Borderline Mislabels Her Emotions (as do Narcissist, Psychopath)

Uploaded 7/22/2020, approx. 34 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm a professor of psychology and the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and many, many other books that I've written and never read.

Now, let's start with the basic fact. The more empathy you have, the more enhanced or increased your empathy is. The older you are, and therefore, the more developed your empathy, the less you are able to recognize emotions in other people.

But wait a minute, Vaknin, you say, all of you at once. You are wrong, of course. What you wanted to say, had you not been drinking so much, is the higher the empathy, the more you are able to read other people's emotions.

Empathy is the condition for reading and understanding other people properly.

So, if you have a high level of empathy, you understand other people's emotions better. And if you have a low level of empathy, for example, if you are a narcissist, you are not able to recognize, decipher, decode, and understand emotions in other people properly.

Right? Wrong. Allow me to repeat.

Studies show that increased empathy and age-related increase in empathy.

Decrease. Decrease as in down, your ability to recognize emotions in other people.

Yes, I know that all of the self-styled, self-proclaimed experts online are telling you otherwise, but they are telling you otherwise for one simple reason. They are not experts. That is especially true for those whose names are bracketed with academic degrees, real or fake.

The literature, in the past 10 years at least, is pretty unanimous on this. The higher your empathy, the less you are able to decipher, decode, understand, and even recognize emotions in other people properly.

I refer you to studies, the most recent ones, by Israel Shvili.

Israel Shvili is a single word. It's a family name. Israel, like Israel, Shvili.

By Agnetta Fisher and by NANIS, N-A-N-N-I-S. That would suffice.

These areone of these studies, for example, 830 people. These are big studies. They show an inverse relationship between empathy and the ability to recognize emotions.

This fact is critical to the topic of today's video.

Today, I'm going to discuss how borderlines and narcissists experience their emotions.

Before we go there, let me dispense with another idiotic myth online. Everyone has emotions. Psychopaths have emotions. Narcissists have emotions. Borderlines have emotions. Histrionics have emotions. Everyone has emotions.

Even Donald Trump has emotions. The thing is that narcissists and borderlines and histrionics and psychopaths relate to their emotions, interact with their emotions differently to what healthy, normal people do in a different manner, in a different way.

Another differentiating factor is that people with cluster B personality disorders mislabel their emotions. They mistake their emotions. They feel one thing, but they call it another. They slap the wrong labels, the wrong etiquettes on their emotions.

This is today's topic.

A little primer on emotions.

Emotions start with cognitions. Every single emotion you can conceive of starts with a thought.

There's a thought, a thought about yourself, a thought about people around you, a thought about your environment, a thought about the circumstances, a thought about the past, a thought about the future, a thought.

No emotion just erupts as is. It's preceded by a thought.

Now, it is true that some of these cognitions are unconscious. It's a bit of a contradiction in terms, unconscious cognitions, but there are some cognitive processes which are unconscious and they lead to the emergence of emotions which appear to have materialized out of nowhere.

But that's a mistake. Every emotion is preceded by cognition. And then cognition alone, thinking alone is not enough because what people do, they take these thoughts. Then they monitor their own bodies. They pay attention to the body.

So there's a thought and then there's information gleaned from the body, coming from the body, emanating and exuded by the body.

So for example, you have a thought and then you pay attention to your heart rate. Your heart is beating faster or you're perspiring, you're sweating, or you feel an enormous pressure or headache, somatization symptoms. Your body is talking to you. Your body is communicating with you through a variety of autonomous and non-autonomous functions.

And this, coupled with a thought, if it is conscious, leads to the next stage.

At the next stage, you try to understand why is your body reacting the way it does. You invest additional thought.

This time, it's analytical thought. You're analyzing your body's messages. You're analyzing your body's language.

And so you do this by paying attention to the environment, by asking yourself, where am I? Who am I with? The people I'm with, are they friends or foes? Have I done something? Have they done something?

So there's data coming from the environment, contextual intake.

And these are the three elements that comprise the emotion and bring it on.

Cognition, thoughts, information gleaned from the body, and then data from the environment.

This is the raw material.

Once this raw material is available, you embark on hermeneutics.

You embark on interpreting the raw material. You ask yourself, here's the raw material. Here's what I've been thinking. Here's what my body is telling me. And here's information from the environment. And here's how I feel, but I don't have a name for it. I don't have a name for it yet. What should I call it? Am I angry or am I afraid? Am I sad or am I tired? I mean, am I jealous? Am I envious? Or am I contemptuous?

So you need to label the last stage in the emergence of emotion into consciousness and the translation of emotion to behavior and to affect.

