Borderline personality disorder versus narcissism
BPD vs. NPD: Important Similarities & DifferencesSkip to content
Published: March 29, 2022 Updated: September 21, 2022
Published: 03/29/2022 Updated: 09/21/2022
Borderline personality disorder and narcissism are two pervasive pathologies. The major issues of borderline stem from unstable emotions/sense of self and fear of abandonment. Narcissists’ focal concerns involve excessive self-importance, lack of empathy, and an eagerness to feed the ego. Analyzing the similarities and differences between BPD vs NPD can help to distinguish them.
If you could use some support from a professional, don’t wait. BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you.
Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious psychological disturbance characterized by a persistent instability with mood, self-identity, and interpersonal relationships. BPD individuals tend to struggle with constant feelings of emptiness, managing strong emotions, poor self-image, and a chronic fear of abandonment. These personality deficiencies often result in chaotic relationships, self-harming behaviors/suicidal thoughts, and intense emotional reactions to stressors.1
Characteristics of someone with BPD include:1
- Drastic moods swings and emotional dysregulation
- Extreme efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment due to fear of being alone
- Impulsiveness resulting in risky behaviors (shopping sprees, reckless driving etc.)
- Unstable/distorted sense of self
- Chronic feeling of emptiness
- Difficulty controlling excessive and inappropriate anger
- Feelings of dissociation; a disconnect from the self or reality
- Patterns of unstable interpersonal relationships cycling between idealization and devaluation often causing an intense emotional reaction or splitting
- Self-harm behaviors such as cutting
- Recurring suicidal ideations or threats of suicide
Pathological narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a chronic psychiatric condition marked by patterns of grandiosity, entitlement, and lack of empathy. People with NPD often seek admiration to boost their ego and self-esteem. Individuals with NPDtypically present with significant problems in maintaining employment and interpersonal relationships. Narcissism is believed to stem from a person’s attempt to mask deep-seated feelings of insecurity.1,2,3
Characteristics of people with NPD include:1,2,3
- Bragging about self-importance and exaggerating accomplishments
- An excessive need for flattery, praise, and external gratification
- Feelings of uniqueness (can only associate with/be understood by prominent people/institutions)
- Obsession about appearances and attaining power, success, and wealth
- Entitlement issues
- Placing unrealistic expectations onto others
- Manipulating, exploiting, and/or taking advantage of others
- Lacking empathy or disregarding other people’s needs or feelings
- Arrogance; being demeaning toward others
- Being envious of people and believing others are envious of them
It should be noted that narcissism lies on a spectrum with the highest level of severity being malignant narcissism. Other moderate to severe subtypes of NPD include grandiose/overt narcissism, vulnerable NPD, or covert narcissism.2
Borderline vs Narcissist: Key Differences
Although BPD and NPD are both characterized by a distorted notion of reality, their personality constructs and dispositions vary in many aspects. For instance,individuals with BPD generally have an unclear and unstable sense of self, triggering feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. By contrast, those with NPD may seem superficially well-adjusted and even-keel because they possess a strong sense of superiority (mostly sustained through narcissistic supply).
Individuals with BPD struggle with an intense fear of abandonment and chronic feelings of emptiness. As such, they have an intense need to fill this void by quickly attaching to others or seeking relationships. These individuals will go above and beyond to avoid real or imagined abandonment. When this person senses the slightest sign of rejection, they may become emotionally volatile and/or use emotional manipulation tactics like jealousy, control, or threatening self-harm.
These unhealthy behavioral patterns have damaging effects that strain relationships. Ironically, those with BPD have a deep desire for intimacy and can be caring individuals, but their strong emotions and hypersensitivities tend to get in the way.4
Since people with BPD have trouble understanding their identity, they tend to experience drastic changes in how they view themselves. This is evident in their shifts in values, career goals, personal ambitions, and so on. Their Internal identity issues often manifest in impulsive, reckless, and self-destructive ways. As a result, those with BPD experience severe social, vocational/academic and interpersonal impairments. 1,4
On the other hand, individuals’ with NPD most prominent deficiency is the lack of empathy that limits their capacity to understand and connect with others. Due to this emotional deficit, people with NPD are oblivious to how their words and actions affect others. Instead, they exclusively focus on maintaining their grandiose façade and getting their ego boosted. They only seek relationships or opportunities for personal gain.
However, the moment a narcissist’s grandiosity is challenged, the flow of narcissistic supply is threatened, or their shortcomings are exposed, they will likely play the victim and react with hostility or rage (sometimes violently), employ manipulative/gaslighting tactics and/or drastically cut ties with the person/anything that the NPD person deems useless or has caused the narcissistic injury.4
Narcissists firmly believe they deserve the best of everything and are convinced that they are destined to accomplish important things. Paradoxically, this narcissist’s false idea of grandiosity and excessive self-love seems to work in their favor by enabling them to lead high functional lives and preserving a somewhat stable identity.2,5,6
Similarities Between Borderlines & Narcissists
BPD and NPD share several common characteristics and behavioral patterns. At the core of these personality disorders is an inflexible and unhealthy way of thinking, acting, and behaving. Both will attempt to protect their persona from mental and emotional distress by using defense mechanisms. Consequently, they experience problems in important aspects of their life.1
Similarities between BPD and NPD similarities include:4
- Belief that the world revolves around them
- Constant need for attention and validation
- Spend significant energy on themselves and their needs
- Disconnect from reality
- Unstable and unmanageable interpersonal relationships
- Disregard for how their actions and words affect or hurt others
- Emotional immaturity (impaired reasoning once triggered)
- All or nothing mentality, vacillating between idealizing and devaluing
- Project their negative feelings and/or attributes onto others
- Cannot admit fault for their mistakes; instead use others as scapegoats
- Look to others for management of certain functions of the self; BPD rely on people to regulate their emotions while NPD bank on others to feed their ego
- Immense sense of shame hidden under layers of self-deceit
- Overly sensitive to criticism and/or humiliation
- Unreasonable disproportionate and uncontrollable rage that can be intensely hostile or passive-aggressive
Help For Narcissistic Abuse
Individual Therapy – Get personalized help with recovering from narcissistic abuse from a licensed therapist. BetterHelp offers online sessions by video or text. Try BetterHelp
Support Groups – You are not alone in dealing with a narcissist. Sesh offers over 100 different support groups per month, with at least once a week focused on narcissism. First Month Free
Books On Narcissism – See our handpicked selection of Narcissism Books List
Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp and Sesh.
What Is a Borderline Narcissist?
