Best self help books borderline personality disorder

Deborah C. Escalante

Books for Loved Ones of Those With BPD

Whether it’s a mother, family member, or significant other that has BPD, here are a few books to help you work through some of the common issues you may face. Recommending these books can be a great way to help someone with BPD.

7. Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship

Those with BPD get a bad reputation: they’re portrayed as violent, manipulative, and in some cases, uncaring. Author Dr. Shari Y. Manning knows that’s not the cause. Those suffering from BPD can be immensely kind and considerate, but can struggle in personal relationships and push away those they love with destructive behaviors. Understanding your partner and how their BDP makes them act the way they do takes information and patience. Loving Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder offers a framework to help you work alongside your partner with BPD to create a caring, healthy relationship that meets both of your needs.

8. Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder

If you struggle with someone you love manipulating you or feeling overly controlled by a loved one, they may have BPD. If so, there are ways to find peace again in your home. This self-help book outlines how to set boundaries, establish your needs, defuse arguments, and more.


9. Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication

While not explicitly written for those with BPD, author Oren Jay Sofer is a mindfulness expert, and Say What You Mean offers a few solutions to common communication issues. He put together this book to help anyone who struggles with communicating in anger, whether in a BPD relationship or in general life.

This is a good read for anyone who wishes to communicate more compassionately and effectively, but it is especially useful for those dealing with BPD. Sofer outlines how to remain confident in conversations, understand the true intent of conversations, and navigate anxiety during difficult topics. 

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10. The High-Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation

Highly-reactive couples – those quick to anger or argue – usually need more than the standard relationship advice available. For couples where one partner struggles with BPD, this can be all too common.

Still, you don’t have to write off the relationship as doomed. This workbook outlines the importance of understanding, and better controlling, your emotions so that the heart of the argument can be resolved in an effective and understanding manner. While good for any couple who struggles in fights, this book is especially impactful for those who deal with BPD. 

There are a ton of books available for those who are interested in learning more about Borderline Personality Disorder. Many are helpful to those who have been recently diagnosed or want to learn more about their treatment options. Some are helpful to the family/friends of those who have BPD.

I firmly believe that Borderline Personality Disorder is the #1 most stigmatized mental illness out there. Every mention of it in pop culture, online forums and even in real life conversation seems to assume the worst of anyone who suffers from it. I’ve had therapists, psychologists and counselors refuse to see me once they learned of my diagnosis, and that has made me leery of seeking out treatment. The fear of rejection/abandonment is exceptionally huge in this disorder, so to have the people you are asking for help refuse you is seriously upsetting.

BPD is often a result of childhood trauma. Many times it is from experiencing or exposure to severe abuse. This can be physical (including sexual), emotional or verbal abuse. It can even be all of them. Most often this abuse is from parents or other trusted authority figures. The result is growing up with a lack of trust in people, and this can manifest in an inability to maintain relationships. Even if those with BPD manage to get married and/or have families, these relationships often end in divorce.

I have personally been through divorce due in part to BPD, and it is excruciating. My diagnosis came directly after my marriage ended, and it helped to explain a lot about why things ended the way they did.

I truly believe it is important to discuss BPD more widely to help decrease the stigma. I also believe people need to educate themselves about this disorder, and books are a great way to do that. This list has been compiled to help offer some insight to those who seek to understand this particular mental illness and become more accepting of it.

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The following list is in no particular order, and all links are my personal affiliate links. If you choose to buy them, I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

This book is often at the top of every BPD Must-Read List, and there’s a good reason for it. Kreisman and Straus put YEARS of research into this book, and it has become the definitive book on the disorder.

This book goes through the symptoms of BPD, doing a deep dive into each one. It discusses the risk factors of this mental illness, which can be helpful to those who struggle to understand how or why people develop it. It discusses the myths about the disorder, including the belief that those with BPD are simply “manipulative.” It explains the emotional regulation problems that stop us from behaving how we might want to.

It also discusses treatment methods and medicationes that can help manage symptoms.

This book deserves its reputation as one of the best resources for newly-diagnoses BPD patients and those who care for them.

Fun fact: Demi Lovato read this book and wrote her hit song with the same title!

