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8 things never to say to someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a very tough diagnosis. The name itself suggests that you have a broken personality. Usually you are misdiagnosed with Bipolar disorder or not diagnosed at all and just seen as difficult.

It’s difficult to live with BPD not only because of the awful symptoms that plague you every day but also because of the lack of understanding and stigma that exists around it. With my blog I am to dispel myths and create more of an understanding around BPD and what it is really like to live with.

8 things never to say to someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Today’s post, 8 things never to say to someone with BPD, is an example of a few of the things that have been said (or not said) to me regarding my BPD. The list  below are the few things that stand out and have hurt or annoyed me the most.

  1. “I think you are overreacting!” – Er, no! I read somewhere someone described BPD and the emotional version of a 3rd degree burns victim. You feel everything so intensely that even the slightest touch can cause extreme pain. I think that this is a perfect description. What some people may not bat an eyelid at, I will feel so deeply i can almost feel it physically! What we are feeling is so real to us so please don’t make fun or assume we are overreacting for the sake of it.
  2. “Oh you are definitely bipolar!” – No I am not. Bipolar and BPD are two different disorders. They both involve mood swings but that’s where the similarities end. Bipolar mood swings tend to be longer, over weeks or months at a time. BPD your moods can changed rapidly. Sometimes several times in the space of a few hours! Bipolar also tends to run in families and not be based on external factors, whereas BPD is often based around a difficult or traumatic childhood.
  3. “You are woman. All women are moody!” – Oh yes I have had this said me, more than once. It is true that more women than men are diagnosed with BPD but most professionals suspect this has more to do with the fact that in general, men find it harder to show emotions and ask for help. Women are more likely to cry and open up and are often mocked for being to sensitive but as I said before BPD is very different. It is much more intense.
  4. “What’s the matter now? You were so happy earlier?” – BPD means your moods are up and down like a yoyo. In one day it can seems like you have been on a roller coaster no stop. The smallest thing can change your mood hugely. Plans might change last minute or something completely insignificant to everyone else could send us over the edge! We are not doing it on purpose, to us this is real!
  5. “Just don’t worry about!” – Oh I see, it’s that easy is it? Honestly the amount of times people have said this to me. I really drives me mad! If I could stop worrying and stressing about things do you not think I would!? My worries often lead to panic and once it manifests itself it snowballs and takes over! I worry about everything, being abandoned, being talked about, being a rubbish mummy, my blog, everything and anything. It’s exhausting and a pretty awful existence. So please don’t assume i’m just being difficult and I need to simply “Stop worrying”                                                                                                                                                                               8 things never to say to someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
  6. “You need to stop your over spending!” and “You shouldn’t cut yourself/self harm” – I know! Risky behaviours are part and parcel of BPD. We struggle trying to understand and cope with our emotions so we try things to help. Sometimes these things are risky or dangerous but it’s not that we love doing them or we are doing them to be difficult. It’s simply what we know works. It’s what gives us that temporary relief, and believe me when you live with BPD you desperately want a relief more than anything. Putting a stop to these behaviours takes time, therapy and often medication.
  7. “Why do you keep telling everyone about your BPD? Aren’t you embarrassed?” – No I am not. BPD is still highly stigmatised. People (including a lot of professionals) don’t understand it and even fear it. I feel like it’s my duty, almost to talk about BPD and my experience of it. I am not embarrassed by it. I am learning to understand it more and like it. Without it I wouldn’t be me. It is absolutely terribly difficult to live with but it’s not just going to go away. I can’t pretend that it is. So the best thing I can do id be honest and help as many people as I possibly can.
  8. Saying nothing! – Simply not talking or giving a response or answer. This is probably the hardest thing to deal with. Like I have mentioned previously, BPD suffers have a real fear of abandonment. They are terrified of loved ones leaving them or hating them. So not replying to a text or message is intensely worrying for us. We won’t stop thinking of the worst reasons for this (no matter how unlikely) and if it’s the evening We very often won’t be able to sleep. This is certainly true for me.

So there you have it. 8 things to never say to someone with BPD. This is my personal list of things that have been said to me about my BPD. You might have a similar one or be lucky enough not to have one at all. Either way please do comment on how you feel about BPD. Whether you have it. Have a loved one who does. Or maybe you’ve never even heard of it?

Stay safe.

Lots of love

Amy xx

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16 Comments

  • Reply Barron

    Your blog is so helpful. My grown daughter has bod and I have tried many ways to help her over the years. I realize I can’t help, but I need to know how to tell her she can’t stay in my house, whether I am in it or not. She is in denial that anything is different about her. It’s everyone else that is the problem. Help!!!

