Is narcissism a symptom of BPD? Narcissism is not a symptom of BPD listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, as many as 40% of people with BPD may also have narcissistic personality disorder,4 so people with BPD may also show signs of narcissism.
The reason why these personality types are attracted to one another is they magnetise. Each one helps the other play out their individual drama by fulfilling their needs. In the case of the borderline sufferer, when they first encounter the narcissist, they see everything they are not and cannot do.
The Narcissistic individual may react with rage or withdrawal, which then triggers the Borderline partner's abandonment fears. The Borderline feels abandoned, anxious, and emotionally deregulated, and the pattern begins all over again, as the Borderline's anxiety triggers the Narcissists wounds and desire to withdraw.
Certain personality types tend to be more manipulative than others. People with borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and sociopaths are more likely to gaslight those around them.
BPD features are highly represented in subjects with psychopathy as well as psychopathic traits are highly prevalent in patients with BPD.
Differences in BPD and NPD
For people with NPD, their emotions may be shallow, except for rage. People with BPD have a fear of both abandonment and engulfment. People with NPD may have a pervasive sense of grandiosity. People with BPD can have suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
Borderline/dependent: A person with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is well-matched with a person who has a dependent personality disorder (DPD). The BPD has an intense fear of abandonment which is a good match for the DPD who will not leave even a dysfunctional relationship.
People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are emotionally fragile, impulsive, suffer from low mood, have intense unstable personal relationships and – according to a handful of studies – they also have enhanced empathy.
Many people with BPD are deep thinkers, intuitive feelers, and many are intellectually gifted. Contrary to popular belief, most BPD sufferers are highly introspective and self-aware.
Often it seems as though there is no remorse or regret when someone with borderline intentionally, or unintentionally, hurt someone they love. They say cruel things, act in cruel ways, and can cause real harm to themselves or to others. When called on it, they will act with little remorse or regret.
BPD splitting destroys relationships because the behaviour can be impulsive or reckless in order to alleviate the pain, often hurting loved ones in the process. It can feel like everyone abandons or hurts them, often causing them to look for evidence, and creating problems from nothing.
When the person with NPD meets someone with BPD, they can tend to use them to fulfil their need for validation, often at the expense of the BPD sufferer's boundaries and feelings. This insatiable need for attention coupled with the heightened emotions of BPD to make a volatile mix.
People with BPD also have a tendency to think in extremes, a phenomenon called "dichotomous" or “black-or-white” thinking. 2 People with BPD often struggle to see the complexity in people and situations and are unable to recognize that things are often not either perfect or horrible, but are something in between.
Narcissistic personality (NPD) and histrionic personality (HPD) are both cluster B personality disorders.
A person with BPD is often unable to trust their own feelings or reactions. Lacking a strong sense of self leads to a sense of emptiness and sometimes a sense of being non-existent, and this is another reason BPD hurts so much.
Separations, disagreements, and rejections—real or perceived—are the most common triggers for symptoms. A person with BPD is highly sensitive to abandonment and being alone, which brings about intense feelings of anger, fear, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, and very impulsive decisions.
Based on overlapping symptoms, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are often mistaken for one another. The two personality disorders even have a rate of co-occurrence of about 25 percent, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Narcissists and Borderlines Form Intense, Quick Attachments
Narcissists and Borderline individuals also have something else in common that makes them likely to choose each other: they both can quickly form intense romantic attachments based on very little information about the other person.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder may marry or enter into intimate relationships with each other, more than statistically likely, it seems.
Infidelity and BPD
Some people have negative associations between BPD and infidelity, but there is currently no research that shows a connection between BPD and an increased likelihood of cheating. Two of the key features of borderline personality are problems in relationships and problems with impulsive behavior.
People who split are often seen to be overly dramatic or overwrought, especially when declaring that things have either "completely fallen apart" or "completely turned around." Such behavior can be exhausting to those around them.
People with BPD may experience intense mood swings, abandonment issues, depression, impulsivity, and negative impacts in their relationships. They are also prone to self-harm behaviors and suicidal ideation. Relationships where one partner has BPD can be chaotic, intense, and inconsistent.
People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) tend to have major difficulties with relationships, especially with those closest to them. Their wild mood swings, angry outbursts, chronic abandonment fears, and impulsive and irrational behaviors can leave loved ones feeling helpless, abused, and off balance.