A borderline narcissist can be described as a person who has borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic traits or co-occurring NPD. In such cases, the BPD individual presents with an unstable sense of self or disconnect from self, poor self-esteem, hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism, defensiveness and feelings of insecurity along with a self-concept based on a covert sense of grandiosity.
Furthermore, having NPD or narcissist tendencies may worsen BPD by increasing aggressive and hostile behaviors. This negatively impacts the person’s relational and social aspects of functioning.5,7
Can BPD & NPD Be Treated?
As with any other personality disorder, BPD and NPD can be difficult to treat. Nevertheless, some individuals recover with long-term extensive treatment that includes the support of evidence-based clinical interventions and professional expertise. The key factor relies on the person’s genuine desire to change, willingness to enter treatment, and serious commitment to the therapeutic process.4
When it comes to treatment, psychotherapy is the most utilized and effective treatment for BPD and NPD. Treatments for BPD often involve working with a skilled clinician who uses interventions like dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and mentalization-behavioral therapy (MBT) to target borderline symptoms.
Overall, favorable and lasting outcomes can be seen in BPD individuals who participate in a comprehensive treatment plan. 4 In addition, medication can be beneficial in treating isolated BPD symptoms or those with comorbid disorders, especially when combined with psychotherapy.8
NPD may be one of the most problematic personality disorders to diagnose and treat. Due to NPD’s variable presentation and insufficient scientific investigation, there aren’t any established or empirically supported forms of treatment. Because BPD and NPD have overlapping symptoms, it is recommended to adapt BPD therapies to treat NPD.
Unfortunately, not many narcissists are inclined to change or seek professional help unless faced with relational/employment related consequences or experiencing symptoms of a co-occurring mental health condition. Even when narcissists enter therapy, the drop-out rates are high, making NPD much more challenging to address. 2,3
Final Thoughts On Borderline vs Narcissist
Although borderline personality disorder and narcissism are complex conditions that tend to carry a stigma, there is still hope for treatment. You may find relief once you identify and understand the reasons behind your struggles and find ways to manage your personality disorder. Taking accountability for your actions and seeking professional help can be a good
Education is just the first step on our path to improved mental health and emotional wellness. To help our readers take the next step in their journey, Choosing Therapy has partnered with leaders in mental health and wellness. Choosing Therapy may be compensated for referrals by the companies mentioned below.
BetterHelp (Online Therapy) – BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you. Get Started
Online-Therapy.com – Receive help for BPD. The Online-Therapy.com standard plan includes a weekly 45 minute video session, unlimited text messaging between sessions, and self-guided activities like journaling. Recently, they added Yoga videos. Get Started
Brightside Health (Online Psychiatry) – If you’re struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), finding the right medication can make a difference. Brightside Health treatment plans start at $95 per month. Following a free online evaluation and receiving a prescription, you can get FDA approved medications delivered to your door. Free Assessment
Choosing Therapy’s Directory – Find an experienced therapist specializing in BPD. You can search for a therapist by specialty, availability, insurance, and affordability. Therapist profiles and introductory videos provide insight into the therapist’s personality so you find the right fit. Use our therapist directory to find a therapist today.
Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp, Online-Therapy.com, and Brightside
Choosing Therapy strives to provide our readers with mental health content that is accurate and actionable. We have high standards for what can be cited within our articles. Acceptable sources include government agencies, universities and colleges, scholarly journals, industry and professional associations, and other high-integrity sources of mental health journalism. Learn more by reviewing our full editorial policy.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th Ed). American Psychiatric Association.
Caligor, E., Levy, K. N., & Yeomans, F. E. (2015). Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Diagnostic and Clinical Challenges. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(5), 415–422. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14060723
Mitra, P., & Dimy Fluyau. (2021, May 18). Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Nih.gov; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556001/
Mason, P. T., & Kreger, R. (2020). STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Taking your life back when someone you care about has borderline a personality disorder. (3rd ed.). New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Hörz-Sagstetter, S., Diamond, D., Clarkin, J. F., Levy, K. N., Rentrop, M., Fischer-Kern, M., Cain, N. M., & Doering, S. (2018). Clinical Characteristics of Comorbid Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders, 32(4), 562–575. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi_2017_31_306
Kampe, L., Bohn, J., Remmers, C., & Hörz-Sagstetter, S. (2021). It’s Not That Great Anymore: The Central Role of Defense Mechanisms in Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissism. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.661948
McCommon, B. (2018). Borderline Personality Disorder with Narcissistic Features. In Borderline Personality Disorder: A Case-Based Approach (pp. 151–162). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90743-7_13
Bozzatello, P., Rocca, P., De Rosa, M. L., & Bellino, S. (2019). Current and emerging medications for borderline personality disorder: is pharmacotherapy alone enough? Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 21(1), 47–61. https://doi.org/10.1080/14656566.2019.1686482
If you are in need of immediate medical help:
The Difference Between Borderline Personality and Narcissism Symptoms and Treatment – Bridges to Recovery
October 18, 2018, Laurel NowakBridges to Recovery
While there are many overlapping signs and symptoms, there are important differences between borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. Those differences necessitate an accurate clinical diagnosis, but the similarities between the disorders may include similarities in treatment, including long-term psychotherapy in a welcoming residential setting.
When someone you know is diagnosed with a personality disorder, it can feel as if so many pieces are finally falling into place. Most importantly, you can begin to see how, even though this person may be difficult to deal with, they are not trying to be difficult. In fact, they do need help to piece their own view of the world together in a constructive way. Viewing the world through their mind is almost like viewing a puzzle that has been put together wrong. And the pieces don’t fit, some have been forced together, others are upside down. But they don’t yet know any other way to put it together. Their efforts typically feel frustrating and desperate. Chances are good that dealing with their own minds is immensely more challenging than it is for you, dealing with them.
There are a total of ten different types of personality disorders. Borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder are in the same cluster of personality disorders because they do share similar symptoms and characteristics. Along with histrionic and antisocial personality disorders—also in cluster B—borderline and narcissistic personality disorders manifest with exaggerated experiences compared to those of an average individual. For someone with one of these personality disorders, their feelings, thoughts, and reactions to things tend to be more intense. But the fears and motivations that fuel this intensity are different between borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.
The difference between borderline personality and narcissism can be hard to spot because there are so many overlaps in the symptoms and character traits. Here is a brief overview of some of the fundamental differences between BPD and NPD. But, ultimately, a careful clinical diagnosis is necessary to move forward constructively with recovery.
What Are the Differences Between Borderline Personality Symptoms and Narcissism?
