In this video I discuss how family members of people with borderline personality disorder can deal with the bpd sufferer and what is helpful and unhelpful.

hi today I'm doing video on families of
people with borderline personality
disorder because well one someone
actually asked me to do this video too
but I've noticed quite a few people in
different comments whether it's on the
website YouTube or wherever don't
actually have borderline personality
disorder but have loved one that does
and three I can't remember what three is
anyway right let's get on right so why
is our why is it important for family
members to understand now someone with
borderline personality disorder they can
lash out they can hurl abuse at you they
can have such intense rage all their
emotions are so intense and the person
that often has to deal he'll is the
loved ones their family the closest ones
to them in my case it was my like my mum
and my stepdad and my brother
I mean it's husband though the ones that
dealt with the most liked it the most
because they were closest to me at the
time so if you are a family member I
think the most important thing you can
do is read up about borderline
personality disorder really understand
it because it's so easy just to think
off they're just being emotional or off
they're going nuts again but actually
the person with borderline personality
disorder is really suffering they are in
a lot of pain they can't deal with the
remotion that's why they behave in this
way and is important you understand that
and get to know what the different
traits are like they put black and white
thinking like you're right they're
really good we're really bad everything
is either really good or really bad
there's no realistic view of something
can be a bit good and a bit bad
it's not like that so yeah that's one
read up about it find out about it
secondly if I was a hurling abuse say at
my mom but I would and I was completely
going off on one if the person that
Margaery starts defending themselves in
my head
they're basically saying that my
feelings don't matter that like they're
shutting me down basically so it's very
important sounds so bad but it's so
important that if the person with
borderline personality disorder is going
mad hurling abuse at you calling you
every name under the Sun and even if
what they're saying none of it is true
the best thing you can do is just stand
there and listen and I know it will hurt
but while that shout and all this please
just remember they are hurting too
they're really hurt and that's why
they're lashing out like this if you
start defending yourself just say what
they're saying is so untrue and you
start defending yourself that will just
make it worse you you cannot win in an
argument with someone with borderline
personality disorder they will go and go
and go and so it is easier well it is
the best thing just to listen if you
have to take yourself away from the
situation just go into another room if
say always just say it was me and I was
doing it front one more and I was
actually becoming a danger to myself
maybe I picked up a knife and I
self-harm I grab some pills doesn't know
down some pills the best thing in that
case for my mum
damn his phone an ambulance because if
she tries to solve it herself
it wouldn't have got to the root problem
anyway it had just been left in chances
are I could go away take myself away and
self harm or take loader pills so by her
calling an ambulance she's not enabling
me at all she's getting right on it and
um I can get the help that I need and my
mom did that quite a few times and it
did make me angry
but she potentially saved my life from
quite a few occasions actually
communication is really important the
thing with borderline personality
disorder is like my feelings were so
intense but I didn't know how to
verbalize they I didn't know how to tell
anyone I didn't even know what I was
feeling it was just like this inside and
I would explode not have all these
destructive behaviors I'd use drugs or
drink or self-harm and overdose so bang
my head of walls and yes because I
didn't know how to verbalize there and
what I kind of found helpful was when I
was calm because thing is if I'm not
calm and I'm going off on one I am not
thinking rationally nothing anyone would
say to me would get through to me but if
on occasions when I was calm and my mom
would sit and just say how you feeling
and try and help me talk about those
feelings I found that helpful I didn't
want her opinion whether it was right oh
yeah I agree with you or I don't but I
didn't want an opinion I just wanted to
be heard and so I'm just sit there
mm-hmm-hmm-hmm you know making the noise
not in long repeating what I was saying
so I felt I was being heard and I think
by doing that by
me trying to get it verbalized possibly
that helped me internalize it and
eventually yeah let it out in a
destructive way if I like when I did if
I did like a steps course I did
dialectical behavioral therapy in that
my mum was really good in fact that
she'd learn about it and so she could
ask me questions about it and talk about
it and I liked that a light that I could
talk about stuff like that with her but
but I didn't just want to talk about my
illness all the time because there was a
time that I was up at the hospital doing
different groups of therapy assassin
counsellors every single day and it was
like my life I was living there you know
and so I think if you're a family member
sometimes it's good just talk about
different things talk about something
you saw on telly talk about some hobbies
just different stuff because I found
when we did that would really take me
out my head especially like as a family
if we could sit down and would have a
dinner and my brother and stepdad and my
mum and we'd all be talking we'd have a
little giggle and it was really nice
like this relief because it wasn't all
on me it was more about me it wasn't
talking about me it was just just being
normal and I really liked that and how
many minutes have I done okay sorry yeah
the thing is with borderline personality
disorder I hate you from there and I
wanted to get well my heart I was scared
of getting well as well as well as well
and I have real fear around it and so
for example just say I was doing all
right my mum's oh darling you're doing
amazing you're doing so well and part of
me liked him in that the part me it
freaks me out because I thought everyone
thinks I'm doing great
I'm gonna lose my little support network
they're gonna leave me to it I'm gonna
be on my own
and I think without even realizing I'd
go out and use
I'd go himself hard and I'd relapse
basically and I didn't lock back in
hospital and everyone would be like oh
my god how did that happen she was doing
so well
and I think that's quite common um
because people with borderline
personality disorder have a real fear of
abandonment and if they think that
everyone's thinking well you're doing
okay now off you go you go and be
responsible um it's really scary and I
