From my experience, Borderline Personality Disorder is the most stigmatized mental illness out there. I saw this while working in an addiction treatment center with these types of patients, and as I’ve met more people with this disorder, it’s become even more apparent. I couldn’t believe how many therapists and psychologists I knew who refused to work with people with BPD. That absolutely blew my mind.
Roughly 85 percent of the people I meet with BPD have, in large part, developed the disorder from childhood trauma. This trauma is typically emotional, verbal or sexual abuse. Professionals don’t like working with this population because of their symptoms, and it’s extremely difficult for people with BPD to maintain any type of relation, and it’s heartbreaking.
I’m extremely passionate about people educating themselves about BPD to decrease the stigma, help people learn how to deal with a BPD loved one as well as help people with BPD better understand how to manage their symptoms. Most of all, it’s disheartening how many “mental health advocates” we have out there who choose to stay away from BPD just because they don’t like the symptoms.
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When working in the treatment center, and started realizing how many people with BPD were having a difficult time, I wanted to learn as much as I could. As I started to research books about BPD, I Hate You — Don’t Leave Me popped up on every list. This is the definitive book on borderline personality disorder that everyone needs to read if they’re interested in learning more about the subject.
Kreisman and Straus put together years of research and have updated this book with all of the pertinent information. The book starts with going through the symptoms of BPD, and really diving into each one. I think the most important part of this book is that it discusses each of the risk factors for the disorder, which I think helps those without the disorder develop empathy. You’ll learn the myth that people with BPD are just “manipulative” and start to understand that they actually have quite a strong conscience, but they’re issues with emotional regulation prevent them from behaving in the way they’d like.
The book also goes through the most effective treatment methods from therapeutic practices to various medications that may help to manage symptoms.
Alongside I Hate You — Don’t Leave Me, Stop Walking on Eggshells kept popping up on every list I came across about BPD. The book is about how to “take back your life when someone you care about has borderline personality disorder”, and I’ll be honest, I stayed away from this book for a long time. This was definitely my fault because I was doing exactly what we’re not supposed to do, which is judging a book by it’s cover. I foolishly assumed this book was just going to be an entire book about how people with BPD are ruining your life, and you need to run, but I was severely mistaken.
This book does a phenomenal job of helping the reader develop compassion and empathy for the person with borderline, but it doesn’t excuse the behavior.
As someone who is 7 years sober and wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for people setting boundaries with me, I respect the hell out of this book. Stop Walking on Eggshells will help you deal with a spouse, parent, relative or friend who has BPD. You’ll learn different ways to maintain the relationship, but you’ll also learn how you may be enabling their behavior if you don’t set up boundaries. You’ll discover how to support your loved one while also maintaining your own mental health.
If you personally struggle with BPD, get this book. One of the best, simplistic descriptions of BPD I’ve heard is that those who have it are like “emotional burn victims”. The slightest irritation of an emotion can turn into extreme pain. Countless studies have proven that mindfulness helps to strengthen the systems in the brain responsible for emotional regulation, so this is the perfect book to read to learn how to manage symptoms.
I hear so many people make the excuse that they can’t get better because they can’t afford therapy, and this simply isn’t true. The #1 therapeutic method for those with borderline personality disorder is dialectical behavioral therapy. This form of therapy integrates mindfulness to help you manage your emotions, and the book does a great job giving different practices for each BPD symptom from fear of abandonment, feelings of emptiness and numbness, extreme anger and more.
I’m going to go a step further and say that anyone trying to improve their mental health should read this book. Whether you’re in therapy or not, I guarantee you’ll find value in this book based on some of the tools it provides.
Unlike the other books on this list written by mental health professionals, this is a first-person account of overcoming BPD. In I Hate You — Don’t Leave Me, it discusses how to get to a place where the symptoms are in remission much like those of us in addiction recovery, and The Buddha and the Borderline is proof that you can do that.
Many people with BPD feel absolutely hopeless and have the false belief that many of us with mental health issues fall prey to, which is that we can’t get better. Van Gelder is an incredible author and discusses her experience with BPD from her teenage years to young adulthood. After being sent to treatment multiple times, she finally discovers a DBT group where she gains the skills to manage symptoms. This is a truly inspiring book for those with BPD, and it’s a great book for anyone to read who wants to learn more about the disorder and the path to recovery.
Yep, this is a book by the same authors of Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a workbook. While I recommend reading the previous book as well, this book can be extremely valuable on its own. The book is broken down into the various symptoms and gives a range of DBT and CBT practices that can be used as healthy, evidence-based coping skills. This would also be a great gift if you know someone with BPD who is ready to start on the path to recovery.
Give these books a chance whether you know someone with BPD or you struggle with BPD yourself. Much like those with an addiction, people with borderline personality disorder aren’t bad people, they have an illness, and they can get better. Something that doesn’t help them get better is the stigma. We all need to be there for one another because no matter who you are, we all have our struggles.
If you’re looking for affordable therapy from the comfort of your own home, I personally use BetterHelp online therapy. I have a badass therapist, and I highly recommend this easy-to-use service. By clicking here to sign up, it helps support the work I do as well.