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Author Topic: COMPARISON: Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs BPD  (Read 7109 times)
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« on: March 01, 2009, 07:21:26 PM »

Both are personality disorders, and they share some of the same symptoms, so how do you tell them apart?

Finding anything positive about narcissism is difficult, since most T find them very resistant to treatment. Here is a very negative view, but one that I found very informative...


Joanna M. Ashmun.


Narcissistic individuals feel that they are special and unique in ways that others aren’t. They lack empathy to a stunning degree, and are amazed when others protest their poor treatment of them. They expect privileges and indulgences, and they also feel entitled to exploit other people without any trace of reciprocation. Their behavior is contemptuous towards others, a dismissive attitude towards other people's feelings, wishes, needs, concerns, standards, property, work, etc. In their minds normal rules don’t apply to them and they will break them when they feel they can get away with it, yet they expect others to follow them. And they criticize, gripe, and complain about almost everything and almost everyone almost all the time. Narcissists have little sense of humor. They don't get jokes, not even the funny papers or simple riddles, and they don't make jokes, except for sarcastic cracks and the lamest puns. Narcissists are not only selfish and ungiving -- they seem to have to make a point of not giving what they know someone else wants.

There is only one way to please a narcissist (and it won't please you): that is to indulge their every whim, cater to their tiniest impulses, bend to their views on every little thing. and do not expect any reciprocation at all, do not expect them to show the slightest interest in you or your life (or even in why you're bothering with them at all), do not expect them to be able to do anything that you need or want, do not expect them to apologize or make amends or show any consideration for your feelings, do not expect them to take ordinary responsibility in any way. Once they know you are emotionally attached to them, they expect to be able to use you like an appliance and shove you around like a piece of furniture. If you object, then they'll say that obviously you don't really love them or else you'd let them do whatever they want with you. If you should be so uppity as to express a mind and heart of your own, then they will cut you off -- just like that. Once narcissists know that you care for them, they'll suck you dry -- demand all your time, be more work than a newborn babe -- and they'll test your love by outrageous demands and power moves. In their world, love is a weakness and saying "I love you" is asking to be hurt, so be careful: they'll hurt you out of a sort of sacred duty. They can't or won't trust, so they will test your total devotion. If you won't submit to their tyranny, then you will be discarded as "no good," "a waste of time," "you don't really love me or you'd do whatever I ask," "I give up on you." These people are geniuses of "Come closer so I can slap you."  

Psychology Today


   * Overreacts to criticism, becoming angry or humiliated

   * Uses others to reach goals

   * Exaggerates own importance

   * Entertains unrealistic fantasies about achievements, power, beauty, intelligence or romance

   * Has unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment

   * Needs constant attention and positive reinforcement from others

   * Is easily jealous


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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 07:00:33 AM »

    Here is a very negative view, but one that I found very informative...

    No doubt. Smiling (click to insert in post)   The late Joanna Ashmun and the late Kathy Krajco, popular blogger/ abuse victim advocates, had some strong opinions about narcissisism.  And the blogger Sam Vaknin's material on narcissisism is frightening.  But, like the other PDs, I think NPD is best viewed as a spectrum of severity with a huge number of people being "subclinical".  In many cases we can learn to communicate in a way to reduce relationship struggles and we can learn to understand the tendencies and how to step back and not become emotionally injured.  

    I saw this description from Jeff Ball, Ph.D. that I thought it was pretty straight forward. Narcissistic Personality Disorder describes persons with an exaggerated sense of self-importance or uniqueness, and a preoccupation with receiving attention. Narcissists will often overstate their own achievements and talents, or focus upon the special nature of their problems. In essence, the narcissist's fragile self-esteem is revealed by their preoccupation with how others regard them. Features of a narcissistic personality include a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. There is also a need for constant attention and admiration, and either a cool indifference or feelings of rage, inferiority, shame, humiliation, or emptiness in response to criticism, indifference of others, or defeat.  ~ Jeff Ball, Ph.D..

