How to Avoid Being Manipulated by Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder

Avoid Being Manipulated by Someone With BPDManipulation 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 being manipulated 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.

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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.

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109 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. Jacki 17. Oct, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    My daughter is 18 and she was in a russian orphanage since she was born. Since she had a heart problem she was not healthy enough for adoption so she was left there until she was healthy enough at 18 months and we brought her home at 22 months. Tiny as could be and 18 lbs. She had intense fear of people and of me leaving her. At that time she was diagnosed as having severe attachment disorder. She was diagnosed with BPD over 2 years ago. She also has dyslexia.

    I am the one most easily manipulated by her because I am so close to her. She acts like everything is life and death if she doesn’t get her way. She would say that if she couldn’t go out she felt like killing herself. Since I work full time I knew I couldn’t watch her so it was easier to let her go out. Her therapist suggested DBT therapy which we got her into but she didn’t like it and didn’t want to keep going. Watching her get more depressed and more manipulative was very hard because I love her so much. After her 4th attempt at suicide we were able to convince her to go into a treatment center. She is there for 30 days in a DBT therapy program (this will be her second week). I am hoping for the best and so far as much as i can tell things are going good. She doesn’t complain about being there but she is also a 5 hour drive away.

  71. 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.

  72. PseudoZombie 26. Oct, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    I suspect I have BPD, its currently being discussed with my mental health team, alongside known co-morbid recurrent depressive disorder and avoidant personality traits. There are biological factors to my depression but there are also psychological ones which stem from the hell I went through as a child. I’m not saying that to manipulate pity. It’s just an explanation. A smoker can develop lung cancer. Someone who suffers certain childhood traumas can develop personality disorders. My psychiatrist agreed that my past and my GPs refusal to explore my depression and psychosomatic symptoms at a young age fed into my problems with mental health. So that is me.

    As far as BPD goes, I have a lot of the indicators, but not in the way seeming to be expressed here. Fear of abandonment prevents me asking for favours because I don’t want to burden people, i certainly dont manipulate favours out of people. I wear my heart on my sleeve, because I have an all in or all out personality which is common with BPDs. I find manipulation difficult to accomplish because of that. I have never lied to my husband, even though he has lied about debt, fines, not paying the mortgage, all sorts. I am not a deceiver, although what I can do is sometimes perceive situations differently than someone else might. If I react a certain way it’s because my perception is different, not because I am trying to manipulate.

    Yes, I can have trouble controlling emotions, from pain, to adoration, to anger. As I said, I am an all in or all out type of person. My husband understand that. Sure, we have had our blazing rows but we have been together for 12 years now and we are still in love. We still support each other. We have two wonderful, happy children. Because he treats me with patience and understanding, and I empathise with the mental health problems he suffers with in a way none of his family do. We work together, and I think being properly diagnosed will help us become stronger still. Even my crisis team nurse agrees my marriage is odd because its uncharacteristic of a BPD, but the truth is we have just learned to understand one another while other unstable family relatiobships I have are those lacking in mutual respect and empathy.

    When people turn a mental disability into a concious choice, that causes a problem. You would never say a paraplegic is just lazy, or is manipulating you into assisting them. Yet with mental health it happens all the time. I have severe anxiety, so people say I refuse to do things as if hiding away is a choice rather than a disabling part of my life which leaves me isolated. When depression drives down motivation and make everything seem pointless I am viewed as lazy. When I yell because I am in emotional distress people take it personally, even when I apologise within hours. They walk away even when I say sorry, and demand an apology for my illness. An illness I did not ask for any more than my dad asked for cancer.

    Yes, i understand that dealing with anothers illness is hard. It can be demanding, draining, exhausting, but that is ttru whether you are talking about BDP or terminal cancer. The patient is in pain. They may act irrationally or require things you would rather not do. The difference is that with cancer it” a symptom, with BPD it is considered as abuse by those without the illness. If your wife discovers she has a terminal illness you can choose to stay and deal with pain, pills, depression, mood swings, confusion, desperation, guilt, assisting her at all times of day and night, or you can walk away because it is too difficult for you. You have that choice but people would probably disapprove of you abandoning her, yet somehow it is ok to say ‘stay away from BPD people’ or ‘escape the relationship asap’ as long as it applies to a mentally ill person. The world treats mental and physical illness differently. It promotes stigma. It promotes a lot of misinformation such as displayed in the comments above.

    We also need to be careful about misdiagnosing disorders and comorbid disorders because so many overlap. What many of you are describing is not so much BPD as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I would agree that type of disorder is hard to deal with. I have just ended a friendship with a narcissist because she was draining. I tried to do too much for her due to my fear of abandonment and she took and took and became ever crueler. If she had admitted the problem and sought help, I would have been more than willing to stand by her, but I could not allow her to play victim while emotionally aabusng me and two of our other friends, both of whom suffer depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

    Its a tough call, walking away. What I would say, though, is that if you cannot develop a safe relationship, with understanding and empathy going both ways, then yes, you should leave a BPD person. Why? Because you BOTH deserve better than that level of stress and strain. You deserve to be with someone you feel safe with, and the BPD person deserves someone who offers compassion and guidance, rather than resentment and blame. Not everyone can provide for any kind of disabled person, and if you can not deal with a disability that is fine. It is understandable, but do not approach the sufferer as if they are a monster. Believe me, they berate themselves for being a monster quite enough themselves.

