorienting. A lot of NONs report that after a certain point in their relationships with BPDs, they had a hard time distinguisning fact from fiction. This is a CLASSIC situation. Untreated BPDs often CANNOT deal with the reality they have created, so instead of capitulating to the NON’s interpretation of reality, they project their own emotional chaos onto the NON as a ‘survival’ mechanism.

    Most BPD’s have an uncanny ability to sense when you are getting that ‘Something is just not adding up,’ feeling. That is often when their manipulation tactics jump into high-gear. It is important to spot these tactics so that you can take a big step back and interpret your own reality without the interference of the BPD’s projection tactics.

    Generally speaking, when the BPD senses that you are starting to ‘sort things out,’ their abandonment issues flare up. If they gave you the space to sort things out, you might actually GET sorted out and discover how sick the relationship really is and LEAVE IT. More than anything, the BPD will try to avoid this – since abandonment is what lies at the core of their illness. The bitter irony is that the BPD’s behavior at this point will flare up and PUSH the NON even further away, thus causing the very abandonment that the BPD fears the most. This is tragic, because a lot of the time, the NON has no intention of leaving. But in the end, the BPD’s behavior gives them no choice.

    Hence, the untreated BPD goes through life fulfilling their own worst fears over and over and over and over again. In a very real sense, the disorder is a self-fulfiling prophecy. And the worst part of it is, the BPD’s maladaptive behavioral techniques are usually so ingrained that they have an INABILITY to see the truth of this.

    Of course, if you have the option, the best way to deal with someone who has BPD is to cut them out of your life and not deal with them at all. Despite what ‘professionals’ say, BPD has a very low recovery rate – especially among those with the disorder who are older (say, 30 and up.) More often than not, they will make YOU crazy before THEY get better. Recovery from BPD is a long, hard road that takes years of behavioral therapy (4 to 7 years, according to most professionals.) BPD is ‘characterological’ in nature; it is not an organic illness that can be managed with medication. Nor can it be managed solely by traditional talk therapy with professionals who are NOT specifically trained to treat BPD.

    Think of it this way: how in the hell do you cure a PERSONALITY? A personality is WHO YOU ARE!! BPD is not an ‘issue.’ Dealing with BPD is not like sorting through every day emotional baggage. A person with BPD is, essentially, acting out severe abandonment trauma (often in the form of sexual abuse) in EVERY personal relationship. Until the original abandonment trauma is faced and dealt with, their is NO HOPE of recovery. The problem is, the BPD has gone through life developing behavioral techniques to specifically AVOID dealing with this original trauma. And the irony is that in doing so, they have ACTUALLY RECREATED this abandonment trauma over and over again. So, in a very real sense, when you are dealing with an untreated BPD, you are dealing a person who is emotionally SHELL-SHOCKED.

    Marsha Linehan, the pioneer of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, refers to BPD’s as ’emotional burn victims.’ This is a very accurate assesment. Until the burns are treated, their is no hope for healthy relationships. This treatment includes facing the original ‘trauma’ and developing new and effective behavioral skills. AGAIN, the difficulty here is that the BPD has usually spent years or DECADES in specific behavioral patterns that have become totally ingrained into their personality.

    So . . . if you’re in a relationship with a BPD, know that even if they go into treatment, it’s going to be a long haul. Your needs will most often be secondary (if that) to the BPD’s. You will essentially be a caretaker during the period of recovery, and there’s a good chance that you’ll remain in that role afterward. I was told this by a professional who had worked for three years on a BPD ward in a NYC hospital, under the supervision of one of the world’s foremost experts on Cluster B mental disorders.

    As far as Meghan’s comment; this looks like a shaming tactic. ABUSE IS ABUSE, no matter the origin, and just because a BPD doesn’t mean to do it, that doesn’t make it ok. I look at it this way: ‘Did I cause whatever the BPD is suffering from? Was I part of their original trauma? NO!! Well then, I don’t have to stick around to suffer the consequences. I’m just as important as they are, and I have a right to live without their emotional chaos!’

  5. Kim 03. May, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Dear Jonathan
    Your reply makes sense to me. I have been married to a man for 10 years who I believe has BPD. Rage is the main thing I have to deal with, it seems to come from nowhere and he cannot come down from it, especially after alcohol. I hoped that my husband would also be my best friend but that was not to be as there are so many things I cannot talk to him about. Topics go through my head and I envisage the negative reaction so don’t bother. I end up listening to his monologues which currently involve messages from time travellers and which he has filled copious notebooks with. I have been at the receiving end of physical abuse on occasions and mental abuse often, the fault never lies with him it is because I am a bad wife. He is in his mid 50’s and I would say he’s getting worse the more he isolates himself from people. I have tried boundaries to the point where I live separately during the week but things are getting worse when I am with him as he cannot understand that a woman who has been abused cannot simply smiled and act as if nothing has happened. The latest incident where I left the house barefoot with torn clothing having been pushed on a staircase, hair pulled, hands around my throat and threats of broken limbs has made me realise I cannot help him, only myself. He shows no remorse for this and blames me. I stand to lose financially by leaving him but my health is more important.

  6. Suzanne 21. Sep, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Fantastic article!
    I have been in counselling and therapy from a psychologist for about 10 years to help heal and recover from being raised by an abusive mother with BPD. I never thought I would be free from her abusive & twisted world.

    Once I FINALLY realized that it was never me but my mother who had all the problems and personality disorder…my life changed. I was conditioned to believe I was responsible for all of my mother’s issues, mood swings, happiness….everything. I was hated one moment, then “loved” the next as I was drained of everything I was for her stability. We never knew one minute to the next what behaviour from us would trigger her outbursts of rage and hostility…or her sobbing episodes.

    It was awful.

    I am free now, though there is a long journey ahead of me in learning how to interact with her while protecting myself. This article has clearly expressed the tools I have recently learned from my psychologist about setting boundaries and protecting yourself from a family member with BPD. If you do choose to go limited contact (as I have done – as opposed to no-contact)…boundary setting is the first thing to learn. It is necessary.

    Thanks for posting!

  7. mike 24. Dec, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    My wife has BPD, she self-harms through cutting, alcohol abuse and starvation (co-morbid Anorexia Nervosa). She is in long-term group and personal therapy, on a regime of anti-depressants and sometimes antipsychotics. Despite all this we have a relatively good relationship. Which is inherent on the fact that I do not allow myself to define, who she is, based on her mental illness. I do not define myself as her care giver. These things are elements that exist in our relationship, but they do not define it. My relationship with my wife is infinitely better than previous long-term girlfriends who didn’t have BPD: Equally, that fact, also has nothing to do with the fact she has BPD.
    If you cannot see beyond the BPD, then the relationship is likely to be filled with pain and suffering for both persons. If you blindly ignore your own needs and devote yourself to helping your partner then you will likely both suffer as a consequence. If you are prepared to be realistic, accept that there will be challenges and sacrifices that go beyond those of an ‘average’ relationship (if such thing exists) then you can have a healthy relationship. Don’t get me wrong, it adds layers of complexity, but if the foundation of your relationship is solid and loving then it can succeed.
    Yes, it was difficult for me to cope with at first, and it is still challenging today. The first and most important thing to understand is, that their behaviour is not about you. You are neither the cause, nor the solution to their negative schema. You cannot be their therapist, you cannot be their saviour. You can however be, a positive or negative, influence. You can encourage them to seek counselling, you can listen, empathise, help them understand how they are feeling, or to untie the cognitive knots they have got themselves in. You can bring them into the present, help them relax. You can learn to allow the negativity to wash over you and reach out to the real person underneath the defence mechanisms. Or you can enable the maladaptive coping mechanisms, you can play your part in the ‘manipulation’, you can blame them and drive their self-esteem even lower. You can enforce demands, boundaries and ultimatums, control and dominate them. You can rationalise these things as being in their self-interest if you like. But ultimately you will be making matters worse for you both.
    First of all you have to work through your own issues. If you feel guilty that you can’t cure them. Feel ashamed to admit you love someone with a mental illness. Feel resentful of them in terms of them being a burden that damages your personal aspirations. If you cannot cope with the fear that they may hurt themselves (or worse). All of these things are going to come out during the most challenging times. If you cannot reconcile your issues in your own mind, you will tear yourself apart trying to love someone with BPD, in my opinion. Issues such as these are about YOU! What is it you can improve about yourself that will improve your relationship? Accept that you project your frailties onto your partner also. A partner that frankly isn’t equipped to cope with them: you have to reconcile that without their help.
    There are two positive measures you can take to improve your situation if you wish to stay with someone who has BPD. The first is rather obvious: Learn about BPD, objectively without trying to establish blame or to vindicate yourself: the objective is to improve your situation. The second is less obvious… commit yourself to self-development. Seek counselling for yourself, learn to identify your own issues and face them. Learn how to empathise and actively listen to a person. Learn how to relax, to channel your energies into something positive. Hobbies, sport, yoga… whatever floats your boat. This allows you to better keep your cool during the challenging times and to get the most out of the positive times in your relationship.
    Live in the moment, don’t get drawn into the way things ‘should’ or ‘could’ be. Don’t punish yourself or your partner. Be a positive example to them, trust, encourage, have the patience to wait for them to realise: believe in them!
    I apologise if this sounds like nonsense to you, it would have to me 5 years ago. Maybe it will again 5 years from now.

