Borderline, Narcissist: Why They Can't Let Go of Each Other

Uploaded 8/1/2022, approx. 22 minute read

I received 48 comments on my previous video. 17 comments were so idiotic that I deleted them and blocked the commenters. My channel is a stupid free zone.

31 of the comments, displayed signs of outstanding intelligence. All 31 analyzed my new haircut.

Indeed, the main topic, the crux, the gist, the core of the previous video that I've made was my haircut, my hairline, whether it makes me look younger or, God forbid, older.

Clearly, this was what I was trying to convey and communicate.

Congratulations. I thought the overwhelming vast majority of YouTube viewers and users are returns, and I was proven wrong. I was utterly proven wrong.

Your comments show that you are capable of digesting what I'm saying, assimilating it, integrating it with your previous considerable irredition.

Indeed, I have never been subjected to deeper, more profound scrutiny, and my hair definitely never.

So, since this is the case, please pay attention. This is my new haircut with gel added.

And I'm awaiting the tsunami and avalanche of inane comments about this.

The second much more marginal topic of today's video is the difference between the borderlines shared fantasy and the narcissist shared fantasy.

Borderlines and narcissists have a lot in common.

As Otto Kernberg, one of my predecessors who was older than me is older than me, if it's at all possible.

Otto Kernberg was the first to note the affinities between borderlines and narcissists, and he suggested very wisely in my view that narcissists and borderlines are two facets of the same coin.

Rothstein and other psychoanalysts also connected borderline to narcissism. And I think borderlines, narcissists, or personality disorders are actually a single clinical entity.

But enough of that.

Borderlines share with narcissists many features, many traits, and many behaviors.

For example, borderlines and narcissists are grandiose.

Another example, borderlines have a false self exactly like the narcissist.

In both these disorders, there is a self that is concocted in early childhood, early traumatic and abusive childhood, in order to fulfill certain psychological functions, to cater to certain psychological needs.

In the case of the narcissist, these are the ego boundary functions. In the case of the borderline, these are the regulatory functions.

In other words, the borderlines false self is intended to assist her in recruiting external regulators of her internal states, recruiting people to regulate her internal states, regulate her moods, regulate her effects, emotions, etc.

The narcissist, the sole aim of the false self is to elicit and extract narcissistic supply from potential sources of supply, some of them known euphemistically as intimate partners. I call them insignificant others.

Another thing is that both borderlines and narcissists end up narcissists, create a shared fantasy.

They come across a potential intimate partner, they attempt, endeavor, very forcefully, to create a space where the two parties can disengage from reality to some extent, and live or pursue a magical life.

We'll come to it in a minute.

So both borderlines and narcissists have shared fantasies, but there is a serious clinical difference between the shared fantasy of the borderline and the shared fantasy of the narcissist.

I'll start by saying that narcissists are capable of attachment, bonding and emotions.

I refer you to some of my videos which deal with the narcissist emotions and so on and so forth.

Narcissists are not capable to love, to attach and to bond to other people, to human beings, because they are not capable of perceiving other people as separate from them, or because they convert other people into maternal figures, which are very traumatic.

So you don't attach and you don't bond with a traumatic figure and you don't love a traumatic figure. You do everything you can to manage the trauma and separate from the maternal or traumatizing figure.

So narcissists are incapable of loving, attaching and bonding with people, but they are perfectly capable of getting attached, bonding with and even loving, in other words, defecting, investing emotional energy in inanimate objects.

For example, books, in my case, I love books, I'm attached to books, I bond with books, I mourn and grieve when I lose books or when they get defaced, when I cannot obtain a book, I yearn and long and pine for the book until it arrives or doesn't.

Similarly, narcissists are capable of attaching to and bonding with human bodies. Narcissists actually, in the sexual acts, somatic narcissists, more generally, cerebral narcissists, when they transition to a somatic phase, they tend to get attached to specific human bodies.

Now, intimate partners of narcissists usually mistake this attachment and think that it is a kind of love or a kind of bonding, but it's actually an attachment to something the narcissist perceives as inanimate, a human body.

Narcissists objectify the human body. And so for them, it's indistinguishable from books, for example.

Narcissists, therefore, are capable of attaching to objects and to functions.

You remember the four S's, the four S's, sex, supply, sadistic or narcissistic, services and safety. Narcissists get attached to these functions.

