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Family & Friends

How to Handle a Parent with BPD

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There are few people closer to us in life than our parents. They’re with us through the most important and formative years of our lives, and are there for us during the trials and tribulations of growing up as a supporter, guardian, cheerleader, and disciplinarian.

Having a parent with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), however, can be an entirely different experience. People with BPD have a different set of needs than those without due to their changing moods, issues with abandonment, and often destructive behaviors. That means your parent with BPD may not be as attentive, empathetic, or supportive as you’d need.

It can be difficult growing up with a parent diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but there are some things you can do that can help you have an easier time dealing with a parent with BPD.

Tips for Handling a Parent with BPD

Adults with Borderline Personality Disorder don’t have the same types of moods, emotions, and needs that people without BPD have. People suffering from BPD have intense mood swings — which can lead to all sorts of destructive behaviors — a heightened sense of need and desire, and a different sense of self than those around them might have.

With that in mind, here are some tips that might help you better cope with your parent with BPD:

  • Acceptance. As much as you may want to change your parent and their behaviors, that is unlikely to happen overnight – and you won’t be able to do it for them. In order for your parent to truly heal, he or she will need to enroll in BPD treatment, where they can get the therapy and specialized treatment they need to address their behaviors and find healthier ways to cope. Know that your parent’s behaviors aren’t the result of something you did, but symptoms of a psychiatric disorder that requires treatment to overcome.
  • Set realistic and reachable goals. Having goals — especially if they’re written — for both you and your parent with Borderline Personality Disorder can create something of a contract that they can adhere to and you can hold them to when necessary. 
  • Patience. People with BPD rarely have control over their own moods and emotions and require a lot of patience in being dealt with by those closest to them. You may not always understand your parent’s behaviors, and you may often be frustrated by them, but it’s important to exhibit some patience, both with your parent’s behaviors and while they are undergoing BPD treatment. 

Each situation in which someone you love, care about, and live with has Borderline Personality Disorder will be different. In fact, each day can be different due to their mood swings. Sometimes you might have to be more level-headed and mature than your parent in order to help you all get through the day. Working with your parent and their BPD is ultimately better and easier than working against them.

BPD Treatment: Dialectical Behavior Therapy

If your parent isn’t getting professional Borderline Personality Disorder treatment in order to deal with the symptoms of BPD, try to encourage them to get BPD treatment immediately. Enlist aid from teachers, spouses, counselors, and friends if you have to. With the right kind of BPD treatment, you will find you have a better relationship with your parent.

When looking for Borderline Personality Disorder treatment, find a treatment center that offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT was specifically created for BPD treatment and has proven to be effective at treating the symptoms of BPD. DBT can provide your parent the skills and coping techniques they need to manage their disorder and feel like your parent again.

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