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Author Topic: DIFFERENCES|COMORBIDITY: Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorder  (Read 95075 times)
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Gender: Female
Posts: 1027

« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2011, 08:46:45 AM »

My xBPDbf was brilliant, absolutely genius.

Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak … sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go


This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2011, 09:43:25 AM »

Mine,too. Musical genius. Genius at making me feel like cr*p, too.
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2011, 10:17:33 PM »

Hmm… Valedictorian from high school, Yale grad and lawyer… Speaks 4 languages… Came from a very, very wealthy family… never saw a “public school”… Had the world at his hands… But so sadly, he is seriously ill with BPD and NPD… is emotionally stunted in development… I loved and absolutely adored this man but, I can’t “save” him… Love is clearly not nearly enough…  intellectual giftedness seems to have little to do with this… So hard to wrap my head around…
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Posts: 548

« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2011, 01:23:29 PM »

Multiple graduate degrees from Ivy League schools. Works like 60 hours a week and does tons of volunteer work, does community activism, gives tons of talks on various panels at schools and organizations... Runs a mental health program! He's peoples' therapist! 
js friend
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Posts: 1021

« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2011, 07:35:47 AM »

Ive always believed that my d16 is more NPD than BPD.

She has always been Me,me,me and looks down her nose at others.She worked at a fast food place for 4wks, and in that time wanted to only serve the customers and refused to work in the kitchen or mop the floors, which the staff took turns doing. Needless to say she was sacked! She has now applied for another job in a different line of work with a more senior position, and has stated her reason as leaving her last job as..."I didnt agree with the managers low standards"  She has no intention of working her way up the ladder, or working behind the scenes. Actually the only thing she told me about her job was how many customers had congratulated her on her doing such a great job... Total NPD!

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future" ~ Paul Boese
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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2011, 07:01:26 PM »

I have a uBPDm and a uNPDd and I can tell you that they are quite different.

My uBPDm could be reasoned with when not feeling threatened, she would at times be willing to admit to mistakes. My uNPDd was never ever wrong. ever.

uBPDm is much more manipulitative, uNPDd would never be bothered to waste his time.

uBPDm spends countless hours ruminating about what others have done, uNPDd spends countless hours thinking about himself and how fantastic he is. Once I listened to him congratulate himself for not being a pedophile. For over an hour.

uBPDm has a sadistic streak, uNPDd doesn't. (although I don't know if that's related to their PDs or just how they are.)

uBPDm's mood swings cycled rapidly and could spin a 180 on a dime; she could literally be mid-rage and turn it off instantly to answer the phone. If uNPDd woke up on the wrong side of the bed, he would be a pathological jerk for at least a day or three.

uBPDm would make a point of remembering birthdays, anniversaries, etc. uNPDd couldn't be bothered to care about anything that didn't involve him.

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« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2011, 09:17:38 PM »

I've been exposed to both, so I'll try to add to this.  I think that pwNPD lack the ability to empathize with other people as opposed to pwBPD who many times do have this ability.  From my experience, the pwNPD appeared calm and in control most of the time (not counting raging episodes) while the pwBPD was highly anxious and out of control...The only other thing that I can think of is that the pwBPD did a lot of self-harming and was actually suicidal whereas the NPD didn't self-harm and was not suicidal at all.

"Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness" - James Thurber
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« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2011, 08:35:18 PM »

I think there's confuusion between what sometimes get called "high functioning" pwBPD and pwNPD.  I suspect that NPD and BPD exist on some sort of spectrum, with the behaviors associated with low-functioning BPD (self-harming, inability to control impulses and behaviors regardless of situation) at one end, and those associated with NPD at the other end.  Or maybe it's a triangle with BPD, NPD, and ASPD at the points, or some other geometric shape with other spectrum-B disorders at the points/corners, and some sort of scatter plot of likely thoughts and behaviors explaining the differences. 

From what I've seen dealing with my "high-functioning" BPD/NPD stepmother and my sometimes N-ish (but, I'm pretty sure, not NPD, at least not on his own) father, the similarities lie in needing others to build and confirm a sense of one's own identity, and in a resulting insecurity and extreme sensitivity to criticism (or perceived criticism), which they tend to deal with through projection/blaming/raging or cutoffs/silent treatment.  And yes, I think that both are quite vulnerable to feelings of shame, perhaps because criticism feels like an attack on their core being rather than a commentary on their actions, words, etc. 

