How to Communicate with Someone Struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder

While most people are familiar with the effects, symptoms, or signs of mental issues like substance abuse, anxiety disorders, depression, and anger issues, other diseases and disorders are widely unknown and misunderstood. One such disorder is borderline personality disorder – which is reportedly diagnosed in 1.6% of the adult population in the United States each year. Less than half of those diagnosed ever receive adequate treatment or medical care.

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

If you live with a loved one who has borderline personality disorder, you understand why nearly half of all diagnosed sufferers aren’t receiving necessary treatment. It’s because the disorder is so difficult to approach, deal with, and understand. While you certainly cannot provide adequate treatment for your loved one, you can provide support and encouragement to pursue help.

Communication Tips

Clear, effective communication is your ally when dealing with an individual coping with borderline personality disorder. In many cases, it’s your only ally. To point your loved one in the right direction, here are a few communication tips designed to improve your relationship:

  • Honesty is key. If you can’t do anything else, make sure you are consistent and predictable. For those coping with borderline personality disorder, consistency is of the utmost importance. When you say you will do something, do it. When you claim you won’t do something, don’t do it. It’s as simple as that. Stick to your word and provide a consistent environment that the individual can rely on and expect. Dishonesty and a lack of predictability will only exacerbate existing symptoms and problems.
  • Don’t bail out. For many sufferers of borderline personality disorder, their condition is only worsened by the fact that their behavior is perpetuated by a lack of consequences. Stop giving your loved one “get out of jail free” cards. If they make a mistake, let them learn from it. If you are constantly rescuing them from the consequence of their actions, they will never learn. Make it clear when you speak with them that they must own their actions.
  • Avoid arguments. When borderline personality disorder is in the mix, arguments are a way of life. On your end, it’s important to remember that arguments are no-win situations. Avoid escalating conflicts at all costs, and keep your cool in pointless arguments. It’s easier said than done, but is something that can be learned over time.
  • Encourage treatment. This tip requires a calculated approach. Treatment should be encouraged when your loved one is stable enough to accept it. Otherwise, it could be the cause of an outbreak or argument. Build trust through your words and actions. When the time is right, encourage treatment and set realistic goals.

Bridges to Recovery

At Bridges to Recovery, we understand firsthand the difficulties of coping with borderline personality disorder. That’s why we offer a unique licensed treatment model that provides an effective alternative to traditional hospitalization and medication. Through our individualized approach and attention to detail, we have been able to help people with borderline personality disorder find new life. For more information, contact us today.