Borderline Personality Disorder – BPD is a mental illness in which a person is unable to control their emotions. This can affect their mental and physical health and their relationships. Follow this article to explore more about the stages of a BPD relationship and how BPD relationships finally end.

Borderline Personality Disorder also known as BPD is a mental illness which can make a person more impulsive due to the irregularity in their emotions. A person will change how they feel often and this might affect their relationships as well as their mental and physical health. A person with BPD will have no control over their emotions and they might experience severe mood swings. They will feel everything at extreme, good or bad, whatever it is they will feel it to a high level.

Their changing feelings can lead to unstable relationships. It can be hard for people to be in a relationship with someone who has no control over their emotions. A person with BPD will face more problems in their relationships, their relationship will be more unstable than a normal one. Your partner will feel neglected and unstable. Plus this behavior can lead to substance abuse or any other physical abuse with your partner.

Follow this article to explore more about the stages of BPD relationships and how BPD relationships finally end.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder – BPD?

If you have BPD then, you would feel as if you are on a roller coaster of emotions. You are constantly going up and down and you have no control over anything. You don’t have any control over your emotions and on yourself. You are stuck in a whirlwind of emotions and you feel everything at extreme. You don’t even know the real you and sometimes it gets blurry. You have dreams, goals, and desires that you want to accomplish but your BPD is creating hurdles in your way.

People who are suffering from BPD are more sensitive than any normal person. They have no idea what can trigger their BPD. Sometimes people with BPD will feel intense anger or they might feel the need to receive love and affection from their partners. In their emotional roller coaster they may say somethings that they don’t even mean but these things can ruin their relationship.

BPD patients might also harm themselves. The irregularity in emotions can cause them to be depressed and anxious which can lead to self harm. If a person’s condition is getting worse because of BPD then they must consult a therapist. A therapist will help a patient with BPD understand their emotions and how they can overcome hurdles in their life. The overflowing emotions can make a person unable to think which can make them act in a dangerous way, afterwards you will feel guilty and ashamed.

What are the symptoms of BPD?

BPD can come across in many different ways but the famous health care specialists have narrowed it down to the following main symptoms.

  • Unstable relationships
  • Abandonment issues
  • Unclear self image
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Self harm
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Anger issues
  • Suspicious thoughts

Unstable relationships:

People dealing with BPD will have a hard time maintaining a healthy relationship. A person suffering from BPD will go through constant mood swings and sometimes they might act dangerously which can greatly affect the people around them. People around them will constantly walk on eggshells having no idea what can set them off. If they are in an intimate relationship with a person, their relationship will go on and off because of their emotional instability.

Abandonment issues:

People suffering from BPD will constantly fear that people are going to leave them. They always think that people close to them are going to leave them and neglect them, they close themselves from people because of this issue. This fear of abandonment might cause them to constantly nag their partners about their whereabouts fearing that they might leave them. A person suffering from BPD will push anyone that comes close to them to avoid any rejection or pain.

Unclear self image:

A person suffering from BPD will go through an emotional roller coaster. They will have no control over their feelings and emotions. Due to this they will have an unclear self image, they won’t know what they want in terms of career and goals. They might change their decision according to their mood swings. There is a possibility that they might even sabotage their own success. For example, they do something wrong on purpose that might get them fired from a job or they will try to fail a test on purpose.

Impulsive behavior:

Episodes of BPD can get severe with each day if not treated by a professional healthcare specialist. A person suffering from BPD will behave dangerously when they have a sudden change in their emotions. They might harm themselves or people around them emotionally and physically. After the emotional episode, they will feel guilty and hurt about their behavior but then it might be too late.

Self harm:

People suffering from BPD might harm themselves by cutting or burning themselves. They might also have suicidal thoughts because of the emotional instability or due to the fear of being abandoned. They will try to obtain any self destructive act that can save them from being neglected or abandoned.

Mood swings:

A person going through BPD will face extreme mood swings. They have the tendency to change their feelings and emotions more quickly than a normal person. They will feel everything to an extreme like anger, depression, sadness, anxiety, happiness, excitement, and love. Because of their BPD a person will frequently change their feelings, this might create problems for them and for people around them.

Feeling of emptiness:

A person who is going through BPD will constantly compare themselves with others. They will feel under accomplished as compared to others. They will keep on reminding themselves how they are lonely and how everyone is eventually going to leave them. To avoid that, they will close themselves from the rest of the world. They will go into a shell and this can give birth to more feelings of emptiness.

Anger issues:

People with BPD feel every emotion at extreme, they will get angry even at a major issue. People around them have no idea of what can set them off, they walk on eggshells. Once they get angry then, it can get tough for them to control their anger. People suffering from BPD might say something or do something which they don’t mean. Their anger issues can often lead to self harm or they can manifest physical violence against their partners blinded by their anger.

Suspicious thoughts:

A person suffering from BPD might start experiencing hallucinations. They may be triggered because of all the stress that you are going through. You will start getting suspicious that someone will do something to you or that someone is following you. Although these hallucinations are not severe so they are not considered as a separate disorder.

What are the types of BPD?

According to a specialist Theodore Millon, there are four main types of BPD that are found through years of research.

