Aug. 9, 2022

Helping someone with BPD traits (the best advice for loved ones and families)

Coping with traits of borderline personality disorder can be exhausting for both the person experiencing them and those who love them. Splitting episodes, black and white thinking, and extreme emotional dysregulation can make it difficult to form and nurture intimate relationships.


Many online resources advise friends and loved ones of those with BPD (EUPD) traits to cut ties or avoid relationships with these individuals altogether – citing that “borderlines” are toxic and incapable of love. This couldn’t be further from the truth.


Can BPD traits and trauma make navigating intimacy? Sure. There’s no denying that. However, if both the person who identifies with BPD and their loved one(s) are open to developing deeper senses of self-awareness and are willing to learn new skills, deep and meaningful relationships can be nurtured.


At the beginning of my recovery journey, I wished there was more content like this so that I could listen to it with my partner and family. It can be tough to put your intense feelings into words. I understand. I’ve been there. I hope this episode can become a helpful (and healing) bridge for individuals who identify with BPD and their loved ones.


​​💡 Questions answered and topics discussed in this episode:

■ Understanding how childhood trauma can trigger borderline personality disorder and how this may have meant that your loved one did not learn the skills to self-soothe and become ultra-sensitive to rejection

■ Recognizing BPD triggers and providing validation (how not to get caught up in the “what’s” and “why’s” and instead learn to help your loved one feel SAFE)

■ Utilizing “behavior chain analysis” skills from DBT to help your loved one get into “wise mind”

■ Developing “crisis plans” to use during BPD episodes and learning to “assess vulnerabilities” to prevent episodes from happening in the first place

■ Understanding the role of the “inner critic” in BPD (dealing with self-hatred and shame)  

■ How to better and more effectively communicate with someone who has BPD

■ The role family and loved ones can play in therapy and treatment for BPD

■ Journaling prompts for loved ones of people with BPD traits


📝Recommended resources: 

■ Supporting Loved One with BPD: Quickstart Guide (full YouTube video by clinical psychotherapist Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes)

■ Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes’ website:


Disclaimer: information contained in this podcast episode is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional. 


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