think it's subconsciously we just want
to be protected again and look softer
and it will cause a relapse and then all
the song will be back in the hospital
and the relief I used to feel like
everyone around me again like caring
because when they were saying I was
doing well I kind of felt like they were
just like all right don't have to worry
about her anymore off she goes
um and yeah so just be careful if they
are not doing well like because getting
well is a real struggle it's not easy
and so you can't be like oh I knew you
could do it if then it's like do you
understand how hard I'm working here um
so you need to kind of be like wow
you're working really hard but you know
slow down don't put too much pressure on
yourself and let them know that they're
still there and they're worried and they
know that you're do they know you're
doing you're doing a lot of work like
you're working hard and is a struggle to
get well
and I think another thing um that I had
was like people not to think as soon as
you get the slightest bit well oh screen
and right what do you go back and do
that college course why don't you go and
get that amazing job you know you do so
well and it build me up and I think yeah
you know what yeah I'm gonna do that
college course so I go right up to the
Open University and I get on the course
and it might be blah I do about
assignment and I don't get the grade
that one and it'd just be devastating
because I took a big big step a step
that was way too bigger when science got
borderline personality disorder you
can't give them a goal if they've just
like come out of hospital or they've
really been suffering to go yeah go a
month later go and get that drop you've
always dreamed of because I just say I
got the job but always dreamed of and
I'm only like a month in from getting
well and someone at work says something
to me I would fly off the handle I would
go nuts I would get sacked and I'd be
right back to square one and that's why
it's really important that yes it's good
for someone with borderline personality
disorder to have goals that make them
small and just say you've got a small
goal have little baby steps to get to
that goal don't have that big leap also
just say well you might have a goal that
I'm gonna move out I'm gonna get my own
place and live my own I'm gonna get draw
up and I'll be okay for naturally and
all this you don't do those two things
at once because it is too much don't
have two girls have one aim for one very
small realistic goal and take baby steps
and if as a family member you've kind of
helped them slow down and don't go too
fast they're gonna be much more likely
to achieve those goals and you're going
to make it a slightly dealing with a
and because I think family members can
forget they can just say that you have a
son or a daughter who's so amazing like
intelligently they're just wow they're
amazing and you know they have so much
potential they can do anything they want
but they have borderline personality
disorder as a family member you will
tend to focus on their strengths but
they can do whatever they want what you
need to remember that they have a
handicap basically they have this thing
where emotionally they cannot cope their
emotions are so strong and so if you're
just focusing on their strengths and
completely forgetting about the
borderline but then they aren't going to
achieve those goals you've got to
remember they have borderline
personality disorder and it is a
handicap and is going to affect their
strengths so you can't just focus on the
strengths you can't think I'll hit go
you couldn't do anything
eventually I'm not saying they won't be
able to do anything eventually but
getting their baby steps and let them
know that you know it is a real struggle
it's not easy it doesn't just come
easily let them know you're still there
for them yeah I think that is all I've
got to say it's so hot on family members
to watch someone you love like
destroying themselves and like
destroying everything around them I
think it's really hard on families I
think families kind of need to come
together to say just say like in my
house there was my mom my stepdad my
brother it's kind of important for those
three people
to all be on the same page not just say
my mum saying it's alright I'll give her
loads of money she needs money she needs
money because I was using this one told
me I was useless my mum's a whole lot
you know we'll just it's safer just to
give her then my stepdad no I don't
agree because then there's gonna be real
arguments in the families they kind of
need to give you that if you were as a
family you need you need to kind of sit
down and come to an agreement together
on what you're gonna be like what rules
are going to put in place boundaries
you're gonna put in place what's
acceptable what's not acceptable because
having some borderline personality
disorder in the family it's so hard and
it's so draining that's another thing
like my mom I'm sure like I made her ill
really and I think if you're a family
member it's very easy you could become
like maybe embarrassed and you don't
want to talk about what your child or
whoever is doing so you kind of keep it
to yourself and then maybe you're gonna
start isolating you don't want to go out
you don't see anyone it might affect
your sleep it might affect your eating
this is the worst thing that you can do
because you're self-care it's so
important you have to be strong so you
have to look after yourself don't
isolate do you feel you can talk to
people I mean we're trying to break a
stick um like break the stigma and don't
keep it hidden there are people you can
talk to I'm sure there's like borderline
personality disorder family groups and
I'm sure you'd be able to find them
online and talk to other people going
through the same experience that you are
and because there are other people and
you're not alone and I know you can feel
alone because often all the attention is
on the person with the borderline
personality disorder and families kind
of just get forgotten I suppose but they
should they definitely shouldn't be if
you've got any concerns and just say you
live with the purse
if they're over 18 I don't think like
the doctors can give you any information
but if you have any concerns like they
might be abusing their medication or
they're sleepin all the time or whatever
you can you do have your right to phone
and speak to the therapist and just give
your concerns and maybe ask them is
there anyone you can talk to to get some
support it's important you're eating
it's important you're looking after
yourself because if you're happier then
the whole family will be happier and a
happy calm family environment is what
someone with borderline personality
disorder needs because they've got this
old chaos going on up here
they do need calm around them I think I
covered everything if I didn't message
me and I'll message you back all right
guys take
This transcript was auto-generated and therefore may contain mistakes.

