Relationships between siblings can be complex, as often characterized by competitiveness and jealousy as they are by intimacy and deep familial bonds. When you add a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) into the mix, the ups and downs of a sibling relationship can be much more extreme.
People with BPD, especially children or teenagers, tend to receive a great deal of attention. If you grew up with a sister whose erratic behavior demanded most of your parents’ attention, it stands to reason that you may have developed feelings of envy or resentment, even if the attention she received was primarily negative. In all likelihood, you had to bear the burden of witnessing the stress that your sibling’s Borderline Personality Disorder had on your parents’ lives, which undoubtedly affected you as well.
It’s important that when your sibling seeks Borderline Personality Disorder treatment they feel supported in their efforts to radically change their behaviors and thought patterns. Making a congruent effort to work through your own complicated feelings will help you change the dynamics of your sibling relationship and move you both forward in a positive direction.
Importance of Family Support in BPD Treatment
In the beginning, you may have your own issues of resentment, anger, and jealousy to contend with before you are ready to lend your full support to your sibling as they enter Borderline Personality Disorder treatment. The truth is that what you’ve experienced deserves attention and requires healing as well.
People with BPD need loving, stable, and patient support as they navigate the challenges of facing their illness. Their families need the same thing, so if you can find a support group for family members of people with BPD, that is a wonderful way to further your understanding of the disorder, work through your own feelings, and find a network of compassion and support.
You’re not alone. You’re not the only brother or sister who has dealt with the trauma of growing up with a sibling suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. Finding fellowship in a support group can validate your experience, help you gain perspective, and encourage you to adopt more effective communication techniques.
‘Stop Walking on Eggshells’
Randi Kreger and Paul T. Mason are the authors of “Stop Walking on Eggshells,” a book that everyone who has a loved one with BPD should read. You will find several effective techniques within its pages for coping with your own feelings and acquiring healthy communication techniques.
As you learn simple ways to diffuse tension or at least avoid escalation, you’ll gain indispensable tools that will assist you in your efforts to support your sibling. As you learn to set and keep boundaries, you will empower yourself and feel less at the mercy of your sibling’s disruptive or hurtful behavior.
If your sibling is seeking Borderline Personality Disorder treatment, they are invested in healing their relationships. The road to recovery can be fraught with setbacks and won’t be easy at times. You may see great strides forward followed by a return to old, destructive patterns. Your ability to weather the journey alongside your sibling will be bolstered by your commitment to your own health and well-being, as well as to implementing and maintaining better communication.