Three Books Everyone with BPD Should Read

May 29, 2012 Becky Oberg

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, 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.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2012, May 29). Three Books Everyone with BPD Should Read, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 21 from

Author: Becky Oberg

Lisa H.
February, 1 2019 at 11:01 pm

I was treated for PTSD and later diagnosed Bipolar with BPD Traits! I was surprised at first to learn how many Psychiatrists refuse to treat Borderline people because of the complexity of the illness, but after schooling and working as a counselor I have a better understanding as to why. I was amazed at how emotionally draining people like me actually is. I have learned how (sometimes) to fight the irrational thoughts in my head because there is no one medication that helps treat my symptoms for long! I too love the book "I Hate You, Don't Leave!" I have found that knowing there are others dealing with a lot of symptoms that I have helps and keeps me going!

September, 30 2019 at 7:03 pm

"I Hate You! Don't Leave Me!" is a wonderful book about BPD. It helped me tremendously. My symptoms suddenly made sense. I highly recommend this book.

August, 12 2018 at 4:09 am

Finding out at 60 that what you've been living with has a name. That your life didn't need to be this miserable and of course like sjogrens predominatly women so finding information will be just as impossible. Yes we share a lot of the same problems but the stigma over being "over emotional" especially in my generation is not a perceived isolation it's a fact. Anyone familiar with resources that could help at this late stage would be appreciated. My initial interpretation is it takes years to improve, now imagine trying to undo 5 decades of behavior.

January, 30 2020 at 2:16 am

Hi Dave. I have bpd and was diagnosed at thirty-five after hospitalisation for a manic episode. I denied the diagnosis for years and carried on trying to live with a broken mind. Until my latest meltdown at work when I faced it and started to realise it's not my fault. I am now 52 and I am doing RTT which is rapid transformational therapy. It is helping me understand and heal the very root causes ... Early childhood trauma and constant gaslighting by others.... RTT is a hypnosis based therapy....Good luck in your amazing journey. It will be tough but worth it. Things don't have to be how I perceived them...

August, 9 2018 at 11:26 am

I was just Diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder as well as ADHD. I need all the survival books.

July, 1 2017 at 12:33 pm

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 ?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 11 2017 at 6:28 pm

"I hate you, don't leave me" is great

March, 25 2017 at 1:41 pm

Vicky Hashley, I
Vicky Hashley, you sound just like me. Keep plugging. We'll make it!

May, 29 2016 at 3:58 pm

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.

Vicky Hashley
March, 9 2016 at 4:19 pm

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.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 14 2018 at 9:06 am

This is so my story as well but I'm just starting to realize I have BPD and so I'm crying lots about this realization. And in search of how to heal this with in me. Please help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 31 2018 at 12:04 am

I’m with you both. 29 and struggling with a lot of the same issues stemming from the same places past and present.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 30 2019 at 8:15 am

Cheryl soooo many ppl have bpd you’re definitely not alone

Virender bagga
February, 10 2016 at 3:49 pm

Hope I have found the right source for problem.

July, 19 2015 at 6:07 am

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!

December, 29 2014 at 10:32 pm

Great list, thank you! I have written a poetry book about my own experience of BPD. If you would like a free copy of the ebook feel free to e-mail me at Best wishes to you all!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 30 2019 at 8:10 am

Id love to read the poetry book i also journal and write about bpd. I try to make it funny. How i cope

October, 5 2014 at 7:25 pm

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.

Rev Sharon Willson
June, 1 2012 at 10:45 am

Borderline has been the most difficult for me to understand. It is not an emotional disorder it is a personality disorder.
This helps. I will be getting the books !
thanks !

May, 30 2012 at 10:12 pm

Thank you so much for this; I am going to read them all!

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