Living with borderline personality disorder presents an array of challenges for both you and your loved ones. Starting or maintaining a healthy relationship is hard when you’re at the mercy of your shifting emotions. You feel affectionate one moment then overwhelmed the next, and that constant internal game of tug-of-war affects your partner as well.
You can’t build a healthy relationship when you’re deep in the throes of untreated borderline personality disorder. The intense fluctuations in your mood leave your partner feeling like they’re walking on eggshells. Both of you need to feel capable of and comfortable with expressing yourself without the situation escalating.
You can still have a healthy relationship while living with borderline personality disorder. Creating successful partnerships is possible through a combination of treatment, awareness, and ongoing practice. Whether you’re already in a relationship or you’re looking to start one, creating a checklist for a healthy relationship is a crucial step in that process.
What does a healthy relationship look like? How can you set yourself up for success in your relationships while living with BPD? Learn more about the signs of a healthy relationship, how BPD plays a role, and what you can do to make sure your relationship flourishes.
Creating a Checklist For a Healthy Relationship
Relationships involve two people coming together to experience life together. Having a partner to walk next to is one of the many joys of the world. It’s exciting to share things with someone who understands you and wants to support you along the way.
Every person is a little bit different, though, and effective relationships require compromise from time to time. You’re not going to agree with your partner in every situation that arises. Healthy relationships consist of a few crucial elements that allow you and your partner to reach an agreement without betraying your values.
The following aspects should be on your checklist for a healthy relationship.
Healthy relationships consist of respect for both yourself and your partner. You need to have self-respect to adhere to your values and beliefs. You also need to have respect for your partner so you can take their opinions and ideas into consideration, too.
You and your partner must know how to communicate effectively if you want to have a relationship that lasts. Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of communication. It’s going to create problems over time if you can’t express your opinions or feelings without the conversation escalating.
Compassion is a key component of a good relationship. This means compassion not only for your partner but for yourself, too. Compassionate relationships allow room for mistakes and misunderstandings without fearing the relationship will come to an end.
Healthy relationships consist of equality between you and your partner. Placing one partner above the other creates a power imbalance that can lead to exploitation or abuse over time. Equality is an important component if you want to build a strong relationship.
Every healthy relationship requires a sense of trust. Partners try to control one another when there’s no trust in the partnership. Lack of trust generates feelings of doubt, fear, and uncertainty which tend to get worse as time goes on.
Consensual Sexual Decisions
Your checklist for a healthy relationship must include consensual sexual decisions. Having a partner who pressures you to do things, or pressuring your partner to do things, is a form of abuse. Healthy relationships involve two people who communicate with one another and make consensual sexual decisions without demands.
Relationships are made up of two individuals coming together to share their lives with one another. You’re both still your own person even when you’re in a committed relationship. Setting boundaries and allowing personal space and alone time is vital if you want your relationship to last.
Honesty is one of the essential conditions of a healthy relationship. Laying the groundwork for a respectful, trusting, consensual, and compassionate relationship requires honesty. You can’t have a healthy relationship if you or your partner are unwilling, to be honest with each other.
Making a Relationship Work With BPD
You can still have a healthy relationship while living with borderline personality disorder. Your diagnosis doesn’t mean your relationship, or your chance at developing one in the future is doomed. Making a relationship work with BPD is possible but it requires commitment and work from both you and your partner.
Recognize Symptoms that Threaten Your Relationship
There are certain BPD symptoms that make it challenging to connect with your partner. Some aspects of a healthy relationship can trigger an emotional switch. But just because it’s challenging, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. If you want to have an effective, lasting relationship, you need to recognize the ways your BPD impacts the relationship.
- Shifting the perception of reality
- Skewed self-image
- Fear of abandonment
- Difficulties with communication
- Antagonistic behavior
Both you and your partner need to acknowledge the areas you can work on. When you’re willing to recognize your challenging symptoms, you’re going to have a healthier relationship.
Foster a Calm and Relaxed Home Environment
Fostering a calm home environment is an important way to limit the intense emotional shifts that are characteristic of BPD. Talk with your partner about things you can have at home that help you feel at ease. The more relaxed your home life is, the less likely you are to experience something that triggers your symptoms.
Practice in Effective Communication During Crises
You can’t blame everything in your life on your borderline personality disorder. You need to take responsibility for your end of things and practicing effective communication is part of that process. When you can communicate effectively during crises, you give your partner deeper insight into what you’re struggling with. Conflict management skills are another essential aspect to work on if you want a healthy relationship.
Have an Ongoing Treatment Plan
Make sure you’re involved in an active treatment plan. This could consist of an outpatient treatment program when symptoms are more severe or weekly therapy once things settle back down. Staying connected with a therapist who helps you unpack disagreements and identify room for improvement is helpful. They can serve as your sounding board when you need to work through your challenges.
If you find yourself feeling more on edge, making the decision to attend a higher level of treatment can help. Residential or day treatment are two choices that offer intensive programs that provide you with the support you need. You’ll learn skills and strategies and develop greater control over your emotional regulation.
Clearview Women’s Center is a mental health treatment facility that specializes in working with women who have BPD. We offer informed, comprehensive care using a variety of modalities and tailored to your specific needs.
Are you interested in learning more about the programs available at Clearview Women’s Center? Give us a call or fill out an online request form today and we’ll reach out to you. You never need to feel alone in your battle with borderline personality disorder again – we’re here for you every step of the way.