Let’s take a look at a couple of hypothetical cases to help us explore the differences between these two disorders. We’ll pretend that Bonnie has borderline personality disorder and Nadia has narcissistic personality disorder. They have recently been diagnosed with these clinical disorders and are beginning their own unique treatment paths with clinical teams.
Here is how behavioral health experts might distinguish between the two women’s symptoms, experiences, and motivations:
Borderline Personality Disorder
Bonnie, with BPD, is terribly concerned that she is unloveable. She seeks attention because she fears the void where intimacy and validation from others are not present. Through her fundamental filter of perception, she cannot be without her close personal connections. Hence, she desperately fears abandonment, and many of her thoughts and reactions are fueled by that fear. Additionally, her very sense of self depends on this volatile attachment to others.
Others might observe the following symptoms in someone with borderline personality disorder:
- Desperately trying to avoid abandonment
- Dependent and clingy behaviors
- Cycling between idealization and devaluation of another in relationship
- An unstable sense of identity and self-image
- Impulsive behaviors
- Episodes of emotional instability, including anxiety or irritability
- Feeling low, empty, unmotivated
- Episodes of intense anger and outbursts
- A disconnection from reality and other dissociative symptoms, including suspicion and paranoia
- Self-harming behaviors and suicidal ideation and attempts
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Nadia, with NPD, is convinced that she is special to the point of superiority. However, this belief is built on an unstable foundation—a foundation designed to distract from the underlying fear that she is actually worthless. She feels threatened by anything that compromises her self-esteem. But her efforts are dedicated to preserving the illusion of superiority rather than addressing the fears and vulnerabilities below the surface. She may seem confident and well put together, but it is because she truly believes in the exaggerated positive qualities she has ascribed herself—and she feels the strong need for others to also believe in how special she is.
Others might observe the following symptoms in someone with narcissistic personality disorder:
- Lack of empathy for others
- Bragging about their superior traits and accomplishments
- Insulting others or otherwise making themselves look better at the expense of others
- Flattering or criticizing—depending on whether others flatter or criticize in return
- Sensitivity in the face of criticism or even potential criticism
- Dominating interactions and relationships
- Aloof and distant in relationships
- Needing attention and flattery
- Fantasizing about power, fame, and wealth
- Envy, resentment, and revenge
- Difficulty adapting to change
Call for a Free Confidential Assessment.877-727-4343
What Are the Similarities Between Borderline Personality and Narcissistic Personality Disorders?
The major issue that underlies both disorders is insecurity. There are fears beneath the surface that are so overwhelming—they distort the individual’s perceptions of themselves and others. As a result, people with borderline personality disorder and those with narcissistic personality disorder both tend to experience patterns of unstable or destructive relationships. Abandonment is a common theme in both cases. Someone with borderline personality disorder may act out their intense fears of abandonment to such an extent that they drive someone away. Someone with narcissistic personality disorder, on the other hand, is more likely to be the one abandoning another—perhaps because they’d rather do so before someone has the chance to leave them or to otherwise reinforce their appearance of superiority.
People with BPD and NPD may spend much of their lives in isolation. They may also struggle to hold a job, due to interpersonal challenges and impulsivity or arrogance. It’s possible for people with either disorder to have difficulty regulating their moods. They face high risks of co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and PTSD, among others. As with so many other personality disorders, people with borderline or narcissistic personality disorder are highly unlikely to seek treatment for their distress. In fact, they believe in their disordered perspective and are unlikely to see that their beliefs are off-base. Ultimately, both disorders require sufficient time and patience to begin to untangle the deeper insecurities and fears.
What Does This Comparison Mean for Diagnosis and Treatment?
Even as fundamental personality disorders, BPD and NPD do respond to long-term professional treatment. The first step is to get a diagnosis, which can be challenging to pinpoint because so many symptoms of these personality disorders overlap with other disorders. Indeed, an individual may suffer from multiple behavioral disorders at one time and need a dual diagnosis.
Psychotherapy is the primary path to recovery for people with borderline personality disorder and those with narcissistic personality disorder. However, the specific approaches to therapy will vary between the disorders as clinicians attempt to address the unique insecurities that motivate a client’s disordered thinking, emotions, and behaviors. And both disorders benefit most from a residential treatment environment, where diverse treatment options are available in one place and recovery can happen in stages over time.
With patience and professional guidance, someone with borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder can gain greater awareness of their actual reality and learn how to respond to relationships and other life stressors in more positive ways.
Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles programs. We can help you or your loved one start on the path to healing.
Psychopaths or victims: who are the "border guards"?
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has recently been quite heatedly discussed in the media and social networks, but expert opinions about what it really is are often diametrically opposed.
According to some experts, BPD is a relatively new and rather complex phenomenon in psychopathology, according to others, we are talking about the good old and well-studied psychopaths described in the book “Clinic of Psychopathies , their statics , dynamics , systematics” back in 1933 by psychiatrist P. B. Gannushkin. One way or another, according to experts, there are quite a lot of "border guards" around, and therefore it is worth taking a closer look at them.
"Dangerous, but sane"
According to ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases), this condition is a subtype of emotionally unstable personality disorder, which is divided into two types: impulsive ("impulsive personality disorder", formerly known as explosive psychopathy) and borderline (“borderline personality disorder”). The first type is characterized by emotional imbalance, lack of restraint, impulsiveness, low self-control, aggressiveness. The second, in addition to all of the above, is characterized by high anxiety and a strong level of desocialization. People with BPD often lead antisocial and risky lifestyles, feel empty, and abuse psychoactive substances.
P psychotherapist, member of the Russian Academy of Medical and Technical Sciences Alexander Tesler explains: this condition was renamed from psychopathy to a personality disorder purely out of political correctness. According to one version, this condition is congenital, according to another, it is acquired. As the MIR 24 expert stated, psychopathic traits can either be aggravated by upbringing or compensated, but psychopaths are still born.
However, if earlier psychopathy was really explained mainly by bad heredity or birth trauma, today the versions have varied and range from genetic predisposition to experienced psychotraumas, including mental, physical and sexual abuse in childhood.
In fairness, it should be noted that in general human nature is distinguished by an enviable variety of various personality disorders that are not a disease in the full sense of the word. In ICD-10, their spectrum is listed in section F60-F68. This is antisocial personality disorder, and hysterical, and anancaste, and anxiety, and many others. There is dependent personality disorder and permanent change after experiencing a catastrophe. Separate points are disorders of habits and inclinations (for example, a pathological attraction to gambling - gambling addiction), to theft (kleptomania), etc. Gender identity disorders are also listed there - transsexualism, dual role transvestism, gender identity disorder in childhood, sexual preference disorders (fetishism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc.).