    How to Distinguish NPD from Borderline Personality Disorder

    pwNPD traits differ from pwBPD traits in that pwNPD traits have a relatively stable self-image, and lack self-destructiveness, impulsivity, and abandonment fears.

    Otto Kernberg MD (Cornell) differentiates between the person with NPD and those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) on the basis of:

      (1) their relatively good social functioning,

      (2) their better impulse control, and

      (3) their "pseudosublimatory" potential, namely, the capacity for active, consistent work in some areas which permits them partially to fulfill their ambitions of greatness and of obtaining admiration from others.  Highly intelligent patients with this personality structure may appear as quite creative in their fields:  narcissistic personalities can often be found as leaders in industrial organizations or academic institutions; they may also be outstanding performers in some artistic domain.  Careful observation, however, of their productivity over a long period of time will give evidence of superficiality and flightiness in their work, of a lack of depth which eventually reveals the emptiness behind the glitter.  Quite frequently these are the "promising" geniuses who then surprise other people by the banality of their development.  They also are able to exert self-control in anxiety-producing situations, which may at first appear as good anxiety tolerance; however, analytic exploration shows that their anxiety tolerance is obtained at the cost of increasing their narcissistic fantasies and of withdrawing into "splendid isolation." This tolerance of anxiety does not reflect an authentic capacity for coming to terms with a disturbing reality.

    Except for instances of severe forms of NPD, these individuals are more capable of high, sustained achievement and will have a more successful work history than the person with Borderline Personality Disorder.

    Both persons with NPDs and BPDs place great importance on attention; however, unlike borderlines, who "seek nurturing attention because they need it, narcissists feel they deserve admiring attention because of their superiority."

    Persons with either Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder tend to have have weak interpersonal relationships, struggle to love others, have difficulty empathizing, are egocentric in their perceptions of reality, and have a great need for attention.  Unlike the borderline personality, however, because the personality of someone with NPD is more well-integrated, people with NPD are less likely to have episodes of psychotic states, especially when under stress.

    A key distinguishing feature of BPD is neediness; in contrast, for NPD an important discriminator is grandiosity.  Likewise, persons with NPD are less self-destructive, have better impulse control, a higher tolerance for anxiety, and are less preoccupied with dependency and abandonment issues than are BPDs.

    Finally, the self-mutilation and persistent overt rage that are often characteristic of the borderline personality are absent in NPD.

    Kernberg, O. (1984). Severe personality disorders. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Ronningstam, E. (1999). "Narcissistic personality disorder."  T. Millon, P. Blaney, & R. D. Davis (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology (pp. 674-693). New York: Oxford University Press.

    How to Distinguish NPD from Antisocial Personality Disorder

    The narcissist's key characteristic is grandiosity, whereas that of the antisocial is callousness.

    While persons with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) share tendencies to be tough-minded, glib, superficial, exploitative, and unempathic, NPD does not necessarily include characteristics of impulsivity, aggression, and deceit.  In contrast to the person with NPD, the person with ASPD may not have as great a need for the admiration and envy of others.  And, unlike the person with ASPD, someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder usually does not have a history of childhood Conduct Disorder nor of criminal behavior as adults.

    "All antisocials are assumed to have a narcissistic personality structure, but not all narcissists are antisocial.  The most important differential features are the more severe superego pathology [in the ASPD]"that is, lack of concern and understanding of moral functions, and the impaired capacity to be involved in mutual, nonexploitive relationships found in ASPD.  Interpersonal and affective manifestations (anxiety and depression) are more pronounced in NPD, while [ASPDs] show more acting out, particularly with drug and alcohol abuse.  Narcissists are usually more grandiose, while ASPD patients are exploitive, have a superficial value system, and are involved in recurrent antisocial activities . . . .  Exploitiveness in antisocial patients is probably more likely to be consciously and actively related to materialistic or sexual gain, while exploitive behavior in narcissistic patients is more passive, serving to enhance self-image by attaining praise or power.

    Unlike a person with ASPD, the person with NPD has "not learned to be ruthless or competitively assertive and aggressive when frustrated."

