For Families

Advice for Families

If you love someone who has BPD, it affects you, too. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Help facilitate an evaluation.
  • Encourage continuing treatment or contacting the therapist or doctor regarding other treatments, if symptoms do not appear to improve after an appropriate period.
  • Offer emotional support—understanding, patience, and encouragement. Change can be difficult and frightening to people with BPD, but it is possible for them to get better over time.
  • Learn about personality disorders, including BPD, so you can better understand what your loved one is experiencing.

NEVER ignore a person’s comments suggesting the intent or plan to harm themselves or someone else. Report such comments to the person’s therapist or doctor. In urgent or potentially life-threatening situations, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Advice for Families

The experiences of others can help families navigate the obstacles they will encounter during the BPD treatment process.

“I don’t know who I am…”

People with BPD often lack a sense of self and may adopt personas in an effort to “fit in.”

The Biological Basis

BPD has a predisposing biological base and brain pathway anomalies explain how people with BPD misperceive facial cues.


Remnants of a Life on Paper : A Mother and Daughter’s Struggle With Borderline Personality Disorder, by Bea Tusiani , Pamela Tusiani, Paula Tusiani-Eng

Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for Professionals and FamiliesJohn G. Gunderson, MD, Perry D. Hoffman, PhD (Editors)

The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, by Randi Kreger

Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery From Borderline Personality Disorder, by Rachel Reiland

Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for Professionals and Families, by John G. Gunderson, MD, Perry D. Hoffman, PhD

Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change, by Valerie Porr, MA

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder, by Paul T. Mason, MS, Randi Kreger

I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality, by Jerold J. Kreisman MD, Hal Straus

Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem, by Kimberlee Roth, Freda B. Friedman, PhD

Support Programs

Family Connections  Family Connections is a 12-week course for family members of someone with BPD or symptoms of the disorder. Developed by Alan Fruzzetti, PhD, and Perry Hoffman, PhD, the program seeks to provide current information and research on BPD, teach coping skills based on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and develop a support network

Family TeleConnections A virtual Family Connections group for those who are not located where the Family Connections program is available. Family members from across the country are organized as class group and can “meet” for the course weekly via teleconference with an online discussion group to network between classes.