    Personally I think I am borderline with comorbid avoidant personality, recurrent depressive, social anxiety, and general anxiety. A mix that makes me avoid people rather than get close enough to manipulate, even though I want to be loved. A BPD person inherently wants to be loved and accepted, the want relationships to work, and whether they use positive or negative stategies to achieve that depends on much more than their condition. That is where nature, nurture, and the environs come into play. To generalise the BPD population as manipulators is wrong. That is closer to classic narcissism.

    I am not my (suspected) disorders, and I resent the idea that a label means I will act a certain way. Someone once told me I self harm to control my mam, and may of you might sit there thinking ‘you probably do’, but you need to turn off your prejudice and listen. I hid my self harm until I was so desperate I couldn’t any more. The only person I was controlling was MYSELF. I cut to punish myself, and to feel a sense of control, and to distract myself when my depression and anxiety had me low enough to want to die. I did not attempt suicide to manipulate. It wasn’t about forcing them to stay with me or care for me. I did it because I love them and felt they would be better off without me, the exact message many of you are promoting here. Better off without the crazy BPD manipulator.

    Relatively few crimes are committed by those with a mental illness. A mentally healthy person can manipulate, abuse, and systematically destroy you. (That is how a lot of people develop mental health issues in the first place, a ‘normal’ person causes a disruption in their development and/ or exacerbates a biological indicator. To generalise all BPD sufferers as many seem to be would be the same as generalising all murderers as the classic psychopath. It is incorrect. It misinforms. It creates stigma. It creates fear on the part of both ‘normal’ people and BPDs. Fear is dangerous.

    And to the person who said BPD is worse for those around the suffer than the sufferer themselves, you are wrong. The suffering is different. A cancer patient’s suffering is different to the suffering of their family. The same is true for mental illness. The thing with cancer is that you can see you loved ones body weaken and wither, you can see them as basic tasks become harder, unable to eat or even swallow. You understand that their meds are making them hallucinate. With a mental issue you cannot see it. You cant scan for a spreading mental illness as you can for cancerous tumours. You don’t see the mind weaken the way you do a body. You don’t hear the constant doubt, the voice that tells people they would be better off dead. You don’t see the suffering and therefore often can’t conceive what it’s like.

    I would give anything to be normal. To stop the words ‘I hate you’ tumbling out of my mouth when I’m hurting and not feel the suicidal guilt afterwards. I would give anything to tame my anger, my fear, so that I can remain objective without periods of hightened anxiety. I would give anything not to hate and doubt myself to the extent I do. I would give anything for people to see me, the woman who did scout leading, who sits up all night talking a depressed teen out of suicide, who worked from her hospital bed while needing an operation to keep the bills paid, rather than have them focus on the fact I screan when I am in pain. BPD isn’t a driver for cruelty, it’s a response to pain. Like a man i a car crash crying out because his leg is trapped and crushed, and he needs help. He isn” screaming because he wants to use you. He is screaming because he is in pain. So is the BPD person screaming at you.

    I apologise for spelling mistakes, my autocorrect is being a pain today.

  73. Matthias 02. Nov, 2016 at 2:30 am #

    Lani I agree with you. It’s not like people would want it in a perfect world but it’s the truth.
    You wrote :
    “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.”
    I have a question: For me I was only left with the option of leaving and going mininmal contact (we have a daughter together so no contact was impossible).
    Is somebody in here who has/ had a BDP partner that wanted to change, did a lot of therapy and worked hard? And did this change the person in a way that made some Kind of partnership possible / tolerable? If yes, how long did it take?

  74. AAByron 03. Nov, 2016 at 7:41 pm #


    But to “manipulate people as a way to keep others from leaving them” is the very definition of manipulation. How can this not be obvious?

    That is the ultimate in trying to “control” others and will always backfire.

    And that it does not matter the reasons for the manipulation or the intention of the manipulator, it will alienate people, so find a different way. Or not, in which case nothing will ever change.

    BPDs need to learn how to be straightforward and upfront about their needs, rather than to manipulate and dissemble, believing everyone should be able to read their minds. That is what a small child does and it is very unappealing in an adult. It pushes people away, because no one wants to deal with a needy two year old in an adult’s body..

    None of us will get everything what we want and need from others, but if we calmly and politely ask people, we just might get some of what we want and need.

    It is as simple as that.

  75. Lani 04. Nov, 2016 at 11:04 am #


    I appreciate your kind words. It is a very difficult situation to love someone with BPD and then be forced to distance yourself, but I am so glad that you have made the choice to keep your children’s lives peaceful. It is not an easy choice. All the best to you and your family.

  76. Russel 06. Nov, 2016 at 8:01 am #

    I am currently in a relationship with a BPD. The relationship so far has been rocky and similar to most victims, leaving me confused. I think the best thing I did was move out of there with my son. It was great at first, she came off as different, someone who endured hardship, but overcame it. Boy, if I could turn back time and avoid this person, I would. I first realized something was wrong when she clearly, cut and dry did something. She avoided and denied her faults, trying to gaslight everything, which is a damaging,manipulative to do to someone. I started walking around on egg shells with her. One time even flipping over a table while I was sitting because I told her she was wrong. She some how manipulate me after two month of getting my life together to try again with her. I fell for it, I am scared of these type of people. Can anyone give me advice on how to safely distance myself?

