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Author Topic: COMPARISON: Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs BPD  (Read 6783 times)
poodlemom
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« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2011, 09:22:52 AM »

Wow! You all are all so insightful, concise and articulate! Thanks for laying this all out there in understandable terms. :-)
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« Reply #51 on: November 17, 2011, 10:41:13 AM »

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?

I agree with that description. Having a bipolar (uBPD) mom and uNPD exH, here are other differences that stood out to me:

* While both were invested in their "image" (what other people thought of them), the "images" they created were very different. uBPD mom prefers the victim/poor me image, while NPD exH built up the image of a debonair, intelligent, high class guy. He told me that he was British when I met him and even used a fake British accent. uBPD mom seemed to really BELIEVE her image while uNPD exH put his image out there for others to believe.

* uBPD mom was very low functioning. uNPD exH was very high functioning (in fact much of his image depended on doing well in his job). I've never heard of a low-functioning narcissist. (But it seems BPD can happen either way.)

* Yes to "the NPD prefers not to show emotions whereas the BPD is often over-expressive emotionally." My uNPD exH very carefully controlled his displays of emotion. It seemed impossible for him to do or feel anything spontaneously, and spontaneous displays of emotion actually seemed to disgust him. uBPD mom, on the other hand, constantly reacted to whatever emotion she was feeling in the moment. Near zero control of emotions, and if she did manage to control some horribly negative emotion for which she considered you responsible, you better believe you were gonna get an earful about it later.

* uNPD exH seemed to know what other people thought of him might be different than what he thought of himself, and he just didn't care. ("Yeah, they think I'm an idiot at work, but they just don't appreciate what a genius I really am." Also, uNPD exH could attribute acts/thoughts to the appropriate actor/thinker. uBPD mom has neither ability. She cannot imagine anyone thinking any differently of her than she thinks of herself. Also, she can't "match up" actors/thinkers and the actions/thoughts. She once demanded that I tell her what my Uncle J was thinking when he asked a question about personal finances six months previously. I told her that if she wanted to know that, she'd have to ask Uncle J (the appropriate thinker/actor). How the hell was I supposed to know what someone else - someone who I rarely talk to - had been thinking half a year ago? She wouldn't even tell me the question/s he asked; I guess because if she knew them, I should know them too.
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« Reply #52 on: November 17, 2011, 11:21:06 AM »

Excerpt
Yes to "the NPD prefers not to show emotions whereas the BPD is often over-expressive emotionally." My uNPD exH very carefully controlled his displays of emotion. It seemed impossible for him to do or feel anything spontaneously, and spontaneous displays of emotion actually seemed to disgust him.

that caused me to see the differencies there also.  uBPDm is very able to laugh at the expense of others (when it makes other appear stupied), whereas if i ever made the the NPD i know spontaniously laugh, he would catch himself, stop laughing immediately and snip at me.  neither are nice to be around.  NPD's are so cold and BPD's are so out of control.  so different, yet with similar results felt by others.
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« Reply #53 on: November 18, 2011, 06:44:14 PM »

I think there are a lot of overlapping traits.  They are both in the cluster B personality disorders, and share characteristics.  If you google the dsm criteria for personality disorders you can read the list of symptoms for each.

I think co-morbidity is probably common, but also someone can have BPD with narcissistic tendencies.
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« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2011, 09:56:50 PM »



Just some food for thought.

BPD is about abandonment, right?

They abandoned you - and now you are in a meltdown trying to deal with it. You have gone to every length to keep them, but they are utterly selfish. And doesn't it feel good when they validate you. It is/was the best feeling in the world. You felt whole again.

How come you cannot love someone that does not play games with you?

Normal people would just walk away knowing they were abused.


Just something to think about.
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« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2011, 10:05:36 PM »

Well...you might be half right, but some of us DID walk away, and I know i can love someone who doesn't treat me like that because I have before and I will again. There's a lot of reasons why we feel extra hurt because of these relationships in particular but I don't think you should compartmentalize everyone into that category because every situation and relationship is different just like the people who engage into them. What exactly brought you to this general conclusion if I may ask?
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« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2011, 10:43:14 PM »

I think you are making some assumptions that do not apply to a lot people on these boards.  Many of us stayed too long for unselfish reasons.  Many of us can and do love people who do not play games with us.  Certainly not everyone here is in a meltdown.
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bob451
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« Reply #57 on: December 16, 2011, 11:27:04 PM »



Just an experiment.