Usually personality disorders are not strictly described paranoid, schizoid, asthenic conditions, but a kind of mosaic. There is even the term "mosaic psychopathy" (mosaic personality disorder). These properties, which in a calm state are compensated by some kind of brakes, are borderline, but stress can unsettle them, says Tesler. Decompensation - the removal of inhibitory mechanisms - exacerbates all these specific features, and then the line is left behind, and the person turns into a psychopath.
“Everyone in one way or another has both traits – hysterical, asocial, and anxious. We are all mosaic, so pure psychopathy is difficult to identify. It's just that there are prevailing character traits, and there are secondary ones. But during the period of exacerbation, a person does not fully interact with the outside world, society, law, himself, can become aggressive or immerse himself in himself, interrupt contacts with society. In forensic psychiatric practice, people with personality disorders, if they were not in a state of passion, are recognized as sane, i.e. responsible for their actions,” explains the doctor.
At the same time, other researchers believe that for psychopaths, "border guards" are too well adapted to reality. However, they certainly have serious problems. Psychoanalyst Adolf Stern, who first used the term "borderline" in 1938, noted that this condition may include narcissism (simultaneous idealization and humiliation of significant persons), impotence in crisis situations, a heightened reaction to criticism, melancholy or infantile personality type, masochism, often accompanied by deep depression, inability to endure severe stress.
Other researchers have observed "border guards" chronic feeling of inner emptiness, inertness of affect (stability, sticking of emotions), inability to endure monotony and constancy, tendency to break traditional social rules, lateness, difficulty in establishing emotional contacts, outbursts of rage, irresponsibility, excitability, parasitism, bouts of depression, anger as the predominant or only type of affect, emotional vulnerability, a tendency to impose unrealistically high standards and expectations on oneself.
Another problem of the “borderguard” is a disorder of self-perception, difficulties in understanding oneself and the boundaries of internal and external reality. “Individuals with BPD often claim that they do not feel their “I” at all, complain of a feeling of emptiness and do not know who they are,” writes psychologist Ekaterina Tarasova.
The psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg pointed out that the borderline personality does not feel continuous. A person does not clearly feel who he is, he can evaluate himself in completely different ways in different situations, and because of this fuzzy “I”, he is forced to defend himself, explains psychiatrist Natalya Stilson. “I” in the past, present and future of the “border guards” are not connected, therefore, in a fit of anger, they can completely lose the feeling of love for someone - the connection with past positive experiences is lost. And a fit of anger in a “border guard” can provoke even the most insignificant episode: “I didn’t give you candy - it’s bad.”
BPD is sometimes associated with Bipolar Affective Personality Disorder (BAD), which involves fluctuations from depression to hypomania. BAD used to be called manic-depressive psychosis. However, most researchers argue that “border guards” are another story.
Idealization and devaluation
As clinical observations show, since “borderguards” are poorly aware of themselves, they like to unconsciously “mirror” a partner, assimilating his traits, interests, views and parts of personality. But then comes disappointment in the "borrowed", and, as a result, aggression directed at the donor of these parts.
At first, a highly functioning “border guard” can make a good impression on others, until he becomes disillusioned with them and falls into a phase of aggressive rejection of alien “parts”. “The mental life of BPD is a stormy sea with its own laws. So don't give yourself up to the waves. Not even all good swimmers can cope with this,” Natalia Stilson warns potential partners of the “border guards”.
In his relations with others, the "border guard" goes through several phases: idealization, disappointment and depreciation. Therefore, partners he, as a rule, come across appropriate.
As Stilson points out, the typical partner of the "border guard" is the narcissist. The latter needs a "reflector" of his own false personality, while the former wants to appropriate other people's good qualities and parts. “The narcissist exposes his vivid false personality, which the border guard reflects and appropriates,” writes the psychiatrist. "So which one of them is in trouble?" Narcissus. But he really got stuck, because he could not resist the border guard. At a certain point, all the achievements of the narcissist are turned upside down, and this actually dunks the narcissist in the face in the dirt. It's hard for a narcissist to survive."
The "borderguard" uses the latter's perfectionism against the narcissist - explains that the narcissist is not up to the ideal and must try harder. Further, having devalued the narcissist and destroyed his self-esteem, the border guard feels deeply satisfied, while the narcissist is forced to fight to the last to regain his partner's former admiration. But since the “border guard” sees everything in black and white (a partner can be either perfect or insignificant), a partner who once lost his attractiveness for him is unlikely to be able to return everything back. At the same time, as noted by other researchers, in terms of the level of integration, the border guards themselves are the closest to narcissists.
In turn, practical psychologist Elena Burkova believes that "border guards" often expect their partner to play the role of an unconditionally loving parent. However, since their relationship with their own parents was not easy (the child never felt safe with them and did not allow himself to be himself out of fear of misunderstanding and condemnation), the “border guard” develops an ambivalent attitude towards his loved one - love-hate. Therefore, expecting unconditional love from the partner, which was not received from the mother, the “border guard” himself implements the strategy of avoidance and is not capable of equal love.
Mothers with BPD are a separate problem. Such women, as a rule, give birth out of fear of loneliness, for the sake of "a glass of water in old age" - i.e. guaranteed love. The attitude towards the child's father can suddenly and for no reason change from violent passion to complete denial and hatred (subsequently, this attitude is transferred to the child, breaking his self-esteem). And, although such an attitude towards men on the part of ex-wives is not uncommon, the main feature of the “border guard” is idealization with subsequent depreciation of the partner.
Such mothers are extremely difficult to please, because their mood changes several times a day, and the destroyed self-esteem of their children is not the only negative consequence of such relationships. “Such a child was punished for being a child. And in order to (psychologically) survive, he had to sacrifice his identity, his true self, in order to maintain attachment. Therefore, now love and intimacy are forever associated with the risk of losing oneself through absorption or abandonment,” writes psychologist, gestalt therapist Tatyana Martynenko. At the same time, the "border guards", according to her, perfectly test reality, are super-sensitive to the field, accurately read the emotions and moods of others.
Ekaterina Tarasova, for her part, notes: “border guards” are very sensitive to the world around them and are able to subtly feel and experience strong emotions. At the same time, the researchers note, since in the view of such a child the world was unsafe, and his interests and personality were not taken into account, this, as it were, gave him permission to "crack" the boundaries of other people.