  8. ben 27. May, 2013 at 12:46 pm #


  9. SHAWNCURLE 02. Aug, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    This article and the comments have been so helpful and enlightening! I have anti-social BPD and it’s a living hell to say the least. But I do find comfort in knowing so many others suffer and deal with this disorder.

    Reading these comments has given me hope that my life is not a total disaster. I also believe that a strong faith in God is paramount in dealing with the guilt and shame brought on by this illness.

    Thank you for posting.

  10. Ken 13. Sep, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Kim, I hope you have reached out for help by this point. YOU do not have the ability to change him, his “personality.” However, you can change how you allow it to affect you, and I believe that this is the point of this article. Yes, the person with BPD did not ask for this, they would not choose it and need help. However, you do not need to be an additional casualty as well. BPD recovery is a long road uphill in the snow, so to speak. I will remember you and your family when I next pray!

  11. Aelida 18. Feb, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    I find good points in every comment. I have long believed that ALL emotions are valid, even when they’re nuts, because to whomever is feeling them, they are probably very real.

    I too am rubbed the wrong way by the constant “manipulation” term getting thrown out there everywhere I look. Why? Because as a person who *SUFFERS* with BPD, I very rarely have any clear picture of reality during conflict or these types of situations. In fact, it usually takes me writing things down constantly and reading them days later to get a grasp on the reality vs. my “perception.”

    I don’t feel like my motivation is ever malicious. I know that I often allow negative treatment from others (yes, I know, abandonment issues) to go unpunished so to speak and will forgive the most heinous things with an “I’m sorry.” Manipulation seems deliberate and I don’t see it in myself (very rarely at least) and apparently neither do the majority of people I know. It’s an ugly trait.

    Boundaries are cool. In my experience though, I’m compelled to break rules, push buttons, and I’d rather not. I’ve responded to validation and honest communication. Yes, I’ll eventually recreate trauma etc. and it nearly kills me every time (it scares me to read our mortality rate). But even in those crazy wtf moments, I’m trying to explain what I’m feeling at the time, and expressing how it may not be reality but at that time it’s mine. And I ask for help and apologize (then proceed to launch the stupid inevitable war)

    “Manipulation” hurts. I feel like I deserve to be known as a victim of myself, too. I can’t break up with myself and change my number. I can’t move away. Knowing I’m capable of hurting people I love is pretty heartbreaking, too. There’s my emotional, long-winded two cents.

  12. Rosemarie 28. Apr, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    this is an interesting article and comments. I´m from denmark so please excuse my poor english.I´m a semi-recovered Borderline. I started psychodynamic therapy at 19 and spent 3 years in thereapy. From 24 to 30 I went to Mentalization-based therapy. Being borderline is a very individual thing there is broad variation. Some function at a high level some at a low level. I understand the chock of Meghan and agree with her. I myself have experienced intense pain when I was 22 and my first boyfriend left me. Yes, I made him leave because I couldn´t stand the pain having him close to me. I knew and I was ashamed to him and to my therapist because I didn´t succeed.He didn´t understand why I wasn´t able to be in a relationship and i felt really ashamed. I wen´t from being very successfull to having no control with my life. I was in intense pain for a year and very afraid . I called my friends very often. finally I got into treatment when i got better I apologiezed to my friends. they told that they have been worried but they were glad that I now received treatment – and it immediately helped.
    I am also a relative to a Borderlinemother(not diagnosed) and a Borderlinebrother(diagnosed). I have given up on my mother. I don´t think it is possible to have anything else than a very superficial relationship with her. She “likes” to pull the rug from you and since I have tried it so many times I now know that it is not going to change. My got diagnosed at 35 and I feel a lot of sympathy for him because I couldn´t imagine how my life would have turned out if I had been treated at 35 instead of 19. He suffers from depression very often and sometimes he is angry with me because im many ways my life is more succesfull and because of his depression. I understand his anger and try support him and tell that I would be nothing without treatment, so he can´t compare.
    I also agree with Jonathan get out of a relationship with an untreated severe Borderline. We don´t do these things conscius. Last summer I was at a one night stand and emotionally it got very intense. I knew this is my disease doing the trick. so pulled out of it because I didn´t want to hurt him and I didn´t want to complicate my own life. That meant no contact at all. A week later I tried to kill myself. i have had no contact with him except for one time in a store where i ran out. It is a struggle.

  13. Richard malcolm 27. May, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Yep I had one girlfriend seven years back called the local cops on me claimed domestic abuse. I was an active alcoholic. PTSD army infantry myself. She got a restraiing order but they dropped the charges not a mark on her.I was blackout drunk she knew it. I’ve never beat a woman before For many years I thought she was scared of me. So I let it go . She claimed he’s gonna kill me blah fuckin blah blah. None of it true I was just a drunk and was not abusive in our relationship hell as soon as we were together she quit her job started drinking getting high all the time. Pathological lies all the time easy to spot. Didn’t study on this as she disappeared pretty much. Then suddenly after 6 1/2 years called me up to say she was sorry blah blah started lying again . diagnosed ocd borderline too , so I studied up . diffinetly agree I believe she was sexually abused when young. She’s a lousy manipulator everyone sees right through her lies now most always did. I’ve met psycopaths they are cunning and seem to have no emotions. I feel for her and I know she is sorry but…. Better safe than sorry she still is drinking and lying when I called her on it she went into a toxic fear I would expose her pathological lying which of course everyone knows. I sent her countless articles and such no response. I was starting to feel crazy stalkerish a bit. Better safe than sorry I reported it to the local police. I mean why would someone that claimed domestic abuse and that I might kill her call to say sorry. Too dangerous and unpredictable if she contacts me again I’ll proceed with a restraining order. That’s my take and actions . this article seems right on. Also I suspect her white trash mother drank while pregnant a touch of fetal alcohol syndrome maybe a tad of autism something along those lines.

  14. Erin 22. Oct, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Manipulation is usually defined as the skillful and intentional deception of another for personal gain. There is no way that a person experiencing emotional dysregulation has the cognitive wherewithall to accomplish skillful and intentional deception to gain something that would actually benefit them.

  15. David 27. Nov, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Having lived with a BPD for seven years I believe that that are spiritual forces involved. I know to some this may sound crazy but to those who have experienced a BPD’s capacity for manipulation and lies you know that it goes far beyond human comprehension. I have seen the person I know change before my eyes, as if being taken over by another entity. At the core of evil is deception AND they are masters of deception. It’s hard to voice these beliefs without some people believing your off your rocker! Not even a therapist can fully understand this. But if you have lived with a BPD, been manipulated and lied to by a BDP, and if eventually a BDP has attacked you in an attempt to destroy your life and ultimately your spirit than you understand what I am saying. I believe that BDPs are aware that there is an evil entity that is available to them. I believe a part of them is deeply fearful of this realization (entity) UNTIL they get angry. In a moment of rage they knowingly tap into this other energy because in it there is a source of power that fuels their rage and anger. If you have looked into the eyes of someone you love and seen them instantly change in a BPD moment of rage then you don’t need me to convince you that there are other worldly elements at work….you already know it.

  16. Weaver 04. Mar, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    that’s crap yes they do know what they are doing -had a few “best friends” like that, drained me emotionally, financially, stole from me, had things blamed on me that I never knew happened, any other way they could- my psycopath/antisocial/borderline sister did the same and will use ANY moment, no matter how breif, to try ANY thing to get a reaction…we don’t have a relationship, she is exhausting, sucks all the air right out of a room – manipulating and evil, moreso the older she gets…she is pitiful, but very dangerous. She likes to provoke while acting like the innocent “poor little Mia” she was known as when she was a child. She likes to watch people believe lies, ANY lie she can get out of her mouth, at ANY time. She thought my brother’s memorial service was a nice place to stage her stuff. She runs off ANY person that she has gets in her life. I’m one of the many. She is always up to something and will victimize and steal from people and stores. Frog in a blender, that one is. My sister-in-law (and my mother who is also alot of acronyms) hold her and her crap responsible for the stress on my brother who had to be referee to the two crazies when they were killing each other. Now he’s gone. The only one of us kids who had any sense, as dear old DADDY DEAREST the molester of children and pets says. He isn’t even my brother’s father. Mom says she screwed twins & doesn’t know which one was my brother’s father. My dad knows all this,too. He is twisted & sick & oblivious or doesn’t care what all he has caused for us all. He’s only too glad to be “wonderful” and “a great dad who’s kid’s are ungrateful” sitting up in church with his new wife, Mrs. Moneybags Bigtits. Such a sweet Lady. She doesn’t beleive any of it, she says. When I thanked her and told her how much I appreciate her and she goes above and beyond the call of stepmother, she says “well, that’s just how much I love your father” so there’s a nice way of saying “otherwise i wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire and leave me and my gary alone”. Just a thought.