You may THINK you are not displaying all of the BPD points (such as low self esteem, and frantic fear of abandonment, substance abuse, etc)

However, rather than go by your gut feelings (I am not!), write down in a clinical manner what exactly you did when you were abandoned. What steps you took - calling, driving by, checking up, texts etc.

Now look at what you wrote - see anything?

You have to take your emotions out of the picture. Facts only. You can then apply this to all of the 'symptoms' of BPD.

Remember most crazy people do not know they themselves are the crazy. 
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« Reply #58 on: December 16, 2011, 11:33:32 PM »

I wondered this myself. And I went to therapy for it and brought it up many times.  My therapist, who is actually trained in these things pointed out that I am nowhere near any personality disorder.  Slight codependent tendencies that I've shown in this and other relationships but nothing even remotely close to BPD.  you're generalizing far too much.  

I will say I see some truth in what you are saying though.  It's as if our BPD exes set up a situation where we will feel what they felt at the original core wound.  Then they get to watch how we react. This is all subconscious.  I know because I did this with an ex of mine (to a much lesser degree and much less harmful results). Again, it was nowhere near BPD, but it certainly wasn't healthy. Using other people to figure out our parents' problems... maybe.

I will readily admit that I have had my own abandonment issues as well.  But I also have spent long amounts of time single and even enjoy it. Not all abandonment issues stem from a serious personality disorder.  Our dysfunctions "fit" though.

In addition, the difference between someone such as myself and someone with BPD is not only the clinical diagnosis and criteria but the repetition of the same behaviors. 
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« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2011, 01:25:34 AM »

Bob, are you wondering if you might have BPD or are you really concerned that everyone here has BPD?

Anyone can look like they have something like BPD when under extreme stress.

I work in behavioral health. All humans can experience abandonment/engulfment fears situationally. Having a strong reaction to abandonment does not qualify a person for having a personality disorder. In fact, all nine symptoms of BPD is commonly seen in the normal population. To be a personality disorder Those symptoms have to be 5/9, and they must be showing up as a pervasive and enduring pattern from adolescence through adulthood in a way that profoundly affects and impacts a persons life and those around them.

There are no doubt people on this site who may qualify for having BPD and their partner is NPD. There are also people who have codep traits, depression, anxiety, etc. Most on this board have spent an inordinate amount of time scrutinizing and questioning themselves about such things, and look into it by speaking with professionals, taking diagnostic tests, and asking for feedback here. I know I have. I do not qualify for a dx of borderline personality disorder, or any personality disorder. I do have some codep issues that are mine to work on, not thrilled about it but it is what it is.
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« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2011, 06:51:34 AM »

When my ex dumped me I drank too much and wanted to die, but I didn't call him all the time (or at all) or drive by his house. I did stop by once to dump a box of things he left in my apartment outside his door but didn't see him or talk to him. He of course started calling me again "just to chat" after a few months. But I never called him and eventually changed my phone number when the "chats" became wearying. Though, being dumb and blind, I did give him the new number after I coerced him into returning the money he owed me after new charges showed up on my credit card for something purchased when we were still together. I was furious but after I got my money it was like, welp, whatever. What a messed up relationship.

I don't think my factual recounting of actions taken after the break-up shows much evidence of BPD on my part, personally. But I'm not a doctor.
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« Reply #61 on: December 17, 2011, 11:58:52 AM »

Just an experiment.

You may THINK you are not displaying all of the BPD points (such as low self esteem, and frantic fear of abandonment, substance abuse, etc)

However, rather than go by your gut feelings (I am not!), write down in a clinical manner what exactly you did when you were abandoned. What steps you took - calling, driving by, checking up, texts etc.

Now look at what you wrote - see anything?

You have to take your emotions out of the picture. Facts only. You can then apply this to all of the 'symptoms' of BPD.

Remember most crazy people do not know they themselves are the crazy. 

Hi Bob,

There are 9 criteria to BPD diagnosis.  Most humans specifically under extreme emotional stress will show several of these characteristics.  It is the pattern of behavior over significant time, not a one-time big stressor (pstd) that must be observed.  Your point is valid in this context and one of the reasons BPD is so very hard for trained professional to diagnose.

I think this post could be triggering to many on this board; as such, let's all be mindful to not react (great answers thus far) and Bob, I ask you to be a bit more self-reflective in your questions moving forward in this post.  I am going to stress right now, I do not want to see anyone disrespectful or I will have to close this thread.

Peace, SB
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« Reply #62 on: December 17, 2011, 03:04:02 PM »

I think this post could be triggering to many on this board; as such, let's all be mindful to not react (great answers thus far)

Triggering, that would happen to someone with emotion regulation issues. Now, an N or an AS would simply ignore this.

