Impact on Family
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can have a significant impact on the family of the person who has it.
People with BPD may find it challenging and difficult to control their behavior and emotions, create good communications with others, listen to others and understanding their feelings, avoiding or staying out of trouble, and making or maintaining close relationships. This can lead to patterns of communication within the family that cause conflict and alienation among family members.
The impact of BPD on the family can have extensive consequences, such as experiencing guilt, facing various stresses and strains within the family, assuming responsibility for their role in the situation, and requiring support for the caregiver.
It is crucial to acknowledge that mental illnesses have a significant impact on the entire family. In the case of personality disorders such as BPD, this impact is particularly pronounced due to the inherent challenges in interpersonal relationships. Family members often bear the brunt of the effects caused by individuals with BPD.
Typically, it is often the case that family members take on the role of a carer. Moreover, due to gender stereotypes, women tend to shoulder the majority of the responsibility for a sick family member. Family members may also have to handle self-harm and suicidal behavior, a task that is usually assigned to crisis intervention workers who receive proper training for their services.
Researchers have found that the family members of those suffering from a mental illness such as BPD are at a higher risk for ill mental health themselves such as stress, depression and anxiety.
Grief, burden and isolation have been associated with the stress of having a relative with a mental illness. One study found that the largest stressors for mental health providers were patient anger, suicide attempts and threats of suicide. Those three factors are all characteristic of BPD and have a significant impact on loved ones.
It’s clear that family members are in need of a good support system to help them navigate a caring relationship with an individual diagnosed with BPD. Family members should be encouraged to seek support for their own mental wellbeing.