In codependent relationships, one person generally puts the needs, feelings, and problems of the other person ahead of their own. When a loved one has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), it is not uncommon for codependent relationships to take shape.
People who suffer with Borderline Personality Disorder often have chaotic lives full of drama. It can be difficult for them to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships or hold down steady employment due to the emotional dysregulation that BPD brings on.
Witnessing someone with BPD perpetuate crises in their life can be hard – and it is often what can set a codependent relationship in motion.
It may be difficult to see your own codependency when you define your behavior toward the person with BPD as trying to “be helpful.” It is not that helping someone is inherently wrong (of course that is not the case). But when “helping” turns into controlling, and your own sense of self-worth comes from defining yourself through the relationship, unhealthy patterns emerge.
Preventing or Stopping Codependency
The first step toward prevention of codependency is to recognize the symptoms in your relationship. If you find yourself more invested in solving the problems of the person in your life with BPD than you are in fixing your own problems, that is a red flag. If you find yourself fretting over their issues most of the time, you probably have an unhealthy attachment to that person.
We need to take care of our own needs and desires in order to become whole people with a healthy sense of self-worth. If you achieve a sense of self-worth or even define yourself through being another person’s support system or caregiver, you may need to focus on building your sense of self-esteem and strengthening your ability to spend time away from that person. When another person’s life is your central focus, you have little left energy-wise for pursuing your own interests and fostering your own relationships with others.
There are many ways to recover from codependency and begin to detach in a loving way from another person’s problems:
- Take time away from the person to engage in activities that interest you. Pursue new friendships and activities, and remind yourself that you have a life that is your own.
- Set personal goals and keep a journal. Focus more attention on what will give you a sense of fulfillment outside of your relationship.
- Leave the relationship if you are enduring abuse.
- Seek counseling or therapy to discover the root causes of your codependency and learn how to develop a healthier sense of self.
- Know that wanting to be in another person’s company rather than needing to be is key to maintaining a healthier sense of self.
When we put another’s needs and desires over our own, we often do a disservice to them as well as to ourselves. The person with Borderline Personality Disorder learns that they do not need to develop coping skills because you are always there to help solve their problems. You lose yourself in the relationship and have less ability to focus on becoming the independent and fully realized person that you were meant to be.
Borderline Personality Disorder therapy that involves family members and loved ones can help break dysfunctional patterns in those relationships. Codependents Anonymous is also a wonderful and free way to get involved with a community of people who are struggling to overcome the same issues.