This last stage involves a very important dictionary function. You're using a vocabulary of previously experienced emotions to explicate to yourself, to label these emotions, to tell you what they are.

Now, what do you do when your cognition is problematic?

Narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths, histrionics, and a variety of people with other personality disorders and other mental health disorders, they all have cognitive deficits, cognitive biases, and cognitive fallacies. And these cognitive deficits are very, very crucial, very important. They are ubiquitous. They're all pervasive. They affect every dimension and every aspect and every sermon, every atom of the narcissist existence or the borderlines existence, they distort reality.

Take, for example, the narcissist grandiosity. The narcissist grandiosity is a cognitive deficit. It makes him misjudge himself. He has an inflated view of himself, a fantastic view, a view that has nothing to do with reality. He's divorced from reality. Equally, he has a devaluing contemptuous disdainful attitude to others. So he misjudges them.

For example, he misjudges the damage they can do to him. So it's dangerous.

Cognitive deficits are dangerous and they are all pervasive in the sense that the narcissist can't say, okay, I will ignore that aspect of me. I will ignore this dimension of my brain processes, of my cerebral processes. I'll try to focus on something else. There's not something else. Everything is affected by the narcissist deficit.

The same with the borderline. They all have cognitive deficits.

So if emotion is critically dependent on cognition, if it actually starts with cognition, if there is no emotion without cognition, if it is a sine qua non, a condition that is both sufficient and necessary.

So if emotion is so crucially dependent and so derivative on cognition, then if your cognitive processes are malformed, if they are defective, if they are deformed, if they are problematic, your emotions will be as well.

You can't have a proper healthy emotion based on a cognitive deficit. You can't really experience emotions the way healthy people do.

If your thinking processes have nothing to do with reality or are utterly illogical and distorted, cognitive deficits, cognitive problems, cognitive issues in narcissism, borderline and other personality disorders have massive effects, not only on the narcissist and the borderline's ability to emote, but on the content of their emotions, on the structure of their emotions, on what their emotions are, on the quiddity, on the essence of their emotions, fundamental deficits and biases, create emotions which are so deformed, so misaligned, so misassembled that it's very easy to misidentify them.

If your emotions are bizarre, outlandish, it's very easy to get your emotions wrong, to misjudge them.

One could say that the narcissism and borderline not only have an external impaired reality testing, in other words, they not only misjudge the external environment, other people, reality itself, but they have an impaired internal reality testing. They misjudge not only the outside landscape, but their own inner landscape.

And we know that cognition, we know that emotions are crucially dependent on cognition to the extent that many scholars suggest that we should not make this distinction, that emotions are just a subtype, a class of cognitions, that emotions are actually thoughts which provoke certain bodily and mental processes, but that's all, they are thoughts.

Many scholars advocate eliminating this ostensibly artificial difference that we are making today between emotions and cognitions.

But at any rate, no one would argue that they are very closely aligned, that they are twins. And we know that this is true because we have conducted multiple and numerous experiments.

There was an experiment where students were shown photos of women, male students were shown photos of women, and at the same time were given a mild drug which created tachycardia, created a faster heartbeat. The students trying to interpret why their hearts are beating faster, they came up with the explanation that they were infatuated with the women, with the photos.

So when your body signals to you, when there are changes in your body, you scramble, you try to understand, you try to imbue your existence with meaning. You're asking yourself, why is my heart beating faster? Why am I sweating? Why is my heart beating faster and sweating when I'm watching this photo of a woman? Probably I'm infatuated with her.

And this is one of numerous experiments.

And so we know that cognitions affect emotions. We also have techniques, therapeutic techniques, which prove this beyond any doubt. There's a technique called reappraisal. Reappraisal is when we teach people to change the cognition that underlies a certain emotion. The client comes and says, I'm feeling sad. Then we unearth the cognition behind this feeling of sadness. And then we teach the client to change the cognition. And lo and behold, the minute the client changes the cognition, the emotion vanishes and is replaced by another emotion, which could be diametrically opposed from sadness to extreme elation and happiness. So reappraisal is a very powerful technique for reframing cognitions so as to yield emotions on demand in a way.

There is no doubt in clinical settings that emotions and cognitions are two facets of the same coin. And so if this is true, and if borderlines and narcissists and narcissists and psychopaths and histrionics and others have cognitive deficits, it's tend to reason that they will have emotional deficits as well.

Take, for example, borderlines. Borderlines suffer from emotional dysregulation. Their emotions are so strong that they overwhelm them. The borderline feels that she is drowning in her emotions. The borderline feels that he is about to be consumed by his emotions, that his emotions are going to drive him, I don't know, to suicide. Eleven percent of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder commit suicide.

