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Three Books Everyone with BPD Should Read

Much of my learning comes from reading books and adapting their ideas in my real life. As a result of this process, I’ve found three books I recommend everyone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) read.

Some people are born readers, and I’m one of them. I almost always have a book (or two, or three) that I’m reading. Much of my learning comes from reading books and adapting their ideas in my real life. As a result of this process, I’ve found three books I recommend everyone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) read.

I Can’t Get Over It

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you’ve seen me quote generously from this book by Dr. Aphrodite Matsakis, an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some experts believe that BPD is a form of PTSD, and I’m inclined to agree. Even if it isn’t, however, a high percentage of people with BPD are trauma survivors, and this is the best book on coping with trauma that I’ve ever read.

Matsakis identifies “self-mutilation or the desire to self-mutilate” as one possible risk of facing trauma, which pretty much anyone with BPD can attest to. She also identifies other symptoms of BPD, such as dissociation and self-destructive behavior. As we say in Indiana, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander–what works in treating these problems for a person with PTSD will more than likely work for a person with BPD.

This book also identifies and explains many of trauma’s mysteries. Not sure if you have trouble with victim thinking? Read Chapter Four for an explanation of what it is, examples of it and how to address it. Wondering why you’re acting the way you are? Check out Chapter 5 for an explanation of triggers and how to fight them. Whether your trauma is a crime committed by a stranger, rape and sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual abuse, suicide of a loved one, a natural disaster, a vehicle accident, or war and combat, Matsakis addresses it. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me

This book, while containing some strong profanity, is by Susan Rose Blauner, a person with BPD. This is from someone who has “been there”. Blauner writes for those of us with frequent suicidal ideation. She takes the interesting approach of looking at suicidal ideation as an addiction, which in itself makes you think. Is our suicidal ideation and gestures something we have to have in order to function, even when we know it’s not healthy?

Blauner’s book teaches us to outthink our brains. After explaining why a brain becomes suicidal as a result of a chemical imbalance, Blauner teaches coping skills. They include talking back to your brain, keeping emergency contact handy, asking for help, creating a crisis plan beforehand and following it when the crisis comes, meditating, journaling (which I also recommend) and attending support groups.

REPAIR Your Life

Since so many people with BPD are survivors of child sexual abuse, I recommend this book by Marjorie McKinnon. Like Blauner, McKinnon is a trauma survivor, which results in the book having the perspective of someone who’s “been there.”

According to a review on Amazon.com, REPAIR stands for:

“Recognize and accept your adult problems stemming from childhood sexual abuse.
“Enter into a commitment to transform your life.
“Process your issues with tools and techniques that will enable you to become healthy.
“Awareness to discover reality as you gather and assemble the pieces of the broken puzzle your life became.
“Insight into the complete picture helps you begin to return to what you were prior to being sexually violated.
“Rhythm recovers the natural rhythm you had before the incest happened, the blueprint that is the essence of your true nature, becoming who you really are.”

These are good steps for anyone to follow. The book can easily be adapted for survivors of trauma other than childhood sexual abuse. Recognize the hurt, commit to heal, work on it in therapy, discover a new reality, have insight into your condition, and become who you truly are in spite of your wounds.

All three books are must-reads for people with BPD, but they should not take the place of a competent therapist. These books should be read as supplements to therapy, not substitutes. That said, they are powerful tools in the struggle of life with BPD. And we need all the help we can get.

11 thoughts on “Three Books Everyone with BPD Should Read”

  1. I wish I would have found this list useful, but none of it seems to pertain to me. I have been diagnosed with BPD, MDD, Anxiety, and a severe sleep disorder. Are there any other books you can suggest ?

  2. I have bpd along with bi polar disorder and I really need the free e – books that you said were available.
    I appreciate your time and a reply.


    Johnny A.

  3. I have undiagnosed BPD (8 out of 9 criteria) and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a disfunctional abusive neglectful childhood. I don’t have insurance, so I just read everything I can about my issues. I am 56 years old and have SO many problems,emotional f!ashbacks, ANGER, insecurities,self hatred/loathing blah blah blah that I just want to die…oh yeah…add suicidal to the list. I feel like the only way to feel better is to climb the huge mountain that is standing in my way…with no tools, knowledge or skills to do so and with my bare hands. If it were just one or two issues..OK,but all that stuff affects just about every single area of my life and its just over whelming all the things that I need to “fix” =( I wish I knew how to go about finding someone who deals w/BPD & CPTSD…but so few Dr. understand it or think its real.

  4. My daughter has BPD so I read EVERYTHING I can find on the subject. She doesn’t self mutilate and hasn’t tried to kill herself….yet and wasn’t sexually abused. Her father committed suicide when she was two. Anyway, I recommend GET ME OUT OF HERE: MY RECOVERY FROM BPD by Rachel Reiland. Excellent book. Thanks for your suggestions!

  5. I too have found books to be an amazing source of advice and information. I am not set on my diagnosis but recognize that there is a wonderful wealth of knowledge out there. I only post to add that I found the “I only said” series to be extremely helpful. Found it while trawling novelist.

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