Spend some time on a BPD board (as I am sure you have mod), they don't view themselves as evil. The whole idea of someone just moving on days later, that's N and AS. That's someone that never invested. B, i suspect they can love.

My issue at this point is with NPD. B is super sensitive, N feels nothing. N can move on. B, gets stuck.  B hurts.
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« Reply #63 on: December 17, 2011, 10:43:17 PM »

Just an experiment.

You may THINK you are not displaying all of the BPD points (such as low self esteem, and frantic fear of abandonment, substance abuse, etc)

However, rather than go by your gut feelings (I am not!), write down in a clinical manner what exactly you did when you were abandoned. What steps you took - calling, driving by, checking up, texts etc.

Now look at what you wrote - see anything?

You have to take your emotions out of the picture. Facts only. You can then apply this to all of the 'symptoms' of BPD.

Remember most crazy people do not know they themselves are the crazy.  

You are not at all wrong here. However, a diagnosis of mental illness is not the same as dysfunctional behavior or bad behavior or FOO issues.

But, you are exactly right about a good way to clean up our own act and address our own issues.  Anything else is just EXCUSES!

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« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2011, 09:40:17 AM »

The two criteria often cited at bpdfamily as "NPD" are "lack of empathy" and "portray a perfect image to others" (e.g., acting like mother of the year in public events with the family).  Both of these issues may just very well be accounted for in the definition of borderline personalty.  Empathy is key criteria in the diagnosis of BPD -- in the DSM-5 it will be rated from healthy functioning (Level = 0) to extreme impairment (Level = 4).  Mirroring (lack of identity, self direction) could explains the false image portrayal.The overlap of the PD descriptions in the DSM IV are not all that neat and tidy. In a 2008 study, the comorbidity of BPD with another personality disorder was very high at 74% (77% for men, 72% for women).  Hopefully this be straightened out in the DSM-5 (2013).

Both BPs and NPs have empathy problems. I wrote about it in my NPD series. I have every book about BPD for consumers on the market. Two are by therapists and one is by two "reporter" like people who have obviously gone thru the NPD ringer. The books by therapists are:Enough About You, Let's Talk About Me by Les CarterThe Object of my Affection is in my Reflection by Rokelle Lerner.The other one is Help! I'm In Love with a Narcissist by Carter and Sokol. If you get just one, get this one. I would urge the mods to review these or somehow put them in a place where people can see them.
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« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2012, 08:34:36 PM »

Things such as:



  • Impulsive and risk taking behaviour


  • Self harm


  • Suicide Idealisation




tend to be more BPD characteristics whereas NPDs will have differing traits such as:



  • Believing they are 'special' or elevated from others


  • Fantasise about power / get 'drunk' with power


  • Deliberately take advantage of others




There are a lot of cross-over traits as well, and the chaos they cause to those around them can be very similar, but they're typically driven by different motives.
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« Reply #66 on: January 31, 2012, 06:39:22 PM »

Still trying to grasp the differences, particularly in relationships.  How can one tell when you are dealing with a narcissist versus a borderline?  I see that people on here can tell but I am still having much difficulty.  I posted a similar topic on the leaving board but I think it may be more appropriate here.

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« Reply #67 on: February 10, 2012, 04:53:38 PM »

This is some very valuable information. I have a family member that was diagnosed a Borderline decades ago but fits NPD 100% or very close. The uBPD in the family does have some very similar traits like severe verbal abuse beyond anything I've ever seen from anyone. Yet the self-centered non-concern for anyone but themselves clearly falls dead center on the uNPD. It appears that ALL interests are totally concerned with themselves, and they really don't care about anyone else. Hard to believe, and while sometimes there is lip service to caring about others their actions show that this is nearly nonexistent.

BPD does have some caretaking aspects, sometimes to a finatically dysfuntional degree which would never appear in the uNPD experience I've seen. Both can be very manipulative. The NPD really is much closer to a sociopath (APD) but the BPD could never be confused with that diagnosis. The NPD does however have a "hurting" component just like BPD which I don't believe is present in APD. That's what I've seen but as someone said it's not an exact science and even professionals miss this.
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« Reply #68 on: February 11, 2012, 06:14:45 AM »

perhaps their are no differencies, they are the same pd.  NPD and BPD could be the same thing?   perhaps what we call BPD is just NPD with a fear of abandonment?  hence the confusion.

because the more i think about it, the more i think they are the same pd.  what is termed a BPD waif, could actually be a narc with a victim persona that they subconsciously created so they can mask (from others and themselves) the real NPD.