  17. Aunti Laura 15. Mar, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    my wife is having an affair with a woman who is borderline. from the view of a borderline, I’m sure it’s very bad on her side. but I watch my wife struggle with the sweet lovey dovey person
    who then turns into a raging lunatic.

    as to the manipulation, I could send you dozens of emails and texts of this woman saying in one she loves me, saying in the next one I’m a liar and I’m lying to myself as well, then talking about
    how I should deal with depression the way a borderline does.
    I think I’m lucky cuz honestly I’m not in a relationship with her. After all the manipulative emails and text, I told her to stop contacting me that I was not her friend. that’s when I started to get gifts in the mail. so if you don’t see that as manipulative, I don’t know what you think manipulative is.

  18. Alex 18. Mar, 2015 at 7:02 am #

    My daughter was involved in a friendship with someone like this. She attached herself to our family by playing the victim repeatedly. Over time she began to imitate my daughter. If my daughter bought yellow running shoes she bought the same shoes, if she highlighted her hair, cut her hair, liked a boy, changed friends. Whatever my daughter liked or did this girl would try to take it over and in essence be my daughter. She tried to manipulate us with story after story of an abusive home. It has gotten to the point that my daughter has pushed her aside as much as possible. She won’t tell her who she likes among the boys, if she decides to change her hair she doesn’t tell her, she know eventually the girl will follow by imitating her but it has allowed my daughter to be independent of her and for others to see that this girl does everything she does. My daughter has knows that she doesn’t have to be mean to this girl to separate herself from her. She is not allowed to come over. This girls knows she is not allowed to hang out with my daughter. Most importantly my daughter has learned to be distant and not play into this girls emotions or manipulations. When she takes her sets at lunch (because it’s my daughter spot), my daughter goes and sits with other people and laughs and enjoys herself. It leads to this girl sulking and pouting but it has given my daughter a way around the manipulations of the manipulator.

  19. Bob MachIntosh 19. Mar, 2015 at 5:45 am #

    I can attest to how mentally unstable some BPD people are, for instance my girlfriend. When she’s great, she’s great but when she snaps…. she is a straight up lunatic that will bash walls, attempt to slit her wrists and berate you non stop. Also used sex as a tool, then once she got what she wanted… she reverted to religion in a fanatical form.
    I am not posting this to shame, I am just stating my experience with BPD.

  20. Lani 19. Mar, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Great article. I am sorry the some don’t get it, but many will benefit from reading your experience with your BPD. Meghan in the comments sounds like the perpetual BPD gal without remorse happily victimizing others because “she needs”.

    BPD people are universally selfish. They play the victim, they manipulate and they use people who they trained to feel sorry for them. Don’t fall for it. They are not kind. They are not caring. They are narcissists shrink wrapped in crocodile tears to trap people in their lives.

    People who suffer from BPD should get no support until they commit to getting help with a highly trained therapist. BPD people should be treated like alcoholics who use and use until their support people say enough and get burned out. You shut them out until they step up and get treatment.

    Just say no. Your BPD friend, family member, neighbor or coworker will cry, punish and berate, but eventually they find another person to use and they will happy again. You will too when you do not have to deal with them. It’s a win win.

  21. Jimbo 25. Mar, 2015 at 7:45 pm #


    People with BPD are not out of control 100% of the time. They blame others for how they feel, and fail to see how they self-sabotage. Someone with BPD can quite skillfully play on the fears of those that have bullied and blamed for years in an attempt to get something they THINK will benefit them.

  22. Matt 25. Mar, 2015 at 9:33 pm #


    You simply couldn’t be more wrong. BPD’s are masters of manipulation. They learn very early how to pull the strings on people in order to get what they want, no matter what that may be. Just because someone is emotionally under-developed does not mean that they are under-developed in other areas of their lives. Many borderline a would appear perfectly normal when you are in a non-intimate relationship with them or are not in a position where you share responsibility with the BPD. Many Borderlines are high functioning in the workplace and can lead successful lives on the outside–but, inside they are a mess. This is often why many times to the outside observer, they may not see what the NON sees being in a personal relationship with them. They have an uncanny ability to project strength and confidence on the outside as a mask to what is truly going on in the inside. It sounds you have absolutely zero experience with BPD’s by your comment and I pray that you are never in a position to where you are forced to raise children with one. It is a living hell and I worry constantly about my daughters, as I see how she uses them to fulfill every one of her emotional needs. People are just pawns to BPD’s. They cannot truly love because to truly love means to give more than you receive and to be selfless. Those two terms do not exist in a BPD’s mind as all they care about is themselves.

  23. James 13. Apr, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    I have to disagree with Erin.

    With all due respect, I think you are underestimating people with BPD. They are not out of control 100% of the time and they can often think logically.

    Unfortunately, because the BPD sufferer tends to blame others for what they’re feeling and lash out at them (I’m not talking about those who turn their anger inwards and self-harm or self-medicate), they see the person they abuse as an abuser and not a victim. Not seeing themselves at fault, and being unwilling to change, the BPD (not in treatment) can only focus on what they perceive is wrong with the other person, and they try to change that.

  24. Danielle 19. Apr, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    I have BPD and mild schizophrenia. I can’t keep a single person in my life. I have saved relationships for others and give all I have to those I love. And yet through it all I get called abusive. manipulative, angry. I am treated like I want to hurt everyone in my life. I love unconditionally and want to help people and this article made me feel like I am a monster who wants to control everyone in my life to get what I want. I have never once thought of myself. And I understand that people should protect themselves from those trying to hurt them. But just cause we have a mental illness, that doesn’t mean you should condemn us to being alone and fending for ourselves in this world just cause you don’t understand how we feel or think. I fluctuate a lot in my moods but that doesn’t mean I’m manipulating anyone. I genuinely feel shocked and guilty everytime I’ve been called names. But I pick myself back up and try to love anyway. Please don’t treat us like we’re monsters just cause we can’t control how we are or who we are…

  25. JJ 01. May, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    Thanks, Erin.

  26. Mimi 08. May, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    I have BPD and I don’t really understand why everyone is so positive about this article or the comments… there are people saying that people with BPD should be abandoned?? That is literally the thing we’re most scared of in the world. I don’t know about others but it’s a real phobia for me.

    I’m sorry, it just makes me sad that wherever I go to read about BPD, about how to cope, the only things I found are people saying that BPDs are f*kn monsters and should be left alone to die or they will ruin your life.

  27. Colleen Boles 25. May, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    They most certainly do have the cognitive wherewithal to manipulate for personal gain, in fact they are very skilled at it. In addition, they know perfectly well their behaviour is deceitful, hurtful and abusive. But they do it anyway. Mental illness, barring full blown psychosis or schizophrenia, is no excuse for treating people so miserably.. And at times it is necessary and rational to completely distance yourself from a BPD that refuses to take responsibility. A person with mental illness is no different than any other human being – you hurt another person, you use another person,. you knowingly deceive another person you “man up” just like everybody else and say you’re sorry. Maybe the kindest thing you can do for a BPD you love is to expect the same from them… from any one else. Now there’s a boundary. Compassionate understanding is a good thing, but that works both ways and a BPD should not be excluded from that expectation.

  28. Gina 31. Jul, 2015 at 11:41 am #

    Get out from under. That person with the personality disorder will never get better. My doctor told me to distance myself from the person or I would end up in a mental state myself.
    Although I put up with it for many years I did distance myself and what a relief.

  29. Polly 02. Aug, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    I suffer with bpd and find this article duscuting! Not once have I used my bpd to manipulate people! People with bpd have emotions that are a lot more extreme so when asking for a favour we may appear to creep because we are excited about something or really need the favour so we over complement in an obvious way! My friends often say ‘what you after’ in a joking way when I creep but they all know they can say no if it’s inconvenient for them. They don’t feel pressure because I’m creeping! As for her sister in law being in the middle if the crisis then ready to go out when she gets there, what people need to understand is while in a crisis you ring whoever you feel will help you out of it. This person has to be the most trusted and reliable to the sufferer. Once the sufferer knows help is on the way this in itself brings a sense of calm and brought her back to reality but she still would have needed to get out as her mind would then be focused on where she was going which will probably be somewhere that she feels safe and calms her.

    The author may feel as though she’s set boundaries and empowered herself but what she’s actually done is added another name to the list of people who were once there for her sister in law n then walked away! It’s the selfishness of other people that stops people with bpd from getting better.

  30. Sarah 11. Aug, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    I have BPD and think the things in this article are wrong. Her account of borderline manipulation needs some work.

  31. Travis 16. Aug, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    Thanks for this article I was recently invovled with a woman whose displayed all the traits of BPD. I feel very manipulated and hurt and disgusted. Total fool. I was seduced and I’m in the just putting everything together stage. It really hurts to see someone with BPD just destroying themselves

  32. Andrew 27. Aug, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    I believe it is at the top of the list because its the most frequently searched by people like me who have identified it as manipulation , whether the bpd realize it or not

  33. Aunti Laura 07. Sep, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    People with BPD ruin lives on a regular schedule.

