It's a sad, mad and bad world. Ask Vlad Putin if you don't believe me.
But Minnie and I, to the rescue, we intend to cheer you up today, Shoshanim, by discussing the precarious and misbehaviors of Cluster B personality disorders.
Is there anything more cheerful than Cluster B? I think not.
So stay with me, and by the end of this episode, you would consider various options which you should never try at home, at least not when alone.
Levity and contorted sense of humor aside, what's going on today in the world is very concerning and worrisome, and a lot of it has to do with Cluster B personality disorders.
As I had been warning since 1995, narcissistic and psychopathic leaders have taken over the world, and I'm here to try to make you understand them better, based on evidence and scientific research, not on rants and raves and gut feelings and anecdotes with your aunt or neighbor.
Science has a lot to tell us about these people.
Today we are going to focus on two issues, the borderline's making strategies. How does she select mates and what does she do to them? And that would lead us to aggression.
What's happening with aggression and anger with Cluster B? Why do borderlines, narcissists, psychopaths, why are they so angry all the time? Why is aggression the hallmark of these personality disorders? To a certain extent, it is also characteristic in common in other personality disorders, such as, for example, paranoid personality disorder.
But still, Cluster B, the dramatic or the erratic cluster, is definitely typified and characterized by unusual expressions and manifestations of aggression.
So, let us start with the borderline's mating strategies.
A mating strategy is a method or a way or a method of operation of picking up a mate, picking up an intimate partner.
The borderline hooks up with potential partners using two mating strategies, and these mating strategies both are self-defeating.
So, borderlines, in their intimate lives, in their intimate relationships, are always self-defeating and self-destructive.
The first mating strategy of the borderline is to offer the full gamut, the full panoply of sex, immediately. Within minutes, within hours, she is available to have sex with you, any kind of sex. You name it, she will do it. She is a technicolor production of sexuality, a whole menu a la carte.
The second strategy is to reveal her mental illness. Yes, sounds bizarre, but that is exactly what borderlines do, usually even on a first date. They tell you everything you wanted to know, and a lot of what you did not want to know, about their mental illness. They disclose their checkered and dubious personal history. They decompensate. They act out in front of you, in full view, and they become dysregulated and unboundaried.
And all within the first date.
This is a strategy. This is not real. This is a choice. This is a manipulative ploy.
And I will explain in a minute what it is intended to accomplish.
But to summarize, these are the two ways the borderline comes at you.
Either she offers you sex, the kind of wet sex that had only populated and occupied your fantasies. She promises to make all your fantasies come true on a first date, on a first encounter, within the first hour.
Or a different strategy is to reveal to you, to expose to you her inner life, her torment, her torture, her pain, her hurt, her dysregulation, her lack of boundaries, her very unusual, shall we say gently, personal history, including relationship history, history in the workplace, what people had done to her, etc., casting herself, in most cases, as the victim of both her mental affliction and the way people had leveraged this affliction to take advantage of her.
These are the two mating strategies.
The first strategy, but as I said, both these strategies are self-defeating. They lead nowhere. They have countervailing outcomes, not beneficial to the borderline.
We can say, therefore, that borderlines are not self-efficacious in selecting mates. They're also very likely to select mates who are unavailable, emotionally unavailable or legally unavailable, married, for instance.
Now, I keep saying she, although a large portion of borderline personality disorder diagnosis, an ever increasing portion, now goes to men. Men are being diagnosed increasingly more with borderline personality disorder.
But men's borderline traits and borderline behaviors manifest differently, owing probably to cultural and societal strictures and mores.
Borderline men behave differently.
So everything I'm saying right now applies and pertains to female borderlines.
They are definitely distinct from male borderlines. Male borderlines are closer to what I call covert borderline, and I encourage those of you who are interested to have a look or to watch my videos on covert borderline.
This video is dedicated to female borderlines.
The first strategy, offering unbridled sex, kinky, unlimited, fantastic, degrading, lurid even, within the owl, to any stranger that crosses their path and who may become an intimate partner in their fantasy at least, this strategy appeals to predators and to players.
Predatory men and men who play the field with no intention to commit or to invest in a relationship, they're very attracted to unboundaried, broken, damaged borderline women.
They use the borderline sexually, usually only once, and then these men move on, leaving the borderline hurt, dumbfounded and perplexed.
She doesn't understand. Why have they moved on? Why aren't they coming back? Why aren't they making contact? Why are they avoiding her? She has succumbed to all their kinky and even lurid fantasies on a first encounter. She thought she got them addicted. She believes that her sexuality is of an addictive nature, kind of a drug, and will lure them back to her.
But they never come back. They never stay. And she's utterly confused about this.
The typical borderline woman has dozens of stories of encounters with men, which had turned to be one-night stands, although initially and originally the intention was to try to develop a relationship.
So borderline women are very gullible in this sense because they inhabit a fantasy. When they come across a potential intimate partner, they create a fantasy about that potential, and then they move into the fantasy. They relocate from reality to the fantasy, and they develop impaired momentarily and impaired reality testing.
And so when they're faced with the morning after with harsh reality, they're unable to cope, and they go through a process of heartbreak and even acting out.
So the first strategy leads them to bad places, sleazy encounters, and in about one-third of the cases, to sexual assault.
Borderline women are re-victimized much more often than any other group of women in terms of sexual assault and rape.
The second strategy is to reveal the borderline's soul.
The borderline grants the potential intimate partner almost immediately access to her innermost recesses and secrets. She tells him how broken and damaged she is, how promiscuous she had been, how often she gets drunk or drugged and uses substances. She tells him how fragile and vulnerable she is, how needy, how clinging. She exposes all this.
Why does she do this? In most cases, it would frighten away any healthy men.
Well, she does this because she tends to attract unhealthy men.
The second strategy attracts masochistic men, saviors, fixers and rescuer types.
There is the famous Karbman drama triangle, and I encourage you to watch a video that I've made about this drama triangle.
But in a nutshell, to sketch, the drama triangle involves the borderline, her abuser and a rescuer, a savior, a fixer type who's going to make everything better. He's going to rescue the borderline, he's going to save her from her abuser and then he's going to fix her.
What Karbman had discovered is that the roles fluctuate. It's all in flux. It's all labile. The borderline becomes later the saviour, the saviour becomes the abuser and so on. This flux within the drama triangle renders the borderline's attachments very unpredictable, very labile and very unstable.
Coming back to the issue, the second making strategy of telling the intimate partner, I'm broken, I'm damaged, I'm fragile, I'm bleeding, is intended to elicit in the intimate partner a reflex to save and to fix and to heal and to rescue the borderline.
And many unhealthy men fall in this trap, myself included. They try to heal the borderline, to fix her, to save her and to rescue her exactly as she had intended. She exposes to these men her vulnerability and childlike fragility and neediness and very few men or unhealthy men can resist this.
But even these men when they're exposed to the borderline's trenchant aggression, approach avoidance, promiscuity, acting out, even they ultimately give up on her.
So the borderline's mating strategies are undermined essentially by her aggression. Even when she prefers and offers sex, unmitigated, unbridled, unconstrained sex, a boundary, dysregulated sex, fantastic amazing sex, even this is done very aggressively. She pursues the sex, she almost coerces the men around her to have sex with her, not that they need coercion, but it does feel a bit forced. It does feel forced and it does feel effortful, the outcome of some effort.
There is a clear agenda behind it. It's very manipulative and it's very, it comes on as in many cases as Godly or as some kind of manipulative ploy to accomplish something, long term, even ulterior motives under the surface.
So many men recoil actually. The borderline is very aggressive even in the first mating strategy. When she offers sex, she definitely becomes aggressive and sometimes violent with a second strategy. When she teams up with an intimate partner who is trying to change her, to modify her, to heal her because healing is about change and borderlines exactly like narcissists are very grandiose. They don't think that they should change. They don't think that anything's wrong with them. They think they have alloplastic defenses. They blame men, they blame the world, they blame society, the period in history, they blame feminism, they blame misogyny, they don't blame anything except themselves.
It's very difficult for them to see where they had contributed and how they had contributed to their own mishaps, repeated mishaps.
So there's a clash between the agenda of the rescuer and saviour and fixer and healer, the new intimate partner and the borderline because the borderline doesn't want to hear that she needs fixing and healing. She had presented herself as mentally ill, as fragile, as vulnerable, as broken, but her message was not, please come and fix me, please come and heal me, please come and change me, please make sure that this doesn't happen again. That's not her message. Her message is, am I not amazing? Am I not unique?
My mental illness renders me a precious flower. My brokenness makes me special. It's a locus of grandiosity.
The borderline is grandiosely invested, affected, emotionally invested in her own illness, exactly like the narcissist. The narcissist is proud of his narcissism because he thinks that narcissism renders him superior, the next stage in the evolutionary ladder.