  • Discouraged BPD
  • Impulsive BPD
  • Petulant BPD
  • Self destructive BPD

Discouraged BPD:

A person suffering from discouraged BPD will always seek approval from others. They have this fear of abandonment and rejection. They think that everyone will eventually leave them and they will live a lonely life. Their self esteem is at a low point and they might have suicidal tendencies. They feel extremely low but on the surface everything might seem normal. They can also be diagnosed with depression and anxiety because of the constant feelings of worthlessness and discouragement.

Impulsive BPD:

A person who is diagnosed with impulsive BPD will exhibit extreme emotion. They will experience everything on an extreme level. Whether it’s happiness, sadness, anger, or excitement. Often they will be presumed as charismatic and engaging. Extremely impulsive behavior can lead to substance abuse or physical abuse.

Petulant BPD:

A person suffering from petulant BPD will find themselves torn apart between emotions. They will have episodes of extreme anger on a certain individual but they can’t help and rely on them. Experts also call this type of behavior passive-aggressive. A person can also cause destructive behavior or inflict self harm.

Self destructive BPD:

As the name suggests, it is a type of BPD that causes a person to be self destructive and cause self harm. On the surface a person may look normal and calm but inwardly they may loathe themselves. They compare themselves with others and mock their shortcomings. To get some sort of satisfaction, a person might engage in some risky activity that can harm them very badly.

What are the triggers of BPD?

When you are living with BPD or you know someone who is suffering from BPD then you have to know what can trigger an emotional episode, it is in your best interest to know them so you can avoid any mishap. Following are some of the things that can trigger BPD in an individual.

  • Loud noises
  • Rejection of any kind
  • Reminder of a certain event
  • Loss of a job
  • Break up
  • A place that may invoke negative thoughts

Loud noises:

Everyone gets annoyed at extremely loud noises, it feels like someone is playing a drum inside your head. But people suffering from BPD may feel them more than any normal person. Being around people who are loud or being in a place where there is loud music can trigger BPD. A person will feel extremely annoyed and they might behave destructively. A person with BPD can even break the source of that loud noise during their emotional episode for example, speakers or music systems.

Rejection of any kind:

A person suffering from BPD will have a hard time dealing with rejection. The individual is extremely sensitive to a lot of things, rejection being one of them. They won’t be able to control themselves and may start behaving violently like hurting themselves or throwing things around. A person suffering from BPD will face a lot of different emotions at once like angry, sad, anxious, stress, and depressed. These emotions will surface one after another and might lead the person towards self harm.

Reminder of a certain event:

BPD can be triggered in a person if they are reminded of a certain event that is the cause of their health or an event that had a huge impact on their life. For example, if a person is reminded of how they lost a loved one or how they failed to do something that caused a destruction. All of this can trigger BPD in an individual, a person may become destructive and cause self harm or harm people close to them.

Loss of a job:

All of us will feel sad and stressed if we lose our jobs but for a person suffering from BPD this might be a trigger. They are extremely emotional and have no control over them, so losing a job can make them extremely stressed and anxious. They will feel discouraged and unworthy. They might start the negative self talking and isolate themselves from everyone.

Break up:

Going through a break up is the worst for everyone. It is not easy, some people deal with it more comfortably than others but for some it can end up being a nightmare. When a person who is going through a BPD it can act as a trigger. They will lose control over their emotions and might end up doing something that can harm them or anyone around them. They start feeling rejected and abandoned.

A place that may invoke negative thoughts:

A person will never want to visit a place that gave them the worst memories but if by chance they come across that place, they will feel dreadful and sad. For a person who is diagnosed with BPD a specific location with some bad memories can act as a trigger. They will get extremely angry and may act destructive blinded by the rage.

What are the causes of BPD?

Researchers are still trying to figure out the main cause of BPD but so far they have come up with the following causes that may be the reason behind a person going through BPD. following are some of the causes that researchers have narrowed down:

  • Family history
  • Brain structure
  • Environmental factors
  • Traumatic past
  • Childhood neglect

Family history:

A person is most likely to be diagnosed with BPD if they have a family history with this illness. One of their paternal families had a case of BPD which can be passed on from generation to generation. Although research has not shown solid evidence regarding this cause, specialists believe that this may be a prominent cause of BPD in a person.

Brain structure:

BPD is an illness that directly attacks your emotional range. According to some researchers, there are physical changes in the brain of a person who is suffering from BPD. The region of their brain that controls emotions and feelings is directly attacked because of the illness which can cause changes in the structure and function of the brain.

Environmental factors:

Environmental factors like growing up in a violent household or growing up alone can have a serious impact on a person’s growth and development. All of these factors can influence the illness and a person may grow up to be violent or anti-social.

Traumatic past:

Surviving a past with traumatic events like child abuse, rejection, or  growing up without a loved one may develop the signs of BPD in a person. This may develop a sense of insecurity and a fear of being abandoned in a person which will affect their life in the long run. A traumatic past is one of the main causes of BPD in a person.

