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Navigating Relationships With Borderline Personality Disorder (Part 2: The Warning Label)

TRIGGER WARNING: If you struggle with Borderline Personality, there is hope. Contact me and let’s work out a way to move forward. What follows is meant to be a guide for those who love you as they attempt to love you well. Some of this may come across as harsh, but, if you choose to read, please read to the end.

Now, last week’s post being said, I would still advise caution during these times, as this connection during the “I love you” season can become seductive^. Borderline Personality can easily fall into the performance trap of working to earn love, and this can throw off the relationship. Allowing for this trap can cause feelings of: 

  1. entitlement: when something has been earned
  2. resentment: when something earned is not paid, or
  3. imbalance: when one earns and the other pays

Staying ahead of this trap can make the difference between peace and pitfall. Ensure that your words and actions convey some consistent messages:

  1. no one is earning or owing love
  2. love is freely given
  3. love is a response to being, not doing

Some ways to do this:

  • Do not return compliments. Instead, say thank you. Then, offer your compliment at another time.

Doing this shows that positive attention is not a part of any chain of cause and effect – it is outside of their control. This is leading them toward connecting being, as opposed to doing, with love. This is why we offer the compliment at another time – outside of the cause and effect window so it is harder to explain away as the result of coersion.

  • When you give a gift (of time, money, etc…), refuse to allow them to pay you back.

Once again, we are heavy handed with anti-reciprocity (real term?). We communicate that our expressions of love do not come with strings attached – a novel concept to the individual inexperienced with unconditional love.

  • (This one might sound cruel) Do not take the bate when they make threats.

Do not negotiate or make any attempt to keep them in the relationship if they threaten to leave. If they are going to go, let them. This might be the only way they could come back if they ever chose to. By doing this, you have communicated to them that, while you may want them in your life, you don’t need them. Why is this important? Making themselves needed is part of the working to earn love pitfall. If they threaten to leave, and you panic, now they know you need them. Maybe for financial gain or pleasure or affirmation or backup or solace or a salve for insecurity or whatever else. If you need them, there’s little room to genuinely want them in your life. Now, you just want them around to do that thing they do.

If you refuse to make them needed in your life, they must depend on you wanting them instead. They are, as are we all, at the mercy of the kindness of others. After all, we do not love because it has been earned. We do not love because of others. We love because of ourselves.

  • Do not take the bait when they make themselves ‘better’

In a similar token, do not respond when they attempt to make you want them more – such as becoming more like you, more like what they think you might want, more agreeable, etc. This shows them that you like them as opposed to any manipulable characteristic about them

Ultimately, our task is to love our Borderline loved ones because of who they are and not what they do. This is no small task, and the message will not always transmit. Even now, some may choose to see this write up as an indictment instead of a guide.

As we say in the Cluchey household (with great lack of eloquence): Just because someone else makes sad choices, doesn’t mean you have to join them.

I’m Adam Cluchey, and we are Raising Consciousness..

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