As the saying goes, you can’t help who you fall in love with. Falling in love and trying to maintain a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be one of the greatest relationship challenges you can face.
BPD is an incredibly complex disorder that can make a rollercoaster ride out of what could otherwise be a normal and functioning healthy relationship.
But what is “normal?” Entire volumes can be (and have been) written on what constitutes a “normal” relationship. Depending on your experience, normal could mean conflict as much as it could mean harmony.
In Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder, co-author Randi Kreger says, “Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship.”
A relationship doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be healthy and mutually beneficial for those involved.
What Makes a Healthy Relationship?
Kreger lists some basic tenets of a healthy, functioning relationship:
- Respect for each other
- Support and empathy
- Communication and sharing
- Mutual trust, honesty, and fidelity
- Enjoying time together … and apart
- Fairness and equality
Many of these tenets can seem impossible to achieve when one partner in a relationship has Borderline Personality Disorder. According to the DSM-IV, the guide psychiatrists and medical professionals use to diagnose BPD, symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder include:
- Intense fears of abandonment;
- A distorted and unstable self-image, which can result in sudden changes in feelings;
- And, perhaps most harmful as far as the hope of a functioning relationship with someone with BPD goes, “a pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation).”
Can BPD Treatment Help My Relationship?
With Borderline Personality Disorder treatment, however, there is hope for a functioning relationship. A study done by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) over a 10-year period showed that of those who had undergone treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder, 50 percent achieved recovery, 93 percent attained a remission of BPD symptoms that lasted at least two years, and 86 percent attained a sustained remission lasting at least four years.
As someone in a relationship with a person diagnosed with BPD, you should seek support as well. A good Borderline Personality Disorder treatment center will recognize that BPD is a serious condition that profoundly affects the lives of those who have it, as well as those around them. When seeking BPD treatment, look for a BPD treatment center that offers help for the family members and loved ones of the person undergoing treatment.
Getting Help for Your Loved One with BPD
But what happens when the person you love who is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t recognize the problem, or recognizes it but refuses to get help?
“Therapy can only work when the client is bothered by their symptoms and takes responsibility for solving them,” Kreger says.
This Valentine’s Day, find a way to approach your loved one with BPD about the possibility of Borderline Personality Disorder treatment and let them know that you will be with them on their journey to make their life, and your relationship, more fulfilling and rewarding.