  77. Tom Tom 19. Nov, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    After 25 years of Education, personal life experiences with multiple of them. One thing seems very clear to me. They will always do whatever they want with no reguards for others feelings! I’m not saying they can’t love or be love.

  78. Melissa 15. Jan, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    I found this article to be very accurate. I have a friend who was diagnosed with BPD nearly two years ago and is not in any type of treatment for it. I won’t hear from her for weeks, and then I’ll suddenly get a text from her, acting all caring and telling me she wants to hang out with me. This will go on for a few days. Then, she’ll start ignoring me, until I get another text from her, asking me if I’ll fill out a work survey for her. She needs to have a certain number of people complete these surveys each month. She is also going for a promotion, so having a bunch of surveys filled out makes her look good. So, yes, I absolutely see this as a form of manipulation. Last night, she asked me to fill one out, and I didn’t reply at all. The time before that, I declined because I was out to dinner with family. Also, a little over a month ago, she texted me and told me that I’m a lying piece of s__t and that she never wanted to hear from me again, so I really don’t want to help someone who speaks to me that way.

  79. Alicia 28. Jan, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    I strongly suspect my sister is BPD. She is certainly an alcoholic. She was very heavily favored by our parents growing up being, in their words, the first born and all. We grew up in a very abusive environment, physically and mentally. This most definitely shaped much of who we are. My sister turned to alcohol early on to numb the pain. She was always prone to temper fits and drama. Never once have i heard her apologize for being wrong. Mom absolutely catered to her and would tolerate her throwing fits, sometimes physical, always verbal, to get her way. Once my mom became terminally ill, my sister would still speak to mom and visit her, but absolutely distanced herself considering how close they had been. She pretty much dumped all mom’s physical care on me and our aunt. Since mom’s death, she has directed her rage at me because, in her mind apparently, I am responsible for her deep unhappiness. She will get drunk and phone me. The conversation will go well for awhile and then some random thing will trigger a tirade of insults, accusations and sarcasm. This happened again last night. She called, drunk, and we had a long discussion. Of course, she kept demanding to talk politics which is touchy because we do not agree at all. We kept it civil and I thought the conversation ended on a positive note. Then, about an hour after we hung up, I get a text where she basically somehow equated my political affiliation with not listening to her and respecting the pain of her having a miscarriage and being childless. I tried to acknowledge her pain and expressed my sorrow for her when she turned around and accused me of saying that I told her the fact that she had a miscarriage was for the best. I never said this. This is the second time since November that she has intentionally picked a fight to find pretense to not speak to me. Yet, she insists I’m selfish because I don’t do enough with her. We have invited her to do things. If it isn’t her idea, she refuses. Funny, when we lived in europe she had no problem coming over. Now thaf our location isnt as exotic, we are supposed to do everything on her terms.It’s not my job to constantly entertain her and I’m not responsible for her unhappiness. At this point, I’m very seriously considering cutting her off. I cannot continue to be her punching bag. No matter what I do, it isn’t good enough. She always finds a reason to fight. Its usually started off with a drunk phone call. Im sick of it. She has ridiculous expectations and refuses to accept that she has any responsibility in our conflicts. She went so far over Thanksgiving to involve our dad and his wife in the matter. Now, I don’t feel welcome there because she has painted me to be this evil selfish bitch. Who cares that she gets totally shitfaced while she is there and starts in on dad Too? She’s the first born so everyone should just deal with it. I’m sad because I love her but she is making it impossible to maintain a relationship.

  80. Susan 17. Feb, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    As a 50 year old woman who has finally been diagnosed with BPD after a lifetime of issues I am offended by this article. As if we choose this???? I have read many other discussions of the misinterpretation of “manipulating behaviours” of BPD sufferers. I well understand the challenges of being the family or significant others of BPD people but this is insulting. No wonder we have had so much trouble getting help and understanding. I’m sorry I saw this tonight.

  81. Dani 28. Feb, 2017 at 7:56 am #

    People’s comments on here have really saddened me. I have BPD and know many others who also have it. I am also a mental health nurse who has done extensive research into BPD and other personality disorders and a lot of what has been said on here is wildly inaccurate. Yes SOME people with BPD are manipulative, but not all. And they are certainly not bad people, nor abusive. I think these people a lot of you are referring to have been misdiagnosed and in fact have narcissistic or anti-social personality disorders (I myself have dated someone who was musdiagnosed). People with BPD are extremely lost, and have a massive internal struggle going on. They are not typically abusive or psychopaths. And they do care immensely about the impact their condition has on others, in fact one of the biggest problems for people with BPD is GUILT – pure guilt and self hatred because they feel so bad about themselves and that is why they punish themselves. At times of course they are selfish – what human being isn’t at some point or another? They also feel emotions on a much more extreme level than most. No one with this disorder chooses to be like this – it almost always stems from experiencing abuse as a child, particularly sexual, hence the incredible guilt they carry. Clearly many of you need to be further educated when it comes to BPD and I’m sorry that you have experienced these things but most of these do not sound like they have BPD – I suggest you look up NPD or ASPD or HPD. And think before you speak about something you clearly do not understand.