    When they can control those symptoms or when they are in the magical positivity
    Stage, they are lovely. But it doesn’t last. Yes, it’s a mental illness. One that never goes away. Medications don’t help. Dbt helps in the moment, IF, and that’s a big if, the person with bpd
    DOES it.

    Nope. I don’t want to ever do this again.

  34. Patrick 12. Sep, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    I have been in love with someone who has said many times in 7 years that he has BPD. I’ve heard it so much that I now hate that word. Even after I had to get a protection order against him and repeated attempts to reconcile, I have suddenly found myself having to explain away something I didn’t even do! It went like this: I did laundry as a favor to him. He is sure I went down to the laundry room to converse with another man online (I didn’t even have my phone with me or any access to a computer). He went into extreme anger the next day. He texted me all day long, calling me all kinds of names, calling me cold and heartless, and he never wanted to see me again. He even showed up at my doorstep that night (complaining that his phone died and needed a charge to call for a ride home, although he had enough of a phone charge minutes prior to showing up, to text me insulting and mean messages again). He was drunk, and when I finally gave in and let him in to charge his phone for a minute, he gave me such a harsh talking to that i had to throw him out. I care deeply for him and never, ever wanted to see him hurt like this (let alone dripping wet from the rain). Now he says the relationship is over (he is now sending texts dividing up our property) and I am left baffled, bewildered and confused (like many times over our long relationship). Idk what to do and he won’t get meds – it’s like he will do the least little bit of therapy to manipulate me back. I’m almost ready to say to anyone that if you know or meet a person who says they have BPD, please RUN AWAY and save yourself!

  35. Bob B. 26. Sep, 2015 at 1:51 am #

    Kyle said: “Unlike other types of psychological disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression) the interesting thing about personality disorders is that they often cause as much – if not more – distress to others as they do to the individuals who have them. It is the same with antisocial PD, narcissistic, etc.”

    Thanks for that….at times I felt that I was going insane and became massively depressed when interacting with my ex with BPD. I eventually have to implement absolute “no contact” to protect me from the abuse and manipulation. It was survival for me, straight up.

  36. Sally Archer 04. Oct, 2015 at 7:34 am #

    It would be great to see those individuals with BPD posting here admit that their behavior (whatever label we put on it) causes those in relationship with them to suffer. Just as alcoholics have to admit their shortcomings and the harm they’ve caused others to get better in their 12-step programs, BPD individuals stay victimizers when they focus on their own suffering and not the suffering they’re causing others.
    There are two BPD family members in my life, one male, one female. Both are devastating to anybody around them who cannot set boundaries, take care of themselves and see the BPD manipulation and emotional immaturity for what it is. If you love somebody with BPD, although there aren’t yet support groups for families and friends in any international systematic way, the principles of Al-Anon Family Groups have been a big help for me to detach with love and let BPD individuals hit their own bottoms the same way an active alcoholic or drug addict has to in order to face themselves and see the havoc created in others’ lives by their behaviors.
    Frankly, I’m sick and tired of BPD individuals playing the “suffering” card on blogs like this so as to elicit more sympathy for their outrageous behavioral manipulations while they pretend to love everybody so unconditionally. Seriously, BPD folks. Grow up. Don’t call what you do “love.” Get help for your BPD selves. I for one am no longer enabling any of you to act badly toward others.

  37. Chorra 06. Oct, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    Are you sure you’re not getting BPD mixed up with Narcissistic Personality Disorder? I’ve been BPD my while life, and whenever I need support, it’s because I actually need support and not because I want to manipulate them for attention. If I went up to someone for support and they turned me away by telling me no and to go somewhere else, it would hurt even worse because obviously that person doesn’t care about my feelings. At least, they presented it that way. People with BPD always assume the worst when others hurt them. They hurt me–they don’t love me–depression. There is no grey area of “oh must be a bad mood” and it’s unconscious black and white thinking too.

  38. Rose 11. Oct, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    I have BPD. I definitely agree with using boundaries with people with BPD and my psychologist does as well. If anyone doesn’t use boundaries they need to be aware that those missing lines are not only bad for themselves, it also confuses a person with BPD as often, they struggle with understanding boundaries themselves (that includes me) even though they are trying to. I appreciate boundaries greatly and am learning and practicing these more and more as I go through DBT therapy.

    I resent the use of the word “manipulation” in this article because of the fact that BPD do not manipulate intentionally, as others have commented. I am at a place in my therapy where i am realizing that i do tend to behave in ways that could be seen as manipulative when i am emotional, yet find myself lost as to what to do instead of those practiced methods. That is one of the skills i will be learning.

    Before beginning DBT skills about 10 months ago, i had only a vague and hazy awareness about the effects of my behaviors on other people because i was so lost in emotional pain and turmoil. I am so very grateful for the therapy i have received and the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained. I wish I would have known these things sooner.

    If anyone has BPD I highly recommend DBT. I went to years of CBT before and had only a small minimal amount of improvement. Nothing compared to DBT. You may feel like you’re way too smart for the skills at first, as it seems so natural and simple…but stick to it, you won’t regret it.

    God bless.

  39. Anon 26. Oct, 2015 at 7:16 am #

    To those of you with BPD who are upset about this article, sorry but you are not the intended beneficiaries of this article. It’s for those who have to suffer the second hand consequences of other peoples’ BPD, or those of us who have to help support them, and to that end, it’s brilliant.

  40. Melissa 28. Oct, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    I just want to say that I applaud you for writing an article that honestly addresses this. My mother has BPD and, owing to the fact that I am an only child and that she doesn’t speak to anyone else in our family (her parents have passed), I am the only person who is there for her. She telephones me at least sixteen times a day, and her mood varies from one call to the next. She can be perfectly lovely, telling me how proud she is of me, and then I’ll unwittingly say something that triggers her and she’ll be yelling, crying, and telling me I’m trying to make her look like an idiot. She’ll then hang up on me, and when I call her back (after I’ve given her time to cool down – I’ve learned never to call back straight away) – she tells me she’s taken a bottle of pills and that she doesn’t care anymore. When I go to see her, she admits she hasn’t taken a whole bottle of pills, but that she needed to say that to make me understand. Want to know what triggers her? She calls me to tell me interesting things from the news, which is fine, but if I happen to say “Really?’ or ‘Wow,’ she assumes I don’t believe her or am making fun of her. She also controls me to the point of telling me what to watch, what to cook, what to like/dislike, and how to raise my son. I say and do anything to please her the majority of the time, sometimes to the detriment of my relationship with my son, (whom she resents), and to my own self-esteem, particularly when we go out for coffee with her friends and she treats me like a child. I’m 43 years old and she is 72, and I honestly feel like my life is not my own. I’m morbidly depressed much of the time, but there is absolutely nobody I can turn to because my friends don’t understand and I cannot afford therapy. I can’t cut her out of my life because I do love her and I’m all she has, but I also know that if I don’t, I will lose myself completely. I have only just gotten off the phone with her now, and am so depressed I can’t even be in the same room as my son, because I know I will bring his mood down and he doesn’t need that. I feel trapped and alone and there is absolutely no escape from it. I even find myself praying that she will go in her sleep, which is horrible. Children of BPD parents are suffering terribly but, at least here in Australia, there is next to no support for us (unless you count those hotlines that offer nothing but someone referring you to counselling). I am at the end of my rope and can not deal with this anymore. The pamphlets and community service commercials and ‘government initiatives’ are all crap; all the coping strategies in the world aren’t going to take away from the fact that there is nobody for her to turn to but me, and I’m damn fed up. Sorry for being negative, but honesty is something I’m not allowed to show in real life.

  41. Jody 09. Nov, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

    I’m blown away by Jonathan’s account of BPD behavior. In fact, anyone diagnosed with BPD would do well to read it. On the surface, it might seem critical but it’s an excellent and accurate explanation of how things unfold when dealing with someone with BPD.

    I’m also struck by Rose’s comment because she’s clearly trying to understand her disorder and recognizes that, while she doesn’t do anything intentionally, she’s aware of how it’s perceived by others. I wish you well on your journey and I think you’ll succeed!

    The thing I see over and over again on websites is people with BPD getting angry and defensive at characterizations of their behavior.

    Part of deciding to heal is recognizing the unpleasant truth of something you might not have caused but are certainly responsible for as far as behaviors go, just as we all are. There is no one in our lives who is responsible for our behavior but ourselves.

    BPDs often ask to be given a break. I can completely understand. However, no one in any situation who experiences the same destructive behaviors over and over and over again could possibly be expected to simply lie back and take it, however unintentional the behavior might be.

    Nons exist in a world where there are commonly held beliefs about certain things. Very little in this life is fact based. But some things are. There are just certain normal rules of behavior, such as, if I close my door to get some quiet time so I can work, most people wouldn’t consider that a rejection. So later, when I least expect it, I get blindsided by some kind of attack, unrelated to the closed door (or so it’s presented).

