Dear Dr. Heller,

One of my close friends (non platonic relationship) was diagnosed with BPD. He takes Depakote and Zoloft (that is if he doesn’t think his medication is “evil” at the moment) He loves me one minute, hates me the next. Wants me to help him then pushes me away. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the disorder but he’s become obsessed with the Nazis regime and white pride. I guess it gives him the sense of being more powerful then he is. One minute he’s advocating racism and the next he’s totally against it.

I read somewhere that bpd’s look for people to rescue them and that you shouldn’t do that because they will bring you down with them. but I read that a little too late. It’s part of my nature to try to fix things and I’m afraid that if I don’t maintain my ‘savior’ role that he’ll either get hurt or stop associating with me all together.

How do you get out of this type of situation once you’re in it? ( other than leaving. I don’t quit ) Also, just a quick question. I also read somewhere that some BPD’s mirror people. If that’s true, then would loving a borderline actually be in part loving a piece of yourself being mirrored back to you? Isn’t that a bit fake?


First of all, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want it. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone like you, love you, respect you, treat you well, or act out of their own best interests. As needed medications can make a huge difference, and I’ve not been impressed in general with Depakote.

The Nazi and hate groups story is a very scary one. The LA shooting in 1999 was likely someone with the BPD, chronic anger, and association with hate groups. This individual needs treatment ASAP! You described what’s referred to as “co-dependency” on your part. Sometimes the answer is within, not from without. People in your situation often forget there needs to be a balance between helping others and helping oneself. You seem to have lost that balance. Your identity is more than just as a rescuer.

Mirroring to me, is like the saying “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Borderlines can have such profound identity problems that they will mirror someone in the hope it will become their identity. It’s not at all fake – it’s how children learn, and why apprenticeships have been around for millennia. It’s the same thing as choosing a role model. The keys here are treating the medical problems, and making sure the person chosen as the role model is someone that he/she would like to emulate.


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