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Dealing with the partner: does a borderline relationship have a chance?

A relationship with a borderliner is far from easy - but not impossible. We reveal when a relationship makes sense and when you should protect yourself.

What is borderline?

A personality disorder is called borderline. So it is a mental disorder. People with borderline syndrome are impulsive, have strong mood swings, and tend to have unstable relationships. You fluctuate extremely between opposing feelings such as love and hate - especially in relationships.

The term borderline comes from English and means "border line". People with borderline disorder are on the line between neurotic and psychotic disorder.

Those affected suffer from their uncontrollable emotional fluctuations, which they have to express immediately through extreme emotional outbursts or actions. In doing so, you hurt yourself, take drugs, or behave inconsiderately.

In interpersonal relationships, they are impulsive and quick-tempered. There is no mediocrity for them. Other people are either good or bad, without their own partner they either cannot live or they never want to see them again.

 

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Because of this behavior, many borderliners cannot have stable relationships. In doing so, they long for strong bonds. You then try with all your might to hold on to your partner, suffer from extreme fear of loss and feel alone.

But it's not just borderliners who suffer from personality disorder. Close people such as the family and the partner do not know how to deal with the person concerned. The borderliner unconsciously hurts his environment through the extreme behavior.

Developing a relationship with and living with a borderliner can be challenging. If the love is strong and both partners can show consideration for each other, it is still possible to have a happy relationship.

 

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What are the causes of borderline personality disorder?

It is not yet clear why a borderline personality arises. In addition to genetic predisposition, traumatic experiences in early childhood can trigger emotional instability. Borderline people often come from shattered families or have been abused or abused in the past.

Often an important caregiver was the perpetrator in childhood. The borderline sufferer experienced the attachment figure in a strong contradiction: on the one hand, he loved the attachment figure, on the other hand he felt feelings such as anger, fear and hate, which he could not express.

But not all borderline sufferers had to go through traumatic experiences in childhood. And many people with traumatic childhood experiences do not develop borderline disorders. Sometimes the mental disorder occurs without an obvious trigger.

Hereditary predisposition or neurological changes in the brain could also lead to borderliners having limited control over their emotions. It is likely that several factors contribute to the development of the borderline disorder.

 

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Does my partner have a borderline disorder?

Borderline is not a personality disorder that can be identified at first glance. The first time in a relationship with a borderliner is often without problems. Only later does the borderliner's behavior, which is inexplicable for the partner, lead to difficulties.

If at least five of the following characteristics apply to a person, they can suffer from borderline syndrome. However, an accurate diagnosis can and should only be made by a psychologist.

  • Borderliners are constantly under emotional tension and internal pressure due to the emotional chaos. You have no control over your strong feelings. For outsiders, this manifests itself in explosions of emotions such as fits of anger, which break out for no apparent reason.
  • Borderline people are very impulsive and also harm themselves, for example through drug use, alcohol consumption or an insecure and uninhibited sex life.
  • Borderliners try with all their might to maintain their love affair and often resort to drastic means such as threats and emotional blackmail.
  • The feelings towards interpersonal relationships fluctuate between strong liking and dislike.
  • Borderliners suffer from distorted and unstable self-perception.
  • You act self-harming or risky. Suicide attempts are also possible.
  • You struggle with a constant feeling of emptiness.
  • They can temporarily fall into a dissociative state under stress, strain or in seemingly dangerous situations. In doing so, they have the feeling of stepping out of their body, standing next to them and being unable to act. To get back to reality, some people have to harm themselves.

Borderline affects both men and women. However, a more frequent diagnosis is made in women because they are more likely to be treated therapeutically for emotional problems.

 

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What is a borderline relationship?

People in a relationship with a borderliner are in a difficult situation: on the one hand you want to support the loved one, on the other hand the unpredictable behavior of the person concerned puts a strain not only on the partnership, but also on your own psyche.

The borderline disorder usually becomes clear in interpersonal contact with one's own partner. While relatives or close friends can suffer from the impulsive and self-harming behavior of the borderliner, the full extent of the personality disorder is most evident in love relationships.

Many borderline relationships start out very happily. Because borderliners are passionate and initially only focus on their partner. However, the intense and beautiful relationship can quickly turn into the opposite. Affected people then show outbursts of anger or extreme jealousy for no apparent reason. And in the next moment they are loving and affectionate again.

The borderline illness is therefore not immediately recognizable to outsiders. When you flirt with borderline people, you initially don't realize that they have an unstable personality disorder. However, when love comes into play, the seemingly reflected person can change from one moment to the next.

Black-and-white thinking is very pronounced in people with borderline syndrome: Everything is either good or bad, great or flop. They fluctuate between beautiful highs and bottomless lows. Idealize your partner one day and hate them the next.