And psychologist, Gestalt therapist Gennady Maleichuk explains the rejection by the "border guards" of parts of their own "I" by the fact that in childhood they did not have an understanding, supportive adult, "containing chaotic, uncontrollable emotionality, which led to a pathological splitting of experience and in as a result, to the non-inclusion in the image of the "I" of some unacceptable, unworthy from the point of view of the parents of feelings, inclinations and qualities of the "I". As a result, most of the territory of the "I" turns out to be alienated, consisting of separate, poorly realized fragments, not integrated into a single whole. The same attitude is transferred to others - "ours" will be idealized, "strangers" will be depreciated.
Practically all experts note the difficulties of working with such patients. According to Natalia Stilson, in this sense, “border guards” are even more difficult than narcissists: they have at least an inflated unstable self-esteem, which they fiercely defend, while “border guards” have no self-esteem at all. Rather, these are constant dizzying tricks from plus to minus: the “border guard” either grows beautiful gardens or burns everything with napalm.
how to distinguish them from narcissism”, Tatyana Dyachenko – LitRes, page 2
"He is threatening suicide." A story in seven stories
A series of videos about Vitaly in the playlist "Borderline Personality Disorder"
This is a story about how people with borderline personality disorder behave in romantic relationships. I have many female clients with borderline personality disorder, but this story is about a male border guard.
The first story. Unrequited love of the border guard: the capture of the victim.
Ksenia is writing, she is having an office romance with a man much older than herself:
“I am twenty-two years old. Two years ago, I finally found a job I liked, which was convenient for me in all respects. There I met a man, his name is Vitaly, he is 23 years older than me. We are still working together. I must say, I respected him and even was a little afraid, and sometimes shy. He was usually silent, occasionally angry (not at me, just nervous because of the specifics of the work), I was silent and never smiled in his presence. She just did what she was supposed to do, in the evening they said dry goodbyes - and everyone went home. So six months passed. Sometimes he told something, I sympathized with him in some ways, even to myself I got angry at the people who specifically framed him (this happened in front of my eyes, such a team) . .. but this is not the point.
Once, for his birthday, I gave him a present. He was pleasantly surprised, and for the first time I saw his smile. He said that he did not expect, and, to be honest, never received such gifts. I was just pleased to realize that I brought joy to a person. And in the evening I received an SMS from him: "I love you, come to me." I was confused and just didn't take it seriously. He later called and apologized. He said that I can think anything, but he does not want to be silent, because he fell in love like a kid, and does not know what to do next with this, and does not know how he will look me in the eye when I see you at work.
And then the relationship between Ksenia and Vitaly began to develop very rapidly. They began to live together. He loves her very much and constantly talks about it. But Ksenia feels bad, she is already on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
As it turned out during the discussion, Vitaly's behavior meets all the criteria for borderline personality disorder without any impurities: he is a pure and pronounced border guard. If narcissists seize their resource in order to pump energy, then the border guards' main need is to be accepted, and for this they are ready to give. Sometimes even more than they get.
Vitaly was so hungry for a warm attitude that when Xenia gave him a present, he thought that finally someone needs him, someone loves him. From this moment, the border guard becomes tightly attached to the person, he develops a psychological dependence on the partner. Elementary respect and simple human attention is perceived as something more. He actually falls in love out of nowhere.
The love of a border guard is often unrequited, or unequal - he needs a partner more than a partner needs him. Why? Because since childhood, an anxious attachment of the “I’m not OK” type has formed (watch the video about the types of attachment on my YouTube channel).
Borderline disorder often occurs in people who experienced childhood abuse and rejection by their parents (borderguards often have parents who are narcissists or psychopaths). In the struggle for parental love, such children develop a "cling" personality: they stick to the person who has shown them attention, like a bath leaf. They really dream of getting at least a drop of love, not given to them by their parents! They are ready for any conditions, just to be with the object of love.
Usually my border guard clients are women. This is also confirmed by DSM-5, according to which women make up 75% of all cases of borderline disorder.
However, this may actually turn out to be an illusion - specialists also sometimes suffer from it. According to Randy and Lori Sanson, "Gender Patterns in Borderline Personality Disorder", a quarter of a century ago, more female borderline workers were identified in studies—about three times as many as males; and current research shows that borderline disorder affects approximately equal numbers of women and men. This dynamic can be explained by the fact that in the past psychiatrists were captivated by gender stereotypes, and therefore did not diagnose this disorder in men: it was believed that problems such as relationship dependence were not typical for men. Now the stereotypes are no longer so strong, and therefore the gender proportions among those diagnosed are leveling off [Sansone R.A., Sansone L.A., 2011].
Second story. “He threatens suicide”
Ksenia writes about how her relationship with Vitaly developed:
“After Vitaly confessed his love, I pretended that nothing had happened and continued to work. He called for a visit, I refused. One late evening, my phone was turned off, and when I turned it on, I received an SMS that he called several times, and then: “Vitaly died. Valya's daughter. And after all, it seemed like it should have dawned on me that this was not true ... But I began to blame myself, I decided that he killed himself because of me on emotions! And at night she urgently called a taxi - and to him. I didn’t really know the address, it’s just that he once showed where he lives, and I, explaining the way to the taxi driver from memory, arrived. He was alive and well, of course. He opened the door for me a little "under the closet. " Like, I didn’t expect that I would react like that. Later, later, he admitted that he then had a sister, and he "opened his soul" to her. She told him: “The girl just respects you, and leave her alone, she doesn’t need you at all,” and he replied: “We’ll check that right now!”. Well, I checked ...
And I'm very suspicious and take everything to heart, that's probably why I was very scared and didn't think... stupid. I spent the night with him and ran away in the morning. When I left, I received an SMS: "Forgive the fool."
The border guard needs proof that he is loved, that he is needed. And this is where manipulations on feelings of pity and guilt begin. Suicide threats are their favorite pastime. By this they want to attract attention, to keep the partner near them so that he does not leave them. But in this case, feigning suicide was a tool to start a relationship at all, to check whether he loves or does not love. This should immediately alert!
If you swallow this hook, then this manipulation will be used again and again, because it works. And when you stop reacting, he may well indeed commit suicide - from the pain of rejection.
Why was it immediately possible to guess that it was a border guard in front of us, and not a daffodil? Border guards are able to admit their guilt and sincerely repent.
“Every evening after a working day, he invited me to visit him. When I did not work with him on a shift, he called endlessly, and I could not firmly tell him not to interfere. And once he said on the phone: “I’m just lying here and looking at the ceiling, the lights are off everywhere ... there’s no one and no one needs me. Just mentally dead. It remains to die physically ... as if crushed by a stove, and I can’t get up. I’ll call you a taxi, pay for it myself… just come, I beg you, I promise, I won’t even lay a finger on it.” I felt sorry for him, and I came."