2 thoughts on “Family Members of Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. Just found your site after hearing your mum on LBC! (Im in Bognor Regis – word gets around!)
    My daughter is 23 and got her diagnosis in 2014. She has done STEPPS and gained a lot but couldn’t hack STAIRWAYS. A lot of what you say in the family members video strikes true and I wish Id seen it 3 years ago. I understand that your experiences cannot be generalised but to hear you speak is SO reassuring and gives me strength for the next rough time with my daughter.

    She has gained a one bedroom flat through a charity, has ESA with Severe Disability Payment and qualified for the lower tier of PIP. So she is well catered for materially. BUT -dreams and aspirations……Shes always wanted to travel and is starting to think about it again. Your “baby step progress” advice fits here but I so want not to be the damper on her enthusiasm. I have been looking at Travel Insurance for her and the prices are cynical. Wondered if you’d had any luck here? I don’t think its realistic (travel) at the moment . She was last in hospital in February and is only allowed 4 days of meds at a time.

    She had to leave uni after 18months as the BPD really took a hold but she/we didn’t know what was happening at the time. So she has watched her friends qualify and move on and I know its so hard.

    Keep doing what you’re doing and I wish you all the best for you and your family!

    • Hi – thank you so much for your comment. I really feel for you as I know just how hard it is on family members. I also feel for your daughter as living with borderline is so painful. There is hope though and things can get easier. Over time we can learn to regulate our emotions more and that in turn makes life more manageable.

      I would definitely say that travelling this early on doesn’t sound like the best idea. I completely get that you do not want to put a dampner on things though. Perhaps you could get her to watch some of my videos. I have quite a few borderline ones under the mental health section. Under ‘The Solutions’ section I have started doing videos on DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) as I found this so helpful in my recovery. DBT is huge in the USA but we just can’t get the funding over here so very few places actually do the course. If they do do it in your area it is so worth trying to get on. I will be adding another borderline video next week explaining what it is like to live with BPD. Maybe if your daughter watched some of the videos – perhaps the ones on all the various BPD traits she would be able to relate and realise she is not alone – because she definitely is not. So many people have BPD and I used to find that by talking to others that truly ‘understood’ what I was going through I didnt feel so alone and ‘weird’. I used to find doing a womens group helped me as I was with all like-minded women. We used to support one another.

      Oh and show her the family video – maybe she will realise for herself that she needs to take baby steps and maybe travel isn’t the best idea right now, without you having to say it to her.

      I used to feel the same as your daughter when all my friends went off to uni and I ended up on a mental health ward. It is only now looking back that do I see how much stronger I am as a person because of all the things I went through. Your daughter shouldn’t feel she has been left behind – her journey has taken just a different route that is all. I believe that in time your daughter will get to travel and perhaps one day even go back to uni one day but right now she is best taking care of herself. If I could advise her I would tell her to read up about borderline personality disorder. Learn about it and then look in to all the different skills she can put in to place to manage the bpd. Once she has those skills and can manage it she will be off and running (in a good way!). Not only will she have started to come out the other side she will have learnt amazing life skills that will come in handy not just for bpd but for life in general. She will be so much stronger and she will feel amazing. Just hang in there and keep loving her like you do. I know that having the support of my Mum really helped me even if I didn’t show it at times.

      I wish you and your daughter all the best and I’m sending you lots of love xxxxxxxxxxx

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