The individual who suffers from borderline personality disorder has an extreme abiding fear of being abandoned. Borderline personalities are psychologically fragile. Due to the lack of positive, nurturing internalized parental figures within their psyches, they feel desperately alone, worthless, anxious and depressed. They have low impulse control and poor psychological boundaries, meaning that they do not possess a solid separate sense of self. They emotionally fuse with partners who are stronger and whom they believe can offer them emotional security and safety. Their ego strength (that sense of a strong “I” that is assertive and self approving) is deeply impaired. As a result, borderline personalities can be easily seduced and exploited by highly manipulative and controlling individuals like the narcissist. Frequently the pair become a pathological folie a deux that is psychologically devastating to the spouse who is a borderline personality. In some cases, the borderline individual experiences severe damage to his/her physical health. In many instances when the narcissist decides to break up with his borderline spouse, he pilfers the monetary assets and properties owned by the couple. Some borderline ex-spouses never recover and are catapulted into a tragic downward spiral of substance abuse, psychological disintegration that can lead to psychotic breaks, and life threatening physical illness.
The psychologically impaired borderline is a perfect partner for the demanding, self absorbed , grandiose, empathy lacking narcissistic personality. The borderline is saying to herself or himself about the relationship: “I will be whatever you want me to be—just don’t leave me. “I will do anything you want me to do—just don’t leave me.” “I will risk my life for you—just don’t leave me.”
The narcissist is parasitic. He feeds off the weaknesses of others to accumulate more financial resources and raw power. Since the narcissist has no sense of limits and virtually no conscience, he is completely disengaged about his role as a principal party in the psychological destruction of another human being or in severely damaging a spouse’s physical health. Before the separation or divorce is mentioned, the narcissist has already made elaborate plans for the next phase of his/her life. There are no regrets or conscience stricken moments for the narcissist. The former spouse never meant anything to him and now has become an infinitesimal speck in the chambers of memory. Visit my website:www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
One thought on “Borderline Personalities Married To Narcissists”
Hi there Linda. I am wondering whether or not you sometimes see symptoms in partners of pathological Narcissists that are consistent with BPD but that did not begin to manifest themselves until after the relationship became emotionally abusive. The reason why I am asking this is because the many of the symptoms consistent with Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (sadly this was not included in the DSM-V despite evidence that it should be) appear to be strikingly similar to those of BPD. The difference is that the behaviors seem to develop as a direct result of the abuse itself. Complicating the situation even more, I believe, is the fact that many survivors of Narcissistic abuse, by the time they are adults, have already suffered emotional abuse at the hands of pathological Narcissists. Because so little seems to be widely known about Narcissistic Victim Syndrome, the behaviors are oftentimes mistaken for the more commonly identified BPD despite the fact that the source of the behaviors is much different. I am really worried we might be overlooking something very important when it comes to Narcissistic abuse and it is resulting in the wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment for many,many survivors. Thank you for your time.
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