One difference, I think, has to do with identity: pwBPD have trouble figuring out who they are at all, secretly fear that they're bad in some way, and keep looking to other people to provide a sense of identity and/or to reassure them that they're really good people.  They tend to approach relationships hoping that the other person can provide them with an identity, fill them up, make their life complete, and fearing that the other person will find out who they really are -- empty, bad -- and reject them, leaving them all alone with their intolerably empty, bad, selves. The internal seesawing between this particular hope and fear (which, projected, results in the classic "I hate you; don't leave me" contradiction) is more real to the pwBPD than any actual interaction with actual people, which is why their reactions can seem to have so little connection to others' words and actions (put quite simply, what seem like reactions to external events aren't; they're reactions to internal events that have only the slightest connection, if any, to external events.  pwBPD very easily get caught up in shame spirals, which can quickly become rage spirals). 

pwNPD, I think, start with a much more positive -- in fact, often too positive -- sense of themselves, and are mostly looking to others to confirm that identity, or at least not say or do anything that contradicts it.  If someone doesn't provide them with the attention and confirmation of their identity they expect, in the moment or in general, I think their first choice is probably to write the person off (even if that person is a member of their own family), and turn their attention to someone who is willing to play the role they expect.  They're much more likely to do the leaving (or the ignoring) than a pwBPD.  The rage, projection, etc. are likely to come out mostly when they don't have the option of just ignoring or leaving the person or situation (e.g. when a family member, boss, etc. is trying to get them to be responsible in some way that they don't feel like being).  It might also show up when people they experience as an extension of themselves (especially spouses and children) don't behave in ways that confirm that expectation, but, even then, I think they're more inclined to get out of the situation that challenges their picture of the relationship, then quickly reinstate their fantasy of the relationship as their internal reality.  If the breach is permanent and instigated by the other person (e.g. a divorce), then they may do some permanent blacking/scapegoating. 

In general, I think pwNPD are quite capable of maintaining what they believe to be a relationship (positive or negative) with people they rarely see or communicate with, because the relationship they've constructed in their head is at least as real to them as the actual relationship.  If anything, they've got too much ability to maintain object constancy (the clear sense of another person and their relationship with that person even when the person is absent), because they don't really see the person with whom they have the relationship as a fully separate and independent human being in the first place.  By contrast, pwBPD have too little ability to maintain object constancy; they need constant reassurance that other people see *them*, and have trouble maintaining any sense of a relationship even during normal absences and silences.  Of course, they don't see the other person very well, either, because they're too busy projecting their fears (as opposed to the pwNPD's more positive thoughts about themselves). 

Black and white thinking is more BPD than NPD, I think (though pwNPD definitely hear criticism as more extreme than it is).  And pwBPD are more inclined to ruminate over perceived wrongs (including being left/abandoned), and to try to punish the wrongdoer (which is how I suspect bluecup's mother might have seen her behavior with the boxes: losing the contents of the box was a logical consequence/just punishment for "abandoning" her by moving away).  pwNPD will just move on. 

Both are quite aware of other people -- and in fact are inclined to treat most people as the audience for their lives, I think.  The sudden switching might well be more BPD than NPD, because pwBPD feel they have more to hide.  On the other hand, I don't think low-functioning pwBPD have the self-control to switch; so maybe the people-as-audience thing is more NPD?  Perhaps BPDs think more of other people as potentially threatening judges, or spies who might discover the "real them," than as an audience?  My stepmother definitely wants/needs an audience beyond the romantic relationship that is, for her, an essential component of identity (in fact, she wants/needs an audience *for* the marriage), but that might be an N characteristic. 

I agree that pwBPD are probably more empathic -- mostly because they seem to have a stronger need to get particular people to behave in ways they want/need, and so put a lot of energy into trying to understand others well enough to manipulate them.  pwNPD seem to have more trouble understanding others and their motivations (perhaps because the rest of the world is either an extension of them or irrelevant), and what they need from others is, in the end, more superficial (it's relatively easy, I think, to fool a pwNPD with insincere praise; by contrast, it may be hard to get a pwBPD to believe even completely sincere praise; on some level, the pwBPD is always going to be looking for the criticism or doubt hidden in the praise, and may in fact "hear" the exact opposite of what you meant). 

As I said, there are no bright lines, and I'm sure my view is skewed by my own experience (which doesn't include any encounters with either a full-blown Narcissist or a self-harming, completely dependent, out-of-control Borderline). 
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« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2011, 09:12:36 PM »

I actually spent a bit of time putting together a chart of the characteristics listed in the info section of this site comparing NPD/BPD/ASPD because I was trying to figure out what my ex has!  There are a lot of shared traits. 

21 shared by all 3

34 shared BPD/NPD

28 shared by BPD/ASD

27 shared by NPD/ASD

I came to the conclusion my ex has some sort of PD but I can't quite be sure which one.  But what does it matter.  The behaviours are the same whatever the label. He is one huge pain to try and co-parent with.  So now I read about all three PD's to find out how to handle him.

Happy to send copy of the document I put together listing all traits and the ones that are shared if you email me personally.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference
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« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2011, 11:44:54 AM »

The most helpful/insightful book I've read on NPD is called "Loving The Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner " by Nina Brown.

The book is brutally honest and really opened my eyes. I'm going to read it again.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Book review here

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