How To Open Up When You Have BPD

When you have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), it can be challenging and frightening to open up and express your feelings. At some point in their lives, they learned that their feelings are either weird or invalid and as a result, they now fear being vulnerable. Additionally, they frequently feel as though their problems are a burden on others.

In this article, we're going to talk about why people have a hard time opening up to others, 4 things that you can do to be more at ease with it, how you can motivate someone with BPD to open up, and what to do when someone with BPD opens up too much.


Opening up when you have BPD

People with BPD often want to distance themselves from their emotions since it feels too intense. However, if they truly want to be able to regulate their emotions, they have to become more connected with their feelings. The ability to reflect and be self-aware is crucial for someone with BPD that wants to improve. Of course, being self-aware won't immediately fix someone's life, but it is the fundamental first step.


Let's imagine that you're comfortable exploring your emotions by yourself but still find it hard to be vulnerable with others. It may be that you don't want to burden other people with your problems or that you are genuinely terrified of getting your feelings rejected. When it comes to negative emotions like sadness, anger, frustration, or shame, we frequently don't feel like sharing them. In contrast, we are more at ease discussing positive emotions like happiness, courage, and accomplishment. It's because when we experience a negative emotion, we feel vulnerable, and when we feel vulnerable, we want to hide or isolate ourselves. This is a basic human response, especially for people with BPD. Why would someone show their true selves by sharing something negative if they are terrified of the potential rejection?


Oftentimes, when we share negative emotions, the response that we get is a paradoxical invalidating response.


When you say: ''Oh, I don't feel like I'm attractive.'' your friends that care about you are likely to answer ''Oh, you're crazy! How could you not feel attractive when you are so beautiful? You're so amazing! How could you be so stupid that you don't recognize your own beauty? What's wrong with you that you can't see it?''


Frequently, when we share negative emotions, oddly enough, people are actually quite devaluing, and that's where someone learns that their emotions are supposedly weird. So, what is the correct approach for handling a situation where someone shares negative emotions? It's quite simple, you show compassion and ask them why they are feeling the way they feel. The best you can do is help someone to be more self-aware and reflective. It's important that people, BPD or not, feel that their emotions are valid and not weird.


Additionally, children who grew up in environments where they always had to ''be strong'' and not show emotion will also have a hard time opening up to others later in life.


4 Things you can do to open up


1. Be aware of your own emotions. Realize that in order to talk about feelings with someone else, we must first be aware of our own feelings. It's tough to have a discussion with someone when we don't know what we feel. In fact, figuring out how we feel is a big part of why we have discussions in the first place. It begins with some amount of awareness of your own emotions. You can start by thinking about what you're feeling right now. Is it physical? Is it mental? Am I feeling a negative or positive emotion? Why am I feeling this way? Before you can truly open up to others, you must at least be somewhat aware of your emotions.


2. You've got to start small There is something known as the emotions wheel when it comes to emotional awareness. There are numerous different emotions. We can identify negative emotions, such as anger, but there are many different types of anger. There can be a sense of feeling betrayed, self-loathing, anger towards other people, feelings of unfairness, etc. There are many different sub-emotions that we are initially not aware of. We must begin small and meet ourselves with what we are feeling to understand our emotions and learn how to be able to open up.


So, start by asking yourself something simple. Do you know whether you are experiencing a positive or a negative emotion? What color represents the negative emotion? Is it anger? frustration? shame? fear? sadness? or a concern? Oftentimes, frustration is the first thing that we feel, but frustration is usually an umbrella emotion that covers other emotions. I might say that I'm frustrated by not being invited to parties or that my friends always forget to invite me, but if you really look beneath the surface, frustration is an umbrella emotion. What I really feel is lonely and devalued.


3. Understanding why you fear opening-up A lot of people are afraid to open up or be vulnerable with others because, at some point in their lives, when they did open up, they didn't get the answer that they were looking for. Some people grow up in environments where there is little emotional support, and they are taught to suppress their emotions. For example, when I was a child, I lived in an abusive household, and at some point, my parents got divorced. Due to my youth and, therefore, my fragility at the time, everyone pretended that nothing was wrong. Despite their best efforts to safeguard me, it appeared to me that I was the only one suffering from the current situation. Every time I was upset and wanted to talk about it or inquire about what was happening, I would hear "everything is fine" when everything was clearly not fine, which made me feel as though my feelings were invalid. My brain learned as a result that my feelings are weird and simply wrong.