    A critical distinguishing feature is that in Antisocial Personality Disorder, there are no feelings of guilt or remorse:  ". . . even after being confronted with the consequences of their antisocial behavior and in spite of their profuse protestations of regret, persons with antisocial personality disorder have no change in behavior toward those they have attacked or exploited or any spontaneous concern over this failure to change their behavior."

    Ronningstam, E. (1999). "Narcissistic personality disorder."  In T. Millon, P. Blaney, & R. D. Davis (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology (pp. 674-693). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Kernberg, O. (1998).  Pathological narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder: Theoretical background and diagnostic classification. In E. F. Ronningstam (Ed.), Disorders of narcissism.  :)iagnostic, clinical, and empirical implications (pp. 29-51). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.


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    « Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 09:59:55 AM »

    I can definitely see how they can be confused sometimes.

    My wife can and does give - she can be very compassionate, especially with children, people in need, etc.

    She finds it hard to sustain, though.  She's easily frustrated, her expectations of others are high, and she expects a lot of recognition for her efforts. She will quickly feel like she has "given too much", can do no more, etc.

    It does strike me more as a childlike emotional capacity rather than NPD.

    Have you read the Lessons?
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    « Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 10:52:37 AM »

    There are NPD tendencies in all of us. It is when it it affects someones ability to function in life that it would seem to be NPD.

    Most BPD's have a touch of narcissism in them, since they have such immature emotional ways of thinking and responding, and we know that children are notoriously self centered. I guess the difference is that someone who is BPD is capable of showing some compassion or real caring, without the undertones of buttering you up or manipulating you like a pwNPD might.

    Selfishnesses not necessarily NPD. Marriage Builders talks about the roles of giver and taker, and how if we are give too much, we often end up with a lot of resentment, so we swing to the opposite extreme to make up for it.

    When one gave too much, didn't feel it was appreciated, they try to take too much

    or vice a versa...

    When one took too much and felt guilty, they shift and give too much to make up for it. Which then causes resentment about how much they are giving and not getting, so they then decide to become selfish again and take, and on and on and on the pendulum swings  

    I'm not sure if a NPD is capable of true giving though, unless there is some benefit for it in them... I think they always have ulterior motives, and are more greedy and grasping, while being totally unaware of anyone else having real needs or wants or desires that could oppose them.


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    « Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 01:25:57 PM »

    I'm not sure if a NPD is capable of true giving though, unless there is some benefit for it in them... I think they always have ulterior motives, and are more greedy and grasping, while being totally unaware of anyone else having real needs or wants or desires that could oppose them.

    I think NPDs are people with mental illness, just like BPDs, and that it's easy to see the negative behavior and forget the pain it stems from.

    I can't imagine what the childhoods and interior minds of people with NPD must be like. Painful. 'Cause we're not just talking about selfish egomaniacs, we're talking about people with diagnosable mental illness.

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    « Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 02:29:15 PM »

    My recent undiagnosed gf is mainly BPD. I think she does have moments of true caring like others mentioned. But she can't sustain it. And she seems self absorbed because she struggles so hard with just taking care of herself that she has little left to give anyone else. I do not think she is consciously manipulative, or that is rare anyway.

    My ex NPDgf was VERY different. She seemed caring in the initial infatuation stage, but I believe that even that was manipulative. EVERYTHING was about her. I think it was all about her getting narcissistic supply ( attention). I don't think she really had a conscience and she had no insight. She never apologized about anything.

    I think that all of these disorders vary in intensity as Skip says -----------there is a spectrum.

    My NPDex was severely narcissistic, while my BPDgf was on the mild end of the spectrum with BPD.

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    « Reply #6 on: March 06, 2009, 11:58:29 AM »

    I've been pondering some of the ways BPDs differ from each other ... I sometimes think that what a given BPD will do is bounded by what they would do "anyway", in an extreme situation - where they "had to" or felt justified doing it.