Childhood neglect:

Growing up in a household where a person is neglected by one or both the parents can develop a fear of rejection and abandonment in a person. As a person grows they will always have this fear at the back of their head that people are going to leave them and at any moment that fear might get triggered thus making it impossible for the person to control their emotions.

What are the stages of a BPD relationship?

Every person likes to take their time in a relationship, no one wakes up one day and falls completely head over heels for the other person in just one hour. There are stages, you start by getting to know them before you move onto another step. But for a person who is going through BPD a romantic relationship is more like a push and pull. They push their partners and pull them back according to their emotions. Following are the stages of a BPD relationship:

  • Attraction
  • Obsession
  • Withdrawing and withholding
  • Devaluation
  • Break up
  • Return and repair
  • The cycle goes on


Attraction is the first stage for every person but for someone suffering from BPD it might be strong. It will feel like they have found their perfect soulmate and there is no one who can change that. They can do everything to get their attention which will lead them to the next stage of the relationship cycle.


A person who is going through BPD will start becoming too attached to the person they are attracted to. They will have this constant need of being around them and they will always seek their approval. This obsession can often make the other person uncomfortable because at the start of any relationship every person wants to take their time, they need their space. So people often start avoiding them which can trigger their fear of rejection.

Withdrawing and withholding:

At this stage of the relationship they might start withdrawing and withholding. This is a technique they use to get their partner to be more invested in their relationship. They will set some standards for their partner and if their partner is not matching those standards then it might end the relationship.


A person suffering from BPD will always be on the emotional roller coaster. Their partners try to walk on eggshells around them but as soon as their BPD is triggered they might start a fight with their partner which can include devaluation, gaslighting, or playing the victim in the fight. These anger episodes that can turn into devaluating the person often lead to the break up.

Break up:

Not knowing what can set your partner off can make you run for the hills. It is hard to be in a relationship with someone who is suffering from BPD because you have no idea what they might be feeling right now. The constant fights and obsessive neediness can irritate a person, this might lead to a break up making the patient more angry and depressed at the same time.

Return and repair:

The BPD patient might want their partner back and the person who still cares for them and loves them might get back together. But this will mean that the whole process will repeat again. The individual who is suffering from BPD is still as needy as they were before unless they are taking help from a professional therapist.

The cycle goes on:

This return and repair will have the repetition of the whole process. Once the couple gets back together then this might lead to more neediness, manipulation, and gaslighting. It is not easy being in a relationship with a person who is going through BPD because you can never have a stable relationship with them. As soon as you get back together, the whole cycle will repeat until you decide to call it quits with them for sure.

How do BPD relationships finally end?

BPD can end relationships in the most brutal way. It is mainly because the other person is not ready to listen to you, they just want you around them 24/7 which is not possible. They will fight with you over the stupidest things which according to them are extremely important. A person who is going through BPD might not consider your feelings because most of the time they are focused on you not leaving them. Following are some of the ways which can lead towards the end of your relationship.

  • Your partner gets physically violent
  • They always play the victim
  • They take everything in a wrong way
  • Verbal abuse
  • They are obsessed with you even after the break up

Your partner gets physically violent:

During an episode of BPD a person might lose control of themselves, they will say things or do things that they don’t even mean. In the heat of the moment they might start behaving destructive and physically or sexually hurt their partner. Surely they will regret later but the damage is already done and this will end your relationship.

They always play the victim:

A person who is suffering from BPD will conveniently blame everything onto their partner. They will play the victim card and get away from any situation by demeaning you or by gaslighting you. They will constantly tell you how they love you and can’t live without you, but if your relationship comes at the cost of your mental health then it’s better to have none.

They take everything in a wrong way:

No matter what you do for them or how many times you try to make them understand a certain situation they will believe what they have envisioned. They will take everything you say or do in a wrong way and accuse you of things that you have never done. They will emotionally and mentally abuse you by saying things that they don’t even mean but the damage has already been done.

Verbal abuse:

You know your partner is going through an illness and you are nothing but supportive towards them but everything is not under your control and you cannot fix everything. You gave them enough chances but everytime they say something that cuts you deep and you try to be patient with them but no luck. The verbal abuse is now getting out of hand and before it progresses more you must get out of that relationship.

They are obsessed with you even after the break up:

You have ended things with your partner but they are still texting you or coming to meet you. At first you care about them as a friend and try to make the situation work but you realize that they are still obsessing over you. In their head you are still in a relationship with them and they are not ready to accept this reality because of their fear of rejection and abandonment. It is getting out of your hand and they start following you, this is where you get help from an outside source.


BPD can affect a person’s relationships with their friends and family greatly. Due to the emotional instability it is almost impossible for people to be associated with someone who has BPD. A person going through BPD will face extreme emotions which can make it hard for people around them. Their friends and family members have no idea about what can set them off and they are constantly walking on eggshells around them trying their best to not do something that might offend them.

Although BPD is not 100% curable, there are treatments like psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, mentalisation-based therapy, and evidence based therapy. These treatments cannot cure a person but they can surely make their journey a little less difficult. It will make the BPD symptoms reduced in their intensity.


Nabeel Ahmad is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lone Mind. Apart from Lone Mind, he is a serial entrepreneur, and has founded multiple successful companies in different industries.

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