It is hard to remain calm when you are attacked. But imagining that you are dealing with a hurt child may help. Just like a child, they have not yet learned the language to express their needs and wants, so all the screaming and shouting are a cry for help.
See if you can take a step back and think about the emotional needs that are behind the surface behaviors. You may then see deep longings that come from deprivations in their past.
Try to remember that your loved ones’ behaviors are often there to shield them from intense emotional pain, not to hurt or manipulate you.
4. Set Kind But Firm Boundaries
Being compassionate and seeing their inner child does not mean you have to be a doormat or tolerate abuse.
There is a middle ground in which you can set healthy boundaries with compassion. Just like with a child, you can be loving but firm at the same time.
Trying to reason with them is often not possible in the heat of the moment, but you do not have to use logic and reason, you simply have to firmly and calmly reiterate your bottom line.
As much as possible, don’t walk away. Leaving them on their own may just be the worst fuel for their fear of abandonment. See if you can start by clearly stating the consequences in a non-punishing way, for instance, you may say: “I understand you feel ____, and I want to be here for you. But if you continue to shout or throw things, I will have to leave the room for five minutes.” Don’t pose an empty threat, and execute what you said. At the same time, don’t aim to punish or counter-attack.
Later, when they come back to calm and can have an adult conversation with you, you may sit down together to make a plan.
A good ‘crisis plan’ involves identifying their worst triggers, which could support them during those times, and what not to do. This is not just about them— you can also state your needs, and you can negotiate. The goal of this exercise is to plan ahead, so both of your needs are met and honored.
Are you in love with someone who suffers from BPD? Read Loving Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder
5. Most Importantly, Honour And Love Yourself
You may love them, you feel bad for what they have to go through, but you cannot save them.
You may feel manipulated, resentful, or guilty, but being locked into an unhealthy relationship dance with them is not going to resolve anything.
You are your own person, and they are theirs. Love does not equal co-dependency. You can never go back to erase their painful past, nor could you be their savior. Please do not blame yourself for not being able to rescue. You can be their best ally and support, but you are not responsible for their healing or growth.
If you feel resentful about being in this relationship, remember it is your choice to stay or leave. If you choose to stay, try not to punish them for your own decision.
Some people say BPD can never be ‘cured’, this is not true. Research after research, story after story have proven otherwise.
Even they can be challenging to be with, people with BPD are highly empathic, intuitive, loving and powerful.
If you decide to walk this journey together, your love and commitment will help them heal. And the reward at the end of this road would be worth it.
Written by IMI LO
Originally appeared on EGGSHELL THERAPY AND COACHING
FOR THE EMOTIONALLY INTENSE
For more, please visit eggshelltherapy.com
Living with BPD day after day can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, and this stands true even for the people close to them. Yes, dealing your loved one’s BPD might seem impossible sometimes, but you need to be there for them so that they can fight this. Make sure that they know how much you love them, and that you are not going anywhere, and see how it helps them in the long run.