  82. Scott 01. Mar, 2017 at 12:37 am #

    Reading these comments – posted over the years – epitomizes much of the issue. Those who love a person with bpd and whose life is in close concert – have often been hurt, confused and are sometimes bitter. Those who suffer from bpd – whether recognized or not – see it very differently. They complain about the inaccuracies and the unfairness of the article and some of the comments. How could others be so cruel? How could they think it is manipulative? It sounds so much like life. Recapitulated fairly accurately on our message board.
    Ahhh – the drama goes on. And, no matter which group we identify with – it sucks!

  83. jo 09. Mar, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

    Hi, I have found most of the comments profoundly disturbing. I believe that I suffer from bpd accompanied by narcissistic personality disorder as I don’t quite fall into either box. I have caused great hurt to those around me and really don’t want to. I am definitely manipulative and a liar. Habits I’m trying hard to break but that are so habitual by now I’m not always even aware when I’m doing it. From my point of view I agree with the article. You need to set very firm boundaries to deal with someone like me. I’m trying to listen more and be less self centred and now-a-days but it’s hard. When I get into a cycle of I’m a deviant, evil, bad, not real I feel such anguish that i become pathologically needy. It is normal to feel compassionate but stop and think of yourself with someone like me, as it I not a one off, if only. It’s a cycle that repeats over and over and therefore drama seems to follow me. I will probably not thank you for it at the time but actually I don’t want to hurt anyone. I start therapy so and hope, pray I’ll get better. I don’t want to cause the pain people here are describing

  84. mark 18. Apr, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    hi I have bpd
    I got it from my mom who also has it and is in denial of the condition
    bpd people even myself split there personalities a lot eg
    the victim
    the persecutor
    the rescuer

    they hate being abandoned but also hate being in relationships
    cause it causes them stress due to not having know emotional skin
    they push pull a lot but deepdown they can be lovely people but when they feel like they have being used eg they get all emotional angry and rageful
    basically bpd people have no way of soothing there own emotions well or healthily they use people as an outside source to help them to do this
    it can be manipulative but not intentional at all.

  85. Marie 21. Apr, 2017 at 12:02 am #

    I worked with someone with BPD and it was by far the worst career experience of my life. Manipulative doesn’t even begin to describe this 48yo woman who behaved like a badly behaved 5yo. Lied, never came to work on time claiming one drama after another, the triangulation, the emotional outbursts, mood swings, oversharing, gossipy, needy. Sorry but I call it like I see it, what a huge PITA. I’ve known others with this PD and if I came across any in my personal life now I’d cut them out immediately. This PD is treatable with intense therapy, but …

    Why do people with BPD expect others to deal with their problem. Scared of abandonment so cause huge problems at work, alienate people, never get any work done, flip out when one feels like it …but nons just have to accept this? Why? I’m not a glutton for punishment. Never again.

  86. Lilith 22. Apr, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    I was diagnosed with Complex Borderline Personality Disorder at age 15 (46 now). I’ve never received any counseling or treatment for the disorder. “Why? When I was first diagnosed, my parents took me out of therapy because it’s easier to say I was a spoiled brat than to tell people I had a serious mood disorder. To add the shrink wanted to have me committed to the Psych Ward and start pumping me full of lithium. I am a recovering alcoholic for almost a year now. I started drinking at age 8 by age 15: I was an alcoholic with rich parents I left the house everyday with no less than $200.00 usd in my pocket. My drink of choice was Jack Daniels with a beer chaser accompanied by any hallucinogens that were available. Also it’s widely known that 99% of the time those of us with BPD also suffer from 1 or more other mood disorders. My BPD called complex because I had a massive left hemisphere stroke at age 10 the took out my entire right side; a blood clot slammed into my Central Auditory Processing area of my brain due to a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). So the many shrinks I’ve since my diagnosis can only agree that it’s Complex BPD.

    I am sure there are manipulative people with BPD, but BPD is NOT a cookie cutter personality disorder. There a broad spectrum within BPD: from those that are terrified to make any one mad and avoid fighting at all costs to the complete complete opposite side of the spectrum (where I’m at) full of a self hatred, loathing, rage that makes us dangerous to ourselves and others. I have never started a fight but have been in several putting 2 of the girls in hospital. The “fight or flight” adrenaline triggers a “Black Out Rage.” trying to reason with Borderliners in a black out rage is much like trying to reason with someone on PCP. I quit drinking because because when confronted before I’d drink, I was able to walk away, after drinking walking away never happened. I have scars all over my arms and legs from cutting; I’ve given myself concussions slamming my head into concrete/brick buildings.

    Out of all of the Mental Disorders, Borderline Personality has the highest suicide rate. Approximately 1 out of every 10 people with BPD will successfully commit suicide. I jumped out of a 10 ft high hayloft to a concrete floor, in a suicide attempt at age 9. I didn’t tell a soul I was going to try to kill myself and planned it for over 3 weeks. After watching a guy at a lake my parents had a house on, dive off the end of a dock into 2-feet of water breaking his neck, so I figured a 10 foot fall would do the trick: busted myself up pretty good but obviously it wasn’t successful. I tried overdosing on pills but I woke up the next morning. Currently I’m married, we own a house, garage, and a car: if I’m ever going to attempt suicide again it’ll be with a bottle of Nyquil and Carbon Monoxide. I haven’t told a living soul in my life about the plan. I never used ” I’ll kill myself if you leave me” to keep a boyfriend or my husband of 25 years” I disassociate & turn the anger & rage inward and rip myself apart.

