If the answer is 'yes,' someone you care about may have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Stop Walking on Eggshells has already helped nearly half a million people with friends and family members suffering from BPD understand this destructive disorder, set boundaries, and help their loved ones stop relying on dangerous BPD behaviors. This fully revised edition has been updated with the very latest BPD research and includes coping and communication skills you can use to stabilize your relationship with the BPD sufferer in your life. This compassionate guide will enable you to:
- Make sense out of the chaos
- Stand up for yourself and assert your needs
- Defuse arguments and conflicts
- Protect yourself and others from violent behavior
Checklist: Does Someone you Care about have BPD?
If you answered yes to many of these questions, we have good news for you: You're not going crazy. It's not your fault. And you're not alone. You may share these experiences because someone close to you has traits associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
For survival tips and strategies for dealing with a loved one with BPD, read Stop Walking on Eggshells.
From the Book
Mindfulness and DBT in general help people with BPD stay off the emotional roller coaster associated with black-and-white thinking. Over time, people who regularly practice mindfulness tend to be better at enduring pain, solving problems, and not creating turmoil and stress in their lives and relationships. Notice, though, that the goal of mindfulness isn’t to experience profound happiness or a life without stress or trouble.
We all have the capacity to be mindful. It’s a skill anyone can learn. There’s nothing mysterious about it. We simply pay attention to the present moment. When mental clutter appears, we let it appear and let it fade away again. Over and over, we return to the here and now.
This isn’t usually as easy as it sounds, especially as we’re first learning it. But everyone gets better at it with practice. In the process, we also learn a lot about ourselves, others, and our relationships. Practicing mindfulness can help you achieve a better balance between your rational mind and your emotional mind. This puts you in a better position to respond wisely to distressing situations, in a balanced, healthy manner.
You’ll also make better decisions, improve your relationships, and optimize your potential for physical and mental relaxation.
The purposes of this exercise is to focus your mind on a single object and to be aware of the mental energy needed to stay in the moment.
Focus on an object
1. Find a place where you can be alone and away from TVs, radios, and other distractions and interruptions. Get into a comfortable position either sitting or standing that you can maintain for three minutes. Keep your eyes open and breathe normally.
2. Pick a nearby object that you can see clearly. This should be something you don’t have a strong feeling about a plant, a chair, a book, a cup.
3. For the next three minutes, focus your attention just on that object. If you like, look at it from multiple angles. Pick it up or run your hands over it. Smell it, if you’re so inclined. Take in all the different sensory information about it.
4. When your mind wanders off and it will simply catch yourself and return your attention to the object. This may happen several or more than several times. There’s no need to get frustrated or critical with yourself. Just keep coming back to the object.
The purpose of this exercise is to increase your awareness of your own mind and its thoughts. Over time, with practice, it will help you to not get stuck on, distressed about, or overwhelmed by a particular thought.
Watching your thoughts
1. Find a spot where you can be free of distraction or interruption. Get in a comfortable sitting position, with your feet on the floor and your back straight. (This might mean sitting forward on the front part of your chair.) Breathe normally and keep your eyes open.
2. For five minutes, don’t think or not think about anything in particular. Just watch your thoughts surface, swirl about, and float away. Don’t try to hang onto them, push them away, or judge them. Let them come and let them go.
3. If your mind wanders or gets stuck on a particular thought, just notice that and return to quietly watching your mind. If you notice yourself getting judgmental ('I’m not very good at this'. 'Why am I having such awful thoughts?' etc.), just notice your judgment and return once more to watching your mind.
4. With practice, this skill will help you avoid getting stuck in obsessive thinking or worry. Paradoxically, it will also help you better focus on important tasks, concerns, or activities doing your taxes, for example when you need to.When your mind wanders off and it will simply catch yourself and return your attention to the object. This may happen several or more than several times. There’s no need to get frustrated or critical with yourself. Just keep coming back to the object.
"Stop Walking on Eggshells makes good on its promise to restore the lives of people in close relationships with someone diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is a rich guide to understanding and coping with the reactions aroused in others by troubling BPD behaviors that negatively impact relationships. Readers will find this book very useful and beneficial."
—Nina W. Brown, EdD, professor and Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, author of Children of the Self-Absorbed
"This book is the absolute go-to guide for my clients who are dealing with a loved one with borderline personality disorder. Readable and thorough, it strikes a perfect balance of practical advice and emotional sensitivity. This book has helped so many people break through their sense of confusion and isolation by helping them to name, understand, and respond to the difficulties of this complex and misunderstood disorder."
—Daniel E. Mattila, M.Div., LCSW
"This book is urgently needed now that a National Institutes of Health study shows that 6 percent of the general population has borderline personality disorder (BPD). I constantly get requests from families needing resources on BPD, and I recommend Stop Walking On Eggshells almost every time. This second edition is really easy to read and packed with even more useful tips for family members in distress."
—Bill Eddy, LCSW, attorney, mediator, clinical social worker, and author of High Conflict People in Legal Disputes and Splitting
"Amazingly, Stop Walking On Eggshells not only teaches readers how to recognize the signs of borderline personality disorder, it also shows how they can make life and relationship decisions based on what they want and need instead of decisions controlled by the illness."
—Julie A. Fast, author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder