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Author Topic: COMPARISON: Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs BPD  (Read 6782 times)
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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.

HTH
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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.
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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.
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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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« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2011, 04:30:16 PM »

Some partners of Borderlines show narcissistic traits. Some people call this co-dependency- but underneath this is something more sinister- since Borderline is a deficient identity and partner seeks to "fix" this.

Since Borderlines have a deficient sense of identity, they appear victimized- and since Narcissists have a grandiose sense of who they are, they appear savior-like, so the two go together in spectacular, pathological fashion of want and need.  Some therapists say that the mirroring behaviors of Borderline *compliance (*in the beginning stages) do really provide entrapment for a Narcissist.

Borderlines are chameleons, and they evaluate the *needs* of others in order to attach or “fuse” to them in enmeshment, but the Narcissist needs a safety zone of protection (control) that disallows for fusion unless it is done in perfection- which is realistically impossible.  Therefore the pathology exists in fantasy thinking that each objectifies the other in neediness that has nothing to do with reality.  The ideal person does not exist except in the ideal. Therefore the couple spends most of their time trying to dance around reality- a disaster waiting to happen.  Both people are trying to prevent their schemas from being triggered- and both people are choosing the other to work through the uncomfortable feelings about loss of control and re-work the compulsive coping mechanisms that were put into play from early childhood.

Narcissists were very lonely children, and they overcompensate for this with entitlement schemas of subsuming other peoples personalities. They consider others to satellite around them. They do not like to be rejected or ignored and overcompensate for this with controlling behaviors that may fit the Borderlines deficiencies.  Borderlines are satellite objects that seek a place to land. Narcissists subsume the satellite and try to control it. They demand much from Borderlines, as the Borderline represents and encourages the pretend perfection fantasy that prevents both parties from feeling their defectiveness schemas. Borderlines are chameleons. The Narcissist spends much of the relationship controlling the Borderline to act in ways that mirror back to the Narcissist their entitlement and sense of worth.  Therefore much is at stake in the relationship- and belies a “loaded” relationship bond that can never be secure.

The Narcissist:

•  Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. (The Borderline pretends and provides this.)

•  Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by other special people. (The Borderline pretends and provides this.)

•  Requires excessive admiration (The Borderline pretends and provides this.)

•  Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations. (When the Borderline erupts in unstable self, this is a trigger switch.)

The Borderline:

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (When the Narcissist withdraws to protect the grandiose self from exposure to defectiveness schema- this is a trigger)

Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable sense of self. (When the Narcissist withdraws the grandiose- "you can count on me" self, this is a trigger.)

Affective instability due to a marked reactivity. (When the Borderline feels engulfed and controlled by the Narcissist's grandiose self, this is a trigger.)

Since BPD is a persecution complex, the fantasy of “human doing” rather than “human being” implodes and the Narcissist withdraws, causing the Borderline to frantically cling while simultaneously searching out a new attachment for survival. The Narcissist finds this publicly humiliating and suffers intense inferiority and internal shame.

Failures to reconcile usually bring about renewed efforts to overcompensate and find new mirroring objects for both parties- unless a depressive break-through occurs to suffer the abandonment depression and to stop seeking outside of themselves for the fantasy object to mirror their worth.

If the Narcissist does not get help, the narcissist who is feeling deflated may re-inflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading the Borderline. Most narcissists would rather be distracted by the actions of others than suffer through the loneliness of self containment. Hence the "exaggeration of their own importance" in the life of others as a pathology that keeps the compulsion moving toward and then fighting to get away from the needy people who soil their perfectionism.

It's up to a good therapist to discuss different ways to get basic emotional needs met without compulsive behaviors that distort how much other people are devaluing or depriving the Narcissist.  Excessive self-assertion of "I'm right- he/she is wrong" extends to manipulation of fantasy and it's just another way of exploiting someone else problem's and not the reality of their own.  

With therapy they can become aware of their schemas and realize that external validation of their perfectionism mirrored in the eyes of another person creates a "busy-ness" that doesn't get resolved- ever- with mirroring behaviors- unless the idea is presented that external need for someone elses actions to constantly test the fantasy is appreciated.  Human "being" rather than Human "doing."  The therapy then becomes internally focused (driven) and assessed in a realistic manner- and that means abandonment depression and being alone without anyone else to blame, addressing the compulsive behaviors of "fixing" mirrored objectified partners and letting go of the relationship pathology.


