How to Cope When a Partner or Spouse Has Borderline Personality Disorder

It can be challenging to function in daily life if you have a borderline personality disorder, a mental health disease affecting your thoughts and feelings about yourself and others. Self-image problems, difficulty with restraint in behavior and emotions, and history of troubled relationships are all included.

When you have a borderline personality disorder, you might struggle to tolerate being alone and harbor a deep fear of instability or abandonment. Even if you want to create long-lasting relationships, inappropriate anger, impulsivity, and frequent mood swings may turn people away.

Usually, by early adulthood, borderline personality disorder manifests itself. Young adults have this problem more, and it improves as people age.

Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) struggle to control their sometimes-very-intense emotions and cope with stress. BPD patients could become angry and snap at the people in their lives. These individuals frequently have tumultuous relationships as complex for the other parties as BPD is for the person experiencing it. It is nothing new if you share a home with someone who has BPD, but you might feel helpless about what to do.

Below are some ways to help a partner or spouse with this disorder.

Taking care of Yourself

Stop your spouse or partner from hurting you if you want a cordial relationship. When you are mistreated, yelled at, or subjected to passive-aggressive behavior—trying to help them is unsafe for you and unlikely to be helpful to your spouse. Instead, the initial step is to establish a boundary for your well-being. Make the person understand that you cannot be with them if you are unhealthy. And for that, they have to stop hurting you.

Before you can move forward, your partner will probably need professional help if they claim they can't stop. Tell your partner to quit abusing you. It is the aim of this stage.

Set Boundaries and Stick to Them.

When they should be taking care of themselves, persons with BPD try to get others to do it for them. They frequently succeed because the other person wants the screaming to stop, so they give in.

Tell your spouse that you will not take part in unhealthy activities. It could be demanding they refrain from using drugs or alcohol at home or refusing to participate if they do. If your partner is shouting at you or disparaging you, it can mean leaving.

Enforcing Emotional Boundaries

Individuals who suffer from this disorder include those around them in their emotions.

They will set up situations to enrage the other person because they believe that if they are furious, the other person must be angry.

Finding these patterns can help you a lot in stopping this co-dependent cycle.

Tell your partner that you are angry and that you understand. Let them know they can talk about their anger and not yell or abuse you. If they cannot stop this behavior, let them know they will have to handle it independently.

Develop Healthy Connections

Arguing with a spouse or partner mistreating you or defending yourself from them saps your interest and ability to enjoy yourself with them. It makes connecting more difficult.

According to doctors, making a shift, such as leaving when someone misbehaves, frees up time and emotional space for you to engage positively, like watching a movie or walking together. These are better ways to express your affection.

Maintain Consistency

Being consistent is crucial since BPD patients frequently push the limits. If you place a restriction, they might look for ways to go above it. It will not alter overnight if the trend between you has been to allow boundaries to be stretched or broken repeatedly.

You cannot just alter the boundaries and expect the subject to comply.

They will try it more immediately. Before things get better, they probably get worse.

They will start accepting your boundaries if you can get past that and are consistent. Your spouse or partner will continue to push you to the limit but will do it less frequently.

Considering Threats as Serious Matters

Threats of self-harm or suicide must always be taken seriously, whether you think the person will act on them. Such threats should never be a kind of blackmail in a relationship. Inform the therapist who treats your spouse immediately. It is not merely to safeguard them. It would help if you kept yourself safe and sane.

Ask Them open-ended Questions.

Speaking is crucial if you are a spouse to someone with BPD, and you should be aware that the disorder can lead to people misinterpreting what other people say to them. Open-ended inquiries with phrases like "I suppose.." can also make people feel heard.

You may need to use your words when you expect that your facial expression or the room's atmosphere will make it plain. An individual might need to explain it more clearly.

Practicing Healthy Communication

Engage in constructive conversation. Do not say anything while communicating that can make the BPD sufferer feel belittled or uncared for. Engage in active listening and try your best to answer favorably. Act with love rather than criticize or abuse the other person.

Supporting the Treatment of your partner/spouse

To treat borderline personality disorder, there is no particular medicine. However, treatments are available, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), the preferred method. Trying to enroll them in a DBT program is beneficial because it teaches people with BPD more healthy ways to react and communicate. Look for a therapist with experience using DBT and treating patients with a borderline personality disorder.

Your loved one can benefit from DBT regardless of whether they have BPD since it helps people communicate and build stress tolerance.

Praise your partner and comment on good changes in behavior. Shower praises on them when they make progress.


Instead of arguing continuously with your spouse or partner with this disorder, use therapy and easy ways of communication. It will help enhance your relationship and reduce instances of you getting hurt in the relationship.

Updated on: 07-Apr-2023


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