The constant switching between the extremes is very confusing for other people. The partner is quickly overwhelmed and decides to break up. But that is exactly the borderliner's dilemma: Through his behavior, he destroys the interpersonal relationships that he longs for so much.

If the partner of a borderline sufferer wants to continue the relationship out of love, it requires a great deal of understanding. The healthy partner must learn how to deal with the person affected correctly, but must not lose sight of their own needs.

 

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How does a borderliner think and feel in a relationship?

Borderliners are caught between good and bad, love and hate, happiness and sadness. For them there is no in-between. Things are either black or white. That throws the borderliner from one extreme to the other. Especially in a partnership.

The psychologist Manuela Rösel says that borderline people define themselves through another person. And that is mostly the beloved partner. It is difficult for them to endure if this person does not feel the same as they do. A breakup threatens to break them. It is even possible that you cannot let go of your ex-boyfriend and go on chasing after him for months.

After many years of experience with those affected, the psychologist has already written several books on borderlines. The book “Understanding Borderline” helps people in a borderline relationship to better understand their partner with the borderline disorder.

Because the borderliner himself suffers from the strong feelings. He or she wants a stable relationship, but at the same time is very afraid of closeness. One day the partner is the greatest gift on earth, the next the worst partner in the world.

In his impulsiveness, the borderliner sometimes even decides to separate from his partner, only to swear eternal love to him shortly afterwards. He suffers from outbursts of anger or despair, or is overjoyed and passionate. Borderline people have to act to express their feelings - right now. Right away. You are not in control of these emotional outbursts and are powerless at the mercy of them.

At the same time they are accompanied by a feeling of inner emptiness and just to feel something they hurt themselves, take drugs or rush headlong into a new relationship. With the new love life seems wonderful at first, but after a short time the borderline syndrome shows up in dealing with the new partner.

 

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Is it possible to have a relationship with a borderline patient?

Dealing with a borderliner is not easy. Love and passion are strong, but the behavior of those affected is all the more extreme. For many couples, the borderline relationship leads to a separation after a short time. Life with borderline is too difficult.

However, a successful partnership with a person with borderline syndrome is not impossible. Whether a long-term and happy relationship is possible depends on the character of the borderline personality and the characters of the two partners.

If you want to build a life together with a borderliner, you have to have a lot of understanding and be able to endure a lot. Those affected should find out about the mental illness and get professional advice on how to deal with borderliners correctly.

Because those affected do not act deliberately in a destructive manner. Much more, they cannot control their own feelings and the resulting impulsive behavior themselves. The partner should convey security to the borderline partner and at the same time offer him space to retreat.

However, so that the healthy partner does not break up in the relationship, he or she must be able to distance himself from the negative feelings and extreme behavior. At first, no one can free a desperate borderliner from his extreme emotional state - he is trapped in it.

There are also better chances for the continuation of the relationship if the person concerned makes use of various therapy options. Therapy should be started especially if there is self-harming behavior or suicidal intent.

During therapy, people with borderline can learn to deal better with extreme emotional fluctuations and to consciously suppress emotional outbursts or impulsive behavior. This is how those affected learn to live with borderline syndrome.

And the borderline relationship even has good sides: there are bad lows in the relationship, but there are also indescribable highs. The love of a borderliner is strong, the life together is intense. The relationship is never boring.

 

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How long does a borderline relationship last?

Most borderline relationships are turbulent and full of emotions, both positive and negative. Those affected lead passionate and emotional relationships, which are usually short-lived. How long the relationship lasts depends on the willingness of both partners.

If the borderliner tries to get therapy and if the other partner manages to stay calm even in the face of great emotional fluctuations, the borderliner's behavior can improve. In addition, borderline personality disorder is not the same for every person.

Ultimately, every healthy person has to decide for themselves whether they want to have a partnership with a borderliner or whether separation is the better solution for both sides. Because despite great feelings and a strong love, the constant back and forth can burden the partner and also plunge psychologically into an abyss.

How and when should you end a borderline relationship?

If the behavior of the borderline partner gets too bad, people in a borderline relationship should think about a separation. Because even if life with a borderliner offers wonderful days, your mental health and your own life should not suffer as a result.

The fact is: not everyone can live with a borderliner. Sensitive people or people who tend to be codependent should better distance themselves from borderliners sooner rather than later.

The negative emotional outbursts, the withdrawal and the back and forth between love and hate can burden the partners of borderliners so much that they themselves fall into depression or suffer from burnout after a short time.

Even with harmful behavior of the borderliner such as drug use, reckless driving or even violence in the relationship, it is important to pull the emergency brake in good time and to separate from the borderline partner. If possible, contact with the ex-partner should be completely broken off at least for a while.

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