    In my complete astonishment, I try to defend myself or understand what’s with the attack. I’m completely confused because I see no triggering event. I ask, I explain, I defend. And in doing so, the BPD (who won’t admit they’re BPD) is changing the subject and won’t talk about what triggered this and is now convincing me I’m the asshole and later, the whole incident never really happened. It’ll never be discussed. I’m now walking on eggshells because that scenario repeats over and over and I’m going crazy because I know that “objectively” I haven’t done anything wrong.

    Does the borderline ever say, “It’s not you, it’s me”?

    Now, let’s say that person knows they’re borderline, they’re beginning to understand their disorder and its possible sources, and they’re understanding the impact on people around them. That made-up scenario I described is still an intense challenge to deal with for the Non, multiplied by playing that scene out over and over for years and years. Let’s say the borderline is able to later really apologize and say, “I realize that you closing the door is not abandonment and I need to work on that.”

    That still sucks for the Non. But I assure you that 9 out of 10 cases do not include a diagnosed borderline, much less one who has advanced to the point where they can see that the people around them aren’t out to destroy them and don’t need to be punished daily for perceived slights.

    Nons become severely damaged, confused, scared, doubting their sanity. But is the borderline to blame? No, not really. The non has to do what they need to to take care of themselves, which means setting boundaries to lessen the impact.

    If the BPD doesn’t want to be blamed, then surely the BPD can understand that it’s better for a Non to take care of themselves rather than blame the BPD, right?

  42. Mikki 13. Nov, 2015 at 5:10 am #

    As somebody who suffers from BPD, I can understand the feeling of being targeted by this article, but I think it’s brilliant. I know that I can often attention seek and over-dramatise or outright lie about problems in my life to get the attention I crave. And I know that afterwards, I feel extremely guilty. For me, having people around that have clear boundaries makes things easier. It’s harder for me to lose myself to my paranoia and fear of abandonment when confronted with hard truth. My sister and brother-in-law have learned to be very clear about things. “I’m coming into exam period, so I need my space for the next two weeks. I’ll message once a day to let you know I still love you, but I won’t answer calls and I won’t answer every text you send the moment you send it” is a perfect example of how we interact. She gets that the separation will be difficult for me, but she’s not going to let that influence her life in a negative way. Instead, we set out clear rules, so that I don’t panic and I also don’t pull her down.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF MY RECOVERY WAS ADMITTING THAT I DO “BAD” THINGS. I don’t do them deliberately, but I do them nonetheless. I have a mental illness. It’s difficult to live with. But it is *my* illness and not anyone else’s responsibility. They need to take care of themself first, and I need to learn to live without using it as a crutch. MENTAL ILLNESS IS A REASON, NOT AN EXCUSE.

  43. Kimberly 13. Nov, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    This article was extremely helpful,as I just found out what BPD is and it describes my sister’s behavior to a t.I used to describe interactions with her, as if you’re caught in a twister…like a storm.You could not say a word and she’d tell you what you are thinking.I could go on.. But I just want to thank you…also thanks to you Jonathan I learned alot from you as well.

  44. Erochu 16. Nov, 2015 at 1:25 am #

    Great Article. To all those people who responded negatively to this article, either have loved ones or are themselves suffering from this terrible affliction: Sorry the rest of the world doesn’t have time for dealing with you. I admit that this is a real illness, but after living with someone who had this and having a KNIFE pulled on me I can honestly say that you guys need to commit yourselves and get real help. Tough truth but deal with it

  45. Gwen 25. Nov, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    I can tell you first hand how difficult it is to deal with a BPD Mother-in-law 17 years into my marriage. It is horrible. My father-in-law passed a few years back and we now have to look out after her. My Mother is a psychologist, so I am well versed in mental illness. I cannot tell you how much pain she has inflicted on all of us, especially my husband. My husband does not stand up to her and place boundaries. I have had to put up boundaries for myself and my children.

  46. Brittany 08. Dec, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    Well, after reading the article..which I read for 30 seconds. I spent the next 15 minutes going through every comment after. I love how the majority of these people think that somebody would truly want to intentionally do this to ones they love and that somebody would want to be alone. This actually disgusts me being I suffer from BPD, and i have isolated myself and dealt with life by getting to know many people but keeping it so they don’t get too close. Sad how people can be so uneducated about something they don’t go through, something based on a case by case basis. Honestly, I am negative about every little thing in my life, because of all the shut down’s, the mothers telling their kids when I was growing up to not hang around me. Being bullied, feeling absolutely MISERABLE and having my therapist recently tell me I enjoy living in the misery. Its what I’ve grown accustomed too. Its the only way I am seen as fitting. My own mother and brother dont even understand. The guy I’m seeing whom I am being completely honest with and upfront about everything still it feels like I am doomed. I considered having an exorcism done because this has been with me since I can remember. I never asked for this and to wake up every morning feeling like what’s the point? Or to unintentionally burn bridges, we can’t process things socially the way NONs do, because I know me personally I did not have any good influences around me, I came from an alcoholic family, and on top of it all nobody wants to stick around because I just didn’t know how to deal with taking a joke, and not taking everything so seriously. I just want to be able to come to the day when this disabling disease stops controlling my life. I have so much to offer to this world but when I think everybody is out to get me alot that nobody can trust me it makes it hard to not just be like I think I’ll go and do whatever it takes to get me out of my mind. Anything to just not feel this way. I even had a bunch of ECT done, because I loved the feeling it gave me. I had a reason this time and it was calming.

  47. Karen 09. Dec, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    All cases of people with bpd are not all the same. Some have narcissistic traits, are abusive as of anger as of being told no. Some to not grasp really life to reallity. Some are manipulating.. Some can not admit there wrongs as of pride. Some are selfish. Some love with passion and some love with manipulation for there own self needs. I had been with my sons father for 8 years and have witnessed this myself.

  48. Nat 12. Dec, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    Dear Lord. Where to begin? My sister two years my senior just died of cancer. We spent 40 + years as “best friends” (when it suited her) but became estranged probably after I stopped drinking and realized that something was off in our relationship. There was always some drama that prompted a perfectly good visit to end in tears and an abrupt exit. Nothing I did was good enough, but she was always the victim and never apologized for her part in our blow ups. If I was upset about something she would write me a check or try and turn it around to be my fault. I started avoiding her and felt better until we would have another heated exchange. She eventually started manipulating other family members to get me to be her ‘best friend’ again, but the truth was, she was never my best friend. She was an obligation and a burden and she held me back my whole life so as not to outshine her. After she started verbally abusing me, I went NC. Then she got cancer. She wanted me to show her the right kind of support and love, but after years of dealing with her inconsistencies and drama, I had nothing left. Evidently neither did her son, or our mother or our other sister. Here is the crazy part of it. She has all of these amazing friends that she used to unload to about me on Facebook, and make me look like the Devil. That is the infuriating thing about BPD. Only the people that get close to them know what assholes they are. They can put on a cutesy act for strangers and minor acquaintances, but they have no idea who they are really dealing with. And of course, I’m not about to tell them, especially now that she’s died of cancer. For all everyone outside of our family knows, she was an angel. And I am the Devil. If they only knew…

  49. Alisha 19. Feb, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

    Just enough with this painting BPD sufferers as “manipulative” by nature. Because that isn’t true. I am BPD and never do I manipulate people intentionally to get my way. This furthers the stigma against us. You said it yourself that people like myself are going to need help, we need quality professional help. Stigma as this DOES effect the way others understand this illness. And yes I do know what it’s like also around other bpds. I used to have this same disgusting attitude against her, at a point I even hated my own mother. I have come to learn why she does the things she does. BPD sufferers are in a very real very tremendous amount of emotional pain that we deal with every day. It is taxing. It is hell. But to say that by JUST being bpd that you MUST be a manipulator , that you’re someone to steer clear as if we are smallpox is just a very deeply hurtful thing, it hurts because it furthurs stigma (and even now in the professional feild there is a lot of prejudice doctors against this, I being victim of several ) and it helps NO ONE. How would you feel to constantly be told that you’re essentially a monster, unlovable and someone who deserves no human interaction . it hurts as a non to be alone, it hurts as a bpd to be alone. People manipulate others bpd or not. There will be bad people with this illness and there will be good, but you must realize that despite the shitty things some do, its because they hurt. It’s up to the individual then after to decide if they are going to be open to help, or just not give a damn and use diagnosis as an excuse to hurt others. We are not all terrible and my heart hurts for the borderlines some of you tell of because all you did was be scared. It’s not manipulation if you tell someone the bad things in your life, because again, why is it only manipulation from the bpd? Most often it is a cry for support and help, not pitty. I don’t know about other borderlines but despite my tornado emotions I try my hardest to be kind, I love everyone in my life unconditionally . borderline may be an emotional hell but my own abandonment issues mean I have never left a soul , the only people who left my life did so out of their own choice. We are not all bad people with the intentions to drag everyone else down with us, and please don’t just assume that bpd inherently make the sufferer a terrible person. What they choose to do after with themselves and their attitude is. And in the end they are still sick and suffering something you cannot imagine. Don’t be that guy who does their best to be an ass, be the bigger, healthier person and cut the bpd problem person out and don’t prolong their negative feelings it will only hurt each involved.

