How to Make Someone with BPD Happy

I am looking to do a series of guest posts under this topic. If you would like to chime in, please by all means chime in with your 2 cents via email. All that I ask is that you keep it respectful. Here is response #2 to this challenge!

Author Bio – Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves Computer Science PHDs and PHDs in Education Online.

Managing a psychiatric condition such as borderline personality disorder can be hard on the people who have it, as well as the people who love them. When you love someone with BPD, you just want to do whatever you can to make that person happy. However, it can be difficult to understand just how to do that.

While every person who has borderline personality disorder will deal with the condition differently and have different needs, there are a few universal things you can do to help someone with BPD to be happy. Here are a few ideas:

 Encourage Self-Worth
Those who suffer from borderline personality disorder experience a low and unstable self-image. They doubt their own worth, and they have a hard time accepting love from others. You can help a person with borderline personality disorder be happy by encouraging a sense of self-worth. Help them to see their own value and to recognize what they have to offer others. Emphasize their talents, the positive aspects of their personality, or other valuable aspects of their character.  

Help Them Feel Accepted
People with borderline personality disorder constantly worry about being rejected. In fact, many of their outbursts can be caused by hypervigilence to signs of real or perceived rejection. Help them to feel a sense of acceptance in your presence. Use calm, reassuring, and non-judgmental language. Find ways to show them that you accept them for who they are as a person, and that you are committed to helping them manage their disorder.  

Help Them Feel WantedShowing a person with borderline personality disorder love will go a long way toward making them happy. Many with BPD feel insecure and have trouble accepting that others care for them. Do what you can to show them that you do care, and you will help to ease this doubt. Show love by being a consistent presence, by minimizing criticisms, and by showing patience and acceptance.  

Accept that You Don’t Have Control
Though there are some things you can do to try to make someone with borderline personality disorder happy, you ultimately can’t make the person happy. You can help them to feel more accepted and loved, but you can’t instill a sense of happiness. Every person has to find his or her own happiness, and those with borderline personality disorder may have to get medication and professional counseling in order to do so. Influence the things you can and offer support for the person with BPD to get the help needed. Over time, you may be able to make that person a bit happier by helping them to feel loved and accepted.


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8 Responses to “How to Make Someone with BPD Happy”


  • Comment from Anonymous

    Thanks for this :) Shared on the Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness page on Facebook!

  • Comment from Karen Marrs

    hoping to get more of these out, even. I think this will be a very beneficial series.

  • Comment from Lonnie

    And what if all these ideas fail and you get left with wee children and as BPD ex keeps returning to her old home knocking on an unanswerable door?

    • Comment from kmarrs

      I would give anything to have an answer for that. Because in the end, all you can do is try, but the success is on them. Besides their obvious need for some psychiatric assistance, have you spoken to anyone to help you through? And is there anything I can do? Find resources, listen to you rant, offer more specific advice based off of better detail?

    • Comment from stefania

      There is nothing you can do, just like me….If you love the BPD, you will die time after time seeing the things she/he is doing and will finally get asleep with tears in your eyes holding your children. And the next morning you will have to face again the love, the pain….BPD

  • Comment from delicate_maelstrom

    Well…first you need to hire a psychic. And a genie. That should pretty much cover it, really.

    I mean, I’d be happy, and then everyone would be happy.

    Alternatively: Ponies for everyone!

    I jest. In all seriousness, validation really helps people with BPD feel connected. While “connection” doesn’t always translate to “happiness,” it functions as ballast and can circumvent some of the frantic boat-rocking BPD folks engage in. Most of that boat-rocking generates from the whole “who am i? where do i belong?” quest; connections with people are a good starting point when trying to sort out an identity (and can be a safe place to just be).

    By “validation,” I don’t mean “emphatically agree with every whim this flibbertigibbet voices and capitulate to every tantrum.” Because too much power can be scary for some BPDs (even if they enjoy it). I mean: when you do agree with them, say so, and add reasons from your perspective.

    Even more importantly, when you disagree with them, say so. Compassionately. Acknowledge the sovereignty of their personhood, their viewpoint, and their feelings. If you can find a way to say something like “yeah, i get how you could see it that way–(insert relevant example), but i still disagree” that would go a long way toward validating the Borderline person’s right to their feelings & viewpoint. But wait! There’s more: respectfully disagreeing also validates your ongoing connection and validates that it’s a connection of two separate people. Not that it gets blurry there or anything.

    It’s kind of a pain in the rump, but it can end up as a habit you barely notice. And hey, close relationships with someone with BPD are kind of a roulette wheel of “pain in the rump.” If you pick this as your poison, at least it stands a good chance of being productive.

    Oooh! One more thing–it can be hard to get people with BPD to do…anything. It’s not personal–it’s just Not. Personal. As in “things that do not directly and immediately affect me aren’t quite real.” Sometimes beginning a request (or requirement) with “I need your help”/ “I need you to do this for me” acts like a dog whistle to redirect attention. The phrase “this is important” can be useful too, as long as it’s not overused.

    Preventative care can go a long way. It’s loads of work though, so if your BPD person isn’t really working on their end of things and/or isn’t willing to do so, think hard whether or not it’s worth the investment. If you don’t have a relationship that has an inherently permanent aspect to it, maybe just walk away. If they go ahead and do that Borderline thing, keep in mind that no one has more control over their actions than they do.

    About that “you made me ______” malarkey: if you really had the power to make this Borderline person do something, what would you choose to make them do? Dollars to donuts it’s not the puppeteering you were accused of.

    Dagnabbit! This is probably longer than the article–sorreh. Hope it helps a little, at least!

    • Comment from kmarrs

      Would you be willing to add to this, word count unlimited, and send it in to my email as a guest post? I’ll give you full bio and link to you if you would like. Pretty please? Because this is freakin’ brilliant!

  • Comment from cat_pants

    It is helpful to read these. I have a relative with BPD, untreated. It is very very difficult and dramatic. And vicious since i’m the focus of the anger. I’m glad to read you.


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