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Family members and (ex) relationship partners – non borderlines – of those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) need to understand what is going on in the mind of the loved one with BPD. Learning as much as you can will create a solid foundation that will support the making of decisions necessary for your own mental health and well-being.

To the non borderline, the behaviour of those with Borderline Personality Disorder can often be unpredictable, very changeable, and even bizarre. It can be so difficult to understand because you do not know how to even contemplate, for the most part, the way that those with BPD actually do think and perceive the world.


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Borderlines are triggered in family or significant other relationships – even friendships – which causes them emotional dysregulation. This emotional dysregulation and the intense and unstable relational experience you have with and from the borderline in your life can and will cause you to walk on eggshells and to experience your own emotional confusion. It is often a source of both overt and/or covert abuse by those with BPD.


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The borderline will be re-experiencing his or her past through you in a way that is, in more relationships than not, a no-win situation for the non borderline. People with BPD do not know who they really are. They cannot and do not know what they want. They attempt to live through you – where does that leave you?

Borderlines relate in what are essentially toxic and unhealthy ways. The more they need you and the closer you get the more you will punished for anything and everything that you do – or that you, in their estimation and/or perception, fail to do or say.

Relating to someone with untreated BPD, or to someone in what I call the active throes of BPD, is an emotional roller coaster of either frequent shutting down, pulling away, and punishing silence (the quiet acting in borderline) or frequent intense and often abusive raging, blaming, name-calling (the raging, more classic, acting out borderline) that is often accompanied by declarations that the relationship is over, must end, and/or that you were never loved in the first place – often only to be followed minutes, hours, or days later by a change of heart and the borderline’s desperate pleading (often – not always) for you to forgive them and take them back. Sometimes, after such declarations the borderline may just show back up and engage you as if nothing had happened.

Many non borderlines find this absolutely crazy-making. Paradoxically, what is most crazy-making for loved ones of those with BPD is that the more crazy-making the relationship (whether family or partner or friend) gets the more the non borderline tends to focus on everything and anything to do with the borderline.

Non borderlines, in relationships with a borderline, become invisible two-times over. Firstly, because the borderline is trying to live through you and when triggered into dysregulated emotions sees, experiences and perceives you, for the most part, as an extension of either him/herself or as someone significant from his/her past with whom there are still deep and active abandonment wounds. Secondly, all of your efforts that result in an over-focus on the borderline, for whatever reason, end up being the way that non borderlines lose themselves.

Why is it that from the family member’s, ex or relationship partner’s, point of view so much of what the borderline says and does makes little to no sense. How are you supposed to understand what you can’t even make any sense out of?



In the beginning of these significant other relationships between the non borderline and the borderline, the borderline idealizes you to the point that you are put on a pedestal – you can do no wrong – you are the one they’ve been waiting for their entire life kind of thing. This can’t last too long more often than not. At some point, perhaps in days, weeks, or months (in some cases a year or two or longer) the bubble of idealization bursts – borderline splitting kicks in and you are booted off the pedestal and instead of being idealized you will then experience the other side – you will then be devalued in ways that you may have not ever experienced or even imagined to have been possible.

The love that a non borderline brings to the relationship, as I write about in my ebook, "The Dilemma on The Other Side of Borderline Personality Disorder" – Can Borderlines Love? Do Borderlines Feel Love? is not the same as the "love" that the borderline brings. Here is the first and most central clash that will be the foundation of chaos and drama, conflict, and/or protracted punishing silence that will leave you seeking harder and harder for the kind of understanding that you can only hope will bring some clarity, some logic, some sense of closure whether that closure is needed to try to move on in the relationship or to get over the relationship.

If you feel that you still need to understand more about how the average borderline thinks and why they think and act the way that they do, you will benefit from purchasing my Audio Program series Inside The Borderline Mind where I explain and discuss the inner-workings of the "borderline mind" as one who has been there and knows first hand what it feels like to be on the inside of a mind trapped in the parallel universe of Borderline Personality Disorder. The first two parts of this Audio Program Series are available now with at least three more to come in the next couple of months.

"The truth shall set you free" Understanding and knowledge is what you need if aren’t sure what to do, if you aren’t sure you can cope anymore or if you feel like you are losing your sanity to what may well have become a toxic relational dynamic with someone with BPD.

Maybe you already know that you still need to do some work to be able to truly Break Free From the BPD Maze you have been living in as the result of loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Family members, loved ones, relationship or ex-relationship partners of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, whether they are staying in a relationship, or in contact or not, need their own recovery which is what I talk about in the Audio Program Breaking Free From the BPD Maze (Recovery for Non Borderlines)

I hope that you will find much more understanding by reading other articles I have here and on my other websites as well as from the ebooks I’ve written and the Audio Programs and Videos I’ve done. I will be having a new ebook out soon for non borderlines and more video along with new Audio Programs as well. You can check for those ajmahari.ca

© A.J. Mahari, August 10, 2008 – All rights reserved.


A.J. Mahari is a Life Coach who, among other things, specializes in working with those with BPD and non borderlines. A.J. has 5 years experience as a life coach and has worked with hundreds of clients from all over the world.


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Understanding the Borderline Mind – How Borderlines think and what it means for Family Members and Relationship Partners