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Readers Respond: Have You Made a BPD Friendship Work?

Responses: 8


Updated January 09, 2010

It is not easy to stay in a friendship with someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Many of the symptoms of BPD (e.g., emotional instability, abandonment sensitivity, impulsivity) can disrupt relationships, and friends can sometimes feel like they are the target of these symptoms.

In light of this, many friends have struggled long and hard with the decision to maintain the relationship with the BPD friend or cut ties. Have you managed to maintain a friendship with someone with BPD? What things do you do to make the friendship work?

Hoping to Reach Out to BPDs

Just want the BPDs to know, you are LOVED for YOU! Please don't toss us away due to some thought. We do deeply feel for you and do want you around, but we do want to be accepted too. We can work it out, if you let us! Just tell us what you think and we can make it happen. Speak and you will be amazed. Knock and the door will open. Speak the truth as best as you can.
—Guest beth, Non BPD

BPD friend

It's tough to keep a friend who is angry often with you for things that set her off. It's stressful to walk on eggshells to comfort another all the time. You feel used when are the comforting one and go off with others in a superficial fun way. You are only good for the serious stuff of life and others get to do the fun things. That's not a friend! I am tired of being used to listen to how much pain and suffering that person has, but I am brushed to the side for the fun things. I know my friend doesn't allow others to know the painful side. I have bent over backwards caring.I went out of way to include, make her happy, give her fun experiences... all I get is anger or complaining... If I ask to discuss it, I am avoided. If I ask to go out and have fun, I will be blantantly ignored and she will make plans with another person in front of me. I am tired of sorries after anger. No more peace maker.
—Guest beth

Friend is unaware of BPD traits

I have a friend who shows every trait of BPD. She is high functioning for the most part although goes through jobs and relationships at a record rate and the other people are always to blame. What I notice most is her creation of a self fufilling prophecy that ends each of these relationships. She always seems to get paranoid for example that another person is trying to turn me against her. This happened recently where there was no validity to the claim. I tried to calm her fears but because I still was seen being friendly to this other person after she told me negative things about them she got even more suspicious. As a result of her seeming to be lieing etc and hostility that was unfounded I backed away a little so I would not feel so abused. This reinforced her paranoia in her mind and she started to snub me. I acted like i didn't care because I refuse to be manipulated any more. After some childish acts which i ignored we are no longer speaking.
—Guest C S

Friend with BPD

I suspect a friend of mine has BPD. A number of her friends have reported feeling as though they never know when she'll get upset and a now a number of her friendships are all but over because of her behavior. Initially I felt the need to be 'polite' and would sympathize with her whenever she got upset over small things and I've even found myself apologizing for things that weren't even a problem. Somehow things were everybody else's fault and never hers. Her friends are either saints or the most horrible things to dwell the face of the earth - and never anything in between. Nowadays I find myself nodding and avoiding conflict as much as I can stand. To be fair BPD seems quite serious and I do feel bad for her, but I'm also burnt out. Patience seems to be key, and lots of it! That, coupled with a thick skin are important components in your arsenal. Good luck to everyone who has loved ones suffering with BPD.
—Guest Anne

My Friend Has BPD

It's been very difficult for me as the friend. I can hardly stand it anymore. For about three years now I've watched my friend and stood by her as she's overdosed at least 14 times and ended up in different psych hospitals. I've watched her lose two really good jobs, I've watched her fail or be withdrawn from two nursing schools. I've had her dog for pretty much 2 yrs straight. She lived with my husband and I for 7 months and I really am at my breaking point where I really feel like this friendship is too hard for me mentally. I'm constantly stressed, constantly checking up on her. She sleeps for 24 hrs at a time, she has group and a personal therapist and I talk to her daily and our conversations are always about how bad her life and I just feel so drained! It's like can you please look at the bright side for once, you have really good friends that have stood by you constantly... I don't know what else to do. I'm exhausted.
—Guest kj

diagnosis disclosure saved friendship

Me and my husband really loved a friend of ours but had great difficulty understanding some of her behaviour. Our friendship pretty much went on hold. Six months ago our friend saw on her medical notes that she had been diagnosed with BPD. When she told us about the diagnosis, it opened the door for us to resume our friendship. A joy for all of us as we'd greatly missed each other! Now that we all know the challenges she faces we can talk openly about any problems and we can do our best to minimize those problems. For example we try to communicate anything emotionally important face to face as that minimizes miscommunication. And me and my husband know that if she has a mood swing that it isn't about us so we can react more appropriately and more gently which is easier for all of us. We all feel more relaxed and me and my husband are so glad to have our funny, loyal friend back!

Lost friends and family

I have never been able to maintain long term relationships with friends or family. I was once very extroverted, and the life of the party. People like me a great deal initially, but later something changes and people feel like I'm too intense or needy. I feel like they want me to perform for them when they need it, but when I need them for support they don't know how to do that for me because they've come to see me as strong and self sufficient. This isn't so. I was the life of the party because I could make them laugh and I felt valued, but I'm really very sensitive and need the same love, acceptance and support as anyone else. I'm also very gullable, I intensely believe people really like me for ME, but ultimately they never really do and end up abandoning me which is incredibly painful. I'm now extremely Agoraphobic, I trust no-one, and I have only one friend left. I'm in constant emotional pain, and feel like there isn't anyone who understands me. BPD is a painful existance.
—Guest Connie

keeping a friendship

I have BPD, and it was never the BPD that made my relations work. But yes, i have friends, one of them always spotted in me weak points, and behaved gently, others like me for myself (hard to say what is the self at this stage of BPD). As for me, i was also very understanding towards their reactions, just because i knew i have problems. but now that i know what i have, i got some readings and intend therapy, i think we, thoe suffering from BPD can do a lot about improving our friendships. and eventually, it is a good form of treatement. Those in problem should learn what theyhave to face and also warn the others. if we can.
—Guest porto
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