    October 9, 2017 at 1:32 am
    • Reply amysboarderlineworld

      HI there. Thank you so much for reading my blog and getting in touch. I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling with your daughter. You say you can’t help but honestly you just being for her will definatly help. It can sometimes be a very difficult diagnosis to accept. My advice would be to get her to have a chat to a professional. I am guessing she must have seen a CPN or Psychiatrist if she has been diagnosised with BPD? maybe even you could go along with her if you feel up to it? xxxx

      October 9, 2017 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Mary

    My adult daughter is 34 with many problems and refuses to get help. But after six years of seeing all those symptoms of BDP in her behavior, I am assuming she has the disorder. The problem is trying to help her see that she needs help and that there is somewhere to get help. She does not trust the idea of going to therapy….any stabs at going in the past were met with negativity upon the first session, and she would not go back. Meanwhile, things keep spiraling. Please tell me what I can do to being her to the realization that she needs to turn her attention to seeking medical help.

    November 27, 2017 at 11:27 am
    • Reply amysboarderlineworld

      Hi Mary I am so sorry for late reply. You’re message appeared in my spam folder.
      I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling. But it is great that she has you as a support. It is so difficult to give advice on this as she hasn’t been officially diagnosed and a lot of personality disorders seem the same but might be very different and need different therapies and/or medications. Have you tried going to the GP with her? Maybe point her in the direction of some of my BPD posts and see if she resonates with anything? Also Mind are fantastic. Whether is calling them or emailing. I have always found them to be so so helpful. They even have a huge resources section online that might be worth her taking a look at. Sorry if I have not been much help. Please do message if you need anything or have any other questions. Take care. Amy xx

      December 7, 2017 at 11:12 am
  • Reply chopsticks

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    December 31, 2017 at 9:47 am
  • Reply Noel

    Thank you for your candid advice. My daughter has BPD but was first diagnosed with Bipolar which she does not have after many years finally had her diagnosed & tested before choosing a therapy to help us all. Turns out she does have BPD so I sent her to therapy for 30 days in patient while at the same time I was going w/my husband to to DBT therapy classes whic we did for 3 months every Sunday for 3 hrs.
    It helped us understand exactly what you are trying to communicate here in your blog
    The DBT therapy I use with everyone I speak with as it validates people’s conversation
    & makes them feel heard to your point
    If everyone learned & used DBT when communicating this would be a better world!
    DBT is the answer for people w/ bpd and also will help you communicate w loved ones

    January 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm
  • Reply Sydney

    Please help. I don’t ever know what to say to my daughter. It’s like walking on words made out of eggshells. She was on meds for her bpd, and they work so well but she hates the side effects and took herself off and wants to try something different. That’s great I am happy about that, but in the meantime trying to give her advice about anything is turned in to me being a b-word and uncaring..it was about her health in other areas. If she asks for advice do I just agree even if I dont? She is so mean with her words toward me it’s hard to talk to her..

    February 5, 2018 at 10:37 pm
    • Reply amysboarderlineworld

      HI there. I am so sorry for my late response. I have been having a break whilst having my second baby.
      It is so hard to give advice about BPD as we are all so different but honesty is definitely best. If you don’t agree and can give some informed and educated advice then do it. People with BPD do tend to need more love and more reassurance that you are not going to leave. I am sorry her words seem so mean. Have you tried to get her involved in any therapy? lots of love Amy x

      April 17, 2018 at 10:52 am
  • Reply J. BROWN

    I have severe BPD and am also struggling with people’s uninformed and uninhibited criticisms of my issues. I am extremely sensitive and quiet and never go out because of the fear of being judged and ridiculed. I am not violent, angry or have the reckless side of the disorder, but I am definitely unable to bond with anyone for fear of abandonment and ridicule (which has happened maby times in the past). I look normal on the outside so people stimatise you when they find out you have this disorder and avoid you like the plague. I am so lonely and sad because all I would like is to trust somebody without being made out to be a freak. I am a creative person and my music and art saves me until someone sees my work and judges it as well, then it feels like a million jabs all over my body in severe pain with the disappointment in my art. My art is hidden from the world because it is a part of my soul and having that judged is so crushing to my being. I wish there was a platform for people like us to contribute and not be judged for what we make. I wish I could just be stronger. Daily life is a struggle that normal people don’t even care to try an empathise with. I try to find one thing to live for, every day just so I don’t end it, but it is a struggle to do that.
    One more statement that people say that you should never say to a BPD is “You should be greatful for what you have, not feel sorry for yourself”. It has nothing to do with feeling sorry for yourself, it’s about survival and I have almost killed myself twice after people have said that to me.
    I mean, why waste more world resources on my existence if that is the reality of the way people feel about me and my illness.
    For a person to say that questions my purpose to exist. It’s amazing how someone who has never had to struggle with an internal battle can essentially encourage the death of someone in pain, by one crushing statement which calls into question their very existence. I am very lucky to have a spouse who understands my needs and can snap the cycle in my thoughts from others vitriol, but I still have had many close calls.
    I support anyone who has an invisible illness and is stigmatized by society at large for something that is completely out of their control. To all those dealing with BPD (either living with it or supporting someone living with it)… you are heroes and your strength in surviving this horrible illness is amazing!
    Much love to the world of survivors!

