8. Understand Misdiagnosis Is Common
With BPD, knowledge is power, and if the person doesn’t know that he has the disorder, and the people around him don’t know it, they don’t know why their loved one is acting that way.
BPD is known as a misunderstood disorder because it often co-occurs with other disorders, such as “depression, bi-polar disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders.”
If your partner is already being treated for another disorder and the disorder does not fully explain the parameters of her behavior, have the doctor explore the possibility that she could have BPD.
9. Realize That Extreme Behaviors Are Symptoms
Having a relationship with a person with BPD is often characterized as a “love-hate” relationship, where one minute your loved one is needy, and the next moment she is pushing you away.
People who have this disorder have an intense need to feel loved, but their extreme behaviors always keep them in a state of losing that love. That loss of love supports their intense fear of being abandoned. These are symptoms of the disorder, and not displays of callousness or an effort to hurt you.
10. Practice the Four D’s
If the situation seems to be in the middle of escalation, practice the Four D’s: “Delay, Distract, Depersonalize, and Detach.”
- Delay: “I want some time to consider what you are saying. Let’s talk about it later.”
- Distract: “How about we go for a walk?”
- Depersonalize and Detach: Realize that attacks, no matter how personal they seem, are part of the disorder, so don’t take them personally or get upset.