Partner of someone with BPD

Hey all,

I just need some support because I feel alone quite a lot. My boyfriend has a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, ADHD, and possibly bipolar (but it’s been difficult to diagnosis) and it wasn’t until work said it, I didn’t realise I’m basically a carer for him when his mental health declines. Which can be often.

And it definitely impacts our relationship, especially when he sees things so black and white and just ends things. Is there any particular chat rooms or something available? I definitely can’t do this alone any more and no matter how great my friends and family are, they don’t fully get BPD and just see him as evil at times or “drama” because he wants to take his life. And that’s not helpful.

Any way, thank you

I just wanted to say hello. My caring situation was very different but there will be someone along soon who understands more of what you are experiencing. This is a good place to stop feeling so alone.

Hi Elanor
How old are you and boyfriend?
It’s a long haul caring for some one with mental health issues. There are specific sites out there, but tend to divide into age groups.

My son is now mid twenties and Youngminds and The Mix were good initially

We can do general carer support, what bugs you most?


Thank you for replying both of you, really appreciate it.

I’m 26 and he is 22.

His ups and downs, and when I’m trying to express something that he’s done to hurt me it’s a struggle. He gets very self critical and tries to run away from it.

Just being able to speak to people who have been through it or something. Because I feel so misunderstood when I talk about it to friends. For example; to explore if his behaviour seems related to his BPD. To just be able to talk about it, but the responses I get are “you are just making excuses” and as much as I know they are supporting and protecting me, it’s not what is always helpful. If that makes any sense?

Finding it hard to say that he doesn’t fit social norms, and his diagnosis doesn’t make it OK, I just need to speak freely about it.

Thank you again!

Hi elanor
I can’t say much tonight so here’s a few sites may help you

The mix has forums, worth reading if only to understand more. Aimed at under 25s

Mind has really good explanations of various disorders, and how to support someone

Sometimes it’s a matter of letting a situation lie until he’s in a more reasonable frame of mind, i.e… picking what is important, letting minor things slide
But not letting him use you as punchbag either physically, verbally or emotionally
It takes a long long time to learn, but you will get there.
It is also OK to self preserve by walking away from the relationship if things get too bad. You needn’t suffer too.

Must go now, more tomorrow

My son, now 39, was brain damaged at birth, just some areas. So he can’t read, write, or do any maths. On the other hand, we own a 10 ton steam roller, which we used to regularly take to shows. He could be trusted to light the fire, do the polishing, use the valves to keep the boiler topped up with water, and raise steam to 180 lbs per square inch. Purely for insurance purposes, as he doesn’t have a car licence, he would need someone else on the footplate with him, but could drive it really well. Once, he was even on the front cover of a national magazine, when driving the roller.
Long ago, I realised that friends just didn’t understand what a challenge this was. I gave up discussing his problems really early in his life. Friends just didn’t “get it”. It was like I was living in some sort of parallel universe.
What you need is a professional listener/counsellor, with whom you can share all your thoughts, without being judged, and then work out, with the counsellor, what is best for you.
I used to discuss everything with my husband, but he died 12 years ago, and it was only later I had counselling. If you can find the right person, it will make you feel so much more at ease, and help you manage your own situation better. You cannot change your partner’s behaviour, but you can change the way you react to it. Don’t give up too early though, it will take at least 6 sessions to feel secure enough to share some things. Persevere.

Thank you for those bits. I looked at some support through an iapt service but the services time just doesn’t match my work. I have a long work commute and long hours. I think I worry that I’m letting myself be a punching bag purely because of my friends unhelpful comments. So that definitely makes things worse.

Thank you for sharing that, I’m sorry your were in that position where you felt they didn’t understand. It’s definitely makes things much harder because talking without judgement is soo hopefully. And I’m sorry to hear about your husband!

I appreciate you all taking your time to reply, I really do.

Would it help if you made two lists - one of the ‘good things’ about your boyfriend that are keeping you with him, and one of the ‘bad things’ that are causing you problems with him?

Mental illness is notoriously ‘difficult’ to live with - if there is hope of improvement, even of healing, then it can be worth the ‘investment’ in the relationship, but if you don’t think that there is any hope of that, it can be time, sadly, to make a tough, tough, tough decision - to stick with a deeply flawed relationship ‘for ever’ …or to call time on this relationship and seek another more durable, and easier one.

Because it’s so hard to discern the 'actual ‘parameters’ of his behaviour (or anyone with MI), what I always think is that is he is making an EFFORT to mitigate the negative aspects of his affliction, then he is ‘worth’ investing in. Effort may be the only way to measure that. Do you feel he is TRYING not to be so ‘difficult’???

I will give that list thing a go.

He is definitely trying, we’ve discussed it before and he finds certain aspects of being in a relationship difficult, he has always allowed his impulses to guide his choices especially when he is feeling particularly critical of his self image and is always seeking instant gratification and he has to work very hard to not allow them while with me. But he’s done some hurtful things in the past. Mainly around being inappropriate to female friends, but not to the point of cheating just flirtatious behaviour through text. In other areas like when he gets low enough to attempt suicide I feel more equip to handle.

But he does repeat certain mistakes over and over: and I can’t help sometimes but take this personally. Like his psychologist once said to him, he has great hind sight but he seems to struggle massively with not repeating the mistakes because of his need for instant gratification (where his adhd and bpd interact nicely) and currently he isn’t even on meds for his adhd.

Hi Elanor. Welcome to the forum. I am really sorry to hear that you have been feeling alone lately. I hope you are able to find some solitude on this forum. In your first post, you mentioned that your boyfriend wants to take his life. Have you spoken to anyone about this? Samaritans have a free helpline which you can call on 116 123. It’s available 24hours a day, 365 days a year and you can use it whenever to talk through anything and the impact caring is having on you. While you care for your boyfriend, it is also important that you care for your health and wellbeing too. The links the other forum members posted are good sources of support.

Wishing you all the best

Hi, I also have a partner with BPD and am struggling too, feel free to message me and I might be able to help x

Hi. My wife has a diagnosis of BPD among various other personality disorder diagnoses and moderate depressive episode. She is also epileptic. I am her full time carer and find it hard to talk to anyone about the struggles because they don’t understand, they just see she’s playing up or being out of order, that it’s just something that excuses her behaviour.
BPD is so misunderstood, and I know how hard it is when something you’ve said gets twisted or the way they respond is unkind.
My wife and I have been together for 4 and a half years and married for 18 months. It was tough when we were dating but living together and spending every day together is a whole different story.
She struggles to think about how she’d saying something and is very black and white. I feel like I’m always being criticised for something when she’s simply just stating things such as “you’ve not washed up”, “you left that box on the side”, “you haven’t put a wash on”.
She lacks empathy and can’t see things from my point of view. She doesn’t recognise tone and will accuse me of having a hidden agenda or starting something. She’s not used to having someone who cares so says I can be too much or suffocating but then wants me near her and gets clingy says I’m not thoughtful.
It’s causing a lot of tension and where we barely talk because it’ll end up in an argument or I’m always feeling like I’m making mistakes or making her feel worse, and then she gets upset because I’m moody or snappy.
I hope we can help each other, there is not enough support for families of people woth BPD.

Hi not a partner but I have a 32 year old daughter with BPD.
I can only tell you my experiance which is it is hell!

I don’t know if your wife recognises that she has a problem. If not and does not seek help you are always going to be walking on eggshells. Sorry to say.

Best advise i can offer is set your boundaries and keep to them. You have to realise you are important and have to put your well being first sometimes.

Wishing you luck woth your situation and hopefully find tools and advise to help. Xx