Borderline Personality Disorder: 4 Ways it Can Affect Your Interpersonal Relationships

woman with personality disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects a person’s emotions and behavior in relationships.
  • BPD causes intense and rapidly changing emotions, a fear of abandonment, identity confusion, and difficulty with boundaries.
  • Treatments for BPD include couples therapy, psychotherapy such as DBT or CBT, medications, support groups, and lifestyle changes.
  • People with BPD can have stable relationships and fulfilling lives with proper support and treatment.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that can greatly influence how a person feels and behaves in interpersonal relationships. Those with BPD often experience emotional instability, impulsivity, and an intense fear of abandonment. These symptoms can profoundly impact how individuals connect with others, creating significant challenges in personal and professional settings.

What is BPD?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects how people think, feel, and act. People with BPD often experience instability in their moods, behavior, self-image, and interpersonal relationships. They may have difficulty controlling their emotions and impulses or fear abandonment. Here are four key ways Borderline Personality Disorder can affect your interpersonal relationships.

Manipulative woman at home

Intense Emotions

People with BPD often experience intense and rapidly changing emotions. They may feel overwhelmingly happy one moment and descend into deep despair or anger the next. This emotional volatility can make it difficult for individuals to regulate their emotions and communicate effectively with others. The constant emotional turmoil can also lead to impulsive or self-destructive behavior, further impacting their relationships.

Fear of Abandonment

The fear of abandonment is a hallmark symptom of BPD. Individuals with this condition may be hypersensitive to signs of rejection or withdrawal from others, and they can become consumed with anxiety and panic if they perceive a loved one distancing from them. This fear can permeate their interpersonal relationships, leading to clinginess or sabotage to prevent abandonment.

Identity Confusion

BPD can sometimes cause individuals to struggle with a sense of self. They may have a hard time understanding who they are or what they want in life, and they may try on different personas to try and fit in with different social groups. This can result in confusion and frustration with intimate relationships, as partners may struggle to understand who their loved one truly is.

Difficulty with Boundaries

People with BPD often struggle with boundaries when it comes to respecting the boundaries of others and setting boundaries for themselves. This can manifest as codependency, where they become enmeshed in their partner’s lives and neglect their own needs, or it can show up as an inability to accept rejection or criticism. It can also make it challenging for people with BPD to hold down jobs or maintain professional relationships.


There are various ways to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Here are some of them:

Couples Therapy

You must have healthy communication with your partner. An experienced relationship counseling service can help you achieve that. They can provide you with the tools to communicate better and understand each other. It can also help you reduce your BPD symptoms over time.

Support group at work


Psychotherapy is considered the most effective treatment for BPD. Several types of psychotherapy can treat BPD, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic therapy.

DBT is often recommended for BPD as it focuses on teaching patients coping skills to regulate their emotions. Patients with BPD often struggle with intense emotions, such as anger, sadness, and fear. DBT helps them identify these emotions, understand their origin, and learn how to cope effectively.


While there is no specific medication for BPD, certain medications can help treat specific symptoms that come along with BPD. For instance, antidepressants can help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany BPD. Antipsychotic medications can help to stabilize moods and manage impulsive behaviors. However, medication alone is generally not enough to treat BPD, as the underlying causes of the disorder are often psychological rather than biological.

Support Groups

Support groups can be a helpful adjunct to psychotherapy for people with BPD. Support groups offer individuals a safe space to share their experiences with others who are going through the same challenges. Many support groups incorporate the principles of DBT into their meetings, teaching participants new skills and techniques to manage their symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

Taking good care of oneself is essential in managing BPD. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help individuals to maintain positive mental health and regulate their emotions. People with BPD should also aim to get enough sleep, reduce stress as much as possible, and avoid drugs and alcohol, which can exacerbate symptoms.

Borderline Personality Disorder can affect interpersonal relationships in a variety of ways. Individuals with BPD need to seek treatment and learn practical coping skills to manage their symptoms and maintain healthy relationships. With the proper support, people with BPD can live fulfilling lives and enjoy meaningful connections with others.

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