Porcupine Love ™®

a blog for sharing skills/tips/tools for romantic relationships involving BPD and its symptom of emotion dysregulation

I thought about starting a blog for other couples going through anguish in their relationships when one of them has borderline personality disorder. Or has its hallmark symptom of experiencing painful emotions seemingly way out of proportion to a situation.

Two people who love each other is a beautiful thing! Yet, when one in the couple has a mental disorder or, I prefer, a condition involving the brain and emotions, called borderline personality disorder, pain is lurking in the background, ready to strike. This condition can be initially hidden to others, but it is hidden “in plain sight”–meaning it will come to the fore. It is not something that can remain hidden, nor something “in the past” that will go away on its own. It brings instant brain signals of utter pain and hopelessness, way beyond those usually proportionate to the situation. Without warning, and acting out of sudden, intense inner pain, the individual can lash out or hurt themself. New pain is added to the relationship. The couple might be tempted initially to deny that it is happening because they love each other, everyone has conflict and everyone does and says things that leave loved ones hurting. Besides, each partner sees amazing and lovable qualities in the other. Beware, in this situation, bpd pain is going to happen over and over and over again, each time adding another porcupine quill, one after the other, until a bevy of quills is stuck in the other. And the quills go both directions–the individual with bpd is experiencing quills from their partner too.

Something beyond “forgiveness” is needed. The attached quills, if left unattended, can result in unendurable pain of the kind that can destroy the relationship.

However, I believe it doesn’t need to go that far, if you are willing to learn some new ways of dealing with the cards you have been dealt.  The pain will not go away on its own, but both of you can do self-care and manage how you deal with bpd chaos in your relationship. My wish is for couples, and their children, to be able to survive, and thrive!


Probably one of the greatest things to happen amidst my turmoil with bpd is being able to share some hope with you. Yes, hope, even after all the painful years of living with emotion dysregulation and its endless episodes of sobbing, screaming, slamming doors and having thoughts of wanting to die! I was hurting myself and my loved ones. Writing this blog allows me to share about self-care and some ways that might help you on your way forward in loving relationships and away from the chaos which is so often a part of our lives with bpd.

In life, you need ways to cope. If one particular skill or tip is not for you, not what you want or need at that time, please stop and turn to another. Don’t just keep going the way you were and expect it to get better. You will only be repeating the pain, unless you find a way out of it for the next time. Every day, I feel great pain and every day I try to learn or develop a better way.

© Cathleen Payne

17th Annual Yale/NEABPD Conference Presentation

 Porcupine Love™®: Dealing with Dysregulated Behaviors in Long-term Romantic Relationships Where One Has BPD or it’s Symptoms

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

Toni Morrison