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.
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.
“I Hate You—Don’t Leave Me” by Jerold J. Kreisman
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.
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.
“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