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Borderline Demonizes Partner, Pathologizes Narcissist (Or Herself)

Uploaded 5/10/2023, approx. 15 minute read

Yesterday's masterpiece provoked a lot of questions and I am here to question all your answers.

Today we are going to discuss how the borderline is forced into demonizing you and if she fails, she demonizes herself.

And yes, yes, gender pronouns are interchangeable. He/she, borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder are diagnosed among men and among women, sometimes equally.

So chill.

I am using she or he for convenience sake. My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. And I am a former visiting professor of psychology.

And today we are going to visit the realm of the borderline narcissistic relationship and what they do to each other.

Start by elucidating some of the more obscure points in yesterday's video.

Malignant personality disorder. The borderline suffers from persecutory delusions. She has paranoid ideation. She is hypervigilant. She suspects everyone. She doesn't trust anyone, including herself. She is all the time questioning what is happening. Why is it happening?

She has referential ideation. She is convinced that she is the butt of gossip or mockery or the center of a conspiracy.

Paranoia is an integral part of borderline personality disorder. But why? Why does the borderline feel the need to be paranoid?

Because it is an instrument. The paranoid ideation allows the borderline to extricate herself, to remove herself from a relationship.

Now you remember that borderlines suffer from the twin anxieties. Abandonment anxiety on the one hand, also known as separation insecurity and engungment and enmeshment anxiety.

She approaches then she avoids. Approach avoidance, repetition, compulsion. I hate you. Don't leave me.

But how could she justify to herself dumping or withdrawing from or avoiding a perfectly good partner? Someone who loves her, adores her, caters to her needs, is even a bit submissive or subservient.

How could she explain to herself why, why she would get rid of someone like that? And who better is she likely to find?

This is done via paranoia. The borderline concocts very convoluted and complex narratives in which she is being victimized by a cabal of ill wishes and that includes her intimate partner. Her intimate partner becomes an enemy, the persecutory object that allows her to withdraw from him and to avoid him in good conscience.

I'm withdrawing, I'm avoidant, I'm withholding, I'm frustrating because he hates me. He conspires against me. He is malicious and malevolent. He is evil.

And so paranoid ideation is the pivot around which the borderline constructs her self-justifying stories as to why she keeps abandoning, rejecting, humiliating and fleeing from perfectly good partners. Of course, only to return a bit later.

The persecutory dynamic in the borderline, I am being persecuted, is either autoplastic or alloplastic. Allow me to explain.

I love these words. Absolutely adore them. Allow me to explain.

Autoplastic persecretary dynamics, dynamic? I'm a bad object. I'm an abuser. I'm not good for you. I'm corrupt. I'm having a bad influence on you. I'm retarding your growth. I'm undermining you. I'm destroying you. Stay away from me. That's an autoplastic persecretary dynamic.

Self-directed. The alloplastic persecretary dynamic is exactly the opposite. I'm a victim. You're abusing me. You're mistreating me. You're molesting me. It's horrible what you're doing to me. This is not justified. You're destroying me. You're controlling me. You hate me. You're my enemy.

When the borderline feels the need to withdraw from the partner, to avoid the partner, because she feels enmeshed, she feels engulfed, subsumed, consumed, digested by the partner, she feels she's on the verge of disappearing into the partner, merging and fusing with him to the point of extinction.

When she's terrified of this enmeshment and government, she develops the secretary delusions or paranoid ideation of one of two types.

Self-directed. I'm leaving you. I'm abandoning you. I'm rejecting you, my terrific intimate partner, because I'm bad for you. I'm bad for you. I don't want to affect you badly. I don't want to impact your life adversely. I'm protecting you. I'm doing this because I love you, etc.

So this is autoplastic, self-directed, the secretary delusions.

The other type, much more common, by the way, is the alloplastic. Alloplastic variety. You are bad for me. It's not that I'm bad for you. You are bad for me. You're the wrong partner for me, because you are subjugating me, subduing me, objecting me, destroying me, abusing me, molesting me, attacking me, assaulting me, you name it. I mean, you're wrong for me.

When the borderline wants to extricate herself from a relationship, because she feels enmeshed and engulfed, in short, she would either say to the partner, I'm bad for you. I'm gone. Or she would say to the partner, you are bad for me. Be gone. Okay? Got a picture? Okay.

But what happens when the borderline fails, when her defenses fail, and she cannot convert an idealized object to a persecretary object?

The borderline's intimate partner, exactly like the narcissist, is idealized. And now she needs to convert him from this angel to inflame, soulmate, and I don't know what else, she needs to convert him into a persecutor, an enemy, an adversary, someone who hates her, someone who is out to get her, a conspirator.

So this is not an easy process to transition from an idealized object to a persecretary object. And sometimes it fails. It's a defense. It's a way to defend against emotional vulnerability, emotional dysregulation, and intimacy.

But what if this defense fails, and the object remains idealized, she cannot convert her partner in good faith into a molester, or an attacker, or an enemy, or because he's too good. He's simply too good. He doesn't give her reasons to do this.

