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How can I help a friend with BPD?

rosieerosiee Posts: 1 Just got here
This may seem strange to ask, & I really never want to be patronising to anybody with borderline personality disorder, but I recently found out a friend had this diagnosis.
I've always had a difficult friendship with her, she is very invasive & asks a lot of personal questions regarding my mental health, my weight, etc. She can also say some very triggering things, or things that lead me to believe she is unsafe & I have no way of finding out.
She also continuously tells me how much she loves me & cares about me & how much I mean to her, & I care very much for her too, but I've only actually seen her face to face less than a dozen times. She texts me every single day & it is always about mental health.
I am autistic & really, really struggle with social interaction at all. I never want to be invasive so I tend to avoid speaking to her, which is selfish of me. The other night I told her to leave me alone after she said something very upsetting, & I feel really guilty about it.
I suppose I'm asking anybody who has a diagnosis of BPD - how can I support her? I know she is a genuinely lovely person & I really want to understand more about BPD, so I can know best how to talk to her when it feels uncomfortable. I worry I say things that trigger her without knowing, or I say something that may upset her unknowingly.
Again, I really really apologise if this sounds patronising in anyway, it's not intended to at all. I just really want to understand better, so I can be a better friend, but I also need to try & protect my own mental health as it's not in a good place right now.
Thank you!


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    Salix_alba_2019Salix_alba_2019 Deactivated Posts: 1,646 Extreme Poster
    Hey, I've had the BPD diagnosis for 7 years now and my SO (significant other) is suspected to on the spectrum. I would definitely say that effective communication and boundaries are key with BPD relationships. This isn't patronizing at all and it's wonderful that you're asking these questions.

    If she asks invasive questions it's important that you tell her how it makes you feel so you can then establish the boundary, reinforce it and validate her concerns for wanting to help. She might not realise how upsetting it is for you, so it's super important that you let her know. It's likely that she will get upset by you telling her but don't go back on yourself and validate her feelings because she most likely just wanted to help because she knows that you're struggling and cares a lot.

    If you accidentally say something that she found triggering, all you can do is apologise and say that it wasn't your intention so please give each other room to grow as you're still learning.

    Your mental health always comes first and if this is another way that you need to protect yourself, go for it !
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    Erulasse13Erulasse13 Posts: 8 Confirmed not a robot
    Hey - i don't have BPD, but my partner does and I am also Autistic.
    I know how difficult it can be - and odds are so does the person with BPD that you care about.
    It's okay to be overwhelmed by your friend. I get overwhelmed by my partner, and a lot of our most difficult times have been rooted in her BPD (her own admission, her own words).

    In the last year i've learned a lot about it being with her, but theres still so much about it i dont understand and probably never will because i don't experience it.
    But i can share some of the tricks we've tried and ways we deal with it together.

    1 = Set boundaries. Be clear, but not harsh. My partner has told me that her BPD makes her extremely easily attached and very scared of being abandoned. We set aside a time to just talk about our boundaries. What we are okay with (talking points, amount of physical contact, amount of general interaction), and what we aren't. We lay out the things that make us comfortable and what makes us uncomfortable. We discuss what is important to us individually, and we agree on boundaries. One of the boundaries you and your friend could talk about could be the amount of interaction and talk about mental health - you could talk about maybe having a day or two each week where you'd like NOT to interact, but make it clear that this isn't you planning to abandon them, you just need your own time.

    2 = Its hard, but sometimes you have to be firm with them and tell them their behaviour isn't acceptable, or has upset you. A lot of people believe the stigma that all people with BPD are manipulative and bad people; which isn't true, but just like everyone they CAN be manipulative and CAN be bad. Unfortunately, my partner has told me that their own BPD does make her think and act more manipulatively at some times. We've had awful upsets and fights before we got better at communicating it and dealing with it. The main thing is you have to be honest with them - if they do or say something triggering, you have to tell them that. You have to let them know what they have said or done has affected you. Don't shout and don't be angry about it - never attempt to do this when you're fresh from an argument or feeling angry, take some time to calm down first. Be straight forward about why their behaviour was wrong and the effects of it. Coddling them doesn't do any good. They might feel hurt; but letting them know that you don't hate them, you don't think they're crazy or a bad person is important too. But also, it can be hard for them to hear this, it can trigger defensiveness or bad feelings for them. So reassurance is key - they did something that wasn't okay and they have to take responsibility, but you aren't going to abandon them.

    3 = Ask them if there's anything that triggers bad days. Ask what their triggers are so you are aware of them, but tell them your triggers too.

    4 = Take some time to explain your own struggles. I massively struggle with social interaction too, i don't understand social clues or hints, I need to be talked to straightforward. Tell them what your strengths and weaknesses are. Tell them why you need your own time, because burning yourself out will only lead to more arguments.

    I'd really recommend either watching youtube videos about BPD - Ted talks or vlogs of people with BPD/people who are friends/in relationships with people that have BPD. Or ask your friend if there's any videos they've seen about it that you should watch
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