Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is already difficult in itself. But you are not alone in facing these difficulties. Everyone in your family will inevitably be affected by your extreme mood swings, irrational anger, and fear of abandonment.
What do relationships look like for a person with BPD?
- For the parents: Guilt and submission
Your parents may blame themselves for you having BPD because this disorder is connected to childhood trauma. Because of this, they may give in to all of your desires, even if these are no longer healthy for all of you. This is a form of enablement which only worsens your BPD symptoms. Even if your BPD has not been diagnosed, your parents may want to get your episodes under control by trying to understand you, even if it’s difficult. However, supporting your way of thinking only backfires because it reinforces the idea that what you’re thinking is right.
- For the siblings: Resentment and distance
Siblings are less inclined to give in to your episodes. They may even be the first to tell your parents that what you’re doing isn’t right. But if your parents continue to enable you, your siblings will feel resentment towards you for being able to get everything you want, and your parents for heeding all of your desires. Your siblings will not be as forgiving, and they may cut off communication with you and keep distance from you to minimize your relationship with them.
- For the spouse: Possessiveness and jealousy
Expressing fear of abandonment in BPD patients is most prominent towards significant others. For the spouse, this may mean that you’re extremely possessive towards them, always watching their every move, invading their privacy, and controlling their decisions. You may also be extremely jealous of their friends, especially of the opposite sex. You may even suspect them of cheating with their close friends even if there’s really nothing going on between them. This kind of behavior can make your spouse feel confused and resentful.
- For the children: Fear and trauma
Raising children as a parent with BPD can be very sensitive. You are the symbol of love and care in your children’s eyes. At times when your disorder gets the best of you, your children won’t understand how their loving parent can suddenly become so angry at them. Your uncontrollable fits of rage can be scary and traumatizing to your kids. They may grow up thinking that it’s normal for someone you love to be very angry at you, and this can lead them to unhealthy relationships in adulthood.
How Can Therapy Help?
Therapy opens up your mind to the realities of your situation, and how your disorder is affecting not only you but also everyone you love. Your therapist can help you identify what patterns of thought are most destructive in your life, and how you can reverse this way of thinking.
Having BPD is challenging, but for the sake of the people you love and most especially yourself, you should fight for your freedom against this disorder. You and your loved ones deserve a happy and peaceful life.