Here it is, the key phrase of the border guard: "No one needs me." This is the leitmotif of his whole life. He has a fear of being unnecessary to anyone, and a huge need to be at least needed by someone. And in order to satisfy this need, he threatens suicide. He is forty-five, and he is doing this with a twenty-two-year-old girl who has no experience, no understanding of what is happening. The girl still has her whole life ahead of her, and he is ready to ruin her life just to fill his emptiness. There is no real empathy and sympathy for the person. Or rather, sympathy, maybe there is - but your pain is stronger.
Moreover, in borderline disorder, suicidal behavior can be both manipulation and actual intention. In the latter case, the border guards resort to suicide from unbearable grief, from the fact that a loved one is not around.
“Before me, he had an unhappy love and tried to commit suicide. He has a characteristic strip around his neck - a scar from an attempt to kill himself. Can this attempt be repeated again?
You may try again. And Xenia's fear for his life is understandable. This is a normal instinctive desire to save him. But it will be a big mistake - to succumb to a feeling of pity, to get into the role of a rescuer and a guilt loop.
Xenia had already made this mistake before, at the very beginning, and was stuck in this relationship for two long years. She says: "I've already spoiled all the blood with my 'hang myself' and 'cut myself'" . She is afraid that he will end up committing suicide, and does not leave him. He does not want to take sin upon himself. And the fact that he broke her all her life is not a sin? Remember that suicide threats are emotional abuse. After such scarecrows, you need to break off relations immediately and decisively.
Xenia asks: “How to communicate with them? Should I be sorry?" . You need to run away from such people immediately, at the initial stages, as soon as you hear the first hint of suicide. If you resort to a person with every threat of suicide and save him, then he will continue to use this constantly. What Vitaly did for many years with other women.
Do I feel sorry for Vitaly? Of course, it's a pity. But more I feel sorry for Xenia.
How can you help him? Send him to a psychologist, give the helpline number, the contacts of the psychiatrist. In extreme cases, go with him to the doctor. Transfer responsibility for its rescue to specialists. Everyone, you've done your job.
Don't be a rescuer, don't be a therapist. You are not a specialist, you only reinforce this behavior with your "salvation". If he refuses to go to a psychiatrist, that is his choice. You did everything you could, and you cannot be responsible for the choice of an adult. This is an unbearable burden for you!
The third story. Suffocation with love and empathy of a border guard
“After he threatened suicide for the first time, I fell for this bait, and I still live with him. At first, I felt very comfortable and good with him... And then... He talks endlessly about love, every day he is ready to talk about it, and not only... show it with his actions... ".
A border guard literally bombards his partner with his love, sometimes he simply suffocates him with it. Moreover, he does it completely sincerely, and not like a psychopath - in order to find out information or squeeze out benefits, and not like a narcissist - in order to gain admiration and raise his value. The border guard usually invests more in the relationship than the partner. The problem is that he cannot keep a balance, and then he begins to demand the same devotion from a partner.
“I am by no means complaining, but sometimes his behavior is not entirely clear. "I want you not to need anything, and I want to help you as much as possible." Constantly trying to help financially. True, this very help annoys me, and I ask him not to do this, to which he is offended and says that we live together and he loves me very much, and that I offend him when I don’t take it.
He does not reproach me later for helping me. But when I just ask for help in everyday life, I practically don’t find a response. For example, I’m going home from the city, I ask on the phone: “Get potatoes from the basement by my arrival, please. ” - "No, I'm afraid, there were mice climbing there then, I don't want to anymore."
Or, "Can you peel the potatoes while I'm in town?" - “No, I don’t know how and I’m tired, clean it yourself. Girls usually cook, but you are a girl! You have to do everything."
When it's on a permanent basis, when you don't feel that you are together, but on the contrary - alone, is this love? Or is it easier for him to pay off with money?
It turns out that the border guard loves, but his love is somehow strange and contradictory. He gives what is not asked of him, but what is asked, he does not give. This shows the similarity of border guards with daffodils. Although the border guard has a sincere desire to help his partner, this is rather an attempt to keep him near him for fear of losing him. And in their fear they do not hear the partner himself. And this is also a lack of empathy.
“He seems to be interested in my problems, eager to help. But when I start talking about what I dream about, he does not always listen, or even stays somewhere in a parallel universe, is distracted. Sometimes he does not even notice that I interrupted the story suddenly. When I said that I want to go to study for the profession that I like, he immediately got excited, began to say: “Well, what the hell do you need this for!? There's a bad team there! "And he changes the conversation to something else or doesn't let me finish...".
Many female border guards say that their empathy is over the top: "I can still feel what he feels." But this sensitivity is not exactly empathy. Empathy is a pro-social feeling, it is an active sympathy for another.
The narcissist also has sensitivity: he captured you, blurred the boundaries between you, you became part of him, so he feels you as himself. As the narcissist Alexei said (book two, chapter 3, article "Does the narcissist have empathy"), he feels everything perfectly, but he is reluctant to experience it, he is even disgusted to empathize with another, and he chooses to switch off.
The border guards also feel you, but not because they captured you, but because they gave themselves to you, and a part of him, as it were, is inside you - like a built-in detector of your feelings. There are no borders either. In my opinion, this sensitivity is not real empathy. They feel how you are suffocating from their love, how bad you feel from their threats to commit suicide, but they cannot stop, because they feel bad, they are not up to you: the main thing is to fill their own emptiness.
Empathy is when you feel the pain and joy of your partner, and there is a desire to help. To be close, to be together emotionally, to share these feelings. Try to reduce pain and increase joy, inspire him to accomplish this joy. And all this is not for yourself, but for the sake of another, so that he feels good even without you!
Vitaly, if he had empathy, would not manipulate the threat of suicide. He would give Xenia freedom.
The fourth story. Jealousy of a border guard
With all his dedication in love for a partner, the border guard, as soon as he has achieved reciprocity, immediately begins to doubt: is he really loved? Aren't they going to leave him? This is a typical preoccupied attachment [J. Simpson and W. Rholes, 1998]. There is high anxiety here, with a strong desire to be together. Doubts begin to torment the border guard, and jealousy awakens in him. Other names for this attachment are ambivalent, anxious, resistive.
“He loves me, but crushed me with his jealousy, and I cannot feel free, see whoever I want, say what I want; I'm afraid to offend him... It started from the very beginning of the relationship, when I somehow went to a friend, and then, after meeting with her, I refused to go to him, who had already drunk beer. He began to call, write continuously and take offense: “As I understand it, you are not going to go back, everything is clear”, “When are you home?”, “What are you doing?”, “In short, I understood everything”, etc.