Same with the borderline. In a way, she is proud of her mental illness because she thinks it renders her colorful, exotic, ultra-special, unprecedented, super-unique, hyper-complex, a treasure. She doesn't want her mental illness to go away. What would be left?
If her mental illness were to be cured, all that would be left behind was an emptiness. Deep inside the borderline is an empty shell. She's hollowed out. She's a black hole, exactly like the narcissist. She is endowed with empathy and with emotions, but nothing much more besides. She's terrified of intimacy because intimacy would expose her for what she is.
Again, an empty shell.
So she uses her mental illness as a point of interest, as an attraction. It's like sightseeing in a new city, her mental illness and all the variegations and variants of her mental illness, the manifestations and the expressions of her mental illness, the way her behaviors are influenced by her mental illness, the traits, everything, all this mishmash, all this concoction, all this compendium of human misery and suffering that she hands over to the rescuer and saviour and fixer and healer. This is her gift. She regards her promiscuity, for example, as a gift, her acting out as expression of true overpowering, overwhelming, strong emotions. She regards herself as more authentic and more genuine than most people. She does not suppress or deny who she really is. She is a crystal. She is pure. Purity is the essence of the borderline in her own eyes. And she thinks she is her mental illness. Take that away. Nothing will be left behind.
So she is not into being changed. She resents this. She feels engulfed and enmeshed and digested and consumed and assimilated. And she doesn't want this. She feels that she's vanishing.
So this creates approachavoidance. And then she loses control. Her defenses collapse. She becomes a secondary psychopath. And she acts out.
In some cases, she acts out with other men. In other cases, she becomes violent with inanimate objects. She can do horrible things. She can betray. She can cheat. She can lie. She often lies.
And all these are manifestations of aggression.
And to understand the borderline in depth, we need to understand the role of aggression in cluster B personality disorders.
First of all, to be clear, aggression is healthy. It's a healthy instinct. It's part of the survival instinct. It's part of the flight or fight response mode. Without aggression, we would be dead.
So aggression guarantees our ongoing existence and prevents us, separates us from extinction.
Healthy aggression, exactly like healthy narcissism, healthy aggression is externalized and sublimated. Healthy aggression is directed outward. It's directed at people, at institutions, at causes, social activism, for example. And it's directed outward. It's externalized in socially accepted ways.
This constraint that healthy aggression is socially acceptable. Only the socially acceptable forms of aggression are healthy. This is known as sublimation.
So healthy aggression is both externalized, but it is also sublimated. It is rendered socially commendable or socially acceptable.
But not all people externalize aggression. Some people internalize aggression. They had learned that to express aggression openly or overtly is dangerous to your health. You should refrain. It's illegitimate to express anger. You need to suppress it, subdue it, deny it, absorb it somehow.
So these people internalize aggression. They almost never externalize it.
When aggression is internalized, it induces mental illness. Aggression is a form of energy. Use it or lose yourself.
So you can either externalize it and then waste it or spend it away. And then it's gone and you're back to balance and equilibrium and whomever your status is.
Or if you don't, if you internalize the aggression, if you swallow your anger, if you bottle it up, then it induces mental illness.
Now there are many forms of mental illness. There are mild forms, like boredom.
Boredom is a form of self-directed aggression. It's a kind of rejection of reality and the world and everything it has to offer. It's isolating yourself.
Boredom isolates you from the world and from the stimulation that the world offers.
And so you are killing yourself.
Boredom is a form of slow-mo suicide, at least mental. Anhedonia, lack of ability to find pleasure in anything. You don't find any activity, any object, any stimulus pleasurable.
So boredom and anhedonia are forms of internalised self-directed aggression, the same with dysphoria, the same with depression and even suicidal ideation or suicide.
It is not by accident that 11% of people with borderline personality disorder end up committing suicide. They tend to internalise aggression.
Infants, and in a minute I will come to the question of if the borderline internalises aggression, how come she is aggressive towards other people? I will come to it in a minute. Bear with me.
But take it for granted at this stage that borderlines tend to internalise some of their aggression.
Now infants internalise aggression. That's important to understand. It starts with internalisation. Aggression at the very beginning of life is internalised.
Babies cry, babies throw temper tantrums, babies throw objects and break them. These are all forms of externalised aggression.
But this aggression is limited to object or it's very diffuse. In infancy externalised aggression is not directed aggression. It's diffuse and it's usually directed at objects including the baby's body itself, which is perceived as an object, the first object naturally.
