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Summer Reading: Essential Books on Borderline Personality Disorder

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BPD Books SummerIt’s officially summer, and what better way to spend lazy summer days than with a good book? But why squander your time swinging in a hammock reading about vampires and romance? Real life can be pretty dramatic on its own.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that affects not only the lives of those who suffer from it, but the lives of those around them. If you know someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, or have been diagnosed with it yourself, some of the following titles may be familiar to you. If not, take some time to peruse this list of what is considered essential reading on BPD.

I Hate You Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality, by Dr. Jerold J. Kreisman. Often considered the “definitive” book on Borderline Personality Disorder, Dr. Kreisman offers help for both patients and family members and loved ones of those suffering from BPD.

Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder, by Blaise Aguirre and Gillian Galen. This book offers real-life, specific examples to help individuals improve their Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms by applying the skill of mindfulness. By understanding and applying these helpful and relatable examples, anyone can improve their ability to be mindful.

Get Me Out of Here: A Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder, by Rachel Reiland. The memoir of a 29-year-old accountant, wife, and mother of small children who was diagnosed with BPD. An important book written on the subject of Borderline Personality Disorder from the perspective of personal experience. A portrait of hell and healing as seen from the inside out.

The Angry Heart: Overcoming Borderline and Addictive Disorders, by Drs. Joseph Santoro and Ronald Jay Cohen. This is a good text for the many with Borderline Personality Disorder who deal with the dual diagnosis of substance abuse. The Angry Heart offers clinically sound strategies that have worked for others diagnosed with BPD who have experienced addictive behaviors.

The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating, by Kiera Van Gelder. This is a personal memoir that exposes the stigma that goes along with a diagnosis of BPD, and does so with a frank and sometimes shocking honesty and humor that reminds us that we’re all human and that it’s our imperfections that make us divine.

One Way Ticket to Kansas: Caring about Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder and Finding a Healthy You, by Ozzie Tinman. An important book for those close to someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. Support from loved ones is so essential in recovery for someone with BPD, and that recovery proves a brave journey from both the inside and outside of the struggle. This book can provide a sense of perspective from someone struggling from the outside.

Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, by Dr. Marsha Linehan. Composed by Marsha Linehan, professor of psychology at University of Washington in Seattle, pioneer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (the core therapy used to treat BPD) and, since her announcement in 2011, a former sufferer of mental illness herself, owning this book is akin to owning an essential tool belt for the skills to treat and deal with symptoms of BPD. More for caregivers and clinicians, but valuable for those dealing with the illness as well.

Other books recommended by readers of our blog include the following:

  • Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change, by Valerie Porr, MA.
  • New Hope for People with Borderline Personality Disorder: Your Friendly, Authoritative Guide to the Latest in Traditional and Complementary Solutions, by Neil R. Bockian, PhD.
  • Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality, by Merri Lisa Johnson.
  • Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl, by Stacey Pershall.
  • Stop Walking On Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder, by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger.

This reading list is by no means intended to be comprehensive or complete, but is a good starting point on texts that can give you the tools, knowledge, and personal accounts to begin dealing with a mental illness that is more common than most people realize. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that Borderline Personality Disorder affects twice as many Americans as the more widely known disorders schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.

Have any more recommendations for essential books on Borderline Personality Disorder? Share them in the comments below.


  1. Pingback: Essential Books on Borderline Personality Disorder | Borderline Personality Treatment | MAKE BPD STIGMA-FREE!

  2. What books exist to help the BPD victims, the children of BPD fathers?

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