How to cope with BPD 

how to cope with BPDIt is difficult to know how to cope with BPD, in the emotional roller coaster of having borderline personality disorder. Coping with BPD is not easy.  They can alternate from love and anger, feeling good or bad, clinging or distancing. When they’re angry, behind it is love. When they’re in love they often deny their anger. During an emotional meltdown they can send a hostile message. They become angry, when they protest for love. Behind the actual behavior is a person wanting love. Most of their behavior is a way to communicate how they actually feel, buried deep inside.

The individual with borderline personality disorder gets angry when defending against feelings of rejection, often pushing loved ones away. They test their partners love, to see if they’ll leave them. They are not aware of their triggers and displace their abandonment fears onto others, who may not actually be treating them this way. Since they feel not good enough, they do not feel worthy of love.  Many do not know how to cope with BPD.

As a child they tested the parent by pushing the boundaries to see how much they could get away with. By giving in to them, the parent lost control over the child’s behavior, causing the parent to over react by being angry or abandoning the childs needs, when the parent couldn’t cope. As a result, the child internalises that there is something wrong with them and feels abandoned for exploring themselves, unless they comply and be good for others. They shut down their emerging self to please others so they feel good and loved, not abandoned.

Many do not know how to cope with BPD. What they needed was a parent to support them in discovering themselves, so the real self could fully emerge. So, they could develop confidence in who they are as a person, and develop fully functioning capacities within themselves, in order to trust themselves to deal with life. Those with BPD struggle to initiate themselves and push themselves forward because they did not get the libidinal support to do so. They lack confidence in themselves and fear being abandoned for who they really are, if they put themselves out there to initiate themselves. They feel helpless, wrong, naughty, a burden and so on. They give up on themselves and focus on being loved, at all costs. When they put themselves out there, often they feel like a child who is about to get reprimanded for doing the wrong thing or be out-casted for activating themselves; so they feel all those intolerable feelings that propel them to give up on themselves and comply to what others need, to avoid the abandonment feelings and self-loathing that comes from exploring themselves.

The person who has BPD often felt abandoned or worthless for being themselves, unless they complied to the needs of others. They often they come into counselling for depression, when they feel like giving up with life, not being able to cope with the feelings of abandonment depression. They also attend anxiety counselling Melbourne since focusing on themselves is anxiety provoking for them. Therefore, they give up their self to please others, at the cost to themselves, denying the harm it causes  them, not taking care of themselves, being dependent on others, staying in perpetual crisis and unable to protect themselves with boundaries. They usually have difficulty saying no because they do not want to feel abandoned. They end up helping others with their problems, rather than focusing on themselves. Therefore, without investing in themselves, they do not reach their potential in life and often feel the void that comes with that.

BPD how to copeThey often end up in relationships that are destructive because they do not trust themselves to walk away when something does not seem right, often going along with what others want and ignoring abusive signs because it feels normal. They will sacrifice themselves to feel wanted and not abandoned, even if they are mistreated. They will often put others above themselves, not believing in themselves to know any better, to avoid abandonment at the expense of themselves. Deep down they know the truth but do not listen to themselves or back themselves.  They sell themselves short. They put their trust in others to take over their life for them, denying what they think, because they do not trust themselves. They often end up putting up with abusive treatment to feel loved, searching for the love they’ve hope for. The problem is they invest in others not themselves, which does not get them anywhere.

Coping with BPD

There are ways of coping with BPD mange the behaviour? They require a partner, friend or therapist who really listens to them, keep them on track with their goals or pursuits of the real self and back them, not watch them cave in when they feel abandoned or wrong; but assist in pushing them to trust that they know best about what they really need. They do not need others to tell them what to do, despite the fact they want this.

The BPD person often had others do things for them, because they gave up on themselves and so they didn’t learn to do things for them.  They can present as passive to take control of their life, dependent or helpless and look for others to guide them or do things for them.

When the BPD ends up in crisis or cannot cope, others feel the need to help, since they often didn’t learn the skills to help themselves.  They often stay helpless, stuck and dependent on others. Often loved ones become exhausted at rescuing them and they end up giving up on them, abandoning them.

The person who has BPD cannot learn or grow if people do things for them or take over their life for them. They require the space to be themselves, so they can understand themselves. Telling them what to do does not assist them to take responsibility for themselves, but reinforces how incapable they feel and enables their helplessness.

A helpful guideline on how to cope with BPD

Ways to deal with emotions and communicate them

  • Many people with BPD frequently feel attacked or abandoned, when this may not be the case. In these situations, do not react to how you’re feeling. Work out if what you are feeling is warranted or if you are being triggered. Is there any evidence? Does the reaction feel disproportionate to the real situation? Does the feeling seem too overwhelming, which could suggest a deeper wound. Is the situation stirring up buried feelings inside of you?
  • Understand your triggers and situations that trigger you.
  • If you are triggered, remove yourself from the situation to process your feelings, rather than react. Get in touch with the emotions. Calmly express yourself at a more suitable time, if necessary.
  • Recognise that the feelings of worthlessness or abandonment belong in the past and do not let them interfere with how you see yourself or others. Talk yourself out of it, to overcome these negative self beliefs and anxious fears. No one really believes that you are as bad as you imagine. Deal with the emotions and let go of them.
  • Be aware of what feelings belongs to the past and what belongs to the present. Therapy can assist to put the feelings back where they belong, so you are not affected by them.

How to take control of your life

  • Be aware that the having others take care of you can push loved ones away and not help you take control of your life.
  • Instead of accommodating others – learn to say no, focus on yourself, set limits on behaviours that negatively impact you.
  • Taking on board everyone else’s issues prevents you from focusing on your own life. You cannot possibly be present in your own life, if you’re dealing with everyone else, instead of yourself.
  • If you fear rejection, by not focusing on others, it is not true. Focusing on others (e.g parent) was a way to avoid feelings of abandoned, but it distracted you from self enhancing. The person who is borderline will become stronger once they focus on themselves, not everyone else.
  • Avoiding to face challenging situations can further set you back. Avoiding the problems will not make them go away. Facing the problems helps you to sort your own life out. Try not to berate yourself or give up. Learning comes from the mistakes we make on the way. It takes time reach ones goals.
  • Get the back up and support for you to develop your goals, do research, speak to those who can help you to help yourself. Share your aspirations with loved ones. Learn to take responsibly for yourself.

At Counselling Melbourne, if the person who is borderline can become focused on themselves, they can develop a clear purpose. This will allow them to make the right decisions for themselves. When they develop a clear sense of self, they can pave the way forward, without distractions. They can say no, set boundaries and not get drawn into situations that are harmful to them.

Nancy Carbone specialises in the treatment of borderline personality disorders from the Psychoanalytic International Masterson Institute.  As a relationship therapist at Counselling Service Melbourne, she has a M Soc Soc (Couns). If you want help to cope with BPD contact Nancy on her enquiry form or call 0449 861147 for an appointment.  You can sign up on her newsletter for free tips and relationship advice.

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