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« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2011, 05:01:12 PM »

pwNPD tend to be higher achievers than pwBPD.  It is usually easier to spot pwNPD than pwBPD.

For example many but certainly not all national politicians and senior execs at large companies have many NPD traits.  Think of the boss who takes all the credit for good work done by those under them and if anything is wrong points fingers in all directions except themselves for not catching it.  I would almost guarantee most of the disgraced CEOs would fit in this category.

pwBPD are often harder to spot as they often appear normal to almost everyone.  Since intimacy is often what triggers their bad behavior it is possible only those closest to them have much of a sense there is a problem.  Events like moving in together, getting married or having a kid together can send them into unimaginably bad behavior. 

pwNPD tend to react logically in the sense they consistently want to win and they consistently define winning the same way.  pwBPD want to win too but they tend to be inconsistent in what they want and how the act.  In a war between pwNPD and pwBPD the pwNPD usually gets destroyed over time.
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« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2011, 05:20:17 PM »

Some partners of Borderlines show narcissistic traits. Some people call this co-dependency- but underneath this is something more sinister- since Borderline is a deficient identity and partner seeks to "fix" this.

So, I have wondered about this for a long time.  I started to read about NPD when I first started dating my ex, then realized he is more BPD with NPD charactaristics.  When I read later that pwBPD often are attracted to folks with N traits...I started thinking about that in terms of my own personality style and behavior.  Scary at first, because if you read a lot about classic NPD stuff ala Sam Vankin etc., on the internet...it's so over the top and so NOT ME that I couldn't relate to it at all.  But if you bring it down a notch and do not buy into the malignant narcissist kind of model...then yes...I can see how my behavior, what is often call codependence, is actually the perfect N fit for my ex who is more borderline.  After all, it is agreed that N's are more higher functioning and that they had issues later in childhood, whereas a pwBPD was deprived of attachment and nurturance at a pre-verbal stage, making this more stuck in child like behaviors. I was more the adult, more the parent, I had much more a sense of self than he had.

Since Borderlines have a deficient sense of identity, they appear victimized- and since Narcissists have a grandiose sense of who they are, they appear savior-like, so the two go together in spectacular, pathological fashion of want and need.  Some therapists say that the mirroring behaviors of Borderline *compliance (*in the beginning stages) do really provide entrapment for a Narcissist.

It felt so good when my ex bf fell in love with me in such a mirroring way.  It was bliss.  I also am not completely stupid or without self insight.  I worried something wasn't right, the idolization stage was as worrisome as it was compelling. I was torn the whole time between what was really healthy and what was likely to blow up in my face.  I hope this say's something about my overall sense of reality testing...thought I did choose to take my chances and move down a path with him.  

Borderlines are chameleons, and they evaluate the *needs* of others in order to attach or “fuse” to them in enmeshment, but the Narcissist needs a safety zone of protection (control) that disallows for fusion unless it is done in perfection- which is realistically impossible.  Therefore the pathology exists in fantasy thinking that each objectifies the other in neediness that has nothing to do with reality.  The ideal person does not exist except in the ideal. Therefore the couple spends most of their time trying to dance around reality- a disaster waiting to happen.  Both people are trying to prevent their schemas from being triggered- and both people are choosing the other to work through the uncomfortable feelings about loss of control and re-work the compulsive coping mechanisms that were put into play from early childhood.

When I was younger especially, I am aware that I nursed a lot of fantasies of about "perfect love".  Obviously I still do or I probably would not have gone through the last five years with this guy.  Ideal love, special love, perfect love...  In real life, things are a little messier, grittier, and less 'special'  and more boring than I think I expected or wanted or dreamed of in terms of love affairs and relationships.  If I were disappointed or jilted, especially when very young...I felt so put out and put upon, how could this be happening to ME?...not that I felt being mistreated or jilted was okay...but in even ordinary relationships, I feel I had some pretty grandiose ideas about how I would always feel (cherished/special) or be treated by a loved one.  In a regular relationship, I was the one who grew bored and I was the one who initiated the end.  Always.  I did so gently and with aplomb...I was not bombastic or histrionic or cruel like my exBPDbf...still, I was the one who grew weary and chose to leave. Always.  When my ex with BPD kicked me out this summer, it's the first time I have ever been left or booted out of a relationship, ever, in my life.