    They’ve also been doing MRI studies of normal people and us with BPD.

    As stated previously BPD often presents with other personality disorders. Your Sister In-Law could have some form of Narcissism. Another factor could be simply that she learned Manipulation tactics growing up, in the dealings with her family, etc…

  87. Kate 30. Apr, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Excellent advice. My sister was diagnosed many years ago; married, insisted her home repair husband become a lawyer…he did, failed miserably, gained 150 lbs, avoids all conflict with her. They then had a child with the aid of fertility treatments. She listened in at the nursery school door where her son was, age 4, decided they weren’t paying him enough attention, called the teacher at midnight and balled her out. Her son then went to regular school, but by second grade, she decided he needed her and only her. He was “taught” in total isolation by her for the following 11 years. I wanted to call CPS but didn’t know how teaching at home would justify an investigation. The child is now 20. He never was in a group with peers, despite asking many times for friends. Currently, she is searching for more lives to consume. I tried our entire lives to be a sister to her, to encourage her to get a job, quit feeling helpless, but recently it all came to a head and she no longer speaks. BPD is the most destructive force I have ever been around. It is awful and unending. She would never seek help because it’s everyone else’s fault. How dare that be suggested!? All I can do is avoid her now.

  88. Lia 01. May, 2017 at 4:40 am #

    if my mom often called me to asked for money, although I know the money is for living and to pay school fee or another family needs, after I read this article, I’ve asked my self that is my mom probably BPD ? Can u help me to understand ?

  89. Katie 01. May, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    My response to Megan:

    Sometimes separating one’s self from the BPD’s life is the only way to stay safe, or keep their own family safe. Regardless of whether a family member has a disorder or not, it is NOT ok for someone to abuse. Nor is it OK for them to slander your name to your parents. Nor is it OK for them to try and guide your own children into making terrible life-altering decisions.

    Once my sister breached my family relations, it was time to set her free. I am not her pawn, and I need to stay healthy for my own family. It is very sad when you don’t have a choice but to separate. I love my sister, but cannot risk the safety of my family any longer.

  90. Alexis 01. May, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    I think this article totally misrepresents BPD and those suffering with it. I cannot believe how insensitive and tactless the author is, it’s appalling. BPD sufferers do not set out to manipulate others and they are often not even consciously aware of their behaviour. To say they alter their attitude to gain things they want is such an odd thing to say, especially considering that the very nature of this disorder is defined by a person’s inability to control their emotions. As Meghan said, articles like this only serve to exacerbate entirely inaccurate and misleading opinions about BPD; it makes life far more difficult for sufferers and contributes towards the existing stigma surrounding the disorder. All I’m able to take from this is that the internet really is full of unsympathetic, misinformed airheads.

  91. Sally 02. May, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

    Our brother has personality disorders and my sister and I have never, ever known anyone so vile, abusive and selfish. We have had to cut off all contact now for our own safety and sanity. He twisted and manipulated everything and everyone, lashed out verbally and physically and has the greatest sense of grandiosity and entitlement imaginable. Also he is completely bone idle. Awful person who would not and cannot be helped (even help and support is turned against you). Run for the hills and save yourselves from individuals like this. They are professional ‘victims’ and we are all the devils. Exhausting and fruitless to let them keep using you.

  92. Winston Lee 07. May, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    I had enough of the BPD friend I had. Once I realized that’s what she had, I left. My ex-friend is unsure about whether I “know” she is a BPD person so she texts me still.

    I have no sympathy for these people: bipolars, bpd, and all the rest. In particular, if they have one public persona and another private persona, they they are manipulative. No use for any of them since know exactly what they are doing.

  93. Deja 07. May, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    The responses here are so telling.

    NONs: We’ve been manipulated and abused by people with BPD and we’re traumatized as a result of their unrepentant behavior.

    BPD sufferers: Uh, well we didn’t do it on purpose, so the REAL story here isn’t about how YOU feel, but about how YOUR PAIN makes US feel.

    This is exactly what I’m dealing with in my own life right now. I’m not NT, either—I suffer from anxiety, depression, DID, have overcome most of my PTSD, and may have ADHD and be “somewhere on the Autism spectrum.” I know what it’s like to be afraid, and to have harmful urges that stem from irrational fears. But I can also own that my behavior is sometimes unacceptable and that I need to work really hard to change that, not deny that the problem exists.

    The person with BPD in my life absolutely knew they were manipulating me from the start. They knew they were manipulating others. At the start of our relationship, they would go into depressive episodes, telling me (about themselves) “I’m really manipulative,” and “I lash out too much” and “I cause drama where there is none because otherwise life seems boring,” just so I would feel compelled to tell them that wasn’t true. And like an idiot, that’s exactly what I did. I told them they were good and misunderstood and needed compassion, not criticism.

    They manipulated me out of hundreds of dollars and an unfathomable amount of my time and effort, and every time I would bring this up, however gently I would try to broach it, I’d get the same response. “I’m just so horrible. I’ll kill myself. I’m a manipulator. I’m a liar.” The goal was to make me feel bad for them and turn my pain into theirs. I could never be upset or hurting. It always had to be about them and how my suffering made THEM feel, even when they were the one causing it.

