Here are a few tips that I practice with my BPD partner that have helped immensely in her recovery and healing. There is hope so don’t give up. I hope these points help you as much as it has helped me/us.
1) Accept the illness
Mental illness is often ignored or dealt with minimal attention due to Indian culture , our upbringing or even awareness of mental health. It is common to reject the science of psychology/mental health and well being. Educate yourself and the family with self help books or articles online. Talk to the doctor treating your partner. Stop refusing and rejecting the situation . The sooner you accept that your partner has BPD , the sooner you become a very valuable support to your partner.
2) Accept Failure
The percentage of success plays an important role in motivation ….. but not in the world of mental illness. There will/may be more failures than success leaving you feeling hopeless , frustrated , doubtful , and like you are going round in circles. Recovery/healing of a b.p.d can be a very slow process . NEVER blame your partner. do not put down, humiliate or disgrace for his/her failures as it will terribly worsen the speed of progress. Instead congratulate/appreciate them for the smallest achievements . Be consistent in highlighting past,present and future achievements .Be it achievements in academics , a good deed done , chores completed, appreciating their looks or just simply thanking them for their existence.
3) Deal with your Anger
Anger is one of the most common emotions felt by human beings. You will feel this emotion quite often, accompanied with other negative emotions while dealing with your borderline partner. Train your anger and develop awareness in the family to be intelligent and sensitive in such situations . It will only be foolish to fight back and it will interfere with progress. Stay calm, smart, and objective .
4) Being Right vs Wrong
Who doesn’t like winning… who doesn’t like to be right? But with BPD and other mental illnesses, the more you lose, the more you win in the recovery of your partner. This is a very important aspect that will contribute in speeding up the healing . A borderline often feels she/he is wrong and can blame themselves even for bad weather, but it hurts them so bad that they will try very hard to be right , especially in discussions/arguments . Be smart and choose victory in recovery and not in arguments.
5) Pamper , don’t Tamper
A word often used for kids. We believe that kids love to be pampered. But the truth is the exact opposite as it is loved more by adults. This magical word works miracles on a borderline, if used wisely . Pamper them with your voice, body language. Show them physical affection – hug them often. Give them lovable pet names that they would like and would make them feel special. Experiment . This therapy will benefit both , the borderline and the non-borderline in the joys of life .
6) Make Sacrifices
You don’t have to give up your life; just make some changes. Give more attention to your partner by giving them more time . Hear them out . Be patient . Be compassionate . Apart from helping your partner, make sure you take good care of your own self too, by getting enough sleep , eating well and managing stress.