Anyone who provides a narcissist with two or three of these four S's becomes an intimate partner because the narcissist gets bonded to and invested emotionally in what he gets from the intimate partner.

In other words, the narcissist never loves the intimate partner, never gets attached to the intimate partner, never bonds with the intimate partner. He loves, he gets attached to, he bonds with, he is emotionally invested in what he is getting from the partner, be it sex, be it services, be it safety or be it supply, narcissistic or sadistic.

So to summarize this first point, narcissists are capable of attaching to inanimate objects or to objects which they can render inanimate, such as human bodies.

Similarly, narcissists get attached to functions, to what they receive from other people, especially from intimate partners.

Borderlines are not the same. Borderlines get attached to regulated states.

The core of borderline, the core problem in borderline is emotional dysregulation.

The borderline is unable to control her emotions and also her mood. She is led by and she's in a constant state of loss of control.

And this is known as dysregulation. She's overwhelmed by her emotions. She drowns in her emotions. She very often becomes suicidal as the only way to avoid the tsunami of emotions that threaten to submerge her.

And so the borderline's main preoccupation is with the need to regulate her internal state, her internal landscape. She needs help. She needs someone out there who would be willing and able and capable of helping her to regulate her moods, her emotions, her cognitions, her affect, and her behaviors.

So the borderline does attach and does bond and does emotionally invest in and does love.

What? A regulated state, not the regulator.

It's another common mistake, even in the literature.

Borderlines love their intimate partners. Borderlines get attached and bond with their intimate partners. They emotionally invest in their intimate partners because the intimate partners guarantee regulation.

In this sense, the borderlines are indistinguishable from the narcissists. The narcissists are interested in the four S's, sex, supply, safety, services.

The borderline is interested in the one R, regulation. It is what the narcissist is getting from his intimate partner that bonds him or binds him to the intimate partner.

Similarly, it's what the borderline is getting from her intimate partner that attaches her to this intimate partner.

Of course, when you ask a narcissist or a borderline, are you feeling anything? They will say, yes, I love my intimate partner. They mislabel. I'll have a whole video dedicated to how the borderline mislabels her emotions.

Both narcissists and borderlines tend to mislabel emotions and even cognitions. When they try to make sense of what's happening to them, they will tend to use the wrong labels. When the borderline tries to make sense of why is she so dependent on her intimate partner, she doesn't realize that she's dependent on her intimate partner because he offers regulatory services. He helps her to regulate her moods and emotions. She doesn't realize this. She says, I love him.

When the narcissist is trying to make sense of his attachment to his intimate partner in a shared fantasy, he doesn't realize that he's attached to her because she gives him sex or services or supply. And if he is aware of it, he would tend to minimize it because he doesn't need anyone. He's self-sufficient. He's godlike.

Instead, he would say, I love her.

But of course, I love her because she's perfect. He loves the idealized image of her.

So there is a mislabeling, a misplacement or displacement of the locus of cathexis, the locus of emotional investment. The shared fantasy serves a crucial role in the lives of narcissists and borderlines.

I've dedicated at the very least 10 videos. That's 10 hours to the issue or the concept of shared fantasy in the narcissist's psychodynamics.

For those of you who are interested to know, why does the narcissist need a shared fantasy? What does he do within a shared fantasy? How does he exit a shared fantasy? How does he enter a shared fantasy? What's your role as an intimate partner in a shared fantasy, et cetera, et cetera?

The only thing I can tell you is go in search for these keywords, shared fantasy, on my channel and find the 10 videos that I've made on this topic. You can search a channel by clicking on the magnifying glass. If you're using a laptop, those of you old enough to lose a laptop, and if you're using a smartphone, like the majority of the population, then there's a down arrow. You click on it and there's a menu and you choose search. Be sure to choose shared search and you can search the channel.

So this is the narcissist shared fantasy. I discussed it at length. I will touch upon it now, just in order to make the contradiction to the borderline shared fantasy.