    Nothing has ever been good enough, either. Stay up over 24 hours to make sure they don’t take those pills they keep saying they will? Drive over to where they live, hours away, to take care of them when they’re pretending to be sick? They claimed they couldn’t breathe and were dying, but resisted all my attempts to get them to a hospital and showed no actual signs of having trouble breathing. When I finally forced them to go to the ER, the doctors agreed there was nothing wrong with them. I dropped them off at home after being with them for two days straight, needing to go home myself and take my medication. They didn’t even thank me. They just said “whatever” and slammed the door because I wouldn’t spend even MORE time with them (I have a husband and child… I have other responsibilities and priorities!).

    This person also constantly posts on Facebook lamenting how hard their (rent-free, bill-free) life is, and if nobody comments within a few minutes, they re-post and add things like, “I’m going to keep posting this until somebody notices me!!!” Because no one could possibly be at work, or busy, or just… not care about something they said. All eyes must be on them, all the time, or the suicide threats begin.

    In NONs, we have no trouble calling this behavior abusive. In fact, these symptoms are often what we see in relationships rife with intimate partner violence. They are classic controlling abuser tactics (as well as closely related to NPD). “If you don’t do X, I’ll do Y as punishment.” Emotional abuse and manipulation.

    BPD is a disorder. Nobody asks for it. But when your symptoms are abusive, you have to own that and do something about it rather than sputter on about how you’re the REAL victim in all this and so nobody else is allowed to be hurt or complain. That’s a surefire way to end up abandoned and self-fulfill your biggest fear.

    Simply put, two of the big BPD red flags are a victim complex, and a self-centered view of the world where THEY are always right and everyone ELSE is always wrong (an us vs. them mentality; black and white thinking). The comments from BPD sufferers insisting that NONs don’t know what they’re talking about and people with BPD are just innocent baby birds who must always be coddled, even when they’re behaving badly, really show you just what kind of mental gymnastics someone with BPD will go through in order to avoid consequences for their actions.

  94. Ohlawdy 10. May, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    Listen, the SHOULD be stigmatized, in the same was we stigmatize rapists and murderers. They’re fully capable of controlling their outbursts in the right scenarios to avoid looking like the bad guy, ergo they know what is socially acceptable and what isn’t.

    They’re bad people, fundamentally, because they manipulate and abuse others. Don’t want to be stigmatized? Stop being a bad person.

    Actually work on yourself and stop treating others like crap and manipulating and lying to them to get your needs met.

    If they were only damaging themselves, and only treating themselves with disrespect, they’d have all the sympathy in the world. But they actively damage others’ mental and even physical health, drain others’ resources and time.

    You would have no sympathy for a guy who lies about being in love to get sex from a woman, right? Why would you have sympathy for a woman who lies about being in love to get love? The moment they completely cut you out of their life as if you’re nothing more than garbage, you realize they never loved you, but loved what you can give them.

    They are terrible people. Stop being terrible, stop getting stigmatized. Its that easy.

  95. Ohlawdy 10. May, 2017 at 8:37 am #

    And for future reference, the moment you lie or manipulate someone for self-gain, you’re being abusive. That’s the definition of abuse.

  96. Brooke 20. May, 2017 at 6:26 am #

    Me me me give me all your undivided attention.everyone listen to me and give me attention, I will get jealous and demand money food your time.if you still don’t give me your undivided attention I’m going to sulk, bang my head on the wall, bring up a made up story to see if I can manipulate you into giving me some attention, are you talking to someone on the phone or looking on internet and not focusing only on me??? I’ll start pulling my hair out or bang head on wall. Or I’ll get a knife out of kitchen drawer to see if you are watching and paying attention, if I have treated you badly and I sense you have had enough I’ll start telling you how my ex partner died of cancer. Or try anything to make you feel pity to stay then you see I’m staying you will asssult me.then after all this bad behaviour you will go crying to people how bad I treat you and you are the victim.go get some therapy and stop blaming people. Selfish manipulative borderlines ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY and take ACOUNTABILITY for your bad actions. Whinge whinge silk sulk cry manipulate lie decieve use. That’s your daily routine.keep away from these leeches

  97. David 21. May, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    I have just come out of a 6-month same-sex relationship with a BPD and the comments on here resonate completely with my own experience.

    At first he was the sweetest, funniest, passionate guy, obviously with a few issues but they were going on behind the scenes so I chose to ignore them. After a few months, they started to become more prominent. The alcohol and substance abuse, financial problems, lies (oh God the lies about everything), the obsession with sex, the constant craving for unconditional love, the fear of actually having a proper conversation about anything, the selfishness, narcissistic behaviour, the drama, irresponsible behaviour, the split personality.

    I had never heard of this condition before and several months ago, wrote down all the issues that bothered me and wondered whether it was worth continuing with the relationship.

    Eventually he slipped into the conversation that he was BPD and the penny finally dropped. It all made sense.

    I’m not sure I was ever manipulated though because I’m pretty much in control of myself but I started to notice the negative feelings being directed at me if I didn’t comply to requests.

    Last week he had some bad (completely predictable) bad financial news that sent him over the edge. He turned up drunk, took one look at me and stormed out, slamming the door. An hour later he was back and delivered a two hour monologue on how it was everyone else’s fault. He eventually stormed out again after I refused to have sex.