  50. Almost Related 01. Mar, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    I read this and appreciate the validation that sometimes you just have to say no. My boyfriend’s 30 year old granddaughter is now living with him (he is a vital 70 years young) as no one else in the family can deal with her anymore. She has had 10+ years of BPD therapy and we fear now knows how to manipulate the Drs. and therapists…and everyone else to a “T”.

    Manipulation by her is being done frequently: If she doesn’t get to go skiing or to a concert or borrow the car (none of which can she pay for)…..prepare for an episode of huge proportions and a night without sleep.

    I am now on the outs with her as I have stayed calm during the screaming and actually speak softly as she ramps up. I have been called every vile name in the book and only respond with SET replies I was an ER Tech for years and have training with “SET” communication (it helps with ALL types of hysteria in the ER).

    This woman has lost her 3 children, her home, her car, almost all belongings….Grandpa is the last hope. She has him checking on her 2-4 times a night “to make sure I’m still breathing”. She has taken pills to OD but always when/where she will be saved. Her Grandfather is afraid to leave his house now…as she might try suicide when he isn’t there to save her.

    She also manipulates him by trying to get him to “remember” that he tried to choke her while she was crying. (He didn’t, I was in the room entire time…he did raise his hand at one point to block a blow from her as she attempted to hit him….which she vehemently denied doing.)

    I’d like to see her try DBT but we live in a very small town….and can’t seem to find a source for it. She has been here for only 15 days so far.

    So sorry, I have veered from the original post quite a bit. I do sincerely thank you for letting me get this off my chest.

  51. Sean 05. Mar, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

    I notice a 100% consistency in all the comments made here. “Nons” comment about the manipulation done by “BPDs”, and BPDs talk about how they are not manipulative on purpose (or that not just BPDs are manipulators). Given that the title of this article is “How to avoid being manipulated by someone with BPD”, clearly the majority of people reading this are looking for help given the extremely difficult and damaging nature of being in that exact situation. My main idea I want to get across here, is that from the perspective of a NON, simply trying to protect themselves and loved ones, it does not matter if the manipulation is intentional or not. It is happening and it is terribly damaging and you need to protect yourself from this in every way possible, (if you value your own mental and emotion health and wellness) and in most cases yes, you must extricate yourself from that person (and that applies to ANYONE who is relentlessly abusive in any way, and of course there are endless forms that comes in, and most are NOT BPD). Believe me, in my dealings with people with BPD, it tis clear as day that they are suffering unfathomable pain on a daily basis. And giving compassion to those people, and recognizing they did not ask for this condition, is a SEPARATE ISSUE. And yeah it is a very sad issue because they need support, but the very issue they suffer from causes them to behave in a way all but guarantees total isolation from close human relationships. To those with BPD that take issue with NONS talking about the manipulative component here, I ask this: Don’t ALL people deserve to thoroughly protect themselves from outright mental and emotional (and also physical abuse)?

  52. margo 06. Mar, 2016 at 11:00 pm #

    I am a daughter, 57, with an 83 year old BPD father. Living with him was always difficult, there was always a new rule in the house that you were punished for before you knew the rule. I remember him coming home from work after 10PM, and him wanting to wake me and my sister up and give us spankings for leaving a glass in the kitchen sink. My room was at the top of the stairs and I heard him yelling at my Mother that she was “Lying!” and “Trying to protect them!” when she said SHE had left the glass in the sink. Yes, we walked on eggshells in that house and I knew I NEVER wanted to be uncomfortable in my own home EVER AGAIN in life, and the only way to GUARANTEE THAT was to vow to never ever consider getting married.

    He has gotten worse over the years, I started to feel he was mentally ill….it is only in this last year that I discovered the BPD personality type. Jonathan, thank you for your post. It clearly outlines my situation and confirms my gut feel that I need to let him burn himself out, without me trying to fix things. He lies about doctor appointments, then at the last hour, I get calls from the hospital where they need the next-of-kin present for upcoming surgery. I am certain in his BPD mind he feels he is being either “protective of me” or that “she doesn’t care about me”. The fact that I call him weekly to find out his doctor appointments is never mentioned or considered. BPDs create their own reality.

    The BPDs who post here all share the same cries of “nobody loves me”, “nobody cares as much for me as I do for them”, “nobody ever loved me”, “nobody understands me”, “nobody is as unselfish as I”.

    BPDs never see themselves. My BPD father rages at me one minute, then tells me I am his lifesaver the next minute. No one likes being bounced around emotionally. You can’t erase the impact of verbal abuse with a smile. So, the way I choose to survive him is to let him be. I do not confront lies – I accept that he is probably lying. When the truth comes, I just roll with it, no confrontation. I just don’t care to change him or “make him see his ways”. Because I am out. I love you, but you can’t see it and I’m not fighting to make you see it. Because I finally realize I do not have to prove it to YOU. That is a losing game and I’ve stopped playing. And even more, it is who HE is. He is and will always be an emotional drain. When he is at full-on antagonism, I cease talking. Can’t give him any ammunition or the conversation will be longer and the rage will escalate. But they are good to argue with, if you (the non-BPD) can argue dispassionately. I admit I sometimes wind Dad up on purpose, on a topic, it could be about anything…keys, whether it’s a leap year……but….. I do sense when to drop things because BPD irrational anger is looming near. BPDs get real stupid when their pride and anger are in control. So, you have to accept that there is no mutual exchange of ideas with a BPD. Which means there is no relationship growth or deepening. Which makes them very bad spouses.

    I do fear being like him. I have some of his unhealthy and self-destructive habits, and I see frightening parallels between his life and mine – even having ONE parallel is unsettling, and I have more than one. I wonder how much of this behavior is “learned” or “inherited”.

  53. Bonnie 20. Mar, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    This was a good article. I think people are getting stuck on the word, manipulative. The result of the behavior is that the person with BPD is moving things/people around to make sure their needs get met to avoid feelings of abandonment. Do they mean to do it? no. It is part of the disorder, it is a behavior.

    This is a symptom of BPD….the either, or syndrome. “Feel empathy for the person with BPD. No, feel sorry for the person who has to cope with the person with BPD. It’s not an either/or
    DBT stresses: both and… Empathize and Establish healthy boundaries for yourself. Distance if you’ve tried other approaches and they didn’t work.

    The person does not most times see that what they are doing is manipulating, and yet the behavior actually is- manipulation. Maybe we can come up with a different word, but I don’t know of one. It’s difficult for others to deal with feeling manipulated. And the object of rage/mistrust, etc..


    If you are a person who is being treated in ways that are emotionally abusive, you need to distance yourself. If you are a person who feels that they are being emotionally abused, but in reality you are projecting this behavior onto someone else, then you would benefit from seeking help for your difficulties with differentiating thoughts, feelings, behaviors, sensations, and events. (i.e. Borderline personality disorder).
    I do agree that there is stigma, particularly with BPD, because the behaviors are difficult to handle for the person with the disorder and family members/ friends, etc..

    In the words of REM, “Everybody Hurts”.

    and all people have a right to distance themselves from negative behavior, and set good healthy boundaries for themselves.

  54. Stef 28. Mar, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    Imagine if those, like me with BPD, went around calling Nons weak? or passive or uninspired or boring?

    That would be most uncharitable wouldn’t it.

    So why is it ok for Non’s to call people with a mental health disorder brought about by childhood abuse, manipulative eh? It’s not….if you can’t separate the bad behavior from the person you claim to love, then stroll on, you are not cut out for this!

    It’s a lot like dealing with a massive toddler…yes it’s tough, but we can be reprogrammed, so stop throwing unhelpful terms like manipulation around because you have trouble standing your ground or walking away…..jog on non!

  55. Hannah 02. Apr, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    Over 30 years of living with someone with BPD, I have given everything I have physically, emotionally and financially. I cannot continue watching the deterioration of my whole family and run the risk (hopefully it’s not too late) that my children, especially the youngest, will be forever scarred by a horrible disorder that is not hers. You can only help someone who will help themselves. There is help out there. I truly hope at some point he accepts it.

    Reading all the comments is truly heart-breaking. It’s not just the one affected with the disorder who suffers. My last option is to leave, but leave is what I now have to do. His denial of so much continues to be the biggest hurdle in any kind of help or improvement.

    Sadness and guilt are so strong, but self-preservation has finally won.

  56. Matthias 12. Apr, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    I agree with Jonathan. You can’t do anything.