Reality is too much. And she just can't think of him this way.

This point, she can't regard herself as a victim. If her intimate partner is the ideal, perfect intimate partner, and she fails to convert him in her mind into an enemy, then of course, she cannot claim to be a victim.

And then there's only one option left. If the alloplastic dynamic failed, had failed, the only other option is the alloplastic dynamic.

So having failed to render herself a victim, because she couldn't bring herself to convert the idealized partner into an enemy, having failed that, the borderline then transforms herself into an abuser, perceives herself as a bad object. If the partner is perfect, the partner is ideal. If the partner is a true friend, and a real lover, then something is wrong with her. She is the one who is destroying the relationship. She is bad, inadequate, insufficient, a failure, a loser, an abuser, an aggressor in her mind.

This is the alloplastic dynamic, the alloplastic persecutive dynamic.

And this egodystony is too much to bear. This realization that she is the one who has been abusing her partner, she is the one who has been mistreating him, she is the one who has been torturing him with her drama and tics, etc. This realization is too much. It creates extreme dissonance, which gives rise to unbearable anxiety.

And then the only way out of this anxiety is acting out. The classic defenses collapse. She cannot project, she cannot split. She failed. She tried. She tried to convert her partner into a demon, into a devil. She tried to regard her partner as this evil, wicked, sinful entity. And she failed.

And because she had failed, she now cannot be a victim, cannot perceive herself as a victim, and she regards herself as the abuser. And that is too much to bear.

So she decompensates and she acts out. Acting out confirms to the borderline that she is a bad object. Acting out involves crazy making behaviors, or just plain crazy behaviors. Reckless, defiant, promiscuity, drinking, pathological gambling, a spree of shopping, wasting all the family's savings, college funds, and I don't know what, doing crazy things. Acting out is the borderline's way of demonstrating to herself that she is indeed hopeless, incorrigible, a bad, unremedite, unremediable object, unworthy, evil, stupid, and so on.

So here's the sequence. When the relationship is highly intimate, the borderline begins to feel engulfed, enmeshed, subsumed, consumed. She's terrified. She wants out of the relationship.

At first, she tries to reconceive of her intimate partner as an enemy. If he is an enemy, she's the victim. If she's the victim, she is justified in running away from him. If this attempt to recast and render the intimate partner demonic, evil, malicious, malevolent entity, if this attempt fails, the borderline then proceeds to regard herself as a bad, malevolent, evil, corrupt, decrepit object.

But she has to prove this to herself. She has to somehow point at specific behaviors in order to convince herself that she is the abuser. She is the bad object.

And this is where acting out comes into play. By acting out, the borderline affirms and confirms the basic deformities, flaws, shortcomings, and general malice that characterize herself as a bad object.

Acting out is being a bad girl or a bad boy. Being a bad girl confirms to the borderline that she should withdraw from the relationship. She should abandon her intimate partner. She should walk away because she loves him and she doesn't want him to suffer and she doesn't want to impact his life adversely. It's an act of self-sacrifice. The borderline legitimizes forbidden, repressed introgests in her partner. She resonates with her partner's pathological parts. She becomes a vector of contagion. It's as if the borderline is her intimate partner's dark side, his shadow and complexes externalized, reified, embodied in the borderline.

This is why in a relationship with the borderline is always the feeling of some risk, residual risk, some danger, lurking, some foreboding, some element of catastrophizing. Because she is a repository of everything in her intimate partner that he had spent a lifetime denying, repressing, forgetting, ignoring, here she is, a perfect, beautifully shaped, sexy reminder of everything that he had wanted to forget about himself.

The borderline in this sense brings to the surface currents and undercurrents which threaten to destabilize the composure and inner balance of her intimate partner. This is doubly and triply and quadruply true when the borderline's intimate partner is a narcissist because the borderline is the mirror image of the narcissist. She has interject inconstancy. He has object inconstancy. She considers herself a bad object externally but not internally. He considers himself a bad object internally but not externally.

Now, interject inconstancy and object inconstancy I've discussed in previous videos and I recommend that you use the search facility, the search box on my channel to find them.

Just type in interject constancy and you will find everything you need.


But I want to focus on the second thing I've said.

Second thing I've said is that both the borderline and the narcissist perceive themselves as bad objects.

The belief that they are bad, unworthy has been inculcated in them in early childhood but the locus of the badness, the locus of the bad object is different.

The borderline believes that she is a bad object externally, behaviorally, socially in interaction with others, interpersonally but deep inside she is not a bad object actually. She is a sweetheart. She is amazing. She is a heart of gold. She is a giver. She cares. She is compassionate. She is beautiful and wonderful internally. Externally she is a witch and a bitch. That's how she perceives herself, the borderline.

The narcissist perceives himself exactly the opposite. Externally he considers himself a gift to humanity, an amazing person, a wonder to behold, a unique specimen, a godlike entity. Externally, internally he is a bad, unworthy, corrupt, loser, failure object.

So borderline, internally, good object, externally bad object, narcissist, internally bad object, externally good object.