    The following night he turned up again – after 2 bottles of vodka – and I had to throw him out. I was punished for that by him ringing my doorbell for 30 minutes at 3am.

    Since then I have done everything to offer support (not financial), advice, kindness yet it is all met with abuse.

    I have seen him briefly since but he just walked away from me after a few minutes and since I’ve only had loving messages which become abusive when I refuse to give in to his wishes or explain how I shouldn’t have to put up with his behaviours.

    He is clearly suffering but refuses to seek help or accept responsibility for any of his actions. Until a few days ago I cared about this guy but right now I feel relief that I finally don’t want to see him anymore.

    I’m sorry for going on about this but I needed to get it off my chest in a safe environment.

  98. Marti 30. May, 2017 at 8:37 am #

    Thank you for this article and comments. Trying to help a friend (with at the time was undiagnosed BPD) began to destroy me. All the people who loved me saw the manipulation and it’s increasing abuse. I did not at first. Letting go and distancing myself was hard and I felt guilt and self-loathing at first. With help, I am recovering myself

  99. K 26. Jun, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    This was really terrible. I have bpd and was going through a crisis and decided to look online for a trick to cope because I didn’t want to bother anyone in my INCREDIBLE support system and happened to stumble upon this article and all of its terrible comments. If you have bpd and happen to be reading this, I am so sorry that this is how you(we) are viewed by people who don’t understand. You are not defined by your illness. Nor are you defined as a manipulator, a liar or a narcissist. You have beautiful things to offer. Anyone not willing to take the time to try and understand what you’re going through doesn’t deserve to get to know how great a person you are deep down. Good luck in finding yourselves and in fighting this daily battle with your demons. Stay strong. Keep hope. People have the ability to understand, they just choose not to. To all of you who have someone with bpd in your lives, please be patient. They have a lot of love to offer!

  100. Matthias 07. Jul, 2017 at 9:06 am #

    to K
    Maybe we don’t understand. Maybe we are not able to see the great person deep down.

    Lots of us spent years to try and understand. Until your “demons” nearly or totally destroyed us.
    And a person is defined by his actions and words. It counts for everyone on this world and also for BPDs. That’s a truth like the sky is blue.
    And we have the ability to understand. We used all we had of this on those persons. But its impossible to endure. Like sitting with someone on an island claiming he’s Napoleon. What can you do? Nothing. Thats the conclusion that many of us nons reached after years of abuse in any form.
    Love means something different than one experiences in a relationship with a BPD. If you love someone there is no space for verbal or physical abuse nor letting your moods fall on your partner. Somebody who does those things has no love to offer, he doenst even understand what love is.

  101. Ladygigolo 11. Jul, 2017 at 6:04 am #

    I believe bpd is partially a subconscious rebellion against patriarchy and its ways of life. I am a high functioning bpd. I am beautiful, make good money and have worked on self love and being good to ME as well as forming independence. But relationships? Dont want one. Men are selfish, lying filthy whore trash, always have been. So I manipulate them into giving me whatever I want

  102. Ladygigolo 11. Jul, 2017 at 6:07 am #

    and women have mostly internalized sexism themselves and they stupidly trust men. if thats what would make me “normal”, to be a stupid menlover, then forget it. I am glad I can see men for what they really are and use them repeatedly.

  103. Lisa 28. Jul, 2017 at 10:36 pm #

    Wow. This article is horrible. I hope whoever writes these articles still reads these comments… I struggle with borderline personality disorder extremely, and as I am researching online ways to cope and to help myself not hurt those I care about, I come across this and it’s very disheartening. You are the reason most everyone I’ve opened up to about my disorder gets very skeptical and distances themselves from me because they believe the stereotypical “manipulating, narcissistic, crazy” metaphors that are commonly used to describe us. Everyone, educate yourselves: People with BPD are not intentionally manipulating you or using you. It may seem that way at times, but it’s the strong emotions that we are unable to control that causes us to be in a fight or flight mode. We see the world in black or white, extreme situations. Example: If some of my friends are acting rude to me one day, I immediately assume they don’t like me, and then I think that no one likes me. With BPD also comes extreme self image and low self-esteem issues. The whole fabricated story about the sister-in-law who ‘manipulated’ her just to babysit is not realistic. I’ll even use that situation as another example: The sister-in-law is diagnosed with BPD. She calls and begs her sister-in-law to come babysit because she’s having a mental crisis, with her extreme emotional dysfunction, she honestly believes she is having a mental crisis. Hypothetically speaking, since its all hypothetical to begin with, maybe her kids were misbehaving and she was going to pull her hair out with frustration, and the anger caused her to freak out. BPD symptoms are very similar to bipolar symptoms. I have unfortunately been in similar situations, calling and begging my significant other to come talk after a fight to solve the issue, and claiming to be in a state of mental crisis and having panic attacks, scared to death that the relationship was going to end if we didn’t work it out RIGHT then and there. That might seem like a form of manipulation, but it wasn’t intentional. And believe me, the next day when I settle down I was embarrassed by my overreaction. That is the typical, roller coaster life of you or someone you know living with BPD.

