I remember when I was a kid, I would come home and stand outside the door a minute to listen for the sound of the vacuum cleaner. If I heard it, I’d know to expect my mom to be in a nasty mood from cleaning the house all day. This was a handy signal — it gave me the chance to prepare myself for the environment inside.
In any relationship, it’s beneficial to have these telling signals. In a relationship with a family member or partner, it’s particularly important to be able to discern how one is likely to react to certain situations, as the emotions of loved ones have a more profound effect on us.
If you find that you are not able to see a pattern in the way a family member is going to react in any given situation, this can cause an unstable environment and a lot of distress in your everyday life. You might get the constant feeling that you are walking on eggshells with your loved one.
This constant feeling of insecurity and “not knowing what happened” in any given conflict can have a dramatic effect on the relationship between you and your family member, considering that the foundation of any relationship, especially one with such an emotional bond, is based on trust. How can you trust someone who is so unpredictable?
Is it Borderline Personality Disorder?
If your family member has trouble regulating his or her emotions, and if those emotions are as erratic as they are intense, you might wonder whether or not he or she has Borderline Personality Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms include the following:
- Intense mood swings
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate and uncontrollable anger
- Extreme fear of abandonment
Any of these symptoms alone would set the stage for an unstable situation in the home. Taking into account the fact that those who are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder exhibit a recurring pattern of five of the nine symptoms of BPD — symptoms which also include patterns of self-harm, impulsive and dangerous behavior, paranoid thoughts, distorted self-image, even losing touch with reality — BPD, left untreated, can destroy the home.
Anyone experiencing these painful and paralyzing symptoms would do well to look into Borderline Personality Disorder treatment, both for his or her own sake and for the sake of the environment of the home. Once diagnosed, a BPD treatment center will create an individualized plan to give your family member the tools he or she needs to deal with their symptoms and live a healthier life.