Suppose someone said something or did something especially hurtful to the person with BPD. Such a sensitive person might not be able to help but react, often with the over-the-top anger (or emotional dysregulation) we’ve been talking about. That’s the feature of BPD that’s most alarming in the eyes of the people around us.

And yet, it was only a reaction to a hurtful situation. It doesn’t necessarily mean we are any “crazier,” or that we’re dangerous, or that we’re bad or evil. If we were good people before this, we’ll be good people after, despite this reaction.

Trouble is, it only takes two or three of these angry outbursts for us to be branded—to have a lot of negative talk about us circulating. And no matter how good a person we might be, no matter how much we’ve done for others, these tend to be forgotten. The “bad person” we come to be known as, overshadows the good. We become ostracized—outcasts. Victims of stigma.

Such is the tragedy of BPD. But does it have to be?

What can you do when someone gets angry—perhaps even sounding like they might attack you?

Unless there’s true danger of attack (not  likely), a caring response would be to stay with the person, treating them as you would any other hurting person. Be kind. Keep respect. As the anger starts to subside:

  • Give them some space, maybe bringing them to a quiet place.
  • Ask if they’d like you to stay with them.
  • Offer a glass of water.

When they have settled down, ask if they would like to talk:

  • What caused the anger?
  • Was it something that was said?
  • Did they misinterpret something?
  • Spend some time praying with them, bringing it to God.
  • A hug would be good.

That’s how we can accept a person with BPD. This is how we can bring Christ’s love to them and make our church a safe place for them.