Personality disorders for friends & family

Explains what you could potentially do to help friends or family members experiencing a personality disorder.

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How can I help friends & family experiencing a personality disorder?

If someone you know has been diagnosed with a personality disorder, their thoughts, feelings, and actions might sometimes make it difficult to keep a good relationship with them.

At times, it may be tricky to know how best to support someone with a personality disorder, but there are many helpful ways you can be there for them. Read on to discover some potential tips.

Set clear boundaries and expectations: Understanding each other’s limits and what you expect from one another can help navigate tough situations. Clarifying how you communicate and what support you can offer is key.

Be patient: If they’re finding it hard to manage their emotions, avoid arguing in the moment. It’s often more productive to talk things over when you’re both calmer.

Highlight their positive traits: A personality disorder diagnosis doesn’t change their positive qualities. Reminding them of their strengths, especially when they might not see them, can be comforting.

Educate yourself about personality disorders: This can help you challenge misconceptions and support them better.

Speak with kindness and calm: Their actions may sometimes be surprising or distressing. Try to empathise with their experiences to keep a level head.

Understand their triggers: Learn what situations or topics might trigger negative feelings or thoughts for them.

Plan for difficult times: If you’re concerned they might harm themselves or are having suicidal thoughts, discuss in advance how you can help. Our information on supporting someone who self-harms or feels suicidal can guide you.

Avoid judgement: Listen without dismissing their feelings or saying they’re overreacting. Recognising and respecting their feelings can be incredibly meaningful.

Look after your own wellbeing: Supporting someone can be challenging. Remember to take care of your mental health too, with resources available on managing stress and self-care.

These steps can make a significant difference in supporting someone with a personality disorder, while also taking care of your own mental health.

Get support

Talk with a trained professional about your thoughts and feelings with out free counselling and private counselling service for people over the age of 18.

Counselling Private Counselling