How to Communicate with Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

If you have a loved one with BPD, you know that communicating with them can be a challenge. Their moods can change rapidly, they may feel misunderstood and unsupported, and they may say things that hurt your feelings.

However, with some understanding and patience, you can learn how to communicate effectively with someone with borderline personality disorder. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Learn in This Article

  • Understanding BPD
  • Tips to Communicate with Someone with BPD
  • Key Takeaways

Understanding BPD

The first step in learning how to communicate with people with BPD is understanding the disorder.

BPD is a mental illness that causes intense and unstable emotions, impulsive behavior, and chaotic relationships. Apart from feeling misunderstood and unsupported, they may see the world in black-and-white and have difficulty regulating their emotions. As a result, they may act in ways that are hurtful to themselves and those around them.

Tips to Communicate with Someone with BPD

Dealing with someone with BPD is not certainly easy. So, you might want to take a closer look at our tips to make your relationship with your loved one work.

Educate Yourself

As already mentioned, the more you understand BPD, the better equipped you’ll be to communicate with someone who has the disorder. Learn about the symptoms and how the disorder affects a person’s behavior.

Listen Actively and Be Sympathetic

When communicating with someone with BPD, try to put yourself in their shoes and understand how they’re feeling. Avoid judging them or getting defensive. Instead, focus on listening and trying to understand their perspective.

Think Before You Speak

Choose your words carefully and avoid saying anything that could be interpreted as criticism or judgment. If you’re feeling frustrated, take a break from the conversation and come back when you have calmed down.

Be Patient

Remember to be patient with yourself and your loved one. Having a meaningful, supportive relationship with someone with BPD is possible, but it takes a lot of time and effort.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries with a person with borderline personality disorder is a necessary step in a relationship, as people with this disorder have a hard time respecting that. Be clear about what you’re comfortable with and set limits on how much you’re willing to talk about certain topics.

If a conversation becomes too heated, you can take a break. Keep in mind that you have a right to your own feelings and needs. Be assertive and firm when necessary, but always try to do so in a respectful way.

Carefully Deliver Bad News

Saying no or delivering bad news to someone with borderline personality disorder might not be an easy ride—be as gentle and understanding as possible.

Avoid triggering their emotions by being too blunt or coming across as judgmental. Instead, try to deliver the news in a way that is sensitive to their needs.

Be Sensitive to Their Triggers

People with BPD often have triggers that can cause them to become agitated or upset. If you know what their triggers are, try to avoid them.

Validate Their Emotions

Unfortunately, people with this mental health condition often feel misunderstood and unsupported. When they express their feelings, take the time to listen. Don’t try to fix their problems or tell them how they should feel. Just let them know that you care about them. 

Encourage Treatment

If you’re living with someone with borderline personality disorder, try encouraging them to seek professional help. With the right treatment for BPD, they can learn to manage their emotions and improve their relationships.

How to Communicate with Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: Key Takeaways

  • Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that affects how a person views themselves and others.
  • People with BPD often have difficulty communicating effectively.
  • If you want to communicate effectively with someone with BPD, it’s important to educate yourself about the disorder, listen actively and sympathetically, think before you speak, be patient, set boundaries, and be sensitive to their triggers.
  • You can also encourage someone with BPD to seek treatment. With treatment, BPD relationships can improve.