The borderline's emotions are clear and present dangerous.

And the borderline, as opposed to the narcissist, had failed to develop coping mechanisms.

The narcissist develops narcissism, the false self. It's a firewall, it's a decoy, and it's godlike. It helps him to regulate his emotions.

Indeed, many scholars suggest that borderline is simply failed narcissism, that the person with borderline personality disorder had tried as a child to develop narcissism, pathological narcissism, and had failed.

And so borderlines suffer from emotional dysregulation because they don't have active narcissistic defenses. They don't have a skin, in a way. And so they get in direct touch with reality. Reality permeates them, triggers them. This is not empathy, by the way. Don't confuse this with empathy.

Reality triggers them and permeates them to the extent that they regard emotions as mortal enemies.

And so both borderlines and narcissists exhibit inappropriate affect.

Inappropriate affect is when they react in ways which don't sit well, do not conform, are inappropriate for a certain setting.

I don't know, laughing in a funeral is an example of inappropriate effect.

But the theology, the reason for the inappropriate effect is different in borderline and in a narcissist, let alone a psychopath.

The borderline reacts with inappropriate effect because she is desperately trying to get a hold, to get a handle, to reassert control over the tsunami, the emotional tsunami that is inside her, that is threatening to drown her from the inside.

The narcissist reacts with inappropriate effect because he misunderstands his own emotions. The psychopath reacts with inappropriate effect in order to manipulate and terrify his environment. It's an intimidation tactic.

But all three and the histrionic, all of them get emotions misconstrued. They misjudge emotions. They misunderstand what's happening inside them. All of them experience inner stirrings. All of them experience volcanic eruptions and movements and emotions.

It's like the furniture is being moved around by some whirlwind or tornado or hurricane. All of them have this inner turmoil, have this chaos. Their personality has a low organization. It's chaotic. All of them have this.

But when they try to understand what's happening inside them, when they compare themselves to other people who are healthy and normal, they get it wrong. They get it wrong.

And this leads me back to empathy.

Narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths, histrionics, they have empathy deficits.

The narcissist and the primary psychopath, they have cold empathy. Cold empathy is merely the reflexive component of empathy and the cognitive component of empathy, the analytical component.

The narcissist and the primary psychopath look at other people and they read them well. They scan people. They especially home in and focus and zero in vulnerabilities, chinks in the armor, weak points, hot buttons, and so they have cold empathy, but their empathy has no emotional correlate. They don't experience emotions in response to their use of cold empathy.

So if they look at a crying person, they would notice that the person is sad. They would label the person's emotions correctly. They would identify the emotion very appropriately.

And the psychopath would ask himself, how can I leverage this? How can I make good use of this momentary vulnerability? Maybe I could end up having sex with that person or taking money from her or him.

But this cold empathy, this ability to say this person is crying, therefore this person is sad, does not evoke or provoke or conjure up any emotional reaction in the narcissist and psychopath.

So it's very difficult for them to create permanent correlations between information from the environment and inner emotional responses.

If you look at the environment only analytically and nothing happens inside you, you will never understand what it means to be sad. Truly understand what it means to love.

Because all you do is you're an observer. You watch, you classify, you create a normal database, emotional resonance database, correlating certain behaviors with certain proclaimed emotions.

For example, if crying, then sad, if smiling, then happy. But the words sad and happy would mean nothing to you.

Similarly, the borderline, co-dependent and the histrionic, they have functional empathy. They have full-fledged empathy. Their empathy includes the emotional component, but it is very, very goal-oriented.

Borderlines want to ascertain that they will never be abandoned. They have abandonment and separation anxiety. Co-dependent is clinging and wants her intimate partner to perform important psychological functions and to cater to her needs. And the histrionic is interested in hyperemotionality and manipulates via seduction and flirtation and appearance. So this is functional empathy. It's functional empathy because it's not other-oriented. It's not about the other. It's about you.

You as a borderline. You ask yourself, I'm empathizing with this person because it gives me the tools to make sure that this person will remain in my life. If you're co-dependent, you're saying, I'm empathizing with this person fully, also emotionally, because this guarantees that this person will continue to love me and be in my life and perform important psychological functions fully, cater to my needs.

And if you're a histrionic, you're saying, I'm empathizing with this person because this way I can understand him and make him fall in love with me. It's functional empathy.

Cold empathy with narcissists and psychopaths, functional empathy with borderlines, co-dependence, histrionics. These are empathy deficits. These are deformed, mutant. These are mutations of empathy, not healthy empathy.

Full-fledged emotional empathy is turned off in all these types. Full-fledged other-oriented empathy is turned off in all these types.