Narcissists were very lonely children, and they overcompensate for this with entitlement schemas of subsuming other peoples personalities. They consider others to satellite around them. They do not like to be rejected or ignored and overcompensate for this with controlling behaviors that may fit the Borderlines deficiencies. (bingo...the triangulation was my biggest trigger...which was basically being rejected and ignored in a way that was for me so humilating) Borderlines are satellite objects that seek a place to land. Narcissists subsume the satellite and try to control it. They demand much from Borderlines, as the Borderline represents and encourages the pretend perfection fantasy that prevents both parties from feeling their defectiveness schemas. Borderlines are chameleons. The Narcissist spends much of the relationship controlling the Borderline to act in ways that mirror back to the Narcissist their entitlement and sense of worth.  Therefore much is at stake in the relationship- and belies a “loaded” relationship bond that can never be secure.

My ex w/BPD actually begged me to take on the role of agent of change in his life, he begged to be subsumed  by me, he wanted me to envelope him with my 'life, my sense of self, my values and beliefs'.  I was again astute enough to think "Oh my god, this can't possibly work and can't possibly be healthy long term and he's going to end up hating me"...but I allowed myself to get cajoled back into a realtionship with him several times with him using this and his own personal growth as the bait.  In my heart, I knew it could only lead to bad. I was not comfortable having that much 'power' over another or being asked to have that kind of influence over another human being. It was just...wrong.   I told him that was my opinion...that we would be better off to respect eachothers differences and part ways...but his abandonment fears kept him deeply hooked into the idea that he had to have me. And of course...as expected he ended up hating me for it and blackening me for it and humiliating me for agreeing to do the very thing he begged me to do, to stay with him, to stay true to my own values and boundaries, to expect him to at least be in agreement with the boundaries that I considered deal breakers...and he said he wanted nothing more than that.  Still I knew it would come back to haunt me. That I would sign on for such a thing speaks to my own childhood issues and my own sense of entitlement and denial and grandiosity.  I remember I caught myself uttering a phrase I had never used before in my life before engaging deeply in this relationship with him...the phrase was... "HOW DARE YOU?"  Spoken with shock and disgust.  Guess who use to say that to my ex all the time when he was growing up?  His NPD mother!  Interesting.  He basically begged me to be his mom. I agreed. He got to hate me for it. Cycle complete. And yet... I think on some deep level I believed I was "special" enough to make this work.  Bingo.  

The Narcissist:

•  Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. (The Borderline pretends and provides this.)

•  Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by other special people. (The Borderline pretends and provides this.)

•  Requires excessive admiration (The Borderline pretends and provides this.)

•  Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations. (When the Borderline erupts in unstable self, this is a trigger switch.)

The Borderline:

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (When the Narcissist withdraws to protect the grandiose self from exposure to defectiveness schema- this is a trigger)

Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable sense of self. (When the Narcissist withdraws the grandiose- "you can count on me" self, this is a trigger.)

Affective instability due to a marked reactivity. (When the Borderline feels engulfed and controlled by the Narcissist's grandiose self, this is a trigger.)

Since BPD is a persecution complex, the fantasy of “human doing” rather than “human being” implodes and the Narcissist withdraws, causing the Borderline to frantically cling while simultaneously searching out a new attachment for survival. The Narcissist finds this publicly humiliating and suffers intense inferiority and internal shame.

Failures to reconcile usually bring about renewed efforts to overcompensate and find new mirroring objects for both parties- unless a depressive break-through occurs to suffer the abandonment depression and to stop seeking outside of themselves for the fantasy object to mirror their worth.

If the Narcissist does not get help, the narcissist who is feeling deflated may re-inflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading the Borderline. Most narcissists would rather be distracted by the actions of others than suffer through the loneliness of self containment. Hence the "exaggeration of their own importance" in the life of others as a pathology that keeps the compulsion moving toward and then fighting to get away from the needy people who soil their perfectionism. (this is basically codependent behavior, I love to hate you, let me fix you so I can really love you)

It's up to a good therapist to discuss different ways to get basic emotional needs met without compulsive behaviors that distort how much other people are devaluing or depriving the Narcissist.  Excessive self-assertion of "I'm right- he/she is wrong"  (this is a "parental" position, by the way...almost inexacapable if you hook into the dynamic with a BPD... and always a dead end) extends to manipulation of fantasy and it's just another way of exploiting someone else problem's and not the reality of their own.  

