Mental Health: How Borderline disorder is affecting intimate relationships

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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is pushing most intimacy relationships past the brink of intimacy. If you’re a lover of RnB music, then certainly you’ve heard Brandy’s new song ‘Borderline.’

The Grammy-winning songstress in the visuals of the song portrays a woman so in love that’s she borderline insane, we see Brandy sporting a copper toned blown-out style, while singing in a padded cell. She warns the lover of her potentially manic ways, singing, “Never ever cheat, never lie to me / I’m the most jealous girl in the whole wide world / Don’t you ever hurt me, I’ll change on you.”

Brandy through the scenes seem to represent the loneliness and paranoia falling in love with the wrong person can bring. It’s also worth noting that the singer isn’t making fun of mental illness here, with her even adding a message for those dealing with mental health issues that includes information to contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The song perfectly explains how an intimacy relation with someone with BPD feels like. Those type of relationships are often chaotic, intense, and conflict-laden. This can be especially true for romantic BPD relationships.

If you’re planning to start a relationship with someone with BPD, or are in one now, you need to educate yourself about the disorder and what to expect. Likewise, if you have been diagnosed with BPD, it can be helpful to think about how your symptoms have affected your dating life and romantic relationships.

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Just like Brandy states in her lyrics, people with BPD are often terrified that others will leave them. However, they can also shift suddenly to feeling smothered and fearful of intimacy, which leads them to withdraw from relationships. The result is a constant back-and-forth between demands for love or attention and sudden withdrawal or isolation.

Abandonment sensitivity is also among the symptoms that impact most relationships. This can lead those with BPD to be constantly watching for signs that someone may leave them and to interpret even a minor event as a sign that abandonment is imminent.

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Impulsive sexuality is another classic example of BPD. A large percentage of people with BPD are nursing trauma from past sex escapades and experiences such as rape, child sexual abuse , which makes intimacy very complicated.

Another common complaint of loved ones in borderline relationships is lying. While lying and deception are not part of the formal diagnostic criteria for BPD, many loved ones say lying is one of their biggest concerns; this can be because BPD causes people to see things very differently than others.

Other symptoms of BPD in a relationship include impulsivity, self-harm,and dissociative symptoms, which can have an indirect impact.

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Given all the difficulties that exist in BPD relationships, why would anyone start a relationship with someone with the disorder? First, it’s important to remember that despite these intense and disruptive symptoms, people with BPD are frequently good, kind, and caring individuals.

Often they have many positive qualities that can make them great romantic partners some of the time. Furthermore, many people who have been in a romantic relationship with someone with BPD talk about how fun, exciting, and passionate a BPD partner can be.

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But the relationship is not always a bed of roses. BPD people seek perfection. This is where reality sets in. When a person with BPD realizes that her new partner is not faultless, that image of the perfect (idealized) soul mate can come crashing down. Because people with BPD struggle with dichotomous thinking, or seeing things only in black and white, they can have trouble recognizing the fact that most people make mistakes even when they mean well.

At this stage, if you’re struggling to find someone to love you with all your faults then you might lose your lover.

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The key to maintaining a relationship with someone with BPD is to find ways to cope with these cycles and to encourage your BPD partner to get professional help to reduce these cycles. Sometimes partners in BPD relationships are helped by couples therapy.

Again I refer to another song by Brandy,’ Camouflage.’ You cannot just give up on love just because your partner has BPD. You have to devise means to make it happen, because flaws are part of who we are.

In addition to couples therapy, for the person with BPD, there are therapies that have been shown to be effective in terms of helping with relationships:

  • Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT):DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that relates a person’s thinking to their behavior. There are four main skills taught in DBT, and one of them is managing interpersonal skills.
  • Mentalization Therapy (MBT):MBT is a therapy that focuses on helping someone make sense of what is going on in their mind and the minds of others.
  • Medications:There are currently no medications approved to treat BPD, but they are sometimes prescribed by doctors to help improve certain symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Research suggests that certain medications can help a person manage their anger, impulsivity, and depression. On that note, though, it’s important to weigh carefully the side effects of a medication with its potential benefit.

But what happens when the relationship hits a dead end? Of course most people will think of a break up. Remember your partner has intense fear of abandonment . At this point, for a break up will require some professional mental help and a network of support for both of you.

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Don’t let BPD and mental health stigmas define your life. #bpdandme

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However, this is not a discouragement. Most people with BPD have good romantic stories to tell. They are couple goals inspiring many, So don’t give up on love, keep loving, keep trying, one day it will work.

9 thoughts on “Mental Health: How Borderline disorder is affecting intimate relationships

  1. Pingback: Mental Health: How Borderline disorder is affecting intimate relationships — Perspective – DSM (Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

  2. Pingback: Mental Health: How Borderline disorder is affecting intimate relationships – Learning to be Nurse McGhee

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