Relationships are miraculous: two beings come together, bringing all their opinions, emotional baggage, and personality quirks along with them. Somehow or another, something clicks and a partnership is born.
The early stages — often called the “honeymoon period” — are usually the best. But, sooner or later, as the layers pull away and things get more comfortable, relationships can get more difficult. Barriers and boundaries get broken down, paving the pathway for misunderstanding and feelings of being disrespected or neglected.
Clearly, relationships are difficult for everyone. Still, it may come as no surprise to learn that people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have a pattern of extremely strained relationships.
BPD Symptoms that Make Relationships Challenging
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by symptoms that challenge relationships, including:
- Problems regulating emotions and thoughts
- Impulsive and reckless behavior
- Fear of abandonment
Because relationships are inherently based on trust and communication, the above elements take an additional toll on the usual challenges relationships face.
To make relationships even more challenging, those with BPD have high rates of the following:
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal tendencies
- Eating disorders
Any relationship dealing with these challenges has a rough road ahead. Add to them the symptoms of BPD, and things can quickly spiral out of control.
Improving Relationships with Someone with BPD
Though it may sound like all doom and gloom when it comes to having a relationship with someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, there is hope out there. Despite the challenges that BPD symptoms bring to relationships, there are skills both you and someone with BPD can learn to help improve communication and your relationship.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) combines elements of Buddhism with tenets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to offer a set of skills to those suffering from the symptoms of BPD.
Skills taught in DBT treatment programs focus on relationship-building skills that can enhance any partnership. The DBT skills are:
- Distress tolerance
- Emotional regulation
- Interpersonal effectiveness
If you have Borderline Personality Disorder or are in a relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with BPD, and the symptoms of BPD are affecting your relationship, you should research your options for DBT programs at Borderline Personality Disorder treatment centers.
A good Borderline Personality Disorder treatment center will offer support systems for loved ones of those with BPD as well as the person diagnosed with BPD, allowing you to work on the relationships that are most important to you.
One of the most insidious aspects of people with BPD is their reluctance to seek or accept a diagnosis. Short of forced counseling or therapy, often due to an attempted suicide or incarceration, most fear the stigma associated with what they often dismiss as “a label” and are very reluctant to admit to enough of the diagnostic criteria to be officially diagnosed. In short, denial goes part & parcel with BPD.