And why is that? Because all of them experience overwhelming negative emotionality. If they were to allow themselves to truly empathize with another person, they would risk their own lives. The trade-off in these characters, with the exception of the psychopath, exception of the primary psychopath, the trade-off in all these characters is between empathizing and emoting and survival. If they were to empathize and emote, they would be exposed to such overwhelming negative emotions that they may well die.

So they prefer not to emote at all. They prefer not to empathize at all.

And instead, they use primitive defense mechanisms, such as splitting. When they can no longer tolerate the risk of emotionality and the risk of overwhelming empathy, they split. They cast the other person. They convert, transform the other person into an all-bad object. They devalue the other person. And there's object inconstancy, out of sight, out of mind. So these are all mechanisms that these seriously disturbed people are using to avoid emotions and empathy.

The primary psychopath has cold empathy. The secondary psychopath has functional empathy. That's why we think that borderline personality disorder is actually a form of secondary psychopathy.

And so this is the background.

You're beginning to see that if you're a narcissist, you have cognitive deficits, your cognition is not working properly. You have deformed dysfunctional empathy, cold empathy. You don't have the basic tools. You don't have basic tools to experience emotions and to label them, to recognize, to say, ah, that's love. Oh, that's sadness. You don't have these ultra basic tools.

Same for the borderline, same with the histrionic, same with the psychopath, some extent the codependent. The basic tools that healthy people use to recognize emotions in others and by implication in themselves and to label what's happening inside them in accordance with empathizing while empathizing. These are missing.

People with cluster B personality disorders, in other words, are missing the basic human experience.

I started the presentation with a fact. The fact is, the more empathy you have, the older you are, and therefore the more empathy you have, the more increased your empathy, because there are gradations of empathy.

Some people, very tiny minority, are highly sensitive people. HSPs, they have super developed empathy.

But even so, empathy is not equally distributed. Some people are more empathic than others.

But the more empathy you have, and the older you have, you are, your ability to recognize emotions in other people decreases.

Listen to this well. It's a critical insight which we have come across in the last 10 years in psychology.

Those of us who bothered to read the scholarly literature, most self-styled experts online clearly never bothered to read, never bothered to read scholarly literature.

So the more empathy you have, the less you're able to recognize emotions in other people.

But if this is true, doesn't it contradict what I've just said? Didn't I just spend 20 minutes telling you that the reason narcissists, psychopaths and borderlines cannot label their emotions properly is because they don't have working empathy?

No, that's not what I've been telling you.

So let's go over the same terrain again, armed with this new insight.

What I've been telling you is not that narcissists and psychopaths and borderlines have less empathy than other people. What I've been telling you is that they have deformed, malformed, seek, mutated forms of empathy.

It's an entirely different argument.

If you take 10 healthy people, five of them have high empathy, five of them have low empathy, but it's healthy empathy, proper empathy, properly formed empathy. The ones with less empathy would recognize emotions in other people better. The ones with more empathy would recognize emotions in other people, but will do a very bad job of it.

The more empathy they have, the less they will be, they are able to read people properly. The less they understand other people's emotional landscape, reactions and sensations and feelings. That's a fact.

Among healthy people, the less empathy you have, the better you are able to understand other people's emotions.

Narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths, histrionics and to some extent codependent people don't have less empathy or more empathy. They are not in this group at all. They're not healthy. Their empathy is not healthy. Their emotional regulation is not healthy. Their cognitions are problematic, sick, unreal, fantastic, sick. So they don't have the basic tools not only to understand and label and judge properly emotions in other people. They don't have the basic tools to understand what on earth is going on inside themselves.

What they do instead is what I call a cognitive emotion.

Healthy people, when they experience emotions, they experience it, so to speak, wholeheartedly. Their entire body is participating.

By the way, literally, the entire body is participating in the experience of emotions. There are changes in the intestines, there are changes in the gut flora, there are changes in numerous other body systems, not only in the brain.

Emotion, any emotion is a participatory sport. The entire body is evolved, including the brain, of course.

And the emotion is experienced in its totality and it includes a very pronounced cognitive component and a very pronounced, so to speak, component of feeling. And it includes the assimilation, incorporation, and interpretation of sensor sensory input. It's a systemic enterprise.

When borderlines, these are healthy people, borderlines, narcissists, and psychopaths do emoting. When they experience emotions, these are not emotions, these are truncated versions of emotions because they stop at the cognitive level.

In other words, wherein a healthy person, there is a process, a path.

Indeed, the current thinking about emotions is what we call a process thinking. So there is a path, cognition, body, information from the body, information from the environment, emotion. It's the path.

