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The Email:

I have recently ended a realtionship with a 26 year old man who I believe has BPD. He has admitted to not feeling well mentally, but refuses to get help. I've tried to encourage him and have been supportive and accepting of the things he's telling me, but it takes it's toll on me.. What can I do to best encourage him to seek out the professional help he needs? I'm afraid for his life sometimes and I don't know what to do.

AJ's Response:

Sorry to hear that you had to end your relationship. The first thing to consider is that before you can truly know what your, now, ex's problem is, he must be diagnosed by a professional. If he refuses to do this then you may not help yourself by speculating.

Since you've chosen to end the relationship, you know it was not working for you. It would be in your best interest now to focus on yourself, rather than your ex.

That said, there is very little that anyone can do if someone who needs help refuses to get or accept it. Perhaps by listening to him, still, you are enabling him to avoid seeking the professional help he may truly need. You might consider withdrawing as a support person since it sounds as if the support only goes one way. Also, if you have ended the relationship you may want to consider re-evaluating you boundaries to better-meet your own needs. Your ex is responsible for meeting his own needs.

I don't have any idea what you can do. As I say, I suspect that there isn't anything you can do for him. You can, however, choose to take care of yourself. If you fear for his life in any given threatening situation you may consider calling the police if he is a threat to himself. Otherwise, his survival is really his responsibility.

This may sound cold but to continue to try to "save" him or "rescue" him is just holding you in a place where the toll you are suffering will continue to mount.

This response is © A.J. Mahari

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This page/section was moved from Soul's Self-Help Central October 13, 2002 and is © Ms. A.J. Mahari (& (.org) 2000-2007 was last up-dated July 29, 2007