This is a tough book to review, but I’ll try my best.
If you know, or suspect, someone in your life is suffering from BPD (and rest assured – they are truly suffering and in pain) and you perform a random google search seeking help, you’ll get billions of hits. Factsheets, support groups, horror-stories…. A significant portion of the internet is devoted to BPD because it is such a nefarious condition/disease/illness (I am not a mental health advocate or professional, so apologies if I’m using incorrect terminology. I mean no offense). It can be overwhelming and downright depressing to wade through this ocean of text and come away with some useful strategies.
This book is helpful at cutting through the noise and getting to the practical help. It takes its time to explore BPD through examining the science and evidence base, and supporting this with real-life examples. It will give the reader the tools to recognise BPD traits and understand why the person they love is acting in such a damaging or destructive manner. The case studies throughout cover off on the extreme cases of BPD, as well as so called ‘invisible BPD’ suffered by those who are high-functioning and skilled at concealing their illness. I found the ‘scripts’ provided for within to be really helpful illustrations of how to approach a difficult conversation. The advice on setting boundaries could and should apply to anyone, whether they are in the throes of a BPD relationship or not.
If you are experiencing difficulties in a relationship and you suspect BPD might be in play, this would be a very useful starter resource. It will help you feel compassion and understanding, rather than fear or avoidance, and remind you of the importance of prioritising your own needs as well. I just wish it went a little further to show real life outcomes – what does a ‘healthy’ relationship with a sufferer of BPD look like, and how do you reach it? And conversely – when do you know when to stop trying and cut contact? I suspect that the BPD forum mentioned throughout the book would be where to go to continue your research.
Overall, 4 unanswered phone calls out of 5.