    E.g. if they would tell huge whopping lies if they "had to", then they will tell you huge whopping lies.  If they would get physically violent if they "had to" or because you richly deserved it, then they will get physically violent. If they would cheat when their partner "deserves it" or doesn't live up to expectations, then they will cheat.

    Because emotionally they feel like almost every situation is extreme - they "have to", or like you totally deserve their worst because of how awful you are to them. So the difference between them and other BPDs is merely going to be in whatever their "worst" happens to be.

    Just my poorly expressed armchair psychology about why some BPDs cheat, some don't, some lie, some don't, etc.

    Have you read the Lessons?
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    « Reply #7 on: March 09, 2009, 10:43:21 AM »

    Hi Gang-

    A year and a half  ago, I went to a therapist convinced that my wife was NPD. I asked him to meet with her. 

    He did and said "good news/bad news " she's not a narcissist though she has very strong traits - she's a borderline . Wow.

    I was off and running in the reading and research department and then joined this board. I highly recommend psychoanalysis as it helps you figure out your own issues but an analyst is also very well versed in the personality disorders and will give you lots of insight into the  BPD in your life.

    While in analysis, one of the examples he gave of the difference between the two disorders is the following:

    1) a narcissist will go to all of the childrens games, plays, etc and take credit for everything the kids do.

    2) A borderline has such a changing sense of self they will look to the children to help them define themselves. When the kids can't do that , the BPD treats the children as nothing more than little pockets of need that interfere with the BPD's quest for unconditional love.

    My metaphor for a borderlines love and attention is that of a lighthouse on the shore.

    When you are in the beam of light/love/attention it is real and genuine. The problem is the light swings away to focus on something/someone new and leaves you in the dark... until it swings back again.When you are once again in the light and you question why your BPD left you in the dark , as you know, they get defensive and cranky and projective and have no idea ( no constancy) that they ever left or why you are angry or suspicious or cautious .

    BPD's can love and do have empathy.  However , with no timeline in their brains ( no constancy) their love and empathy are very hit and miss.  When you don't take them back with open arms -each and every time - you are abandoning them in their minds and the cycle begins again.


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    « Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 11:17:17 AM »

    FYI, from wikipedia:

    An NPD diagnosis requires 5 or more of the following:

    *Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    *Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    *Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

    *Rarely acknowledges mistakes and/or imperfections

    *Requires excessive admiration

    *Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

    *Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    *Lacks empathy: is unwilling or unable to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

    *Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

    *Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitude.

    I don't know if my wife could ever be diagnosed with this without the therapist/dr. hearing from a lot of people who know my wife. My wife is very insecure, so when I brought this up to her, she thinks there's NO way she fits any of these, "I'm not a narcisist!" But easily fits some of the symptoms, even if she doesn't see it. I can imagine NPD being a much harder diagnosis for a patient to accept.

    To accept BPD, at least to my wife, it was a relief. Like, I do these "bad" behaviors, I don't like them. Oh wow, there's a whole LIST of the things I do, and there's a name for it. But for NPD, it would take the person doing exactly what the list says they won't: admit fault.
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    « Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 03:39:57 PM »

    My MIL is primaryily BPD, but exhibits strong NPD too...

    BPD - criteria require 5 or more:

    Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

    A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

    Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

    Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging[/b] (for MIL it's spending in excess, erratic driving and disordered eating).

    Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.

    Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood[/b] (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

    Chronic feelings of emptiness

    Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger[/b] (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).

    Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms

    On the flip-side here, while she shows empathy, it's usually not *genuine* (it's learned IMO) if you consider all surrounding the empathy expressed; she has, through decades of self-help workshops, empowerment groups, and therapy to make her an even better person, learned how to express empathy...but, as I said, when you balance it to everything else she is saying and do at the time it is expressed, it's not empathy but looks like empathy - so maybe it should be bold?

    With my MIL it seems that which side of her PD dominates is determined by who she's engaging with...for example, if it's DH, her golden child, it's pure BPD driven by fear he'll abandon her - she praises him endlessly, needs him so much, he is her hero, her very reason for living; if, on the other hand, it's me, his big-bad wife, it's almost purely NPD with sprinkles of BDP mixed in - she expects praise, expects I recognize her as brilliant, strong and successful, see her as superior and admire her as she demands - I am expendable and disposable and she let's me know it, failure to comply means war.  Now that war can be waged at me or DH or both of us - but it will come and toward each of us different.

