If you have a partner with borderline personality disorder (BPD), your relationship may look something like this:
Yesterday, in the eyes of your partner, you could do no wrong. Today, everything you do is wrong.
Ten minutes ago, your partner was smiling and happy. Now, they are screaming at the top of their lungs about a perceived snarky comment from you, which was not meant in the way it was interpreted, and household objects are being thrown. You hastily leave to go to work.
By the end of today, you will get 15 text messages, eight phone calls, and 10 emails from your partner that ask if you still love them, and threatening suicide if you end the relationship.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, two percent of Americans are diagnosed with BPD, which equates to about six million people, although some estimates are as high as six percent, or eighteen million people. Women are more frequently given the diagnosis, but that may be because they present for psychiatric services more often than men, or because of provider bias, with men being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder instead of BPD.
Obviously, having a relationship with someone who experiences BPD is a challenge. At the beginning of your relationship, there may have been a honeymoon period where you were idealized by your partner. But now you may be experiencing the darker side of BPD: fears of abandonment, impulsive behaviors (gambling, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating, drug use), emotional instability, and suicidal gestures or attempts.
What does the partner of someone with BPD do?