With therapy they can become aware of their schemas and realize that external validation of their perfectionism mirrored in the eyes of another person creates a "busy-ness" that doesn't get resolved- ever- with mirroring behaviors- unless the idea is presented that external need for someone elses actions to constantly test the fantasy is appreciated.  Human "being" rather than Human "doing."  The therapy then becomes internally focused (driven) and assessed in a realistic manner- and that means abandonment depression and being alone without anyone else to blame, addressing the compulsive behaviors of "fixing" mirrored objectified partners and letting go of the relationship pathology.

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« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2011, 06:46:43 AM »

It still amazes how the Greeks were spot on with the dance between a pwBPD and a pwNPD, in the myth of Echo and Narcis. My ex even had a tat of Echo...
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« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2011, 08:45:15 AM »

As I journey down this twisted path I have more and more realized that my own personality traits -Narcissitic most likely, really helped me choose my partner.

It has not been easy to acknowledge vow I "completed" my partner and vice versa.  I love how succintly you both discussed the roles we play and entertained the possibility that not just one partner has personality disorder issues to address but at some level we both do.  i would love to explore the concept of co-dependency as it relates to narcissism a bit more too.  
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« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2011, 09:08:29 AM »

Makes sense that codependents have narcissistic traits.  If I look deeper and am honest with myself, I certainly do.  That's why this r/s was so powerful.  It filled that need like none other.  

This will be a discussion for my T and I.  
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« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2011, 09:13:43 AM »

Aren't codependents inverted narcissists?

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« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2011, 01:32:09 PM »

Most partners of Borderlines show narcissistic traits. Some people call this co-dependency- but underneath this is something more sinister- since Borderline is a deficient identity and partner seeks to "fix" this.

Yes, people with narcissistic traits are often attracted to people with BPD. I find this on the Internet all the time from people who are no longer getting their needs met from their BPs. Instead, they get their needs met from other nons who want help. NOT EVERYONE! But I a not surprised when I see it.
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« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2011, 01:39:21 PM »

Aren't codependents inverted narcissists?

No.
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« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2011, 04:01:15 PM »

Aren't codependents inverted narcissists?

Maybe some of these terms are so vague that there's no way to really define our terms...I suppose some of these terms could mean anything...or at least mean different things to different people because terms like inverted narcissism or malignant narcissism are not found in a dictionary or the DSM...

But, when I hear that codependents and people who are narcissistic or have narcissistic wounds or traits tend to match up with someone who has BPD or BPD traits...I think of of it being in general pretty accurate, and if the concept of an inverted narcissist is someone who is not so much self absorbed in the traditional "I'm better than anyone else" NPD sense...but an inverted narcissist in the sense that a codependent thinks they can fix anyone else, knows better than others, has to rescue or correct others...which is grandiose in it's own way...and is therefore expressing a type of narcissism but it's inverted (other directed instead of self directed)...it is still arrogant in its own way...meaning, there's a certain arrogance or grandiosity in thinking only "I" can rescue someone, only MY love will make a difference...do you know what I mean?  I always thought the term inverted narcissism was implying that kind of thing... and it did seem to match up with the darker side of what we consider 'codependent traits'...right?  

So isn't the idea of a inverted narcissist close to what we think of as codpendence?
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« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2011, 04:18:11 PM »

Are there any statistics on the probability of significant improvement for a BPD entering therapy?

--Argyle
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ViciousCycle
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« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2011, 04:21:09 PM »

Aren't codependents inverted narcissists?

You know, that is kind of how I look at it.

Ever since learning about Co-Dependency following my ex leaving me, I've labeled myself a Co-Dependent. But what I've also noticed is that I DO have some narcissistic traits, but I'm far from a full blown Narcissist.