With narcissists, borderlines, and so on, psychopaths, there's cognition, end of story. That's it. That's where it stops.

These people, the personality disordered people, people with cluster B, they don't emote. They think they're emotions. They analyze. When they try to understand what's happening to them, they analyze. They compare themselves to others. If they're very good with words, they verbalize.

So someone with a borderline might tell you, now that I think of it, yeah, yeah, what I'm feeling is love. Or she may tell you, I feel something, but I don't really know if it's love.

Because for example, when you are not near me, the intensity is much lower, or it disappears. Only when you're next to me, I feel it. Or she may say, or he may say, someone with borderline, or when I feel, when I have an emotion, it's so huge, it's so intense, it's so devouring, it's so all consuming, that I don't have the time or the capacity to stop and have a look at it and analyze it.

I'm just, I'm swept by the wave, you know.

So these people, borderlines, narcissists, and especially psychopaths in history, only some extent codependency.

They think about their emotions. They need to stop, they need to sit down, and they need to think, I'm feeling something. What is it that I'm feeling? Let me see. I think it's love.

Coming to think of it. Coming to think of it.

Or I think it's anger. Because last time it was anger. Yeah, I'm quite sure. Last time it was anger. Or I'm overwhelmed, I'm drowning, but what does it feel? Probably I'm afraid of something. I'm scared of something. What am I afraid of? What is it to be afraid of? Let me look, let me see.

Now, the same processes happen with healthy people. But then they segue, they seamlessly transform into emoting, into react, emotional reactivity.

We all look for clues in the environment as to why we feel, why we feel the way we do. And we all listen to our bodies consciously or unconsciously.

But then healthy people move on and they emote, they feel.

Narcissists, psychopaths, and borderlines don't move on. They're in a permanent state, a permanent state of a puzzle, putting the jigsaw puzzles together. They are stuck at the initial phase of analyzing cognitions, thinking about it, listening to their bodies, collecting or gathering cues and information from the environment.

And this for them is prepared to immobilize. It's a perpetual enterprise, never ending enterprise leads nowhere, results in nothing identifiable as emotion or affect.

They are like, you know, do you remember the old records when you put the needle and the needle got stuck? They are that stuck needle. The record goes on and on and on. You keep listening to the same music. You're never going to get to the end of the song. You're never going to get to the point of the song. You're never going to listen to 90% of the lyrics because the needle is stuck.

In cluster B patients cope with these horrible deficits in emotional cognizance, in several dysfunctional ways. It's functional because their personality disordered. The personalities are very low levels of organization. They don't have the tools. They don't have the instruments. They don't have the capacity. They don't have the presence of mind to reason, to foresee consequences, to control their impulses. They don't have all this critical machinery. They are very infantile. They're very two-state. They're very primitive. They're very binary.

And so they cope with these deficits by either repressing or avoiding the emotions. So the narcissist, the primary psychopath, they would simply not experience emotions. Sometimes they would experience something, something, and it would bother them that they don't know what it is because they are control freaks, of course, narcissists and primary psychopaths.

It's all about control. They want to control the environment. They want to control other people.

Because they perceive the world as hostile. It's either control or be dead.

So they need to control. The world is out to get them. Everyone is an enemy per secretary in paranoid ideation. And so they need to control.

And if they feel something and they don't know what it is, they feel out of control. So they need to label this something.

So very often you would hear the narcissist tell you, I love you. What he's doing, he's mislabeling his dependence on you, for narcissistic supply. Or you would hear the psychopath saying, I'm very happy. Actually, it's probably not happiness, but it's goal attainment. He finally got there. He achieved his goal.

Primary psychopaths and narcissists actually don't experience emotions. They accept negative emotions. They experience anger or rage. They experience envy. Envy is a criterion, diagnostic criterion in the DSM-4 for narcissistic personalities.

So some emotions get through. And these are the emotions that allow them to lord over other people, to control other people, to subjugate other people and to convert them into slaves or sources of supply, or to cajole other people, charm other people.

These emotions get through. But even then, these are not real emotions.

For example, the narcissist is never angry. He rages. The psychopath is never really emotionally invested in any project or any endeavor or any activity. Anyone who had sex with a psychopath can tell you this.

Psychopath is not really into the sex. So they're not there.

These are people who are defined not by their existence, but by their absence. These are disorders of absence, not of existence. So they don't experience emotions.

And when negative emotions break through, the protective veil break through the false self.

In the case of the narcissist, or break through the feigned indifference and defiance of the psychopath, when these emotions break through, they're malignant. They're cancerous. They're unrecognizable to a healthy person.

How can you compare anger to narcissistic rage? It's like the emotion is metastasized somehow.