“Loving Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder” by Shari Y. Manning

BPD gets a lot of negative press. Because of this, many friends and family members of those who are newly diagnosed may feel horrified, lost or conflicted about their loved one. A lack of understanding of this disorder can bring on judgement and negativity that can add undue stress.

Shari Manning helps to demystify this disorder to help loved ones better understand it. She also gives helpful tips on how they can help with the process of recovery. This books shows the patient in a new light so that they can work toward better relationships with those who care for them.

“The Buddha and The Borderline” by Kiera Van Gelder

This book is an amazing first-person narrative of the author’s experience of diagnosis and early recovery. Van Gelder’s writing style is perfect for the subject matter, and she shares her inspiring story with a ‘warts and all’ attitude, allowing the reader insight into the struggles that led to her BPD diagnosis.

Her recovery was achieved through therapy, Buddhist spirituality and online dating, and it brings hope to those who are just starting out and can’t believe they’ll ever really get better.

“Get Me Out of Here” by Rachel Reiland

This book is a great resource for anyone who got their diagnosis a bit later in life. It is a brilliantly honest memoir revealing what mental illness looks and feels like from the inside. Rachel Reiland’s recovery was achieved through intensive therapy, but she also leaned heavily on loved ones to support her.

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This book is a bit longer than the others, but it is so worth it.

“Girl in Need of a Tourniquet” by Merri Lisa Johnson

Johnson’s book paints quite a picture of mental illness and recovery. She shares her experiences of dysfunction and dysregulation as a self-proclaimed “psycho girl.” And she shares her road to early recovery. The story can be confusing and jumbled given that she intersperses information about BPD throughout, but it gives an accurate portrayal of the journey BPD can send one on.

“Remnants of a Life on Paper” by Pamela and Bea Tusiani

This book definitely needs a trigger warning for those who are emotionally vulnerable. Pamela Tusiani suffered from severe BPD as a young adult and kept diaries throughout. When she died at the age of 23 from a reaction to one of her medications, her mother and sister compiled her journal entries, as well as their own notes on conversations, into a book.

While this isn’t necessarily any sort of BPD guide, it offers insight into the battle that wages through those who fight this disease daily. The complexity of this disorder is portrayed in the most real way imaginable, and the tragic end of a beautiful life is all the more horrific for it.

Cute woman reading a book

“Beyond Borderline: True Stories of Recovery” by Perry D. Hoffman and John G. Gunderson

This collection includes short stories from individuals who have experienced BPD. Hoffman and Gunderson are experts on BPD, and they managed to include stories with a wide array of symptoms. They explore therapies and recovery options for those in the battle themselves.

The best part of this book is that it does not suggest any two cases are the same, nor are any two recovery approaches. Mental illness is different for everyone – even those with the same diagnosis. As such, one needs to be open to different solutions.

“Stronger Than BPD” by Debbie Corso

Debbie Corso is a BPD survivor and advocate, and she compiled this book to help those with BPD find their own path to recovery. Full of information on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and recovery skills, it features real-life examples to illustrate how others have worked through these issues and come out stronger on the other side.

“Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger

This book should be required reading for anyone who has a loved one with Borderline Personality Disorder. It does a great job of helping the reader learn compassion and empathy without excusing the behavior of the person with BPD.

This book is about setting boundaries while continuing to support your loved one. It helps the reader continue to maintain their own mental health while continuing to love someone with BPD.

“Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder” by Blaise Aguirre and Gillian Galen

This book is a must-read for those who personally struggle with BPD. It helps to understand the idea of emotional regulation, likening those with Borderline to “emotional burn victims.” It illustrates how even the slightest irritating emotion can cause extreme pain and anguish to us.

This book discusses how mindfulness helps strengthen the brain and manage symptoms. DBT is known to be the standard of care for BPD, and this book helps explain exactly how.

“Coping with BPD” by Blaise Aguirre and Gillian Galen

By the same authors as Mindfulness for BPD, this book is the one to get for the person who is ready to begin the hard work of recovery. It is a great workbook and is the perfect accompaniment to Mindfulness, or you can use it on its own. It gives a range of DBT and CBT practices that can be used as healthy, evidence-based coping skills.

I hope you’ll check out some of these books, as they are all valuable on their own. I highly recommend

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