My question is, is it possible to be a Co-Dependent with Narcissistic traits? Sometimes I scare myself into thinking I have things like NPD or BPD just because I exhibit a small portion of the traits, but then I come into a realistic view and realize how far off I am from those things. I am also an undiagnosed ADD, which I've also discovered since my break up and have realized that it's because of that that I'm attracted to very turbulent relationships.  
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argyle
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« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2011, 04:31:17 PM »

Here is an editorial on STEPPS, a 20 week program that can be used in additional to DBT or other behavioral therapies. DBT programs are often a year (once a week).   Usually there is some general talk therapy too... no question that this is expensive and intensive process.

This editorial reports 40% of patients with borderline personality disorder remit (remission) after 2 years, with 88% no longer meeting Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines—Revised or DSM-III-R criteria after 10 years

Oh.  Google is good to:

www.borderlinepersonalitysupport.com/fact-sheet-on-borderline-personality-disorder.html

Remission in most studies is defined as a decline in the number of DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder a patient meets, from five or more of the nine possible criteria (which constitutes a diagnosis) to four or fewer.

About 50% of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder go into remission within two years. Reasons for remission vary but involvement in therapy/treatment is key.

In one study, the rate of remission was 30% after one year, 50% after two years, and 75% after six years, with only six patients relapsing.

Once in remission, few people relapse.18

So, I guess that there may be some hope with treatment.

My understanding is that co-dependents and narcissists do tend to share a belief in fixing people/ability to control people outside themselves.  So, they have that in common.  My BPDw does seem to exhibit traits of both.

--Argyle
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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2011, 05:23:26 PM »

Are there any statistics on the probability of significant improvement for a BPD entering therapy?--Argyle

Not really.
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« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2011, 05:07:42 AM »

There is a wealth of material that discusses the variety of shapes and forms these two personalities can take- especially concerning their differences and their bonds to one another.  Joan Lakhar Ph.D has been writing on this subject for many years, even before the advent of the Internet.

bpdfamily.com/book_review/joan_lachkar.htm

Contrary to popular belief, Narcissists and Borderlines are not evil or untreatable, they just need to make sense of their behavior if they wish to accept reality. Making sense of the behavior is what object relations theory (Klein) and the psychology of the “Self” (Kohut) is all about.  

Lakhar makes a point to defuse stigmatization with “although I use the terms borderline and narcissism as distinct entities, neither disorder is the same across individuals or even in an individual over time. Discussion would be impossible, however, without making certain abstract distinctions between them in order to frame the conflict.”

Rather than lumping them into one big wastebasket of broken humanity as a statistic, Lakhar realized that the anxiety of this arrested behavior each person experiences is as different as snowflakes, but these differences must be respected as qualitative differences in order to be assessed.

In her theory, Lakhar felt that Narcissists were more concerned with mirroring that was “Self”-directed while Borderlines were more concerned with becoming a part of something = “Object”-directed.

The Narcissist has been taught that they must be closed off and carefully protected from engulfment by others- and he/she inflates in much the same way a puffer fish does for protection. The Borderline is more like a remora, a clinging, parasitic, part-self, other-directed persona that seeks to attach and go along for the ride.

The real construct here is the extent to which people control or allow themselves to be controlled by others.

There are so many people who are brilliant theorists that it would be a shame not to at least delve into one or two of the ideas about arrested development to see where the origin of the problem begins.

James F. Masterson spent 40 years of his life detailing the differential diagnosis of Narcissism and Borderline and even went so far as to contribute a differential diagnosis on their high and low functions. In his 1981 book, the “Narcissistic and Borderline Disorders” he details many case studies and differentiates the developmental theory of both personality types as well as treatment outlines.  

Borderline failure to separate/individuate during the pre-oedipal period causes a lifelong view of “other-directed” actions. The same is true for Narcissists; however, Narcissists “subsume” others into their intrapsychic World as extensions while Borderlines (part-time selves) fuse to others in the mistaken belief that they will become whole persons.

Both partners wear masks of “false selves” to hide their vulnerable true selves. Narcissists are gullible, and instead of seeing their perfect “false self” reflection in the Borderline as fraudulent, they believe that they have found a fellow narcissist who shares their World view and compunction for perfection.