    Setting boundaries I’ve tried for 6 years and it didn’t work. It only made the rages even worse. The verbal abuse is impossible to count. I had to kick her out of the house after she attacked me physically again. I started counting the physical abuse by her at the second birthday of our daughter, but it started before when she was pregant. At number 35 (the total number in this relationship must be more like 60 to 80 times), I threw her out in a act of desperate self-preservation. Now our daughter is with the mother and our child has also been physically attacked by her. I can do nothing because as the father in court you have no chance.

    If I read the Borderliners painting themself as the poor victims what about me and my daughter who have done nothing wrong. A victim doesn’t make other people’s life hell on earth.

  57. eggshells 21. Apr, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    All information should be taken with a grain of salt. Not all people suffering from BPD are the same, and not everybody involved with someone with BPD have the same stories to tell. I am what one commentator labeled as a “NON”. I am just out of a relationship with someone who has a server case of poor self image, abusive upbringing and fear of abandonment. We were together for only a year, and it was a tumultuous one, at best. In th beginning, my partner gave me all indications that she was stable, had a job, thoughts on the future, wanted honesty, trustworthiness, love and all the things I wanted in a partner (we are both over 50). We have a lot of common interests, hobbies, too. It did not seem too “perfect”, but it was a nice fit, in my mind. Things started off nicely, then a few little incidences popped up, like (before we moved in together) she got very upset that I did not call “shortly” like I promised, but rather 1.5hours later because I was caught in a snowstorm. I was read the riot act because “shortly” means oh, within the next 30 mins. Never minding the fact that I did not lie, (by omission or otherwise), and no mention was made about if I got home safely. Ok… then, if I was forgetful, I was lying. If I stayed out later for hockey, I was cheating… (by the time she moved in, I started to really see the bigger picture). I am not perfect, just to let you know. I too had my moments. I always felt on the defensive, and our conversations/discussions when heated sounded more like being in a courtroom. I was not given the opportunity to explain things…I was made out to be the bad one. She rarely had anything nice to say, and was always analyzing me and my behavior chalking things up to how I was raised. My head was spinning more than anything. It was only after she left me (even though she was the one that feared abandonment, she didn’t think it was safe to live with me, and I still don’t understand that…) She manifested all kinds of stories and told them to my friends and family, painting me out to be a nasty, negative person. She did do the push-pull thing with me, always keeping me guessing…. and what really bothered me to the point of questioning her was why was it when things were going so well financially, stability, with us, that she found the need to sabotage everything. She would start a fight over something so seemingly insignificant as supper was not ready on time. Or another night, I made supper and she blasted me because I didn’t consider if she wanted something different. No, not all people with BPD are the same. There was no reasoning with her. Her adult daughter took off on her when she was away from home visiting me, I found out afterwards that her ex left her due to mental stress issues, that my partner was always first in the relationship no matter what; held everyone up to HER high standards (that’s a no-no in my books). My ex knew no boundaries or at least did not respect them although I had to respect her 100%. She re-arranged my closet, my artist box, my personal papers, and I do one thing (at her request) and made an error, and I heard about it for weeks. She retaliated, she threatened (not physical to me, but just ultimatums), she punished me with being silent and sullen, UNTIL I paid attention to her fully and foremost. She knew no intimacy, just physical, there were no moments of deep connection. Just surface. She used me, or that is how I feel. I had to apologize constantly until my ears bled (sic) but all I got from her was “I’m sorry you feel that way”. Never an apology for what she did. She was abused as a child, bullied and made fun of. She skulks instead of walks, she’s very stiff as if always on self-defense mode. I read some of the body language, but she told me she suffered a mild stroke. You know, when I called her out on a lot of her shit, that is when she decided we no longer had a relationship. However, she was with me to buy new furniture, plan weekends etc, than BAM… she’s gone. I don’t know if I love her, I doubt I do because we really didn’t blossom like I hoped. We planned for the future, but I think that scared her. It was too good. Too calm. Not enough chaos. Nothing to spark reaction. I do care about her and her well being. I don’t know if the next person will let her off so easily. I am a strong person, but she beat me up mentally without me knowing it. I fought back for my self respect and boundaries, and she saw that as a threat. I would admire that in a person, but for her it’s not like that. I don’t know what her demons are, and she did have therapy when she was about 14 for about 5 years if I remember correctly. Then there was therapy for her and her daughter, then her and her first spouse, then her and her 2nd spouse, and we went for couple’s counseling. She reassured me that she was in a good place, happy and looking forward to a wonderful life. Problem is, I was an individual with regular needs that she may have wanted but was afraid to accept because her needs as a child and growing up were not met. No excuses, just empathy for someone having gone through that. Oh, I was also accused of not having empathy because I didn’t coddle her and treat her like a parent/protector. I had no idea she was still so broken, so I did not respond how she wanted me to. I am so sorry for those suffering from BPD, but please get help to channel your emotions and be able to address them. Personally I can accept people having mental disorders (and I say that with the utmost respect), but if you don’t, people having gone through shit like I did will not look on you in a positive way. What was done to me was cruel. I did none of that to her, yet I was made to pay for so many things. I know this because of what was done to me: it was the way she was treated as a child. I cannot say what she is going through, just what I went through. I opened my heart , my home, my life, friends and family for this person. I am now in debt, my friends and family were cut off and now back in my life, my home a wreck from partial renovations and things done, but mostly my heart was crushed like a bug under her heel. I have already moved on.

  58. Julie 24. Apr, 2016 at 6:21 am #

    Well, I am at my wit’s end. I have a loved one with this disorder and it has destroyed our relationship. Whether intentional or not, she threatens and manipulates to try and get her way. And acts like a spoiled two-year-old when it doesn’t happen.

    All those suffering with this need to understand that you are abusing people, whether intentional or not, and your disorder is not an excuse to do that. It does not matter that you “didn’t mean it.” That doesn’t undo anything.

    Now, what they would say is “oh you’re making me feel bad!” Which is just another form of manipulation to make somebody feel guilty.

    It’s heartbreaking for me because I am on the verge of walking out of her life completely. She does not want help. All she wants to do is have things her way.

    Conversation, being nice, bending over backwards, nothing fills this bottomless pit of self centeredness and entitlement because she’s a “victim.”

    I no longer know what to do. I love this person deeply, but feel helpless.

  59. Jessica 02. May, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    BPD is a clinical, medical diagnosis that offers a VERY wide variety of symptoms, manipulation being one of them. ONE. Having read every comment here, I can say not one made mention of manipulation by default of diagnosis. This article, I believe anyhow, is intended to help those consistently exposed to someone who experiences

  60. Kathleen 02. May, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    I believe my sister has BPD. It’s the only thing I can come up with (though her therapist also suggested this to her) to try to make sense of the insanely harmful behavior. Do I hope she seeks treatment? I really don’t care as long as she stays away from me. She has destroyed our family through outrageous manipulation – all in order to escape responsibility or criticism. I’m sure it’s no more intentional than a three year old figuring out how to play her parents off of each other to stay up late or get an extra cookie. Anyone on this board who is BPD or is in a relationship with someone with BPD needs to get this basic message: there is no justification for wrong behavior and without the BPD taking full responsibility there is no hope of resolution. And at the end of the day taking responsibility is what gets you out of the endless cycle of pain. Saying “I was wrong, I am sorry and what can I do to make it right?” And actually doing it. That is the solution. BPDs need 12 steps. Period.

  61. admin 04. May, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    Hi. Sorry to hear you’re going through all of that. You can try reaching out the NEABPD Family Connections to see if they have any resources in your area:

  62. admin 04. May, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    Sorry to hear you’re going through that. You may want to check with NEABPD Family Connections and see if they have any resources in your area:

  63. Jane 07. May, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    It is very disheartening to read this myth AGAIN. Even Marsha Linehan, a forerunner in the treatment of BPD, disputes that people with BPD are manipulative. Very irresponsible. For more accurate info on BPD, I would recommend Alex Chapman’s The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide.

  64. Mary 12. May, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    I have struggled through the years to hear and support my sister and to help my nieces struggle with a challenging relationship with her. BPD is the only lens that gave any clarity. I understand my sister suffers, suffers deeply. That is the only way I can make any sense of her behavior. She suffers overwhelming pain. But the solution to that pain will not/can not and probably does not come from the demands she makes of her children, or by blaming or assassinating the character of anyone those who don’t fulfill her expectations.

    In her suffering, in her sadness, she fails to see illness as the source of her pain. Instead, she assigns responsibility to a series of ongoing and past victimizations laid at the feet of a list of “evil” people or “bad” actors. The list changes over the years/decades but the assignment or responsibility to others does not.

    In reading these postings, I ask myself is/how is the term manipulative helpful to anyone? I can only respond with respect to my experience.

    If my sister shared her pain and the needs/desires she has that she believes would alleviate the pain, with a reasonable understanding of the impact on others, honoring the feelings, desires, needs of others in the same or next breath, or day, or week, or month, or year, that would be one thing. But what she does is repeatedly attempt to orchestrate the situation so the others must fulfill her, no other outcome is “okay,” any other outcome must be seen as her being victimized. She always acts to direct others to fulfilling her. If she doesn’t succeed in gaining her desire/need, she goes at it over and over again, or falls back to naming the other as behaving badly. In achieving either of these ends she is using others to benefit herself, and not allowing others to choose freely. That is manipulation.

