How To Deal With A Coworker With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Written By Aleena

How to deal with a coworker with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a challenging domain. They might act out in ways that make things difficult for everyone.

It can be stressful to be around someone like that all day.

Key Takeaways

  • BPD can make work challenging due to emotional instability and impulsive actions.
  • Being around a coworker with BPD can be stressful. It’s essential to stay calm and avoid conflicts.
  • Clearly communicate and maintain boundaries with your coworker to manage their behavior effectively.
  • Keep communication clear and direct to prevent misunderstandings and address issues calmly.
  • If necessary, involve a manager or HR to address challenging behaviors professionally.
  • Understand and avoid situations or actions that could escalate tensions or trigger negative reactions.
  • Learn about BPD to better understand your coworker’s behaviors and how to interact more effectively.
  • Encourage your coworker to seek professional help if their behavior becomes harmful or unmanageable.

How To Deal With A Coworker With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)- 8 Ways

If you have a coworker with BPD, you might find yourself trying hard to avoid conflict.

BPD often shows up as emotional instability, impulsive actions, and stormy relationships.

While it can be tough to handle, there are ways to ease the situation.

1. Set Boundaries With Coworker:

Set clear boundaries with someone who has BPD, outlining acceptable behavior. Be direct in your communication and stick to your limits.

How To Deal With A Coworker With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (2)

Giving in might be seen as a weakness and could be exploited. Stay firm if they act out and avoid arguments or power struggles.

2. Keep Communication Open:

Open communication is key in any relationship, especially with someone with BPD.

If their behavior affects you, let them know. Be clear, concise, and direct to avoid misunderstandings.

Instead of blaming them, express your feelings using “I” statements. For example, “I feel upset when you talk to me like that.”

Also, keep an open mind and try to understand their perspective.

3. Seek Help From A Manager:

If you’re having trouble with a coworker with BPD, seek help from a manager or HR. They can address the behavior and its impact.

Here are some example statements they might use:

– “I’ve noticed you’ve had a lot of outbursts lately. Can we discuss it?”

– “There are reports you’re not following the attendance policy. What’s going on?”

– “I’ve received complaints about verbal abuse towards coworkers. Let’s talk about it.”

4. Avoid Arguing:

Arguing with someone who has BPD often leads to more conflict. Instead, stay calm, avoid blame, and don’t get defensive.

If things heat up, take a break to cool down, but avoid leaving mid-argument, as it can worsen things.

5. Avoid Triggers:

If you know what upset your coworker, try to avoid those things.

For example: If working on a project together upsets them, try to work separately.

Also, avoid actions that could seem threatening, like sudden movements or raising your voice.

Remember, triggers vary for everyone, so it might take some trial and error to figure out what bothers them.

6. Avoid Getting Emotionally Involved:

If you work with someone who has BPD (borderline personality disorder), it’s best to stay calm and professional.

It might be tough, but remember you are not responsible for their emotional instability. 

How To Deal With A Coworker With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (2)

You can’t solve their problems, and that’s okay.

The best way to help is to be kind and understanding. But for them to get better, they’ll need a professional.

7. Seek Professional Help:

Having a tough time with a coworker who might have BPD? It’s okay to ask for help!

A therapist can offer tips and encouragement for handling the situation. If you are not ready for a therapist yet, there are other options.

Books and articles can explain BPD in easy terms. Support groups for people with BPD loved ones can also be a big help. They get it.

8. Educate Yourself About BPD:

To better understand a coworker with BPD, educate yourself using available resources. Helpful materials include:

– Books: The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder. Authors: Randi Kreger and Halley Silver

– Articles: Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder by John M. Grohol, PSY.D.

– Websites:;

With this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to interact with a coworker who has BPD.

What Are Signs That A Coworker Might Have BPD?

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have a hard time regulating their emotions.

This can make them act in ways that might hurt themselves or others. They might also struggle with things like drugs or alcohol.

Several signs may indicate that a coworker has BPD. These include:

1. Impulsivity:

People with BPD often act without thinking first. This can cause problems at work, like making quick choices that mess things up.

They might also blurt things out or do risky things in the heat of the moment.

2. Unstable Relationships:

People with BPD often struggle with unstable relationships.

This leads to brief connections and difficulty maintaining healthy boundaries.

It can affect their interactions at work as well.

3. Emotional Instability:

Some coworkers might have trouble controlling their feelings. This can make their mood change quickly, like sunshine turning to rain.

regulating their emotions.

One minute, they might be okay; the next, they might be mad or sad. Thus, their emotions can be unpredictable and hard to deal with.

4. Feelings Of Emptiness:

When people feel lost or like their life has no meaning, they might try things to feel better. These things can sometimes hurt them.

For example, they might do dangerous things or get hooked on something unhealthy.

They might also try to get other people to like them all the time, which can come across as needy or annoying.

5. Paranoia:

Some people with BPD sometimes get worried that others will hurt them or lie to them. They might also be scared of being left alone.

This can make them believe people are mean to them on purpose. Because of these worries, it’s hard for them to trust others, leading to arguments.

6. Unpredictable Behavior:

People with BPD might act differently sometimes; it can be hard to know what they’ll do next.

This is because their behavior can change quickly, making their actions change quickly, too.

It’s okay to guess what they might do, but it’s not always easy.

7. Suicidal Thoughts Or Behaviors:

People with BPD may sometimes have suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harming behaviors.

They may threaten to hurt or kill themselves. They may also engage in self-harming behaviors, such as cutting.

These thoughts and behaviors can be alarming, and you should take them seriously.

8. Chronic Stress:

BPD personalities often have chronic stress. It can lead to several physical and mental health problems. 

Some of these problems include:

– Headaches

– Insomnia

– Anxiety, and

– Depression.

9. Unclear Sense Of Self:

BDP people have a vague sense of self. This can manifest in several ways.

They may have difficulty knowing who they are or what they want. They may also change their opinions and values frequently.

This can make it challenging to have a stable identity or sense of self.

10. Splitting:

Some people with BPD see things as all good or all bad, like a light switch. This can make friendships and relationships tough.

hard time

This can make friendships and relationships tough because they might only see the good or bad in someone, not both.

It’s also hard for them to see things from another person’s point of view.

11. Unclear Goals:

Many people with BPD struggle to set and reach goals. It’s hard to know what you want to achieve if you’re unsure who you are.

They might jump into things without a plan, making it hard to finish. When emotions are strong, commitments can be tough.

12. Outbursts Of Anger:

People with BPD sometimes get really mad, even over small things. This can happen because they feel hurt, insecure, or frustrated.

These outbursts can hurt other people and make friendships difficult.

13. Aggressive Behavior:

Sometimes, people with BPD might act aggressively. This can be mean words or hurting themselves or others.

For example, they might yell at someone or hurt themselves on purpose. Acting aggressive can be scary, so it’s important to get help.

Why Is It Important To Understand BPD?

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is crucial. It’s a severe mental illness that can be challenging and cause significant suffering.

BPD can also be dangerous. Impulsivity, paranoia, and aggression can lead to accidents and violence.

a serious mental illness.

For those supporting someone with BPD, patience, understanding, and setting boundaries are vital.

Living with BPD can be difficult, but there is help available. With treatment, many people with BPD can live happy and healthy lives.


To deal with a coworker with BPD, it is important to understand the disorder. Avoid taking things personally, be patient.

Also, know how to set boundaries. If the person exhibits dangerous behavior, get help from a professional.

Moreover, there are treatments available that can help people with BPD.

Last Updated on 6 days by Usama Ali


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