The borderline shared fantasy is the mirror image of the narcissist shared fantasy. And this fact explains why narcissists and borderlines are drawn to each other, like two magnets, why they can't let go of each other, why they find each other in a crowd, why they form diets. My good friend and colleague, John Lachcar, was the first to describe this phenomenon in the early 1980s in her masterpiece Narcissistic Borderline Couples. Indeed, there is a preponderance, there's an overabundance of borderline narcissistic couples way over and above the statistical average in the general population. In other words, there's statistical significance when we study who would the narcissist tend to bond with. We very often find that it's a borderline. Why is that? Because of the shared fantasy. The narcissist shared fantasy is the mirror image, the compliment, the other side of the coin of the borderline shared fantasy.

It's like a key and a lock, like a substrate and a reagent. It's a perfect match, not between the narcissist and borderline, but between the shared fantasy of the narcissist and the shared fantasy of the borderline.

The narcissist and the borderline can actually be incompatible. They can be enemies, they can be fighting all the time, they can hate each other's guts, they can harm and hurt each other constantly, they can be aggressive with each other, violent and act out and do horrible things to each other, but they can't let go of each other and they can't let go because their shared fantasies, the shared fantasy of the narcissist and the shared fantasy of a borderline create a chemical reaction that becomes a single molecule.

It's like hydrogen and oxygen become water and that's the end of it, more or less same with narcissism borderline.

The function, the main function of the shared fantasy of the narcissist is to engulf, to subsume, to consume, to digest, to immerse, to assimilate an intimate partner.

The main function of the narcissist shared fantasy is to get the intimate partner to become addicted to what the narcissist has to offer, which is perfect mothership plus the whole of mirrors, the ability to reflect to the partner an idealized version of the partner.

The partner falls in love with this idealized version of herself and so she becomes addicted to it. She becomes addicted to the intensity and depth of this self-love, newly discovered self-love and she can't let go of the narcissist and that is the main function of the shared fantasy to create a magical kingdom where both parties can replay their traumas in a way that provides resolution to both of them.

The narcissist is able to separate from his intimate partner in this way reenacting the original conflict with his mother, originally with his birth mother and the intimate partner is able to love herself finally. If she's a codependent, if it's a borderline, it's the first time that she experiences real self-love to the idealized image through the narcissist gaze.

Both parties get a lot out of the narcissist shared fantasy. The narcissist gets to replay his childhood, he gets a second chance at going through the phases of his childhood and this time with hopefully a healthy resolution or so he believes.

The intimate partner of the narcissist gets a chance to love herself. To love herself as a mother would love her, as a mother would see her a bit idealized and a bit unconditional.

So this is the narcissist shared fantasy, it's about engulfing.

The borderline shared fantasy is about being engulfed. In other words, what the narcissist offers the borderline seeks.

She wants to be engulfed, she wants actually to disappear and vanish. It's not a surprise that 11% of people with borderline personality disorder commit suicide because the main drive and the main thrust in the borderline's existence is to not exist.

She pursues absence and emptiness actively.

The narcissist also has an empty schizoid core but the narcissist is trying to ignore this core of emptiness. He's trying to suppress the void in the black hole by pretending to be something else.

That's the grandiosity defense. The narcissist puts on a facade of perfection and brilliance and superiority because he is trying to hide the fact that there's nobody home. That is, it's an all devouring black hole.

The borderline doesn't do this. She doesn't put a facade. She doesn't pretend to be someone she's not.

What the borderline does, she pursues the emptiness in her. She tries to merge with the black hole that she had become owing to childhood abuse and trauma. She seeks death. She has a death wish. She wants to be annihilated.

But of course, it's terrifying to seek your own destruction. Contemplating suicide can be soothing up to the point where you have to carry it out when it becomes terrifying.

So rather than commit suicide physically, she chooses to commit suicide mentally via the agency of the narcissist, via the agency of her intimate partner.

She tells the intimate partner, I want to die. I want to not be. I want to never exist again. And I want you to help me with this.

And the way you can help me with this is by taking over my mind. The way you can help me with this is by suspending me, deactivating me, disabling me, and taking over all my functions.

The borderline approaches herintimate partner in the borderline shared fantasy with a proposition. I will be all yours. I will be your slave. But in return, you have to regulate my moods. You have to control my emotions. You have to help me to survive. And you have to be here 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, 366 days a year. That's the borderline's proposed contract with her intimate partner.

So while the narcissist creates a shared fantasy in which he can trap, engulf, consume, and convert his intimate partner into a maternal figure, etc., the borderline creates a shared fantasy into which she invites an intimate partner on the condition that he agrees to take over her mind and her life.

