Do you have a friend or other loved one with borderline personality disorder (BPD)? If you’ve known them for a while, you understand the unpredictability and turmoil that are characteristic of the condition. If you’re just learning about their condition, though, you may not be familiar with their often challenging symptoms. Living with borderline personality disorder is not always easy, and maintaining a healthy friendship can take some additional effort.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make sure your friend has help for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Though there is no cure, your friend can find relief and live a happy, fulfilling life with the right treatment and support. What are some ways you can help a friend with BPD?
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that causes severe difficulties with managing emotions. This emotional dysregulation can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, and trouble maintaining healthy relationships.
People with BPD experience drastic mood swings and often see themselves in a negative light. Their feelings about others shift dramatically and sometimes without warning, swinging from extreme closeness to intense dislike.1 They also typically have an exaggerated view of things, often seeing them as “all good” or “all bad,” their interests change quickly, and they may act recklessly and impulsively at times.
How to Help a Friend with BPD
Maintaining a healthy friendship when a friend is living with bipolar disorder presents a unique challenge. Intense relationships that are often filled with conflict tend to be the norm for people with BPD. Your friend’s emotional inconsistency and possible shifting view of your friendship may leave you feeling disoriented and confused or might challenge your patience at times. However, you can make a massive difference in your relationship with some of the following suggestions.
Be Prepared for Difficulties
BPD is a difficult condition for all involved. It isn’t easy for your friend living with borderline personality disorder, and it’s tough for their friends, family, and other loved ones. Be prepared for tough days, difficult conversations, and occasional bouts of silent treatment at times. Know that things won’t be smooth all the time, but you can still build a fulfilling friendship.
Understand It Isn’t Their Fault
Your friend doesn’t make things difficult on purpose. They’re likely just as frustrated as you are. Their symptoms may be frustrating, but they have no control over them. Their lack of emotional regulation is the nature of the condition.
Show Your Appreciation for Your Friend
Fear of abandonment is common for individuals with BPD. Showing appreciation for your friend will go a long way. Bring them their favorite snack, thank them for being in your life, or even send them a quick text to let them know you’re thinking of them. All it takes is a little effort to help a friend living with borderline personality disorder.
Learn About and Encourage Treatment
Learn about treatment options and help for borderline personality disorder, and encourage your friend to seek treatment. You shouldn’t push or press them too hard, though; you don’t want them to lash out or feel pressured. Simply offer to help them find a program that might be good for them and ask if they may be interested in seeking help.
Lifeskills South Florida offers specialized treatment designed to provide hope, healing, and help for borderline personality disorder. If your friend is ready to seek treatment, we’re here for them. We offer individualized programs that teach people to manage their symptoms so they can regain control of their lives and achieve sustained recovery. If you’d like to learn more about the programs we offer, call us at 954-953-1742 or submit an online contact form today.
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2023). Borderline Personality Disorder.