The second mechanism that people with cluster B use when they are faced with their inability to grasp what's happening inside them, to label it, to judge it properly, to recognize it, to tell the world what's going on.

When they realize this deficit, so the first thing they do, they repress or avoid if they are narcissist or primary psychopath.

Second thing they do, they misjudge the intensity or the semiotics of the emotion.

In other words, they misjudge the signaling of the emotion, the cue that the emotion gives them, the information contained in the emotion.

So a histrionic, for example, is likely to misjudge the nature of the relationship, how deep it is, how long-lasting, how involved the parties are.

This is so true that misjudging the intensity of romantic emotions is one of the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV for histrionic personality disorder.

They are totally clueless, totally clueless. They misread everything, social cues, sexual cues, virtue signaling, proper signaling, information of all kinds, environmental, sexual, interperson.

This is their way of avoiding the painful realization that they are divorced from themselves, that they have no access to themselves, that their emotions are artifacts way beyond their reach.

And so instead of admitting to this, what they do, they construct their own dictionary, their own vocabulary, their own private language, which no one else frankly understands, and they impose it, they impose it on other people, they impose it on the environment.

After one day, if you date a histrionic, after one day, you are the love of her life.

And on the second day, she wants to marry you. It's her way of asking herself, what am I feeling? What are my emotions with this guy?

Oh, probably I'm in love with him. Probably I'm in love with him. Looks like he stands to reason, stands to reason that I'm in love. Makes sense that I'm in love with him.

Well, if I'm in love with him, why wait? Let's get married.

This is radicalization and escalation, which I could call it even semantic escalation, escalation of meanings.

And the third mechanism is dissociation, dissociating the emotions. If you can't join them, beat them. If you can't understand your emotions, if you can't label them, if you can't judge them, if you can't recognize them, if you cannot communicate them to others, why have them at all? Dissociate them, cut them off, scissor them away, like so many coupons in an ancient newspaper. Just pretend they're not there. Pretend they're not there.

And this happens with borderline personality disorder in the secondary cycle.

The borderline, which today we think is female secondary psychology, borderline, essentially what she does, she leverages, she uses several very important defense mechanisms, which survive from childhood, infantile defense mechanisms, in order to dissociate her emotions.

Dissociation is a diagnostic criterion of borderline personality disorder, because a borderline dissociates on multiple levels. And in every conceivable way, she depersonalizes. A borderline would tell you, I felt that I was on autopilot. I felt it wasn't me. I felt I was observing myself from the outside.

She derealizes. She can say I felt I was in a movie. I felt the whole thing was unreal. Or she has dissociative amnesia. She will insist that she can't remember what had happened, what she had done. She will attribute it to drink. I drank too much, so I had a blackout. I mean, she would dissociate.

And while dissociating the emotions, she makes use of her objecting constancy. It's very difficult to forget your emotions if you have no objecting constancy. Out of sight, out of mind. You are married. You have a spouse. You go out. He no longer exists because out of sight, out of mind.

And so then it's easy to do all kinds of things, to misbehave. Because he no longer is. And because he no longer is, there are no emotions attendant on him. And no emotions attendant on the misconduct.

In other words, there's no emotional reactivity when you can forget the trigger. If you cheat on your husband as a borderline woman, and it's much easier to do if your husband is out of sight, out of mind, and you have no emotions connected to the act.

So dissociating emotions is a major defense against mislabeling, against this alienation, this estrangement between the cluster B personality disordered patient and his own emotional processes.

Coping strategies in all these, literally all these personality disorders, disorders in coping strategies involve self-soothing. And self-soothing is dysfunctional.

Vast majority of self-soothing techniques or strategies are actually dysfunctional. They're self-defeating. They're self-destructive. They're self-trashing. They're reckless.

Overeating is self-soothing. Getting drunk is self-soothing. Promiscuous sex is self-soothing. Pathological gambling is self-soothing. All kinds of bodily behaviors which are harmful, most of them are connected to self-soothing. You can self-soothe with men. You can self-soothe with sex. You can self-soothe with dream. Anything and everything can be self-soothing.

And most self-soothing has an addictive or at the very least conditioned element. You do it almost automatically, almost reflexively when you are under stress or traumatized or in pain.

Reckless behaviors are also self-soothing.

And all the personality disorder, narcissist, borderline, sacrifice, when they're faced with their emotional invalidity, with the fact that their emotional triples, with their disability, and it's not only a disability to emote, it's not only a disability to experience the emotion, it's even a disability to tell yourself and others what it is that you're feeling.

When they're faced with this enormous limitation, with this loss, horrendous loss of 80% of what's beautiful in existence, in human existence, they're not stupid.