Once I went to my mother, he called, but I did not immediately pick up the phone. When I answered, he started yelling at me and saying that I have a bunch of men and I'm deceiving him, that I'm hearing him for the last time in my life, the rope is ready. Naturally, I didn't want to go anywhere. And then insults fell on me at all and such dirt poured down that I hung up and burst into tears.
And when I returned, he said in a harsh manner that I was not trustworthy, that I was unclear with whom (although when I called, I heard my mother's voice). I didn’t say another word and fell asleep on the couch... But, apparently, he decided to finish me off mentally: grumbling, he left the room, throwing a blanket at me with contempt, and went into his room, saying in an undertone: “In nature, an animal ...” Animal ?
But is it love then?..”
The jealousy and suspicion of a border guard is connected with the fear that he will be abandoned. Paranoid tendencies are one of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder according to DSM-5. And here there is a similarity with paranoid personality disorder. But in a paranoid person, jealousy and suspicion in personal relationships are based on the fear that they will offend him, cuckold him behind his back, and then everyone will know and laugh - this is humiliating! For a border guard, jealousy is based on the fear of rejection, the fear of loneliness and emptiness.
“My boss assigned me to work with another person on a shift. Vitaly shouts: “If you go to work with this person, I will just come and ruin everything. And don't give a shit that I'm drunk! I'll come and ruin everything for him since the evening! You work with me and you help me, we are a team, I trust you and you trust me! And who is he? You don't even know him! So what if the boss asked! I do not care. Will you go? Then you hear me for the last time. Everything is clear then ... ”I cried so much, my grandmother soldered me with valerian.
Another case was when I was late while I was shopping. Calls: "You are deceiving me, you are lying brazenly, you are not in the store."
He was jealous of everyone - friends, colleagues, mother.
It was somehow hot, and I wanted to take a break with my friend to swim in the lake, so he started yelling. And in the evening, when he came home, he was angry and yelling. On the way home, he bought a beer. Already at home, he began to shout that I was behaving incorrectly, that I was “lost”, that I should have stayed in a stuffy office, that “it’s dusty, and she’s gone”, that this is wrong, etc. I said, that I would leave now, and cried - it was so insulting. He shouted: “Go and live with your mommy!”
Jealousy and control serve the same purpose - to keep a partner. But since the border guard is a non-adaptive person, his behavior contradicts his own goal: he does what he repels. And that's why the relations between the border guards are full of drama.
There are two types of border guards: externally destructive and internally destructive. Externally destructive yell and even beat. This is usually observed in men, especially in comorbidity with a psychopath (when there are two diagnoses - borderline and antisocial personality disorder). Externally destructive border guards are aggressive. And in an internally destructive border guard, aggression is directed at himself - suicidal tendencies, self-mutilation, alcohol abuse. Vitaly is a very "versatile personality": he has both internal destruction and external destructiveness.
If you expect to prove to the border guard that you are not cheating on him, then give up hope. This thought, like a hackneyed platinum, may subside for a while, but then it will start playing its song again. No partner can convince jealous border guards of their loyalty - they need therapy.
The fourth story. Contradictions and polarities
Border guards are characterized by black and white thinking, jumping from white to black, quick mood swings, contradictory polar thoughts. Sometimes conflicting ideas can be contained in the same sentence. All this is observed in Vitaly.
This is what Xenia writes:
“He often changes his mood. At work, when something doesn’t work out for me, he himself says that it’s not my fault. For some reason, his aggression is directed at himself, but it cripples my psyche. I'm afraid when he gets angry with himself, everything starts to shrink inside me, scary to the point of horror: what if something happens now? And for myself in this state, I'm the least afraid. Feet are wadded, everything is getting cold and cold, and he looks with an empty look and says: “Don’t ever blame yourself for anything, you are not to blame; listen to me, how crazy you are, you can’t do this, if you want to leave, leave, they’ll carry me out here without you feet first; I want you to be happy. I interfere with you and break your life. Go, I'll do it somehow." And yesterday he said: “I’m probably tired of you already. You are so young... Yes, someday you will get tired of the same thing, and you will leave. I won't be offended - that's life."
He sort of lets her go and immediately ties her up, puts her on a hook - “they will carry me feet first.” This is a prime example of inconsistency in one sentence.
“In general, when you ask why he behaved like that, he makes big eyes. He either doesn’t remember it (he was drunk), or shrugs his shoulders, or says: “If you decided to part with me, say so, don’t beat around the bush.” At such moments, I generally think: did it seem to me everything?
He scared me too much that he would do something to himself in case of a break. And everything about him is somehow contradictory: at first he threatens suicide, says that I brought him up and in every possible way brings him to emotions, and then says that I should never blame myself for anything, and I will be "white and fluffy, he is all right will do." I'm afraid. I do not feel freedom of action. As if dependent on this person, but I do not like to suffer; please do not judge, this is really already some kind of problem.
Somehow after the scandal, I didn't go to him, but stayed with my mother. So a week passed, I was afraid to go. And she called her partner and asked how Vitaly was doing. And later he calls: "You made public what is only between us." I still didn’t understand why, I just wanted to find out, at least through someone with whom he communicates, whether he was alive, and only. He said that I did wrong ... again ... What is a house, his house - and my house, and I am the hostess there, that's where you need to spend the night. “Have you ever lived with a family!? Do you even know what a family is!?” When asked what he was guilty of again, he said: “You have lost your mind! You are not to blame for anything! Forget even thinking about it!"
There is cognitive dissonance. It is this cognitive dissonance that puts people into hypnosis and turns off critical thinking, does not allow them to break away from the tyrant.
Why are border guards so emotionally shaken, and how do they differ from bipolar people, that is, people suffering from bipolar personality disorder? Bipolar people also experience mood swings, but the periods are longer, and their change occurs without any external stimuli - this is caused by chemical processes in the brain. The border guard's emotions are provoked by external triggers as a response to the partner's behavior. This does not mean that the partner is to blame - it is just a distorted perception of the other person's behavior that reminds them of past trauma.
Polarities also appear in the idealization of the partner and in debunking him. This is due to jumps in the partner's perception.
The fifth story. How does the victim of the border guard feel?
Ksenia, after two years of relationship with the border guard Vitaly, is now barely alive on her own. She says:
“I feel intimidated. He only wants attention for himself (I feel that way). In which case it affects emotionally, even unconsciously. I no longer feel freedom of action.
