Mental Health

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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  • 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
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  • 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
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