Many narcissists and psychopaths are actually super intelligent, Cleckley claims that most psychopaths are more intelligent than usual.

So these are intelligent people and they know what they are missing. They know intellectually, they know rationally, they don't know in the heart, but they know in the mind, in the brain, what they're missing. They know they're missing out on everything that's beautiful, everything that makes people human, everything that they're missing out on the most profound experiences.

There's nothing more profound than emotions, falling in love. Is there anything that comes close to it?

They know they're missing on all this. They know they've been deprived, they feel a sense, a deep sense of injustice or in resentment, which is the heart and the engine that drives, for example, the psychopaths, antisocial defined activities, acts, is angry.

Narcissists is angry, the borderline is angry at themselves to start with, but somehow in the world for having made them like this, they try to blame their parents, try to blame society.

They're looking for a scapegoat, they don't know, they're thrashing about, they don't know how to, but, and so they try to self soothe, very dysfunctionally and destructively.

And many of them, especially when they grow older, and self soothing no longer works, or the cost of self soothing and become such that even they understood, got it through the thick skulls that, you know, enough with this, enough with this promiscuity, enough with this drinking, enough with this drug abuse, substance abuse, etc.

So then they switch from self soothing to repetition compulsions. It's kind of, hope springs eternal.

They try again, and again, and again, and every time they fail, they withdraw, they isolate, they avoid.

So there's this approach avoidance, repetition compulsions, older narcissists, borderline psychopaths, and histrionic, let's say about the age of 30 or 35.

Their approach avoidance. They try to provoke in themselves, some emotions, and to do it in a controlled, restricted, restrained, constrained way so that they can be sure what emotions they are provoking and evoking, since they cannot label emotions, they cannot recognize emotions, they need to experience emotions, they need to provoke in themselves emotions in controlled environments.

So if they want to experience love, they would select a partner home in on the partner that explains behaviors such as love bombing and grooming, these are controlled behaviors, they these behaviors emanate from the need to control, not only the partner, it's a common mistake online.

The love bombing and grooming has somewhat to do with the partner is a lot to do with the narcissists and psychopaths.

Because love bombing and grooming are controlled tactics. And above all, they need to control their internal environment so that when there is an emotional reaction, when they do experience emotions, they will know what this emotion is.

Why? Because they narrow the protocol, they limited the space, they control the micromanage, the interaction.

And gradually, as approach fails, and is followed by avoidance, and then another approach followed by more avoidance and withdrawal. It takes more and more courage, more and more depleted energy, more and more effort to approach again.

There is hurt aversion and pain aversion, even in psychopaths and narcissists and borderlines, especially borderlines, but even in narcissists and psychopaths, histrionics, not to mention borderlines and codependence.

Borderlines are driven by hurt aversion or pain aversion. So it's very painful to approach and avoid approach and withdraw, approach and lose, approach and be betrayed. It's very painful.

And so gradually, narcissists and psychopaths, they develop persecutory introjected objects. In other words, they gradually form paranoid delusions, persecutory delusions centered around introjects, in other words, centered around internalized objects.

So their initial approach to other people would be very, very cautious, wary, suspicious, and they would immediately transform these other people. Take a snapshot, internalize a snapshot, as an internal object in order to control the object, because as a snapshot, you're in total control.

But then gradually, as the real person deviates and diverges from the snapshot, they will begin to feel that the meaningful other, the significant other, the intimate partner is frustrating them intentionally and malevolently and maliciously, they would convert the intimate partner into a persecretary, introjected object.

And this would be the topic of our next video.

So I'll tell you what you're feeling now. You're feeling tired and bored and you want to dislike this video, but you can't, because you don't want any bad blood between you and me. Trust me on that. Just kidding.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Rejection and Abandonment in Cluster B Personality Disorders and Their Intimate

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses how individuals with Cluster B personality disorders react to rejection. He explains that these individuals have difficulty distinguishing between their internal and external worlds, leading to confusion and a reliance on their bodies to communicate with their minds. Each type of Cluster B personality disorder reacts differently to rejection: narcissists with rage, primary psychopaths with aggression, secondary psychopaths with a mix of emotions, classic borderlines with extreme splitting, and histrionics with attempts to restore self-esteem. All Cluster B personality disorders tend to somatize, using their bodies to regulate their internal environment.

Covert Borderline: Narcissist or Psychopath (Primary, Secondary) ( Differential Diagnoses)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of covert borderline personality disorder, a diagnosis he proposes based on extensive literature. He explains the differences between covert borderline, narcissism, and psychopathy, emphasizing the complex and overlapping nature of personality disorders. He also delves into repetition compulsion and the cognitive style of covert borderlines. Vaknin advocates for a unified approach to understanding and categorizing personality disorders.

