Dealing with coworkers can be difficult enough with the variety of personalities thrown together in a single space. Add a coworker with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) into the mix and it becomes even more complicated.
You may find a coworker with Borderline Personality Disorder to be manipulative, dishonest, unethical, and willing to cause harm to other employees to achieve their employment goals. While this type of behavior may occur with or without the presence of BPD, it’s good to be aware of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder and how to best interact with your follow employee.
Symptoms of BPD
Coworkers with Borderline Personality Disorder are often easy to spot. They are the coworkers who are constantly battling with someone in the workplace or they are constantly unloading their anxiety on you or others about office drama or their stressful personal lives.
How do you know if your coworker has Borderline Personality Disorder? Your coworker may have BPD if they show the following symptoms, according to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI):
- Inappropriate, intense, or uncontrolled anger
- Intense mood swings
- Compulsive behaviors, such as substance use or binge eating
- Recurring suicidal threats or self-harmful behavior
- Unstable, intense personal relationships, including those at home and at work
Coworkers with Borderline Personality Disorder can easily feel rejected by others. Someone with BPD may feel rejected if you appear to be better friends with someone else or disagree with his or her opinion. You may find yourself in an awkward position as you compete for recognition or have to work on a project with someone with BPD, which also can trigger feelings of rejection.
Interacting with a Coworker with BPD
A workplace can be a positive thing in the lives of people with Borderline Personality Disorder. It can provide stability, socialization, financial compensation, and professional development for its employees.
But for people with BPD, a workplace can also be a source of stress and tension that aggravates BPD symptoms. While at times a workplace feels like a great supportive environment where everyone cares for each other, it can just as easily feel rejecting and isolating. One comment or action from a coworker can throw off the stable environment for a person with Borderline Personality Disorder.
If your coworker has Borderline Personality Disorder, keep the following tips in mind:
- Coworkers with Borderline Personality Disorder aren’t going to change, so you need to change the way you respond to them.
- Stay civil but do not cross any boundaries. Crossing boundaries could later be used against you.
- Be as consistent with your behavior toward them as you can.
- Try to keep things on decent, civil terms and document everything. Cover yourself at every turn.
- Learn as much as you can about Borderline Personality Disorder and try not to take any irrational actions personally.
If you are managing an employee with BPD, follow the link for ways to more effectively do so.