He doesn't become the center of her life. He doesn't become the pivot. He doesn't. He becomes her. She disappears and reappears in him the process of merger infusion, which happens also to some extent with co-dependence.

So when the narcissist and the borderline come together, there's nothing the narcissist wants to do more than take over his partner, then make her disappear because this elays, this reduces his abandonment anxiety. So he wants to engulf the partner. He wants to get enmeshed with the partner. He wants to subsume and consume the partner. He wants to render the partner, convert her into an extension of himself.

And there's nothing the borderline wants more than this. It's exactly what the borderline wants. She wants to disappear in the narcissist. She wants to become another organ, a third arm, a third leg. She wants she wants to become merged with him and fuse with him and become one single organism with perhaps two heads.

Of course, he's terrified of this process because this is mental suicide. So there's a lot of approach avoidance.

The borderline approaches the intimate partner with this offer. And when the intimate partner agrees and takes over the borderline, the borderline runs away. She's terrified because she feels that she's disappearing. She's vanishing into him, into the intimate partner, but then she returns. She returns and she runs away and she runs away and she returns. That's the famous approach avoidance, repetition, compulsion. I hate you. Don't leave me.

So the narcissist's shared fantasy has four phases and is very stable. It starts with idealization and love bombing, continuous into devaluation, then discard, and then replacement. Mentally, by the way, discard precedes devaluation, as I've explained in previous videos. But these are the phases and they're rigid. They follow each other ineluctably, inevitably, there's no change in this pattern, in this algorithm. It's like artificial intelligence. A follows B, follows C, follows D, end of story.

With the borderline, the shirt fantasy is a lot more chaotic. The narcissist's shirt fantasy is rigid. The borderline's shirt fantasy is amorphous, ephemeral, approach avoidant, unpredictable, labile, dysregulated, crazy making.


Because the borderline is like this. The shirt fantasies reflect, of course, the initiators of the shirt fantasy.

The narcissist's narcissism, pathological narcissism, is about rigidity. It's a constriction. It's even mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a rigid pattern.

The borderline's disorder is chaos. It's a big bang. It's an explosion. Borderline is all over the place and nowhere. So her shirt fantasy would reflect this, but both shirt fantasies, both of them, are founded on, consist of the dual mothership concept.

The narcissist offers the borderline, the unconditional love, acceptance and idealization that her mother should have offered her and in all probability did not. He offers her this because it allows her to love herself through his gaze. He looks at her. He sees her as a surrogate mother.

The borderline constitutes herself on the fly through his gaze. She looks in his eyes. She sees the unconditional love, as she interprets it, and she feels safe. She feels seen. She feels that she exists and that reduces her internal emotional dysregulation and lability.

So the narcissist acts as a maternal figure, allows the borderline to use his gaze to love herself as an idealized version, in an idealized version, and that causes her dysregulation and lability to diminish, which is exactly what she had in mind. That was the goal of the shirt fantasy.

On the other hand, the borderline acts as the narcissist's maternal figure. The original mother of the narcissist was exactly like his borderline intimate partner. She was absent. She was selfish. She was grandiose. She instrumentalized him. She parentified him.

So the borderline is a perfect imitation, a perfect simulation, a perfect stand-in for the narcissist's original mother. So the borderline plays this maternal role and makes it easier for the narcissist to devalue her and then to discard her and this way separate from her and hope to individuate later on. He fails because of introject constancy, watch my previous video, but the borderline is his best chance at separation individuation.

You are beginning to understand why the borderline narcissist's bond is unbreakable, extremely powerful, resilient, and irresponsible to outside stimuli and so on, cultivating information and so on because they are each other's best chance. The narcissist is the borderline's best chance at gaining control over her chaotic self.

The narcissist gaze his idealization of her, allow her to love herself in this way to reduce her emotional dysregulation and lability and she can't get this anywhere else only from the narcissist because only the narcissist will idealize her. Only the only narcissist idealize.

Similarly, the narcissist sees in the borderline a replica, a clone of his original mother, of his mother of origin. So it's his best chance by far to separate in a way that would feel authentic, that would feel true and real. It's like separating really from real mother.

So he clings to the borderline as a maternal figure and then he devalues her harshly and discards her cruelly. So that's the only way to prove to himself that he has truly separated from her.