    March 19, 2018 at 11:42 pm
    • Reply amysboarderlineworld

      Hi there. So sorry you’ve struggled too. I completely agree with what you’re saying. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my post. Stay strong. lots of love x

      April 17, 2018 at 10:43 am
  • Reply Ydn

    Hi Amy,
    I’ve recently (december) been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and given meds (increased the dose for me twice now) and placed on a long waiting list for CBT. So ive been looking around the internet trying to figure myself out and seen a couple of your posts on the 1in4 website.

    I feel i can relate to alot of the stuff you write so i was wondering if maybe you could point me in the right direction of getting help/diagnosed properly (otherwise i won’t believe myself) i don’t even know if im on the right meds because im up and down all the time! The GP seems like they don’t understand much and are virtually useless and IAPT just call me every month after i do a questionaire (im hoping they ring me tomorrow) its crap.. i feel no one gives a s***… i can only speak openly to women for some reason. 1 person put up with my whinging for months but now i know im annoying and they’ve had enough of me so im trying my hardest to push them away whilst feeling attached at the same time. Ive tryed talking to other people and 1 obviously isn’t interested or may be having their own problems that they won’t talk about and the other one i just don’t want to be a burden on.. so now ive isolated away from my favorite person any potential friends i can talk to and just don’t know where to go now..

    And now I’ve just realised ive gone and waffled on and forgot what i should’ve said so im sorry about that. But any pointers for me as to where to go/what to do to try and fix my head abit would be great because i can bearly control myself when i start typing.

    Thank you for the posts
    Goodnight

    May 17, 2018 at 9:09 pm
    • Reply amysboarderlineworld

      Hi there. I am so sorry you have been struggling. you mentioned that you were diagnosed with anxiety and depression in December who diagnosed you if you don’t mind me asking? I believe it shpuld only be a Psychiatrist that diagnoses it and prescribes medication for it. Are you seeing a Psychiatrist? I would ask your GP to refer you to a Psychiatrist or Psychologist if possible. Gp’s cannot really do enough for mentally ill people unfortunately. Also, I know it’s not ideal, but keep on ringing and ringing and ringing about referrals. I have had horrendous care from my local mental health team and I constantly have to call to remind them about appointments and therapies they’ve assured me they are ‘sorting’ I is really hard and you shouldn’t have too but unfortunately unless you can afford private care it’s what we have to do. Please keep talking and stay in touch. Love Amy x

      May 21, 2018 at 10:19 am
      • Reply Ydn

        Hi Amy,
        Thanks so much for the reply.
        It was my GP that diagnosed me and i had to do a self-referral for health in mind (IAPT) who then assessed me again and put me down for CBT apparently a 6 month wait.. and i think i got the same diagnosis from them. I haven’t seen any dr in person since my diagnosis.. just a higher dose which i think is helping in some ways and not others.

        However, i have finally managed to get an appointment (11th june) to see my GP in person to talk and im gonna try get a referral for a psychiatrist and hopefully someone can help me figure out my head…

        Its really horrible.. i had 1 person i could talk to and now i know that i am just annoying them because i don’t get many replys anymore.. i just want to be able to talk to someone that understands how needy i can be.. do you know any forums or anything where i can find just one person that would message me first instead of me feeling bad for hassling people all the time?.. i don’t even know if my thoughts are real anymore or if I’m just being an attention seeker and just get on with it… thats what im trying to do but don’t know how to stop.
        I need to hear from a professional otherwise i won’t believe what i think is wrong with me if you get what i mean.. but yea.. thank you so much for the reply and hopefully ill get referred to a psychologist because im not sure how long i can remain in control for.. sorry.. thank you for listening.. Andy

        June 3, 2018 at 1:16 am
  • Reply Althea

    Hi amy, i am desperately in need of help. I have been married for almost a year plus now to this wonderful man but.. he has been diagnose with 3 years ago. But despite knowing that, i married him anyway so that i can help him with his BPD and trying to understand. But it seems like i feel that i keep messing it up and he is giving me sucidal threats everytime something triggered him. And anything can trigger it. Sometimes i dont want to speak him to avoid and prevent me to say the wrong things. But its like in almost all of the convesation we had will always lead to a fight. I just dont know how to do it anymore because i cant see around it without hurting each other again and again. Then i come across this blog. Maybe you could help me understand and comunicate better with him. I want to learn but sometimes things been said to me made me want to leave everytime it did. But leaving could also trigger him more to do other things to make him hurt or worse.. kill himself. We dont have much money to go and get him some professional help. So maybe.. you could help me. To learn and understand on how to help him.

    May 18, 2018 at 1:41 pm
    • Reply amysboarderlineworld

      Hi there. Thank you so much for getting in touch. I;m so sorry that you are going through this tough time. BPD is hell for the person living with it but from talking to my husband – A LOT – i know just how awful it can be to be the partner of someone with BPD also. It is difficult as BPD is different for everyone who is diagnosed but I certainly give you my opinions and what has work for my husband and I in the past. It might be better to private message/email you instead of doing it here though, how you feel about emailing me privately? my email address is amysboarderlineworld@gmail.com If not I will of course reply here for you. Love Amy x

      May 21, 2018 at 11:06 am

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