Both partners present themselves as misunderstood in life and now share each other’s World view- but the Borderline does this as a Trojan horse offering in order to slip inside the Narcissists protective outer. The Narcissist unwittingly subsumes the Borderline as a part of themselves and gives rarely allowed access- thinking that the Borderline has the same protective outer that demands rigid rules for membership. Alas, not only does the Borderline *not* know these rules- they cannot even try to implement them- and the Narcissist becomes aware of dis*ease* between them (a.k.a. red flags of odd behavior) Something clicks in the Narcissist, that this person really wasn’t who they said they were and control issues arise when the Narcissist tries to get the Borderline back in line with the idealized self that was initially presented. When this fails (as it always does) the anxiety turns persecutory for the borderline and the Narcissist withdraws.

Eventually, the Narcissist comes to a painful process of understanding that the borderline actually mirrored the Narcissist and the Narcissist actually mirrored their own self.  Judging the amount of shame that arises during Smear campaigns, distortion, and the blame game are all narcissistic injuries in the aftermath of the broken mirror.  (Note: One does not need to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder to have narcissistic traits. Narcissistic traits can be healthy unless they subsume others.)

Fortunately there are many books that stay away from the stigmatization of the “all or none” characteristics to personalities- these books concentrate on the quality of behavior instead.  Schema therapy by Jeffrey Young Ph.D, was created n 1994.  It is a beautifully modern interpretation of the diagnostic manual which applies to everyone who struggles with abandonment, mistrust and abuse, dependence, vulnerability, emotional deprivation, social exclusion, defectiveness, failure, subjugation, unrelenting standards and entitlement. These eleven "lifetraps" are lifelong patterns or themes that replicate the DSM diagnostics. They are self-destructive personality traits and yet they struggle for survival. The end result is that we manage to recreate the conditions of our childhood that was most harmful to us because we are familiar with the feelings.

Young’s theory is tightly woven into a structured, systematic model of therapy themes, called Schema.  Both Narcissists and Borderline personalities are behaviorally dissected in a way that shows distinct differences to how they view themselves and how to approach them in treatment. Add that to the 30 year old Masterson approach and the treatment options keep encouraging people to get at what ails them in talk therapy.  The understanding of the wants and needs of people vs. fantasy/reality is confronted.  The end result is reality testing and truth.

There are, unfortunately, a plethora of books and blogs that do stigmatize, born out of frustrating personal events and without much introspective clarity for the whys and hows of getting involved with the Borderline or Narcissistic personality and the reasons for continuing to stay with them. (Yes, there are reasons.) According to Joan Lachkar, “it’s not that people are crazy, it’s just that each partner stirs up some un-developmental issue in the other that desperately needs to be worked through.”

In 1988, James F. Masterson M.D. released his brilliant analysis, “The Search for the Real Self, Unmasking the Personality disorders of our age.” In the preface he writes: “This negative attitude about the difficulties of successfully treating borderline and narcissistic patients survives to the day in many areas where therapists have not become aware of the newer discoveries. It often continues to be the prevailing attitude in lay circles and in the media, which is one of the important reasons I wrote this book. Not all, but many patients, given the proper therapeutic support, can and will overcome their developmental problems and their real selves will emerge.” ~ Masterson

Masterson knew that we all had bits and pieces of maladaptive coping mechanisms- and a little bit of family history went a long way toward understanding, but it wasn't all or none.  There was a possibility of acceptance and change.

Lachkar’s “The narcissistic/borderline couple: new approaches to marital therapy.” is now in its second printing.  “Listen for the theme,” Lackhar says. “At the core of the dynamic flow between narcissistic/borderline partners is a duel between omnipotence and vulnerability.”   One partner withdraws and the other chases, one partner closes in (engulfment) and the other flees… Both people are desperate for love but unable to trust it.  It is a dance. Again, The real construct here is the extent to which people control or allow themselves to be controlled by others.

Investigating and treating the behavior of both parties offers less stigmatization of the separate personalities and more treatment avenues - and this is what the Masterson institute, Jeffrey Young and Joan Lachkar specialize in.

