Intense and Unstable Relationships
People living with borderline personality disorder symptoms often encounter challenges in their relationships, encompassing both non-romantic connections such as family, friends and colleagues, as well as romantic relationships with partners or spouses.
It can be challenging to initiate and sustain relationships when experiencing intense, unpredictable, or extreme emotions.
Due to the presence of ‘black and white’ thinking in individuals with BPD, they can perceive things as either all good or all bad. This can result in idealizing their partner and overlooking any faults, or devaluing them and ultimately ending the relationship or forcing the other person to end it.
They might also have fears of being abandoned or neglected, resulting in either distancing themselves from others or excessively clinging to them. Such behaviour can give rise to a strained and dysfunctional relationship.
The BPD Relationship Cycle
People with BPD can have intense emotional highs and lows, experience unexpected or sudden bursts of anger, or suffer with anxiety or depression. They may intensely love you and then suddenly reject you.
The cycle refers to a repeating pattern of highs and lows. At first, everything is good and safe – they consider you their favourite person. They may idealise everything that you say and do. They may focus their attention on you, and less on other relationships with friends or family. They may demand your attention, and see only the positives. As the relationship grow, idealisation decreases and they may start to feel you don’t care enough, you’re not ‘in this’ relationship as they are. They may start focusing on negatives, or begin to feel unsafe.
At this point they may begin to pick arguments, or push you away with aggressive behaviour. This usually leads to the relationship ending. If that isn’t the case, the cycle may begin again.
Not every relationship is like this
Not all individuals with borderline personality disorder will exhibit these behaviours or engage in repetitive patterns – each person with BPD is unique in their own way.
However, it is conceivable that certain attitudes, emotions, and behaviours may exist within a relationship. By committing to therapy and receiving adequate support, these behaviours can be changed.