So infants internalise aggression when they are frustrated. And there's a very simple reason for this. It feels unsafe to aggress against mummy. Mother frustrates the child. It denies the child her breasts. It leaves the room. It disappears for short periods of time. Or it may be absent or depressed. It may be sick and go away for a few weeks.
There are numerous reasons. Children are frustrated from day one. And they have two options. They can either externalise this frustration and frustration creates aggression. So they can either externalise the aggression that is wrought on by frustration or they can internalise it.
Again, mothers frustrate children, mothers frustrate babies and infants because they are not always there to cater to the immediate needs of the infant or the baby. So the baby or the infant becomes frustrated and frustration creates aggression.
That is the famous frustration-aggression hypothesis by Dullard in 1939.
So there's aggression. What to do with the aggression?
The child or the infant can externalise it or internalise it.
But it feels unsafe to externalise it because if the baby shows mummy that he is angry at her, if the baby directs his aggression at mummy, mummy might just go away and never come back. The baby depends on mummy for shelter, for warmth and for food, for other issues as well like tactile contact.
So the baby is highly dependent on mummy, dependent on mummy for his life. If he were to show mummy aggression, he would take the risk of mummy just walking out and never coming back and then the baby would die.
So initially, in the first two years of life, it's very dangerous for the baby, for the infant, to externalise aggression.
So babies tend mostly to internalise aggression and when they do externalise it, it's not directed at anyone, it's just diffuse.
This starts to change when babies separate individually. They separate from mummy and they become their own individuals.
In order to set boundaries, because the process of separation and individuation involves setting personal boundaries.
First time in his life, the infant makes clear where he ends and the world begins, where mummy ends and he begins. So he is protecting, he is defending his perimeter with boundaries.
But to do so, he needs to be aggressive.
Separation and individuation is a very aggressive act because it sends a message, stay out, stay away. I'm going my own way. I'm separate from you. I'm my own individual. I have my boundaries and you ought to respect them. I'm becoming a human being. I'm no longer merged with you, mummy. I'm no longer fused with you, mummy. I'm no longer one with you, mummy.
The symbiotic relationship is over. I'm on my way. That's an aggressive message.
So separation and individuation involves aggression and this time the aggression is both externalized and directed.
The baby at the age of 18 months to 24 months begins to make her first steps away from mummy. She begins to disengage from mummy, to detach from her. She begins to explore the world. She begins to form a sense of identity. She begins to constellate herself. She begins to set boundaries where mummy should not transgress. These boundaries isolate the baby from mummy. She is gradually becoming separate, separateness. Separateness leads to individuation, but there's no separateness without actively and aggressively rejecting mummy, rejecting the other.
Many immature mothers take this as a form of narcissistic injury. They take it badly. They don't want the child to separate and to individuate.
But in a healthy separation and individuation, aggression is externalized and is directed at mummy and that's a very healthy development because it fosters self efficaciousness.
The externalized aggression in the case of separation and individuation is both appropriate and self efficacious. We could use another way of looking at it. We could say that the infant or the baby learns to regulate her anger, regulate her aggression, direct it at the right object, at the right time, for the right purposes. The purpose is to become her own person, personhood, to separate from mummy and become an individual.
Failure in separation and individuation inevitably creates fixations. When separation and individuation fails, it also means that the management of aggression had failed because separation and individuation involves maximum aggression towards the most important primary object, mother.
Until age 18, the baby identified herself as a part of mummy. They were one. They were single organism. Symbiosis, murder, fusion, total enmeshment, total endowment. Now it's a schism, it's a traumatic break. Mummy and the baby become two separate entities and when this separation and individuation process fails, the aggression remains stuck in limbo. It cannot be properly directed, properly externalized and it cannot be fully internalized.
So a failed separation and individuation phase engenders fixated grandiosity, some cases narcissism and codependency. All of these involving fixated or aggression in limbo, aggression without an address, aggression which the child is not sure whether he should direct outwards or inwards and woman.
There's a total confusion. Aborted and aborted phase of separation and individuation renders aggression management in the individual very difficult if not impossible because it's not clear whether the aggression should be externalized or internalized.
Externalizing the aggression can be dangerous because mummy refuses to let go. Should it be internalized? It feels bad, it feels destructive and the child has a survival instinct like any other organism.
