Borderline Personality Disorder Relationship Cycle
Relationships is definitely challenging, even under its best conditions or circumstances. A new relationship oftenly full of hope and expectation for the upcoming future. What will the future upcoming days, weeks, and months bring? Is this “the one”? Oftentimes, your mind is filled with images of the future with a lot of optimism and excitement running wild.
Sometimes it works out, and other times it just ends with sorrow. For a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, relationships often come with amount level of challenges. At one moment, everything looks good and satisfying, then it suddenly changes. The joy and happiness then replaced by wound, dramatic expression, and anger over things that mostly would consider to be insignificant. Thereafter, come accusations, intensified feelings of hurt, threats, and demands.
For someone who has never experienced this, it might shock them. For those who familiar with the Borderline Personality Disorder relationship cycle, it might seem all too familiar. Although not every person will go through to the extreme condition above, some do. Now let’s take a deeper look and examine the Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis, the Borderline Personality Disorder Relationship cycle, how to deal with it and look at treatment options for Borderline Personality Disorder.
Definition : What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline Personality Disorder is a condition that affects the way a person manage, interpret, and deal with their emotions on a daily basis. Individuals who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder usually appear to be impulsive and having a difficulty with emotional stability. In addition, they might experience episodes of high anxiety, anger, and depression.
These episodes can last for several hours, then will be followed by a period of obvious constancy. In other cases, episodes of unstable behavior could last for several days and have a negative impact on a person’s performance at work, physical health, and personal relationships.
Another way to look at how someone with Borderline Personality Disorder views each every day, is to understand that someone with this disorder has a hard time maintaining or getting back to an emotional baseline. When good or exciting things happens, they will likely fall on to greater joy for a longer period of time than most normal people.
However, the opposite is also true; feelings resulting from a contrary event will also feel more intense and last for a longer time. For family, friends, and significant others or potential romantic partners, the constant emotional roller coaster can appear chaotic and lead to problems and sometimes conflict heavy relationships. This becomes such a significant challenge with teens and young adults for whom relationships are already often intense and complicated.
Borderline Personality Disorder is commonly characterized with following behaviors or symptoms below:
- Fear of being abandoned
- Poor and unhealthy self-image
- Swift and constant mood swing
- Unstable relationships
- Suicidal behavior and/or thoughts
The Borderline Personal Disorder Relationship Cycle
A Borderline Personal Disorder Relationship Cycle refers to a repeating, continuous series of ups and downs in a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder. First, everything feels good, exciting, and peaceful – you might be considered as they’re favorite person. In a split second, there is anger, chaos, and escalating negative emotions. For example, one minute, a person with Borderline Personality Disorder may be kind and affectionate, but the next minute they may feel stuck and overwhelmed, causing them to push their partner away.
It is easy to see how the Borderline Personal Disorder relationship cycle could be highly challenging to understand for those who are not very familiar with how relationships should be. This kind of cycle can be a shocking thing; however, it’s quite common when you have a romantic or comradely relationship with someone diagnosed with BPD.
Because of the potential for conflict, Borderline Personal Disorder cycles in romantic or platonic relationships often feel dysfunctional. However, it’s important to know that person with Borderline Personal Disorder can be exceptionally caring, compassionate, and affectionate. It is true that they have positive qualities, but they also have intense insecurities, highly sensitive to rejection or abandonment, and fears that can be difficult to navigate, especially in new relationships.
Some will be heavily critical of perceived (whether it is accurate or not) signs that their romantic partner is unhappy or might have a consideration to leave them. When a person with Borderline Personality Disorder senses a change in their partner’s feelings, whether it’s real or unreal, they might immediately pull themselves out. They can become angry and hurt over something a person without Borderline Personality Disorder usually would not give a second thought to.
They may even become obsessive over the person they are romantically involved with if they feel cause for concern. It’s important to know that healthy relationships are possible despite a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder; it is very important to understand the cyclical nature of symptoms.
6 Stages of a Borderline Personality Disorder Relationship
- Stage 1: During the stage one of the Borderline Personality Disorder relationship cycle, a new relationship begins, and while it appears to be positive, the relationship is often also perceived as moving forward quickly with a rapid intensity that isn’t seen in other relationships.
- Stage 2: The relationship becomes progressive. The Borderline Personality Disorder partner becomes increasingly sensitive to the smallest action or word, which may have a negative perception that may trigger fears of abandonment and feelings of low self-worth. Their fear of abandonment begin to tell them how their partner doesn’t love or no longer interested in them. The relationship begins to break, and this becomes the source of constant concern.
- Stage 3: The person with Borderline Personality Disorder begins to push their partner to demonstrate their love. Their goal is to feel worthy and put a stop to anxiety by leading or manipulating the other person to show a level of concern that removes the source of worry.\
- Stage 4: As a direct result of the intentional distancing, the relationship begins to fall apart. The individual with Borderline Personality Disorder waits on their partner for an overdramatic declaration of love and dedication, but this often does not come. Soon the individual with Borderline Personality Disorder convinces themselves that their partner is going to leave them. In their mind, the relationship is ending, and they begin to visualize the relationship ending as a result of their own actions. While with their partner (who is often unaware of many of the thoughts occurring in the mind of the borderline personality individual), they maintain an appearance of happiness, however, in most cases, they feel as though their needs are not being met. This makes them feel even emptier and more alone.
- Stage 5: The relationship ends, and their partner walks away. Sometimes the individual with borderline personality will attempt to salvage some elements of the broken relationship by trying to explain or justify why things with so wrong. However, this last-minute attempt at communicating feelings and emotions rarely allows the relationship to recover. By this time, the Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer has created such a distance between themselves and their partner that it cannot be undone.
- Stage 6: Once the relationship ends, the individual with Borderline Personality Disorder will experience a time wrought with extreme emotional mood swings. They will go from sobbing hysterically to enraged at their former partner for not trying hard enough in their relationship. The emptiness they feel, and their perceived validation of their abandonment fears fuels their anger. During this time, they may lash out at friends and family with little or no provocation. In some cases, this emotional instability may lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. For others, these emotions could lead to self-harming behaviors such as cutting, overdosing on medication, getting drunk, spending vast amounts of money, seeking out sexual relations, binge eating, or risk-taking behavior. Engaging in these behaviors gives only a momentary sense of relief.
Supporting a partner with BPD & navigating the relationship cycle
If your partner has Borderline Personality Disorder, the most impactful thing you can do is become familiar with the disorder and it’s cycles so that you can also understand how your partner is feeling.
Provide space for both of you to talk about your feelings openly and honestly. This can give your partner the validation that they need, while also allowing you to reassure them that nothing is wrong. The Awareness Centre can help to facilitate this through joint and individual counselling; giving you both the support you need to continue having a fulfilling relationship.
While dating someone with Borderline Personality Disorder might mean you face more difficult periods, you’re also dating someone who is likely exceptionally compassionate and full of affection. Understanding the disorder and how it affects your partner is so important for a healthy relationship.