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« Reply #69 on: February 12, 2012, 10:56:15 AM »

perhaps their are no differencies, they are the same pd.  NPD and BPD could be the same thing?   perhaps what we call BPD is just NPD with a fear of abandonment?  hence the confusion.because the more i think about it, the more i think they are the same pd.  what is termed a BPD waif, could actually be a narc with a victim persona that they subconsciously created so they can mask (from others and themselves) the real NPD.

While they have some similarities, they are not the same at all. Not even the American Psychiatric Association has laid out what is what. First they wanted to take it out for DSM-5 despite the fact that it is the best known PD, then they put it back in. Most clinicians can't define BPD, let alone know what the real differences are--I mean, they know the very basics, but they only know the treatment differences, not the concerns of family members. They hate treating BPs, but they don't treat N's at all. Of course the fact that N's don't present for treatment makes that pretty simple!
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« Reply #70 on: February 12, 2012, 03:27:04 PM »

I think I have dated/lived with both types, one of my ex was clearly more Narcissistic, the other one a typical Borderline with huge abandonment issues. Both were verbally very abusive, and both became physically violent too.

The Narcissist had a better self esteem and was actually nice, affective and funny between the abusive periods, the Borderline guy was abusive every week and got irritated without any warning (I now understand it was dysregulation). He also accused me of leaving him, being nuts, having issues, being stubborn, when he was mean and distant and I had to leave to protect my ego.

Typically The BPD guy used Silent Treatment every week, isolated himself in his office, and the attacks just kept coming with no warning, there was no effort to restore any peace in the house unless I took full responsibility for his dysregulated mind and bad mood, so mentally I lived with a teenage son. The NPD was able to talk and express his feelings and that helped to clear the air but of course he expected everyone to show that he was special 24/7.

I really don't know which one is worse. They are similar, especially when it comes to abuse, and anger/raging. They don't understand they use severe verbal abuse and that it destroys relationships. I saw a counselor with my BPD who gave him advice how to communicate but he never learned how to be respectful or express his emotions. 
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« Reply #71 on: February 13, 2012, 12:58:45 AM »

Excerpt
While they have some similarities, they are not the same at all. Not even the American Psychiatric Association has laid out what is what. First they wanted to take it out for DSM-5 despite the fact that it is the best known PD, then they put it back in. Most clinicians can't define BPD, let alone know what the real differences are--I mean, they know the very basics, but they only know the treatment differences, not the concerns of family members. They hate treating BPs, but they don't treat N's at all. Of course the fact that N's don't present for treatment makes that pretty simple!

i guess we will respectfully differ on those opinions then randi.  the only difference i see are that BPD's attempt to live through others and express rage or depression at the reolization that they are actually separate, while NPDs are more aloof and a bit more emotionally distant knowing that they are separate to others.

but both are ego centred, serving their own emotionally unmet child-like needs, with the same results on those around them and both manipulate others to their own satisfaction, with absolutely no conscience for the affects of their behaviour on others.  i think the amount of discussions within and outside of institutions shows that perhaps pd's are trying to be separated, when in fact they merge.

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« Reply #72 on: March 16, 2012, 12:20:30 PM »

I read somewhere (can't remember where but it was online) that some BPDs can have a narcissistic 'shell', i.e. they maintain a narcissistic type persona until they are threatened or hurt, then the borderline traits come out. It's like using narcissism as a defence mechanism. It's different from having true NPD.

I'm not sure how true this is but it might explain why some people seem to be both. In terms of my ex/friend he definitely has traits from both disorders and they can seem to change dependent on the situation. He has seemed very needy and easily hurt at times, and other times he has seemed very aloof and arrogant, and he has spent most of his adult life without a relationship. I have a hard time believing he is NPD because of the high level of emotion he has expressed at times, however, other times, he claims he can't feel anything at all.

CB
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« Reply #73 on: May 20, 2012, 01:19:24 AM »

My T started telling me about BPD about a year and half ago but it took me this long to really get my head around the idea that my mother might have BPD.  Now in having made several posts Narcissism keeps coming up so I am starting this workshop today.  I am really thankful for this workshop and expect that there will be many ah-hah moments.  Thanks in advance to everyone who contributed! 
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« Reply #74 on: December 02, 2012, 06:58:40 PM »

I think Randi Kreger's 10-part series on the difference between BPD and NPD is worth reading: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201110/what-have-you-done-me-lately-entitlement-key-narcissistic-trait

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