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    « Reply #10 on: November 06, 2010, 08:41:12 AM »

    A difficult thing about "PDs" in general, and specifically about this PD, is understanding where the line of pathology is drawn - which is higher than most think - this term gets kicked around pretty liberally on message boards.  There are some websites out there droning on about malignant narcissistic husbands and fathers -- but this term, which was coined in 1964 by social psychologist Erich Fromm, is meant to describe "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil". He characterized the condition as "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity" -- basically the likes of Josef Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and Adolf Hitler.
    There is a difference between "being narcissistic" and having NPD and a "malignant narcissistic". Smiling (click to insert in post)
    This is not to suggest that there are not narcissists or NPD personality types. There are -- and NPD tendencies/traits may better describe your loved one than BPD tendencies.  It is to say that that making a dual diagnosis may be more confusing than helpful for your purposes.
    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 personality.  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).  They attempted to fix this is the DSM-5.0 (2013) but the solution was tabled and will be studied further.
    Comorbid w/BPD--------------
     More info

    When asking differential questions about multiple personality disorders, it is important to understand why you are asking the question and how you intend to use the information. Without this perspective and focus, the data may be overwhelming, confusing and misleading.  Examples of focus would be:
    • What is the difference/is there a difference between a BPD and a BPD/NPD with respect to treatment for a child?

    • What is the difference/is there a difference between a BPD and a BPD/NPD with respect to using communication tools with your spouse?

    • What is the difference/is there a difference between a BPD and a BPD/NPD with respect to emotionally detaching from a toxic relationship?

    • Are we just looking for a more toxic sounding name that is commensurate with how much pain or hurt we feel?  A mildly borderline individual can wreck a lot of damage in a relationship - even more so if we were not standing on firm ground the entire time - it doesn't take a lot more than that.

    Some helpful hints for sorting through this.
    • General and Specific There are definitions for "personality disorder" as a category and then there are definitions for the subcategories (i.e., borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, etc.).  Start with the broader definition first.  Keep in mind that to be a personality disorder, symptoms have been present for an extended period of time, are inflexible and pervasive, and are not a result of alcohol or drugs or another psychiatric disorder - - the history of symptoms can be traced back to adolescence or at least early adulthood - - the symptoms have caused and continue to cause significant distress or negative consequences in different aspects of the person's life. Symptoms are seen in at least two of the following areas: thoughts (ways of looking at the world, thinking about self or others, and interacting), emotions (appropriateness, intensity, and range of emotional functioning), interpersonal functioning (relationships and interpersonal skills), or impulse control

    • Spectrum Disorders  An extremely important aspect of understanding mental disorders is understanding that there is a spectrum of severity. A spectrum is comprised of relatively "severe" mental disorders as well as relatively "mild and nonclinical deficits".  Some people with BPD traits cannot work, are hospitalized or incarcerated, and even kill themselves.  On the other hand, some fall below the threshold for clinical diagnosis and are simply very immature and self centered and difficult in intimate relationships.

    • Comorbidity Borderline patients often present for evaluation or treatment with one or more comorbid axis I disorders (e.g.,depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa). It is not unusual for symptoms of these other disorders to mask the underlying borderline psychopathology, impeding accurate diagnosis and making treatment planning difficult. In some cases, it isn’t until treatment for other disorders fails that BPD is diagnosed.  Complicating this, additional axis I disorders may also develop over time.  Because of the frequency with which these clinically difficult situations occur, a substantial amount of research concerning the axis I comorbidity of borderline personality disorder has been conducted. A lot is based on small sample sizes so the numbers vary.  Be careful to look at the sample in any study -- comorbidity rates can differ significantly depending on whether the study population is treatment seeking individuals or random individuals in the community.  Also be aware that comorbidity rates  are generally lower in less severe cases of borderline personality disorder.