If you are trying to open up to someone and feel afraid, try to understand where the brain learned to fear it. People are instinctively afraid of certain things, like snakes, but when it comes to interpersonal interactions, many of our fears are based on personal experiences. So, if you want power over your ability to open up, you've got to understand where your fear came from. There's a part of your mind that is warning you based on the experiences of the past. Acknowledge that your mind is on high alert and it's actually looking out for you. If you realize that, you can alter your perspective because you will understand that opening up to other people is not that difficult.


4. Ask for permission and feedback When it comes to opening up, it's important to realize that there is a relational element and that it is no longer a solo game. When you are afraid to burden other people with your problems, you simply ask for permission. You can deal very easily with the sense of not wanting to burden other people by just asking them ''Hey, is it okay if I talk to you about something that I'm struggling with right now?'' The whole point of opening up to someone else is that it involves another person.


After that, if you're still unsure, you can ask for feedback. ''Did you feel that our conversation was silly, or did you feel burdened by it? I sometimes feel guilty because I don't know how it makes you feel when we talk about these things.''


The main benefit of a relationship is that you don't have to figure it all out on your own. You can ask for permission, and once they give you the green light, it'll do so much for your internal anxieties. Rather than feeling guilty, appreciate that you can open up to them and say ''Hey, my door's always open if there's anything that you want to talk about.'' Now you've crossed this bridge, and you've left it open for them to do the same, and that's how you deepen relationships.


How do you motivate someone with BPD to open up?

You don't necessarily want to motivate them. You want them to feel secure and safe. The way that you get people to open up is by opening a door for them and letting them decide to walk through it or not. You just want to make it clear that the door is open for them. Instead of pushing them, we want to be a vacuum. We want to create a place where they can enter and, if they so choose, fill it with their negative emotions.


The other thing that you can do if someone is closed off is to ask them ''Hey, I'm noticing that you're a little bit quieter today. Do you just need a little bit of space? Are you doing okay? Is there something that I can help with?'' Don't assume what's going on but just point out the observation. If someone doesn't feel like talking, you shouldn't keep poking them or try to make them. Just open the door.


What to do when someone with BPD opens up too much?

We must keep in mind our part in the relationship when a friend opens up excessively, especially If there is a lack of reciprocity in this friendship. People who have emotional needs will try to get it through a relationship, which is part of what a relationship is. But occasionally, it takes center stage in the relationship or, what's more devastating, the primary way of getting their emotional needs met.


For instance, someone may experience intense loneliness and fear of being by themselves. They can therefore put the responsibility for their loneliness on their romantic partner. Once this burden is put on the partner, the partner will feel guilty for wanting to set any kind of boundaries because if they do, the loneliness will only get worse. When it comes to our emotional needs, a romantic partner can alleviate some amount of loneliness, but they will never be responsible for all of it.


Try to understand how you got into this situation where you have become the primary source of venting for this person. It's really tricky but try to understand how did this pattern develop and what your role is in this relationship. Know that when someone is venting on you in a very dependable way, it doesn't actually improve their life over time. They've started to become so dependent on you as an emotional ''dumping ground'' that they don't actually take the steps in their life to prevent those emotions from piling up again.


Ask yourself if the emotional support is reciprocal and if this person becoming too dependent on you. Remember that you have needs and emotions of your own and that you don't have to serve as someone else's "Dumping Ground." You should consider your own emotional needs and the boundaries of this relationship if someone is opening up too much. People frequently feel guilty for setting boundaries, but it's acceptable to do so while still showing that person that you care.


Conclusion; how to open up when you have BPD

It starts with some pretty simple stuff which is all internal. Having awareness of what you're feeling, being able to identify and sit with what you're feeling, etc. Start really small by discovering the source of discomfort and where you learned that opening up is a bad idea. We mistakenly believe that facing our fear of vulnerability is something we must do on our own, but the reality is that when we open up, another person is present. When you ask for permission and feedback, they can help you with it. And by expressing gratitude, it will become much easier.