I began to change my mind often just because I was afraid of his reaction. He is offended, does not want to let go anywhere, and at the same time, together he has no desire to do something at home either. I'm tired of living according to the "work-home" scenario, so we also work together. I feel like a cistern where they throw off all their negative emotions and experiences. My words are being ignored. Hands are shaking.
Forced to hide from everyone what happens outside the walls of our house. Even relatives, friends or relatives cannot retell some episodes from our life. I noticed after myself that, as I began to live with him, I began to forgive others for their bad attitude towards me and neglect, considering them “normal”, “usual” ... I feel lonely and isolated from the world. My self-esteem dropped."
Such relationships are called “domestic violence”, and Vitaly uses at least four types of violence: verbal abuse, relationship control, occupational control, and emotional blackmail. A border guard can be a domestic tyrant no less than a narcissist: he yells, calls names, accuses, and, worst of all, blackmails with suicide. The fact that Ksenia does not tell anyone about what is happening at home is a mistake. Tyrants become more uncontrollable, unrestrained when they know that the victim is hiding information and has no support. Her isolation from the outside world grows, and she begins to doubt herself: it seems to her that everything bad in her partner’s behavior only seemed to her, it seems that she really is to blame for everything. The feeling of loneliness and isolation is what the border guard himself experiences, and it is precisely there, into the same funnel, that he drags his victim. Her boundaries with the world are being erected higher and thicker, and the boundaries with the rapist are being erased. Personal boundaries are blurred, self-confidence is reduced, and tolerance for violence is increased. She becomes a victim of domestic violence, and therefore becomes a victim of other aggressors.
“What to do? I'm really starting to think it's my fault. Although I understand that he is an emotional blackmailer, and does not always realize that he is hurting. When you try to break off relations, a concert by request begins. Like, the man said - the man did. He grabs the knife and closes the door behind him. Like, I'll cut myself to death or I'll get up.
Break off relationships. She was leaving. SMS and calls to the phone in the spirit: “I’ll hang myself, I won’t live without you, I’m a splinter for you and interfere with life, I’m tired, I won’t stand in the way anymore. You've made it." I began to seriously think about my own suicide, because it’s impossible to live like that.”
You begin to feel the same as him. Not only does he pull you into his dark funnel, but you, just like a victim of violence, become depressed because the situation seems hopeless. Protracted depression itself can lead to suicidal thoughts.
The victims of both narcissists and border guards experience depression. If with a narcissist the victim’s suicidal thoughts come more from devaluation: “I can’t with him, and without him I won’t survive”, then with the border guard - “I can’t even with him, but I can’t leave him either, OH won't survive without me, I'll be to blame."
If you have such depression, such loneliness that you have never experienced, you should know: these are not your feelings, this is the border guard leaking his emotions to you! Slowly begin to separate emotionally. Do not get involved in his drama, look at what is happening as if from the outside. Break the circle of loneliness, go out in public, tell people about what is happening at home, seek support, go to a group of co-addicts with alcoholics, meet friends. Focus on parting with such a partner.
The sixth story. Pity for the border guard
“I am afraid that he will do something, and sometimes I seriously think that only I am to blame for everything . .. I am constantly in moral stress. How to continue to live - I do not know. His pressure for pity affects me greatly.
Financially I am independent, I can leave. Feelings of guilt and pity are the main thing that drives me; my boundaries as a person are blurred, I blame myself for everything, I'm wasting my time, but I can't find the strength to break out.
One friend said that I humiliate him to some extent, thinking that I make him happy, because I am a “crutch”, and you won’t be happy on crutches. "Remove the crutches - it will fall." Yes, in fact, pity prevents respect for equals. Pity is NOT the same as empathy.
I am a terrible person. I understand everything! But without him it becomes bad, and again everything is in a circle ... ".
On the one hand, I understand Xenia: I feel sorry for the person! All people with empathy have it. But I agree with Xenia's friend: pity is not a feeling that should keep you in a relationship, it's not an equal relationship. Pity is not love or respect; it is fear for him. In addition, in pity there is fear for yourself - that you will never forgive yourself if he still commits suicide. And relationships should be built on love, not fear.
In fact, this is the relationship between mother and child. He sees in you a mother who did not feel sorry for him in childhood, did not love and rejected him, and he wants you to become his mother. He tries to get his mother's attention - to be pitied. But this is not your role, you should not correct the mistakes of his mother. You are not his mother to feel sorry for him. And he's not a child. You need to understand that this is an adult man who is twice your age - he is suitable for your father. He gave you a huge responsibility to save his life. He prolongs his youth by pumping energy out of you. And meanwhile your life is passing by! And this is not the case when pity is appropriate. He's not a homeless dog!
Pity is what he plays to keep you.
He plays the musical instrument you have. Since you have pity, he plays on it. You complement each other - you have pity, and he is a good gamer on it. You are connected, you are hooked. And there will be no pity, there is nothing for him to play on. You need to get rid of this tool, throw it away. Let go of all the feelings that keep you hooked. Remove the rescue program. Feelings of pity and guilt will go away, the hook will disappear, you will leave his system, you will be removed from the role of a mother, you will be fired from this job of a rescuer ... He will either stop these manipulations and part with you, or you will finally see the light and leave. It is best to work through these feelings in therapy. If this is not possible, then do the tapping (emotional freedom technique). Speak all your thoughts and feelings. Speak the sensations in the body, all his words containing the threat of suicide, all actions. Phrases when tapped will be something like this:
“I feel sorry for him, he threatens suicide”;
“What if he commits suicide, I won’t be able to forgive myself”;
“I feel sick from his threats, everything in my stomach squeezes, my throat catches, there is a lump in my throat, it is difficult to breathe”;
"I'm afraid to leave him, what if something happens";
"The man said, the man did, the rope is ready";
"" Everything is clear ", takes a knife and closes the door. .." (say everything).
In the end, you will understand that if you are accused of something, then it does not follow from this that you must necessarily take this blame on yourself.
Another method is to accept the worst option. Imagine in detail and look at what happened. Mentally play this situation - what you are doing, how you are behaving - and accept it. Take this blame on yourself for the rest of your life. You will see that in spite of all this, you will survive. Forgive yourself. And then, when you lose this situation, you will no longer be afraid of it.
He has already made suicide attempts with previous partners, so the reason for his suicide is not you, but his personality disorder, and this must be treated, seek help from a specialist.
According to the law, in accordance with Article 110 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, you are responsible for driving a person to suicide or attempted suicide if you threaten him, treat him cruelly or systematically humiliate the victim's human dignity.