  104. Bebe 15. Aug, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    I have just read all of the above inputs re this condition. I feel that I can honestly say that I have had quite a bit of experience of “trying” to live with BPDs. I have been married to one for 40 years. For most of those years, I did not even know of the Name/Definition to this behaviour. I knew there were Traits of Anger and abuse (both verbal and physical), and not only from my husband. At first it was much more prevalent/noticeable in his older brothers. My husband had been violent on 2 occasions early on, and these episodes Really astounded me, as I just couldn’t Understand what had set him off. There were other things that happened, too, that I couldn’t understand; eg. the Irrational actions. Like deciding to Sell our home/s; buying himself a boat, and then Just selling it because someone said “they liked it”, and always basically just giving it away, and then “having to buy another”. It wasn’t until I started to study Mental Health, that I realized that I was not the one who had “problems”, but the other way around. Upto this point, I had always “done exactly what my husband (and his family) wanted of me. I also “took the blame when they thought I had been the one in this relationship that made the decisions”, not my husband making the decisions, and then telling them that I “had wanted/said”….” It wasn’t even really obvious until one of his brothers started asking me “why I did/thought …such and such”, that I began to ask questions.
    Hence to those of you who have admitted to knowing you have BPD, let me tell you that I feel you are being unfair to both yourselves and to those in your lives. You are being in denial of the hurt you cause others. You are asking us “to tolerate/understand you”. I have done this for over 40 years: I have supported my husband both emotionally and financially, and I have LOST everything. I have lost my health, my home/s and my ability to work in a gainful employment. I have lost some very close friends, too, because my husband became “unsociable”. The other thing that amazes me is “even when you KNOW there is something wrong with you, and seek Therapy, you manage to convince the Therapist that you are the ones that are being/going without, and not the other way around”. About 15 years ago, I really began to think my husband may benefit from assistance, and when myself and the children asked him to speak to someone “and Yes, he admitted that he knew there was something wrong, and that we were doing the Right Thing in getting him to seek help”. However, on the day of his 1st, and only appointment, he was home after 20 minutes, saying the therapist said “his needs were not being met, and hence the problem”. My daughter has managed to do the same with her Therapist. Hence, our statements/feelings of your Lies.
    I still cannot decide if this is “an hereiditary gene that is ignited by a Traumatic/Emotional Episode”, or a ” Learned Behaviour” to get what you want from your significant others. My belief in the inherited gene is, in watching my husband’s family, and then in my daughter. I also believe that the Reactions that you acknowledge you get when you demonstrate your behaviour can be “conditioned”. You are also Very Good at “covering your behaviour/s outside of the immediate environment of your home/family”. You appear to be the most loving and lovely of people to those who do not live with you: however, all you have to do, is start watching how your neighbours start to deal with you, after they hear your abusive rants, your “Uninhibited Practices…..sexual , nudity and public urinating”, which you say “is Normal”.
    For myself, this is why I have come to “care for myself and the other non-BPDs in my family” as I know how your actions can affect us. You bring us to the edge of Depression (yes my grand-daughter is under Therapy now because of her mother’s BPD, where my grand-daughter was the one who tried to suicide….not her mother. I also agree that there are Over-lapping conditons with BPD, as I see Narcissism in another daughter, and know that she Craves love and only feels good when someone tells her “how great she is”; how having money is important to her etc. I love them all, and will protect them; but please for your own happiness, admit that your behaviour is NOT normal, and we should not “put our energies and ourselves before you”. You are responsible for your actions, just like the Murderer/Rapist etc. They receive the justice that is given them, and so too, are you responsible for what/how you treat others.

  105. Casey 17. Aug, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    Seriously?! Cut them out of your life like they have a choice!? I was diagnosed, put on meds and therapy. I stopped both and recovered in my own. Not everyone can do that of course. Yes I’ve my moments since, but to say we’re better off being shamed and cut out of lives, come on! I got up and recovered, so don’t dare say we’re a waste of time !! We don’t mean to manipulate, its a casualty of war, you could say. Shame on all of you

  106. Penny Matthews 21. Aug, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

    These comments are appalling as someone with bpd I don’t manipulate etc or make unreasonable demands. I spent 37yrs doing what everyone else in my life wanted me to do. I got abused and raped etc I never played the victim card and was always self conscious of how my actions affected love ones. Not all people with bpd are self centered manipulative people

  107. AuntiLaura 30. Aug, 2017 at 11:01 am #

    This is a great article. I had a friend with borderline personality disorder that I ended up cutting ties with entirely because her behavior was so completely erratic and unacceptable. I won’t ever make that mistake again

  108. Julie Grismer 30. Aug, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    To Penny Mathews , You probably don’t have bpd since those with god manipulate to stay in the center of attention, constantly making others feel terrible and are ALWAYS emotional when it comes to that your just a normal person with terrible problems. Borderline Personality Order victims like myself, who’ve had their mother making them feel sorrow by lying to them about her past (my mother) which was extremely immature for an adult bpd and everyone with disorders.So you don’t have BPD and misunderstand BPD entirely

  109. kelsi 05. Sep, 2017 at 5:07 am #

    Just do people know, us people with bpd CAN GET BETTER. I have friends and family in my life who don’t leave be because I’m a good person and a good friend. It took 10+ years of medication, therapy acne counseling to get here, bit its possible. Just because someone has bpd didn’t make then inherently manipulative. With mindsight and dbt we can learn to stop hurting people and playing the perpetual victim.

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