And this explains a lot of the dynamics between narcissists and borderlines when they are in an intimate couple.

The borderline considers herself bad and flawed and so she is very hyper vigilant. She says if my intimate partner gets too close to me he will abandon me. If he sees me for who I am he will run to the hills screaming. If he finds out the truth about me he will flee. He will disappear on me.

So I want him to leave fantasy. I want him to not be embedded in reality. I don't want him to see the real me. I don't want him to see the real me because externally I look, I appear to be a bad object. I know that internally, says the borderline, I know that internally I'm a wonderful person but externally I appear to be a horrible person and if he gets too close to the external apparition to the external bad object he will just vanish. My intimate partner, this perfect ideal man that I've just found.

So the borderline pushes her narcissistic partner to reside in fantasy, to subsist in fantasy, to consist of fantasy. She wants him to fantasize but fantasy, the fantasy defense in the case of narcissism is a pathology. It's sick, it's unhealthy.

So we can say safely that the borderline wants her narcissistic partner or her narcissist partner to be sick, to be mentally ill, to be divorced from reality, to have an impaired reality testing, to be almost psychotic, to cultivate a fantastic space rather than cope somehow with survival in reality. She pushes him to be sick.

The borderline incentivizes and reinforces the narcissist's pathological fantasy defense because within this fantasy defense she is ideal and he will never abandon her.

Outside the fantasy space she is real, she is bad, she is malicious and when it comes to learn this, when it comes to know about this, he is likely to reject her and abandon her.

So what she does, she feeds the narcissist with drama and conflicts. The borderline keeps the narcissist busy and distracted as he desperately attempts to realign, reframe and redefine his internal objects.

She creates situations which are very high in uncertainty, indeterminacy, fear, unpredictability, keeping him away from reality, busy, retouching and photoshopping her snapshot in his mind.

The borderline pushes the narcissist to become psychotic while the narcissist pushes the borderline to become a psychopath with his abuse, with his mistreatment, with his brainwashing, with his coercive control, with his fantasy imposed on her. With all this he pushes her to the brink of decompensation, falling apart, disintegrating and then acting out cruelly, viciously and aggressively and psychopathically. She is a secondary psychopath.

And so this is the dynamic, the unhealthy dynamic between borderlines and narcissists.


Someone wrote this question on Instagram. Is it a fair assumption to make that the narcissist regularly changes the internal state of the internal object as all good or all bad due owing to their own failures in life so that he has her to blame? Due to his grandiosity it can never be his fault. So he projects this onto the internal object and then coerces this image onto the external object in order to start the discard phase.

No, you're confusing or conflating two issues. The discard, the devaluation and discard phases have to do with the uncompleted, incomplete separation and divisuation in early childhood. I have about a bazillion videos dedicated exactly to this point.

The evaluation and discard have nothing to do with reality, with events, with the environment. This is a totally internal process in the narcissist's mind, inexorable, needed and there's nothing you can do about it and nothing, you have no involvement in this as an intimate part.

The narcissist is going to do value and discard you no matter what because he needs to essentially devalue and discard his mother. She did not allow him to separate from her and to become an individual. You are the substitute mother, you are the surrogate mother and now he's going to try it out with you. He's going to try to separate from you and individually.

The only way to separate from you is to devalue you and then discard you. This has nothing to do with what you have mentioned.

It is true that narcissists have alloplastic defenses so whenever something goes wrong, whenever there's a failure or a defeat or a misfortune, the narcissist would tend to blame these on other people and when they blame other people of course they reconceive, redefine, reframe, photoshop the internal objects that correspond to these people.

So if the narcissist had failed he would tend to blame his intimate partner and he would of course modify the internal object that represents his intimate partner so as to reflect this imputed blame, guilt and responsibility but this would have a temporary impact. The internal object would be re-idealized following the alloplastic defense so that's a temporary thing.

Devalue and discard are not temporary. In the devalue and discard phase the narcissist detaches the internal object from the external object. The internal object actually remains idealized until very late in devaluation and discard and then the narcissist changes, alters the internal object, renders it as a secondary object which legitimizes the devaluation and the discard but devaluation and discard is an autonomous process and every time the narcissist's life is going to rise, every time he's failed in something, being narcissistically injured, yes he's going to blame you as an intimate partner but it's not going to last. Your internal object is going to be re-idealized very fast until the point where he needs to separate from you permanently and then he will devalue you irreversibly, irrevocably and then discard.

I hope I've answered your questions and if there's anything else I can do to elucidate your tumultuous and tormenting relationships with borderlines, please call upon me. I have a lot of vast experience with these women and they are unusual, they require depth, they require deciphering and decoding. It is to your detriment if you don't understand them perfectly and deeply. It's a risky proposition to form a couple, become an intimate partner or even to do business with someone with borderline personality disorder and just attribute their behavior to some eccentricity or oddity. That's not the case here. You need to be on your toes and alert because this can and often does end disastrously and badly and you need to be protected in advance.

So I'm giving you the heads up. The rest is up to you.

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