Borderline personality disorder causes those who have it to see people and situations as all good or all bad; to feel empty and without an identity; and to have extreme, blink-of-an-eye mood swings. People with BPD act impulsively; their self-loathing and extreme fear of abandonment can cause them to act in ways that harm themselves or wreck their relationships with others.
It causes havoc with family members, who can find themselves the target of blame for everything that goes wrong in the family. The criticism can be harsh, and it's always someone else's fault. People with BPD can also be suicidal and self-harm, which terrifies family members. Children exposed to these behaviors can develop BPD themselves.
When I first began writing about BPD in 1995, it must have taken me at least a year to fully understand BPD; it took a few more to formulate a plan for family members like you to cope with borderline behavior. Fortunately, the book that came out of it, Stop Walking on Eggshells (written with Paul Mason) provided validation and relief to more than half a million people since it came out in 1998.
Since then, I've come to refine my methods. A decade after Stop Walking on Eggshells came out, I better refined my plan and came out with ways you can do more than cope—in certain instances, you can greatly improve the relationship and create an environment more conducive to your loved one's recovery. That is the main theme of my 2008 book The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Disorder.
So how do you do it? The answer is surprisingly simple. You learn five steps—which I also call Power Tools—and learn them and put them in place in order. They can organize your thinking and focus on what you need to do instead of becoming overwhelmed. They are:
Power Tool 1: Take Care of Yourself
Power Tool 2: Uncover What Keeps You Feeling Stuck
Power Tool 3: Communicate to be Heard
Power Tool 4: Set Limits with Love
Power Tool 5: Reinforce the Right Behaviors
This complete step-by-step system will enable you to:
- Become more confident and clear about who you are and what you need.
- Know where to concentrate your efforts.
- Extricate yourself from non-productive, aggressive conversations.
- Improve your problem-solving skills.
- Learn how to help their family member without trying to rescue them.
- Feel more self-assured about setting limits without backing down.
One way to learn about the system, of course, is to read the book. Another way is to attend a four-hour training session I am doing on Saturday, October 6, 2012 in Scottsdale, Az. It will be from 10 am-3:30 pm at the SkySong Center, 1475 N. Scottsdale Rd. This workshop will give you a great chance to talk to me and ask questions. You'll be able to interact with other participants, tell your story, learn skills, and do some role playing. If you're coming from out of town, the sponsor, Unhooked Books, can help you find your way around the city.
To learn more, click here or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write me at (Randi at BPDCentral.com.) Hope to see you there!