Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is one of the several top personality disorders that are often seen with those suffering with mental health issues. Being in a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder can have it’s challenges.

In this article we’ll discuss what someone with BPD might be experiencing, common myths and how you can communicate with your loved one better.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is an intense mental health disorder. It affects the way a person thinks about themselves, their actions and their relationships.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by extreme emotions and constant self-judgement and worry.

Someone struggling with BPD might often be told that they are “too hard on themselves” or that they worry too much.

While there is not just one common symptom or sign, there are plenty of ways to distinguish if you or someone you know may be struggling with borderline personality disorder.

What Someone with BPD Might Experience (symptoms/signs)

Self Esteem Issues

Those suffering with BPD typically have extreme self- esteem issues. They might not think that they have valid opinions or feelings.

Putting other people first when they should be caring for themselves is something that happens in this situation. This will eventually lead to an outburst of emotions and anger.

relationship with borderline personality disorder

Those with BPD usually aren’t able to control their extreme emotions when an outbreak occurs. They might neglect themselves then get angry with others because of it.

The cycle of poor self-esteem, the actions due to that then the outburst of emotion in response is a difficult cycle to break.


Along with extreme self-esteem issues, those suffering with BPD will be embarrassed easily. They will over think small interactions and might feel guilt and shame when recalling any social interaction.

Because these negative feelings are so intense, they will attempt to avoid this in the future by changing their actions. They might even by modifying their personal preferences and opinions.

Those with BPD will evolve into a person who acts based on their emotional experiences and not based on who they truly are.

As with self-esteem issues, this can cause them to bottle up their true feelings and might cause irritation and discomfort.

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Extreme Sensitivity

Being extremely sensitive to other’s words and actions is one of the most common experiences of those with BPD.

They will not take criticism well and will make it mean something it most likely does not. They will “over think” people’s body language.

It is also common for someone with BPD to assume what others are thinking based on the smallest behaviors and comments.

Extremely Insecure

Being extremely insecure is the core of the other symptoms that those with BPD experience. They are insecure about people’s love and how genuine their friendships are.

Those suffering with this mental disorder question everything and often cause issues in their relationships because of it.

Ironically, they tend to create the distance that they are afraid of simply because they are so insecure and have a hard time believing or trusting others.

People pleasing and constantly worrying about the opinions of others will be the result of the extreme level of insecurity they may feel. This is similar to what those with avoidant personality disorder often experience.

Other Areas of Emotional Discomfort

Suffering with the ups and downs with BPD means experiencing discomfort and insecurity more often than not.

Feelings of loneliness, emptiness, sadness, and disappointment might seem to come out of nowhere. These can cause the individual to act impulsively in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

They might experience anxiety as a result of their impulsive actions. Feeling alone and like no one cares for them is an unavoidable feeling at times.

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Having a Relationship with Borderline Personality Disorder

Having a relationship with someone suffering with BPD is challenging. It might feel as though nothing you do convinces them of your love and commitment.

This is because they are constantly looking for approval and are not satisfied with simply trusting in the relationship.

You might feel like you need to go above and beyond to make your partner feel validated and loved. You might feel the need to over explain yourself in order to make them feel comfortable.

While it’s helpful to be sensitive to their condition, you shouldn’t encourage dramatic behavior or feel guilty for anything.

Keeping communication open about the proactive steps you’re taking can help. It can help your partner realize how much you care but is also an opportunity to set boundaries so they do not rely on you in an unhealthy way.

It’s healthy to be responsible for your own feelings and actions. Your partner will need extra support and communication in order to manage their BPD within the relationship.

It’s good to be aware that BPD is usually experienced along with another form of mental health struggles. This could be something such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders.

Be open to discuss other struggles. This will show your loved one the support and affection they need.

Choosing to be understanding and helpful can help them break through cycles of outbursts. It may also ease how guarded they can be.

How Many Suffer with BPD

Around 1.5% of people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. According to this interesting article on BPD, nearly 75% of those diagnosed are women.

However, it’s thought that men have been incorrectly diagnosed with PTSD when they’re really suffering with BPD.

Common Myths About BPD

BPD Affects more Women than Men

In the past, it was believed that borderline personality disorder affected more woman than men.

This was due to how different individual cases are, how men display symptoms and mistakenly diagnosing men with PTSD when they were truly suffering with BPD.

relationship with borderline personality disorder

Now that mental health awareness is becoming more discussed and accepted, more people are coming forward for help. This has disproved the idea that BPD only affects women.

BPD is Uncommon

Surprisingly, borderline personality disorder is now known to be even more common than bipolar disorder.

It is thought that around 1.4% of the U.S. population suffer from BPD. Only about 1% have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

BPD is Not Treatable

Like most mental health conditions, BPD is treatable. A combination of professional counseling, healthy lifestyle and (in some cases) medication have been known to treat those suffering with BPD.

Other proactive measures such as joining a support group or eliminating anxiety will also expedite the outcome of treatment.

The Development of BPD is Due to Childhood Neglect/Abuse

It is a common myth that certain mental health disorders are specifically developed due to childhood trauma from abuse or neglect.

Mental health disorders can be developed for a number of reasons, even after the individual has reached adulthood.

A mental disorder such as BPD can be developed during adulthood. This can be due to causes such as a traumatic event, dealing with an abusive partner, brain damage and a number of other similar events.

BPD Can’t Affect Children

Children are incredibly vulnerable. If they’re being neglected, experiencing abuse or a traumatic event they may try to protect themselves by trying a variety of actions and behaviors.

They will start to overthink their behaviors in an attempt to get the desired outcome.

They may be rewarded with affection by their parents for certain behaviors. This could lead to a consistent pattern of destructive behavior.

Since the child may have seen some level of success by behaving a certain way. This will develop into the belief that they aren’t worthy of what they desire (love, attention, affection, etc.) as they are.

They may feel the need to “earn” the affection of others which will keep them in a constant state of questioning themselves and others.

While BPD can be developed during adulthood, it is often thought to be much more easily developed in children due to how vulnerable they are at an early age.

In conclusion, borderline personality disorder can be an intrusive disorder if not approached in the right way.

Having a partner with BPD can be rewarding if appropriate boundaries regarding expectations and responsibilities are set.

If you’d like to learn a little more about BPD, check out this interesting article over at self.com to discover a list of facts regarding borderline personality disorder.

More from the Blog

Resources and Helpful Articles

helpguide.org – bpd


Hi, I'm Marissa! I'm passionate about mental and emotional health and want to share what I've learned over the years with others! I've seen first hand how mental health struggles can cause serious issues within relationships, work life, daily productivity, self-worth and more! I truly believe that we owe it to ourselves to bring more awareness to these life changing topics. Start your mental/emotional health journey by learning more today!

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