    • Multi-axial Diagnosis  In the DSM-IV-TR system, technically, an individual should be diagnosed on all five different domains, or "axes." The clinician looks across a large number of afflictions and tries to find the best fit.  Using a single axis approach, which we often do as laymen, can be misleading -- looking at 1 or 2 metal illness and saying "that's it" -- if you look at 20 of these things, you may find yourself saying "thats it" a lot.   Smiling (click to insert in post)  A note in the DSM-IV-TR states that appropriate use of the diagnostic criteria is said to require extensive clinical training, and its contents “cannot simply be applied in a cookbook fashion”.

    • Don't become an Amateur Psychologist or Neurosurgeon  While awareness is a very good thing, if one suspects a mental disorder in the family it is best to see a mental health professional for an informed opinion and for some direction - even more so if you are emotionally distressed yourself and not at the top of your game. 

    I hope this helps keep it in perspective.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

    DIFFERENCES|COMORBIDITY: Overview of Comorbidity
    Additional discussions...
    Personality Disorders
    Borderline and Paranoid Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Schzoid/Schizotypal Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Antisocial Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Histrionic Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Avoidant Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Dependent Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Depressive Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Sadistic Personality Disorder
    Borderline and Self Defeating Personality Disorder
    Borderline PD and Alcohol Dependence
    Borderline PD and Aspergers
    Borderline PD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    Borderline PD and BiPolar Disorder
    Borderline PD and Dissociative Identity Disorder
    Borderline PD and P.T.S.D.
    Borderline PD and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

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    « Reply #11 on: November 24, 2010, 08:46:06 AM »

    I see a lot of myself in that caricature.

    I am in one-one therapy and also in (separate) relationship therapy, as I have a lot of self-destructive habits I would like to break. I've never been diagnosed with a personality disorder but am aware I have a lot of severe issues from my upbringing. If I lived in a country with better mental health care perhaps I would have been diagnosed with complex PTSD by now - I don't know.  

    I see myself in that description above but I am very self-aware and motivated to change.

    I think I have some disordered traits but I don't think I have a full-blown personality disorder.

    I witnessed a lot of violence against my schizophrenic father from my mother, and my brother and I were severely neglected and verbally/physically/emotionally abused.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that the behaviour Randi describes may have a range of causes.

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    « Reply #12 on: December 23, 2010, 08:16:50 PM »

    This is from the current DSM.IV section on Borderline Personality Disorder 301.83: Differential Diagnosis (the traits that distinguish one disorder from another.)

    Although Paranoid Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder may also be characterized by an angry reaction to minor stimuli, the relative stability of self-image as well as the relative lack of self-destructiveness, impulsivity, and abandonment concerns distinguish these disorders from Borderline Personality Disorder.

    From the DSM.IV section on Narcissistic Personality Disorder 301.81: Differential Diagnosis:

    The most useful feature in discriminating Narcissistic Personality Disorderfrom Histrionic, Antisocial, and Borderline Personality Disorders, whose interactive styles are respectively coquettish, callous, and needy, is the grandiosity characteristic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The relative stability of self-image as well as the relative lack of self-destructiveness, impulsivity, and abandonment concerns also help distinguish Narcissistic Personality Disorder from Borderline Personality Disorder. Excessive pride in adlievements, a relative lack of emotional display, and disdain for others' sensitivities help distinguish Narcissistic Personality Disorder from Hislrionic Personality Disorder. Although individuals with Borderline, Histrionic,

    and 'arcissistic Personality Disorders may require much attention, those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder specifically need thai attention to be admiring.