Approach avoidance in the case of the borderline versus separation, devaluation, and discard in the case of the narcissist.

Of course, the borderline is terrified of all these dynamics. Somewhere in her she realizes that she is being sacrificed like Isaac, you know, like Isaac almost has been by Abraham. She is being sacrificed to the false self.

The false self is godlike, it's a deity and the borderline is the sacrificial lamb. She understands this. She understands that the narcissist is like acid. He dissolves her. She's disintegrated.

The narcissist takes over her, absconds with her internal functions. The narcissist controls her moods, tells her how to feel. With a single word, he can cause her elation and euphoria and with another word, he can drive her down to the pits and the bottoms of despair.

He is, in narcissist, or her intimate partner actually, even if he's not narcissist, has an inordinate power over the borderline.

So in her shared fantasy, the borderline feels very uncomfortable. Her shared fantasy is egodystonic. The narcissist's shared fantasy is egosyntonic. The narcissist's shared fantasy enhances his grandiosity and gives him hope to complete the separation and individuation with his mother.

As far as the narcissist is concerned, the shared fantasy, his shared fantasy, is the best thing since sliced bread or since some Vaknin videos. As far as the borderline is concerned, the shared fantasy is a threat, some menacing, ominous space within which she can let go. She can regulate herself, but at what a cost, at a cost of disappearing and vanishing. The intimate partner in the borderline's shared fantasy is someone who is out to consume her utterly and totally.

So she develops engulfment, anxiety, and she runs away. Thisruns away.

This never happens with a narcissist. He doesn't feel the need to run away. He feels the need to discard. He feels the need to separate.

And both narcissists and borderlines hoover. They both hoover, but they hoover for different reasons.

If you watch yesterday's video, those of you who are seriously self-loathing and self-destructing, so if you watch yesterday's video, it's about introject constancy versus object constancy.

The narcissist has something that I call introject constancy. He cannot get rid of the introjects in his mind. He doesn't dare to eliminate or eradicate or erase or delete his internal objects. The avatar is in his internal space. The snapshots of previous lovers, he doesn't dare to get rid of any of this. He hoards these things.

And the reason is that if he were to try to get rid of these introjects, he would develop enormous abandonment, anxiety.

The borderline has object inconstancy, object constancy or inconstancy, not introject constancy.

The borderline gets attached to real people. She perceives her intimate partner as a full-fledged human being.

The borderline has empathy and she has access to positive emotions as distinct and opposed to the narcissist.

So the narcissist interacts with representations of other people in his mind. He never interacts with other people. He interacts with their symbols, their images, their icons, their avatars in his mind, the internal objects in his mind that stand in for external objects.

So his intimate partner is out there. It's an external object. The narcissist never interacts with her. He interacts with her representation in his mind. He interacts with the internal object in his mind that symbolizes his intimate partner, symbolizes this external object.

Not so the borderline. The borderline really perceives her intimate partner as separate from her as a three-dimensional human being with needs and hopes and beliefs and so on.

In this sense, the borderline is much healthier actually than the narcissist. Narcissist is much closer to psychosis on a daily basis.

The borderline can end up being psychotic under stress or rejection or humiliation. The narcissist is psychotic every minute of the day. He's psychotic because he cannot tell the difference between external and internal objects.

So the narcissist is emotionally attached to the internal objects in his mind and he cannot get rid of any one of them because getting rid of any one of them would create enormous abandonment, anxiety, separation, insecurity.

The borderline cannot get rid of real people in her life because she has object inconstancy or object inconstancy. So she cannot get rid of real people.

The narcissist hoovers you because he wants to match you with the internal object. He wants to kind of close the books.

Here you are an external object. Here you are in his mind as an internal object that reduces his anxiety, case closed, is not abandoned.

The borderline will hover you because she really wants you. She misses you or she misses your regulatory functions. She misses what you can do for her.

That's much more accurate. She misses the fact that you can regulate her internal world, her internal space.

So these are the differences between the shared fantasy of the narcissist and the shared fantasy of the borderline.

If you have any questions about my hair, of course, forget the rest. The rest of this video is utterly irrelevant. My hair is the issue.

So if you have any questions about my hair, I'd be delighted to respond in great anatomical detail, but it's not for the squeamish.

I warn you, there are things about my hair that you really, really don't want to know.

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