    Are all BPDs manipulative? I don’t know and, in fact, I don’t have a direct access to a professional diagnosis for her. What I do know is that BPD fits quite well. It has been a useful naming for those around her. Recognizing manipulation in her is an important tool to caring for oneself for those vulnerable to her.

    I’m sorry if the term makes someone with BPD feel bad, but how someone with BPD feels however important, however overwhelming the suffering, is not the only thing that matters. With my sister, manipulation is the elephant in the room. Failing to acknowledge it is at best unhelpful.

    I’m so very sorry for her. That she is in unimaginable pain is the only way I can understand her terrible behavior. It helps me to believe that she loves her children, she is just too ill to act from that love.

  65. Bec 20. Jun, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    BPD is not an illness, it is a personality disorder.

    The difference between the two determines that in the latter, the character and behaviours of a person will form over a period of time (often rigidly) ‘around’ a central need to avoid abandonment in relationships. The resulting personality becomes a BPD individual’s truth; and whatever behaviours that arise from it are experienced by the sufferer as tools of survival rather than hurtful or anti-social actions. In other words, when a person with BPD feels threatened by abandonment, however obscure the risk, they no longer monitor their behaviour for its external impacts. Instead, all the blood rushes to the heart of avoiding abandonment and behaviour becomes a disembodied appendage through which this may (often ineffectively) be achieved. This is one way to analogise why people with BPD claim that they don’t mean to inflict harm on others: a temporary and involuntary lack of thought to behaviour while all energies focus on surviving a perceived harm.

    That BPD is a personality disorder also explains why many who have it either refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem, or acknowledge there is a problem, but demonstrate a limited capacity to change. Mental illnesses are not so deeply entwined with the core self. With BPD the shape of the personality and the central need system encapsulated within it, has become an extremely sensitised ‘truth’. Any challenge to this truth, minor or otherwise, is an absolute destabilisation.

    How can one possibly let go of the need to not let go when the mere thought of it causes such pain? How can pain be wrong? How can abandonment not be hell? If I have no one, then I feel I am no one.

    Given this mindset, it’s very easy to see why the word manipulation evokes a challenge. If manipulation is a negative attribute, then by association this creates a threat to the central need system. That is, ‘if I am seen as a manipulator, then this could stack against me as a reason to be abandoned.’ The resulting behaviour (as we have seen here) is an anger response to both the word and to those who associate it with BPD.

    Most problems, not least the psychological ones, are extremely complicated. Most solutions, however, are fairly simple.

    Problem: should the word manipulation be applied to BPD behaviours that look exactly like using and/or abusing other people for either avoidance of pain and/or to enable some kind of gain?

    Solution: In order to heal anything, of mind or body, spades must always be called spades. Simple as that.

  66. Rich Moreno 23. Jun, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    My name is Rich, and I am a borderline. One of the biggest struggles I have had to deal with is my own BPD parents. I am in my 50s now, and they are at an age where they are no longer open to the idea they are BPD, and how I and everyone around them have become casualties of their/our illness.

    BPD is cross-generational and, just as it has affected me my entire life, it’s done so for my parents’ entire lives, and their parents’ parents, etc. They understandably just want to validate their own lives by creating self-serving interpretations of events from long ago.
    Therefore, it’s important to realize that many of the comments made here may well have been from undiagnosed borderlines themselves, who are now in the unenviable position of being caretaker of one or both agitators from whom they inherited, both genetically and environmentally, their own illness. This smacks of BPD with a strong side order of codependency, too, and I see it in myself, as well.

    Ironically, other borderlines here have taken exception to use of the term manipulation, though I’ve experienced it firsthand from my parents. Looking outward, I see BPD permeates my family in much the same way termites infect wood: it’s largely unseen by the rest of the world and, since so many in the family are also BPD, like the rages and other extreme symptoms that are hallmarks of our illness, it goes unseen, at home, behind closed doors.

    For me, the manipulative tendencies (read ‘survival skills’) of this illness was my “normal.” It took me decades to realize I was also BPD, courtesy of a sharp-eyed therapist. And though I knew I never wanted my home to be like the one in which I grew up, that’s exactly what I’ve created for decades.

    Bottom line? Undiagnosed borderlines steeped in dysfunctional family backgrounds may well have manipulative tendencies that, to them, have always been normal. But, in retrospect, after two marriages, one estranged child, and a 10-mile long “trail of bodies” of frustrated, disappointed coworkers, friends, and would-be friends, I’ve become quite adept at recognizing other borderlines. I usually do my best to avoid them, as they may not know they’re BPD yet themselves. Frankly, I don’t have room for the drama that will surely ensue.
    Still, many others I don’t see as BPD also demonstrate manipulative behaviors.

    So, please always remember, those with BPD do not have a monopoly on manipulation, especially when used as a survival tool. Every baby crying for its mother to feed it, to change it, to soothe it, etc., might be thought of as “manipulative” in this way. Therefore, we all have been “manipulators” at least once in our lives in order to survive, and many of us are incapable of handling the inevitable stressors that trigger us any other way.

  67. Wendy 26. Jun, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    I grew up with a mother with BPD and once I changed my beliefs about myself, I realized the her demands and manipulations are not about me. They are about her trying to manage her pain and get her needs met. Not about me. And knowing that lets me ask for what I want and say no to what I don’t want without expectations of her being any different. I coach people on their beliefs so they can get what they need on the inside, not from the outside.

  68. Lani 20. Sep, 2016 at 11:10 am #

    My mother is BPD and my brother is NPD. Needless to say, I also grew up in a dysfunctional household. I am grateful that I am resilient, but not grateful that the disorders of others were made my responsibility to cater to and manage. That is not role of child and not the role of any mentally healthy person to assume at their own emotional expense.

    BPD is a difficult diagnosis, but it does not give that person the right to manipulate or abuse others. The mistake that those with loved ones with BPD make is not drawing a hard boundary. BPD people are no different than addicts who manipulate to get their fix. It is a behavior that is means to an end at any cost. Without treatment, they use the people around them in an effort to avoid change or treatment for their BPD.

    BPD sufferers employ manipulation since that strategy was successful in the households that they grew up in. You cannot fix a person with BPD with love, understanding or by accepting their dysfunction. You can set hard boundaries, require treatment for continued contact and make rules about acceptable behavior to protect your own mental health.

    People with BPD feel entitled to use others to regulate their own emotional dysfunction. That is not right, but it is part of their illness. Anyone with BPD that feels differently is probably someone who has no insight into how their choices and disorder affect others.

    BPD sufferers do not get a pass for their bad behavior. They should be held accountable for their actions and other reactions. Walking carefully around BPD does nothing but encourage them to continue their pattern.

    Give them a choice. Treatment and boundaries or no more tolerance of them or their manipulation. You don’t hate the person with BPD because they have a disease, but you demand better behavior in exchange for support and contact. Relationships are reciprocal.

    Untreated BPD people instead believe that relationships are sources of support for them with no reciprocation needed or intended since they choose to use guilt instead of personal repayment in emotional kind.

    If you have a person in your life with BPD, understand that their disorder is not your responsibility. It is theirs as an adult to address. If they refuse treatment, they are someone that you will need to limit your time with. If the manipulate with demands or tears, they are someone to be ignored. If they refuse to change, you may eventually need to go no contact so that they understand that you will act to protect your own emotional needs.

    BPD does have treatment options. If you are BPB, there is help. If you love someone with BPD, they have to want to get help to be better. If they don’t, walk away and leave them to their disease. You cannot help someone who refuses treatment and is unwilling to accept responsibility.

  69. Ak 04. Oct, 2016 at 11:32 am #


    Lani, I don’t know if you’ll ever read this but I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your comment. My MIL has severe BPD, and the wreckage she is leaving behind is irreparable. The rage, depression, guilt, avoidance, denial, and MANIPULATION. She ruined her mother and husband financially, and racked up over a hundred thousand dollars under my wife’s name. I have even started receiving death threats, and she doesn’t understand why I can’t have my child around her. Comments like yours reinforce our dedication to keeping this person out of our lives to regain some sense of sanity. I even sent your comment to my wife to read. Your words are spot on.

  70. Jamie 25. Oct, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    I can’t believe you would write an article about this. You seriously need to sit down and do wayyyyy more research about BPD, because honestly, you have it all wrong. People with BPD manipulate others not for attention or control, but as a way to keep others from leaving them. People with this mental illness are terrified of being left behind by others, due to the string of bad relationships they often have, and so some people turn to manipulation to avoid being abandoned. Having said this, not all people with a Borderline Personality are the same. Some don’t manipulate at all (I would know, I have BPD). Overall I think you need to think about the fact that people with BPD are desperate to be loved. They need support – and although you shouldn’t let them manipulate you, you still have to be as empathetic as possible and try to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Leave a Reply