Tips for living with someone who has BPD

Living with someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be a difficult and unpredictable journey. BPD is a mental health condition marked by extreme emotions, rapid mood swings, and difficulty regulating behaviour.


People with BPD may have unstable relationships, impulsivity, and feelings of emptiness and self-loathing. It is important to recognise that while BPD can be challenging, people with this condition can lead meaningful and rewarding lives with support, understanding, and effective treatment.

The following are some tips for living with someone who has BPD

1. Educate yourself

Learning more about BPD can help you understand how it affects someone’s behaviour and emotions. It’s important to remember that BPD is a real medical condition, not something the person can “snap out of.” Understanding the symptoms and causes of BPD can help you become a better support system for the person.

2. Set boundaries

It’s important to be firm about your own boundaries and expectations. People with BPD can be emotionally sensitive and may not understand if you are too lenient or don’t articulate what it is you expect from them. Respectfully explain your boundaries and expectations in a clear and consistent manner.

3. Be patient

People with BPD can be easily overwhelmed, and it may take a while for them to process their emotions. Responding with patience and understanding is essential. It is also important to be aware of your own emotional needs and take breaks when necessary.

4. Remain calm

BPD can lead to impulsive and destructive behaviour, so it’s important to remain calm in these situations. Yelling or arguing will only escalate the situation, so it’s best to take a step back and try to find a constructive way to manage the emotions.

5. Seek professional help

BPD is a serious mental health condition that should be taken seriously. It is important to seek professional help to ensure that the person is getting the best possible treatment and care.

6. Focus on the positive

People with BPD can be hard on themselves and tend to focus on their shortcomings. It is important to remind them of their strengths, accomplishments, and positive qualities.

7. Maintain a healthy routine

Establishing a healthy routine and sticking to it can be beneficial for both you and the person with BPD. A regular schedule can help reduce chaotic mood swings and promote a sense of stability.

8. Encourage healthy coping skills

People with BPD can turn to unhealthy behaviours or methods of self-soothing, such as substance abuse. It is important to encourage healthy coping skills such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, and art therapy.

9. Stay connected

Isolation and loneliness can be major triggers for people with BPD. It is important to stay connected with friends and family, even if it’s just through phone calls or video calls.

10. Take care of yourself

Caring for someone with BPD can be emotionally exhausting, and it’s important to take care of yourself. 

Living with someone with BPD can be a difficult and challenging experience, but it is important to remember that with understanding, empathy, and effective treatment, it is possible to have a rewarding and meaningful relationship.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Normanton, West Yorkshire, WF6 2DB
Written by Brian Turner, BA (Hons.) MNCS Snr Accred / Supervisor. (Prof. Dip PsyC)
Normanton, West Yorkshire, WF6 2DB

I am a psychotherapist that uses a diverse and wide spectrum of techniques to ensure that my clients feel empowered and confident, so they are able to achieve what they wish to achieve when presenting with a broad range of issues.

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