    Hopefully that helps Smiling (click to insert in post)

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    « Reply #13 on: January 04, 2011, 08:39:15 AM »

    The following is from my notes for my next book. This is all preliminary. *NPD: More sold sense of self less fragmentation No risk of psychosis, more tolerance of being alone; better employment. The narcissist expects you to revolve around them; The BP wraps her world around you and you are her universe. *NPD: Developmentally NP better off: higher functioning. Empathy and compassion less than BP.*BPD: First impressions: BP immediate emotional connection and a rush of knowing the other person very well and being intimate. Now that may sound like BPD. HOWEVER It might SEEM that way with NP, but if you think about it it’s more charming and you’re impressed with them and think you must be special if this wonderful person is paying attention to you…there is a false intimacy and you realize you know much more about them than they know about you. NP opinionated and judgmental, phony. May ask questions about you but doesn’t really care about the answers. *BPD: BPs more inconsistent, *NPD: NPs more consistent. *NPD: NPs idealized vision of themselves with low self esteem shows through when there is some kind of failure or narcissistic injury, while BP ‘s low self-esteem could come through at any time. *BPD:  too needy and NP not vulnerable or sensitive enough. *BPD: more vulnerable to abandonment while NPs get off on new sources of supply. *BPD: BPs have I hate you don’t me abandonment/engulfment dance, lots of changes and moodiness, while relationship with NP is more consistent  
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    « Reply #14 on: April 20, 2011, 09:43:17 AM »

    This is an area that interests me a great deal. My first H was definitely NPD; my current bf is diagnosed BPD, he has no N traits. There is an enormous difference between his behaviour and my H's. There is a lot less difference between how being in a r/s with either left me feeling. The biggest difference is in the likelihood of either accepting that they have a problem and therefore being able to start seeking treatment etc. The Narcissist is very unlikely to do so.

    As to whether it matters, i am not sure. It seems that the people on this site are in r/s with a range of disorders. However we can still all relate to how each other feels in an abusive r/s and that is what this site is for.
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    « Reply #15 on: April 20, 2011, 09:51:24 AM »

    From what I have read thus far there are obvious indicators of both.

    Ironically enough (or perhaps not so ironic at all) is the fact that my wife is a Social Worker (MSW). We have a copy of her DSM-IV and I have done some research there, online and off.

    It was odd. The T was hesitant, almost reticent to actually come out and say it. Even pretend to punch himself in the head for introducing the possibility of using the "N" word. My assumption: he knows he has to tread very carefully with W. He was the reason I first started looking into BPD. He introduced it in a general way early in our counseling but always backpedaled from it. Never a diagnosis. Once, after having introduced BPD into a session again, I pressed him on what it means and what it would look like. His response was that it had to do with the intensity of the symptons and whether or not it was the primary defense mechanism.

    My assessment has been that he is afraid if he "diagnosed" W would reject it (she has rejected most of his assessments) and/or she would latch onto the diagnosis and it would be counter-productive.
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    « Reply #16 on: April 20, 2011, 09:54:24 AM »

    One of the biggest differences between an exNPD partner and my BPD H is how much the NPD was concerned with what others thought of him.  BPD H doesn't really care what people think of him, his driver is his own critical voice...you blew it again, stupid. Bam bam bam.  He beats himself up.  He will play a fool and be silly and doesn't care if anyone thinks he is silly.

    exNPD got really upset one time because his fancy sneakers had a tiny tear.  He was upset that they were all he had to wear at the time and really concerned that someone would notice.  I thought, oh brother, who cares?  He was very concerned what others thought of him and was never silly a moment in his life.
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    « Reply #17 on: May 07, 2011, 05:57:04 AM »

    Are many pwNPD traits gifted?

    Mine was a doctor by age 24.  In some ways, they seem to have the world by the a _ _.  Looks, brains, whatever.  Makes me wonder if they do this and get away with it because they can.  
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    « Reply #18 on: May 07, 2011, 07:32:07 AM »

    Mine is an absolute math genius.  Straight A's through her Master's in Math.  Often they're over-achievers from childhood, trying to get approval from emotionally detached parents.  
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    « Reply #19 on: May 07, 2011, 08:01:57 AM »

    Mine has a shrewd mind and is also a musician. 
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    « Reply #20 on: May 07, 2011, 08:46:45 AM »

    My xBPDbf was brilliant, absolutely genius.

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    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.

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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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    « 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! 
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    « 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!

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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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