Therapy for borderline personality disorder
Therapy for borderline personality disorder is something that many people are looking for. For a start, let’s establish what borderline personality disorder (BPD) is and then what can be done. Most people that live with someone that has BPD – will agree to the term ‘walking on eggshells‘. They are continuously afraid of triggering the person with BPD, precisely because:
- They get easily triggered
- They can switch mood from one moment to the next. From extreme calm to an absolute storm
Here are some other symptoms of BPD:
- One of their main triggers, is if they fear that they will be abandoned and left alone. This is very difficult for them
- Given their ongoing emotional turbulence, their relationships are often very unstable. It is very difficult to have a ‘normal’ relationship with them
- If you have a conversation with them about their sense of self, you will notice that they have a fluctuating self-image. In other words, it is very unstable
- On a behavioral level, they could at times come across ADHD like and behave impulsively, without much thinking beforehand. (If you ask them about it later, they’ll usually just self-blame and say ‘I told you I’m worthless’)
- When they are highly triggered and experience intense emotions, they could resort to self-harm. I’ll soon explain why they do that
- In their emotional experience, you will see extreme mood swings. This ranges from intense anger, to incredible sense of fear (often abandonment)
- They also have a strong feeling of emptiness
What lies beneath?
Deep down, people with BPD feel tremendously insecure. This insecurity drives them insane. It makes life seem unstable. Generally speaking, you see life as stable. Here is what that means. You expect your spouse to be home when you get back from a days work. You expect your boss to pay you at the end of the month and you expect your var to be parked where you last left it. But imagine if none of that was a given and deep down you expect it not to be that way. In fact, you expect the exact opposite. That is the inner experience of people with BPD. Nothing is set, stable and can thus be expected.
But why do they behave so crazy?
Actually, their reaction makes some sense given the above. They are afraid and are trying to hold onto something so that it can be fixed. This doesn’t make it any easier to live with. The reactions are incredibly negative and intense but the underlying reasoning is that they are trying to create stability where there is none – in their eyes.
Sadly, their behaviours actually confirms their fears and exactly what they predicted with their insecurity is what happens. Here is an example. Mrs X has BPD and her husband tries to be as loving as he can. But, she continuously tells him what a failure she is and that he will abandon her anyway for someone else. He constantly reassures her but he gets tired of it. She notices that and gets fearful. From fear, she has outburst and gets angry. After many ups and downs, the husband eventually leaves, confirming her initial suspicion.
BPD folks are often very clever
This is what is so sad. It is not that they lack IQ. In fact most BPD’s that I’ve come across are very intelligent. Even on an emotional level they know it all. If you catch them in an ok mood, they seem to be emotionally aware. But the emerging feelings are so strong in the moment, that they just can’t help it. They will get very depressed about their situation but they feel hopeless to change it and ultimately, as a defense, will just blame everyone else for their situation and for their reactions. And often they’ll resort to threats such as suicide.
Help is out there!
It is a shame that many therapists shy away from dealing with borderline patients. It is certainly understandable but it is a shame because ultimately help is needed. Much of the time, it is the family around the BPD that seeks help in coping but ultimately, it is best if the BPD patient also gets help.
Here are two bibliotherapy suggestions
Product: Walking on eggshells
Best place to buy: www.amazon.com
My ranking: 9.5/10
This book is an absolute must if you are living with a BPD and would like to know what to do and how to manage and respond under difficult conditions, then this is a must read.
If you’ve been diagnosed with BDP
Online therapy is certainly a good place to start or start seeing a face to face therapist that specialises in BPD. One of the first things you must learn is how to contain your intense emotions. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) by Marsha Linehan is extremely effective in helping you get those emotions under control. Here is a link to get a book that can help you do just that.
Product: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Best place to buy: www.amazon.com
My ranking: 8.5/10
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To your health,