So it's not a good idea but then if it's not externalized and it's not internalized, what to do with it? It's a floating fixed point. It's difficult to tell what to do.
So in this state of failed separation and individuation, we have a solution of narcissism, we have a solution of codependency in some cases and in these mental health disorders, common codependency, aggression is both externalized inappropriately and internalized self-destructively.
I'm going to repeat this sentence. Why? Yes, you got the answer right. I love my voice.
Okay Shoshanim, in mental health disorders, which are the outcomes of failed or aborted separation individuation, mental health disorders such as narcissism, mental health disorders such as codependency, all of them involving an inability to separate from mummy and to become an individual. In all these disorders, there is a problem with aggression.
What to do with it? It cannot be internalized. The baby is afraid to internalize.
So what he does, he both externalizes it and internalizes it, but he externalizes it inappropriately. He cannot direct it at mummy because that's dangerous. So he redirects it at other people. That's inappropriate. These people did nothing to the child and yet he's angry at them because he can't be angry at mummy.
When this child grows up and becomes an adult, this inappropriate direction of aggression continues. He continues to be angry at the wrong people because he doesn't dare to be angry at the right people, himself included.
And then there's internalization. Remember, in these mental health disorders, the aggression is both externalized and internalized.
Healthy people externalized, externalized aggression. Mentally unhealthy people, both externalized and internalized.
And in the case of the narcissist or codependent, the aggression is internalized, and borderline of course, the aggression is internalized, served destructively. The baby becomes her own source of frustration because she can't make up her mind and because she cannot separate an individual, she becomes very angry at herself. She internalizes this aggression. She internalizes this rage and this anger, she becomes very self-destructive. And this ambivalent duality, inappropriately externalized aggression coupled with self-destructively internalized aggression.
This ambivalent duality is the source of approach-avoidant behaviors. The borderline, the narcissist, the codependent, they approach and then they avoid. And then they avoid and then they approach and it's a never-ending pendulum. They oscillate. It's a cycle. It's very, very disorienting and confusing.
Every approach behavior is followed by extreme withdrawal and avoidance, aggressive withdrawal and avoidance.
And one moment the borderline is all love and flowers and sweets and wine and roses. And the next moment she hates your guts and she wants you dead and she takes steps to make sure that you are.
This approach avoidance throws people off, back, throws intimate partners, the intimate partners of the borderline, off balance. They don't know how to cope with it. It creates intermittent reinforcement, the trauma bond. It's a mess.
This approach avoidance is a direct outcome of the inability to externalize aggression consistently and appropriately. The aggression is externalized inappropriately and the loving intimate partner.
But then it's internalized, self-destructively and the borderline withdraws from the intimate partner. It's a form of self-destruction or self-defeat.
And so approach avoidance is motivated or generated or engendered by inappropriate locus of aggression.
Similarly, decompensatory acting out, acting out that involves decompensation, switching between self-states from borderline to secondary cycle.
All this kind of thing. When the borderline loses it, loses it and loses control over herself, then acts in ways which are utterly psychopathic, disempathic, violent, aggressive and horrible.
So when this happens to her, it's also the outcome of misdirected aggression. It's aggression that has to find an outlet, has to be expressed, but the borderline doesn't go how. So she externalizes it inappropriately at the intimate partner and then she internalizes it self-destructively by acting recklessly and dangerously by taking risks, by destroying things including her relationships or objects, by becoming violent, by disappearing for a few days. Cluster B patients, including the borderline, first need to practice externalizing aggression sometimes with the aid of a transitory object like a punching bag. They need to be in a holding or containing environment like therapy, psychotherapy. And in this environment, they need to be encouraged to externalize aggression, initially again at a transitory object, but then if need be at a therapist via the process of transference.
So aggression needs to be externalized and Cluster B patients need to learn the skills of externalizing aggression in a sublimatory way, in a way that is socially acceptable and that is not self-destructive.
Gradually, these Cluster B patients, having learned to express to externalize aggression safely in a safe environment, gradually they can move on to sublimating aggression.
For example, by becoming social justice activists, moral crusaders, soldiers, cops, surgeons, entrepreneurs, other similar aggressive professions.
There is a lot of sublimated legitimized aggression in our world, in the professional sphere as a form of career. And there are many ways, many more ways today to externalize aggression appropriately than there ever been.
Cluster B patients need to focus on this at the core of their mental illnesses, at the core of their dysfunctional behaviors, is this issue of wrongly externalized, inappropriately directed and wronged and internalized aggression.