Whether it’s object relations therapy, or Self psychology or Schema therapy, there is no such thing as a NON.  We are all human beings and we all need to work on our separate issues in the aftermath of the relationship. Understanding your partner’s negative life patterns will allow you to see your own- Young calls these self defeating maladaptive coping mechanisms “lifetraps” and he even has information on his website. It’s not enough to turn your back on a Borderline- you have to confront your reasons for being attracted to this cipher in the first place.  Young’s book, “Reinventing your life” is also a good start.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

amazon.com/James-F.-Masterson

amazon.com/Schema-Therapy-Practitioners-Jeffrey-Young

amazon.com/Reinventing-Your-Life-Breakthough-Behavior




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« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2011, 08:30:34 AM »



It’s not enough to turn your back on a Borderline- you have to confront your reasons for being attracted to this cipher in the first place.

I couldn't agree more. My BPDex has been a blessing in disguise for me. People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Without this experience I would have never realized how much I needed to heal my own dysfunction. I had to come face to face with the fact that little Ms. Perfect was indeed emotionally broken and not so perfect. I had my own damaged script that I applied to relationships hoping the other person could rescue me making me realize what a truly emotional mirrors my ex and I are. Both starved for love, both wanting to control and both not trusting love or feeling worthy of it.

This stuff is deep and heavy.

HG

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« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2011, 09:20:15 AM »

Again, to all the brilliant analysis on this thread...thank you and please post this in tools or get it over to the "Staying" boards..

This thread really helped me tremendously in the last couple of days to process what "my world" with my uBPD spouse is/was all about.

And it encouraged me to delve further into self-analysis which has enabled me to obtain a slight measure of inner peace.

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« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2011, 10:34:33 AM »

Randi, do you think most of us partners of BPDs are Narcissitic?  I used to think I was, especially because I have a uNPD father and a uBPD mom (agreed upon by al siblings & cousins).  

My uBPD has accused me of all the traits of NPD since I moved in with him; a former boyfriend of mine who has tremendous power & wealth (socio-economic) had once accused me of not being vulnerable -he ended our relationship to be with a stripper.  

Recently I took various PD tests which I answered in 2 different ways.  One as I would if it were my husband asking me the questions and the other as if it were just me asking me..being brutally honest with myself.  

I was surprised.  I expected to be "normal" in my first response (as if with my uBPD husband) but instead I was "moderately histrionic and highly narcissitic".  

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« Reply #48 on: October 14, 2011, 02:37:58 PM »

I would go over the questionnnaire with a therapist or a good friend to give you some objectivity.If you do have narcissistic features, you can work on them. If you're willing to work on yourself you can accomplish anything.
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« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2011, 07:41:54 AM »

hi all,  its taken me a loong time to try to work out the dynamics of pd's in my life, both current and past.  this was because i could never work out the difference between an NPD and BPD.  but now that i get it things feel alot clearer for me and i wanted to share my understandings.

ok...an NPD has a false image of themselves that they maintain with their own beliefs, material goods and the attention/praise of others.  any attempt to question this 'image' or its values results in a narc attack steming from defensive behaviour.  this can involve; withdrawal,sulking and the silent treatment, accusations, anger and/or avoiding the question by changing the subject.  they demand that others be their distraction/entertainment so they don't have to face their authentic self.  the NPD's only interest is strengthening this image to continuously convince him/herself that they are this person and not the loss of self that dwells beneath this pd. 

the NPD prefers not to show emotions whereas the BPD is often over-expressive emotionally.  in the greek myth narcissisus gazes into the lake at his own reflection while echo dies from his neglect.  what they don't mention commonly is that narcissisus insists that echo only interact with his reflection and any attempt to interact with his true self is met with hostility.  the lack of authentic emotion and neglect kills echo (and her inability to walk away).

a BPD can be mistaken for a NPD because both have a lack of true empathy and compassion.  BUT, the BPD has an intense perceived fear of abandonment that causes alot of anxiety and consumes all their attention and will do almost anything to avoid being reminded of that connection to their authentic self as it contains so much perceived pain.  so while a NPD has created a false identity in order to interact with the world, the BPD is running from their true self, and/or clinging to/suffocating others in hope of finding themselves there.

so perhaps the difference is that the NPD has created a false image in order to interact in a perceived safe way with the world, whereas the BPD is constantly looking to others to live their self through in a safe way.  why are they mistaken for each other?  because of the feeling others have in relationship with them.  they both use people and are unable to see the other for who they really are, only what the pd 'needs' from them.

does this make sense to anyone?
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