Borderline Lies, Narcissism Myths

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the misconceptions and myths surrounding lying in individuals with cluster B personality disorders, such as narcissism, borderline, and antisocial personality disorders. He explains that these individuals often confabulate, or create plausible narratives to fill memory gaps, rather than intentionally lying. Vaknin also highlights the different types of lies and their functions, emphasizing the importance of understanding the reasons behind the lies and creating a safe environment for individuals with cluster B disorders to share the truth.

Goals of Narcissists, Borderlines, Psychopaths

In this video, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the differences in goal orientation between cluster B personality disorders, including narcissists, psychopaths, and borderlines. Narcissists are not interested in anything except for obtaining narcissistic supply, while psychopaths are goal-oriented and pursue their goals with conviction and investment. Borderlines are also goal-oriented, but they mislabel their goals as emotional states and construct a fantastic narrative to explain their behavior. It is important to differentiate between these disorders to avoid confusion and mislabeling.

Covert Borderline Predicted: Standard Model of Personality Disorders (McGill University)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the differences between the classic and covert borderline personality disorders. The covert borderline internalizes their struggles, while the classic externalizes them. The covert is sadistic, punitive, goal-oriented, and may engage in triangulation, while the classic engages in triangulation to restore relationships or please people. The covert is preoccupied with appearances, while the classic is preoccupied with boredom and has an aesthetic taste. The covert borderline may be an activist and has apparent enthusiasm for socio-political affairs, while the classic couldn't care less and is a pathological liar.

How Narcissist/Psychopath Sees YOU, his Victim, and Why Borderlines Adore Them

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the inner experiences of narcissists, psychopaths, and borderlines. He explains how narcissists idealize their partners to reinforce their own grandiosity, while psychopaths manipulate and discard their partners for entertainment or personal gain. Borderlines exhibit a complex mix of traits from other personality disorders and may transition between narcissistic and psychopathic behaviors in response to frustration. Vaknin also clarifies that cheating is just one example of a behavior that can mortify a narcissist.

Transformed Against Your Will Behind Narcissist's Glass, Darkly (with Luke Elijah)

Dr. Sam Vaknin, a professor of psychology and finance, discusses the differences between bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and psychopathy. He advises against confronting narcissists on their toxic behaviors and explains the psychology behind gaslighting and hoovering. Dr. Vaknin believes that while narcissists can change their behaviors, their internal state remains unchanged. He also clarifies the concept of healthy narcissism and expresses concern about the misinformation surrounding narcissism online.

Covert Borderline's Relationships (with Melissa Rondeau, LMHC, MBA)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses his proposed diagnosis of covert borderline, which he suggests is a gap between classic narcissism and classic borderline personality disorder. He explains that the covert borderline is emotionally dysregulated and overwhelmed by emotions, unlike the classic narcissist who does not have access to positive emotions. The covert borderline is also seductive, glibly seductive, and likely to be flirtatious, socially charming, and charismatic. In addition, he discusses the characteristics of covert borderlines, their internal focus of control, and their need for narcissistic supply. Finally, he talks about the differences between psychopaths and narcissists, stating that psychopaths are more human than narcissists.

Narcissism Revisited (with Iranian Psychoanalyst Ali Reza Bornamanesh)

Summary: The conversation covers the classification of narcissism, the differential diagnosis between antisocial personality disorder and covert narcissistic personality disorder, the challenges of treating personality disorders, and the dominance of CBT in psychotherapy in Iran. The discussion also delves into the difficulties of practicing psychoanalysis in Iran, including the cultural barriers to free association in therapy. The conversation ends with an agreement to have a second meeting to further explore the topic of psychotherapy in Iran.

Personality Disorders: Not What They Seem! (ENGLISH): BOOTLEG Lecture, Corvinus University, Budapest

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the nature of personality disorders, focusing on Cluster B disorders, which include narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, and antisocial personality disorders. He explains that personality disorders are rigid patterns of dysfunction and are difficult to treat. Vaknin criticizes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for its categorical approach and highlights the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) for considering personality disorders on a spectrum. He suggests that narcissistic and borderline personality disorders are post-traumatic conditions and emphasizes the importance of understanding trauma in treating these disorders. Vaknin also touches on the concepts of object constancy, introject constancy, and the challenges of attachment in these disorders. He discusses his own models for understanding personality disorders and the difficulty of changing the core issues of narcissism. Vaknin concludes by addressing questions about living with and overcoming narcissism, stating that narcissism is pervasive and essentially a life sentence, with the only real solution being to walk away from relationships with narcissists.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy