Background

Covert Borderline, Classic Borderline - Psychopaths?

Uploaded 6/16/2020, approx. 56 minute read

Minnie and I have been in this racket since 1995. Hell, Minnie and I invented this racket in 1995. And let me tell you this, I have never seen it that bad.

There is a tsunami of mental health disorders sweeping the globe with its epicenter in the United States and the United Kingdom where the most recent study indicates that 34% of people suffer, that's one third of the other population, suffer from depression and anxiety, or a combination of both.

But today I want to discuss with you something completely different to paraphrase Monty Python. And what I want to discuss with you today is a new proposed mental health diagnosis.

In 1999 I came with the idea of inverted narcissism, which today is called narcissist codependent or core narcissist.

And today I would like to try to innovate similarly by suggesting a new diagnosis of covert borderline.

There's covert narcissist, there's possibly covert histrionic, covert is a very popular word, look it up.

So why not covert borderline?

But I think there are very good reasons for that.

And one of the main things I've been observing, me and Minnie of course, we have been observing is that mental health disorders metastasize, they mutate, they merge, they coalesce, they cross fertilize, they interbreed and there's a proliferation of diagnostic attempts, attempts to capture this new zoo, this new variety and diversity.

It's like the novel coronavirus.

So there's a novel mental health disorder for literally every diagnostic category. And so this is not different in personality disorders. If anything, it's even worse in personality disorders and we already have covert narcissism and we have, you know, secondary psychopathy and we have this and we have that.

And today I would like to add to the confusion if I can, which I like to do by suggesting yet another nuance.

But before we go there, I want to answer a very interesting question I had received regarding self-trashing.

Someone asked me, why do people, most notably women, but why do people generally self-trash? Why do they put themselves in situations where they behave recklessly, self-defeatingly and self-destructively in ways that later when they sober up or when they reflect back, make them feel humiliated, ashamed, guilty, blameworthy.

People self-trash for three reasons. Some people self-trash because their lives are meaningless and everything is meaningless. Drinking is meaningless. Sex is meaningless. Other people are meaningless. So they just drift through lives, islands of nothingness in an utterly random arbitrary and capricious universe, which has no beginning and no end, no direction and no goal, no purpose and no aim. And so it's easy to self-trash in such a setting.

The other group of people are actually the exact opposite and that's a segue that's a lead-in to today's topic.

And these are the people who are overwhelmed by emotions. They feel too strongly. They don't have a skin. They don't have protection against the inner tidal wave of emotions that sweeps over them.

So these people are the exact opposite of the first group. The first group find life meaningless.

These people find life too meaningful. Everything is imbued with meaning. Everything elicits an emotional reaction, etc.

So they self-trash. For example, they get drunk and they engage in promiscuous unprotected sex or they drive recklessly or they gamble away the family's money or whatever.

And they do this sort of to drown, to drown the dysregulated emotions that had taken over them, to create such an enormous racket and noise that will kind of stifle or counteract the inner noise, the inner tumult and pandemonium.

And then there's a third group. These are the people who are trying to traverse, to transition from meaninglessness to meaningfulness. They're trying to feel something. They're trying to emote. They're trying to feel alive. They're trying to feel love. They're trying to feel something. They know about the existence of emotions, but they've never emoted in the full sense of the world.

And they're jealous. They're envious. They want to emote also. They want to feel love. They want to feel passion. They want to feel desire. They want to feel commitment to a goal, a purpose, a cause, a person, an institution, even if it's the family. They want to exist in the full sense of the world.

And so they self-trash. Because for them self-trashing is the equivalent of self-harm or self-mutilation. People who cut or burn themselves with cigarettes, they do that in order to feel alive or in order to drown the din and noise of their emotions.

In both senses, they belong to group one or to group three. So this is the short and long of my answer to this question.

Now, today we're going to discuss a new variety of borderline.

You know, some of you are aware of the existence of a suggested diagnosis called shy or quiet borderline. The shy and quiet borderline is a person, man or woman with borderline personality disorder, but she internalizes, internalizes all the processes that a classic borderline externalizes.

So if a classic borderline would be aggressive towards people, for example, an intimate partner, the shy or quiet borderline would be aggressive towards herself, which is much more likely, for example, to commit suicide. So we say that shy or quiet borderlines act in while classic borderlines act out.

Now, covert borderlines are like classic borderlines. They act out. They act on other people. They affect the lives and the emotions and the well-being of everyone around them. But they do it very differently to the classic borderline, which is the reason I'm out with this suggested new diagnosis.

I think the existence of the covert borderline has been largely overlooked because the covert borderline is very frequently confused with a narcissist or with a psychopath, a secondary psychopath. The covert borderline is usually a male. And that also made it very difficult to come up with a new diagnosis.

First of all, there is gender bias in psychology. There are the whole diagnostic categories which are assigned almost exclusively to women.

So if you say borderline, the immediate reflex is woman, borderline, female. So it's very difficult to conceive of borderline in the context of a male. In the context of a male, you would tend to think about narcissist or psychopath, not about borderline. So covert borderline, if and when it becomes diagnosis, would probably be diagnosed mostly among male borderlines, while the classic type of borderline is still being diagnosed largely among women.

But how do you tell a covert borderline from a narcissist or a psychopath before we go into the diagnosis itself?

Well, recall the penultimate video I made, the one before the last. And that video suggested or tried to edify you on how to tell apart a narcissist from a psychopath from a borderline. And the trick is very simple. Stability.

A narcissist has one island of stability and everything around is chaos. So he has a stable family, but a chaotic career. He has a stable career, but a chaotic family life. He divorces six times in his 19 children, half of which are really illegitimate. So this is the narcissist. One island of stability surrounded by a male strong surrounded by raging oceans and seas of chaos, disorder, tumult and mess. That's the narcissist.

The psychopath, everything is an ocean. There's no island. Every dimension and aspect of the psychopath's life is utterly irredeemably, irrevocably and ineluctably disordered. The psychopath's life is just so messy that it cannot be even arranged on a timeline. It makes no sense. It does no aim, no purpose, no direction, no goal, no guiding principle, no organizing principle, no hermeneutic principle, something to explain. Nothing. It's just total random capricious arbitrary chaos. It's a psychopath.

And the borderline of something which I call enhancing instability or enhanced instability. The borderline has periods in which she is like a narcissist. She has an island of stability and everything around is chaos, but then she transitions to something which resembles very much a psychopath. She transitions into periods where she does not have even the island of stability. Everything is chaotic.

So a borderline is a combo, a twofer, a double yummy or a double whammy, depending which end of the borderline you are of a narcissist and a psychopath. Sometimes she's like the narcissist, one stable pillar, one foundation, which is very, very predictable and long term, everything around chaos. And then she suddenly destroys everything, ruins everything, implodes, explodes, and every other -blodes. Her life becomes effectively like a psychopath's life after total unmitigated mess. Okay. That's how to tell apart these, these characters.

Now what I want to do is a bit unusual before we go into the new diagnosis of covert borderline, which remember is more typical of men. Before we go into this, I would like to read to you, literally read to you from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Five published in 2013.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the fifth edition is proposing an alternative model, an alternate model of borderline personality disorder. Much more nuanced, much more subtle captures much more of the disorder in my view, doesn't reduce it to a list of criteria. Realizes the subtypes and differences and distinctions, is very dimensional, not categorical, etc.

So I'm struck by how versatile and how sophisticated the alternate model is.

And it's very rarely mentioned. In preparation for this video. I've watched 18 or 20 videos by six different experts, real and self-styled. And all of them, all they did was quote the DSM four, not one of them mentioned, not one mentioned the alternate model.

And so I'm going to read to you the entire alternate model in the DSM five borderline personality disorder.

Typical features of borderline personality disorder are instability of self-image, personal goals, interpersonal relationships and effects. So all these are unstable self-image personal goals, interpersonal relationships and effects.

The text continues, accompanied by impulsivity, risk-taking and or hostility. Characteristic difficulties are apparent in identity, self-direction, empathy, and or intimacy as described below, along with specific maladaptive traits in the domain of negative affectivity and also antagonism and or disinhibition.

So now they go in the DSM five and they suggest new diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder.

Proposed diagnostic criteria, A, moderate or greater impairment in personality functioning, manifested by characteristic difficulties in two or more of the following four areas.

Number one, identity, markedly impoverished identity, fully developed or unstable self-image often associated with excessive self-criticism, chronic feelings of emptiness, dissociative states and distress.

Number two, self-direction, instability in goals, aspirations, values or career plans.

Number three, empathy, a compromised ability, pay attention, a compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity.

So contrary to what we think today, the DSM five recognizes that borderlines, very similar to, narcissists have severe problems with empathy. I repeat, compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity, prone to feel slighted or insulted, known as hypervigilance, perceptions of others selectively biased toward negative attributes or vulnerabilities.

Intimacy, intense, unstable and conflicted close relationships marked by mistrust, neediness and anxious preoccupation with real or imagined abandonment. Close relationships often viewed in extremes of idealization and devaluation and alternating between over involvement and withdrawal.

B, four or more of the following seven pathological personality traits, at least one of which must be number five, impulsivity, number six, risk-taking or number seven, hostility.

So here they have new, new diagnostic criteria. And to qualify as a borderline, you must have impulsivity or risk-taking or hostility. If you don't, you're not a borderline.

So here are the criteria. Number one, emotional ability and aspect of negative affectivity, unstable emotional experiences and frequent mood changes, emotions that are easily aroused, intense and or out of proportion to events and to circumstances.

Number two, anxiousness, again, an aspect of negative affectivity. Intense feelings of nervousness, tenseness or panic, often in reaction to interpersonal stresses, worry about the negative effects of past unpleasant experiences and future negative possibilities, feeling fearful, apprehensive or threatened by uncertainty, fears of falling apart or losing control.

Number three, third diagnostic criteria, separation insecurity, again, an aspect of negative affectivity, fears of rejection by or separation from significant others associated with fears of excessive dependency and complete loss of autonomy.

That's very important. It's a change from the DSM-4. What they're saying is that the borderline simultaneously is afraid of abandonment but also afraid of intimacy because she perceives intimacy as being engulfed, as being digested, as vanishing. She perceives intimacy as merger and fusion is becoming someone's extension, as disappearing. And so she's terrified of both falling in love and being intimate and of not falling in love and not being intimate. Can you imagine?

Number four, depressivity, an aspect of negative affectivity, frequent feelings of being down, miserable and hopeless, difficulty recovering from such moods, pessimism about the future, pervasive shame, feelings of inferior self-worth, thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior. 10% of borderlines commit suicide.

Number five, impulsivity, an aspect of disinhibition, acting on the spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli, acting on a momentary basis without a plan and without consideration of outcomes, difficulty establishing or following plans, a sense of urgency and self-harming behavior under emotional distress.

Number six, taking, taking to take something, an aspect of disinhibition, engagement in dangerous, risky and potentially self-damaging activities unnecessarily.

And without regards to consequences, I might add here, it's not in the text, but not only without regards to consequences, but without regards to the effects these kinds of actions are going to have on your nearest and dearest loved ones, intimate partners. They don't care. When they're in the throes of such a disinhibition, you're gone, you're history. You're not in their minds. We call it object inconsistency.

I'm continuing from the text, lack of concern for one's limitations and denial of the reality of personal danger.

Number seven, hostility, an aspect of antagonism, persistent or frequent angry feelings, anger or irritability in response to minor slights, any insults. Wonderful, wonderful description of borderline, much superior to what we have in the DSM four.

And now they continue to explain, specifiers, trait and level of personality functioning specifiers may be used to record additional personality features that may be present in borderline personality disorder, but are not required for the diagnosis.

So for example, traits of psychoticism, cognitive and perceptual dysregulation, they are not the diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder, but they can be specified when appropriate.

Okay guys, and girls, now you have all the background, with regards to classic or what I call dysregulated borderline. Now let's now survey or get acquainted with what I propose to be a new subtype of borderline, covert borderline.

Let's start by adopting a table that was proposed in 1989 by Cooper and Akhtar.

By the way, I just discovered that Arnold Cooper, who was a great scholar of narcissism, died on Thursday. He was 88 years old, if I remember correctly.

Cooper and Akhtar were the ones who came up with the diagnosis of covert narcissism and they created a standard table that is used to this very day to describe the various features, diagnostic and otherwise. There are clinical dimensions and manifestations of covert narcissism. And I took this table and I adopted it to covert borderline.

So let's start by comparing the covert borderline with the dysregulated or classic borderline.

The classic borderline has identity diffusion. She doesn't know who she is. She changes her mind very often, but she doesn't change her mind because she decides to change her mind. It's simply she wakes up with another mind. On Friday, she's sexually conservative. On Saturday, she's highly promiscuous. On Friday, she's anti-racism. On Saturday, she got insulted or she thinks she got insulted by a black man, so she becomes a racist. There's no core. There's no stable nucleus. There's nothing you can point to and say this is she. This is never going to change. This is immutable. Everything is in flux, values, beliefs, cognitions, emotions, consequently memories. She rewrites and refrains memory. So constantly there's something called identity diffusion or identity disturbance.

This is not the case with the covert. The covert has a stable identity.

Number two, the classic borderline feels inferior. She has what Adler called an inferiority complex. The covert borderline has a false self exactly like the narcissist and he is grandiose.

Number three, the classic borderline has morose self doubts. She constantly blames herself. She constantly feels that she's wrong. We say that she has egodystony or ego discrepancy, some kind of wrongness to her. She feels that her emotions are wrong. The way she reacts to her emotions is wrong. Everything is wrong and she has autoplastic defenses.

She would tend to attribute to herself, blame, shame, guilt, and imputed responsibility for anything bad that's happening around her. She's going to say, all I'm good at is traumatizing people. I constantly hurt the people I love. I was a bad mother. I was a bad wife. And so she has autoplastic defenses, defenses that attack herself. And this is common also of the shy or quiet borderline.

The covert borderline is preoccupied with fantasies of outstanding love. He is absolutely immersed in romance, in perfect, perfected love. And so he's a kind of like the typical consumer of romance and erotic literature. A knight in shining armor or a white horse. If it's a woman, if the covert borderline is a woman, and if the covert borderline is a man, then he would tend to idealize any potential partner to the point that their love affair would be the biggest love story ever. Those of you who have seen the movie Love Story, and there's an undue sense of uniqueness. The covert borderline feels unique and feels entitled.

And consequently, he has exactly the opposite of the classic borderline. He has alloplastic defenses. He would tend to blame others for his misbehavior, for being aggressive, for being hurtful, for damaging things, for destroying things. He would always invent a story, a narrative, a script where he was actually victimized or where he had no other choice but to behave the way he did. He was left no choice. He was cornered.

So the classic borderline has an external locus of control. In other words, she feels that she is at the mercy of other people, their decisions, their rejection, their abandonment, their love, or lack of love, their emotions, their agendas, their timetables. Everything comes from the outside and all the pain inside.

And borderline is about pain. Borderline is a pain disorder. It's a disorder that accumulates pain, processes pain. There's a huge toxic or septic tank of pain inside the borderline.

So the borderline would attribute this pain to the outside. She would say that she is hurt or she's damaged or she's pained or she's affected by outside people, processes, events, institutions, and so on and so forth. That's external locus of control.

The covert borderline has an internal locus of control and a seeming self-sufficiency. He would tend to be a control freak. He would tend to feel and believe and act as though he is the cause of everything that's happening in the lives of people around him. If they are sad, they're sad because of him. And of course, if they are happy, they're happy because of him. He has the power to hurt them and to cause them pain and so on and so forth. And he's self-sufficient. He doesn't need anyone. He can survive without anyone.

Of course, this contradicts both his psychodynamic and his fantasies of perfected love. So there is an inner dissonance in the covert borderline. On the one hand is a constant quest for the holy grail of perfect love. And on the other hand, even as he pursues love and intimacy, he would communicate to potential partners and to intimate partners, I don't need you. I can do without you. There's nothing you have that I want. I'm with you because I choose to be, not because I need to be, not because I'm addicted to you, not because I'm dependent on you, etc. He's very defiant. The covert borderline is defiant.

The classic borderline has a marked propensity towards feeling ashamed, guilty or to blame, as I mentioned before. No such thing with the covert. The classic borderline is fragile and vulnerable. And in this sense, the classic borderline has a lot of commonality with the covert narcissist.

The covert borderline has a lot of commonality with the classic narcissist. These are mirror images, simply mirror images. Whereas the borderline is like a covert narcissist, the covert borderline is like a classic narcissist. So he's not vulnerable. He's not fragile.

And where the classic borderline engages in a relentless search for safety and for completion, the covert is self-sufficient.

Now, what do I mean when I say search for safety and completion? The classic borderline looks, searches, seeks, pursues intimate partners or potential intimate partners that she thinks can make her whole. She feels broken. She feels partial. She feels incomplete and imperfect. And she's looking for someone to make up for these deficiencies, to make her whole.

And when someone makes her whole, she feels safe. She feels at ease. She feels relaxed. She feels that she can venture out.

And this brings to mind two things.

The inverted narcissist, and to some extent the covert narcissist, but especially the inverted, has this feeling when she is with a narcissist. She feels completed. She feels safe. She feels happy.

And also it reminds me of the child during the first separation individuation phase. The child during this phase ventures away from Mummy. Mummy is a safe base and he ventures away from her. He explores the world, but he ventures away and explores the world because he's grandiose.

He feels that he can take on the world, that his power matches the power of the world, that he has the skills and capacities to enter the world, to study the world, to be in the world.

Why is that? Because Mummy is behind him. He can always run back and hug her legs and cry. And she's there. She's like a stable foundation, a base, a launch pad, the mother ship.

And same with her classic borderline. That's the way she sees her intimate partner. That's the way she wants to see her intimate partner. She begins by seeing him this way and that's called idealization.

But she always ends by being disappointed and angry and feeling rejected and humiliated.

And that is the predicament of the borderline, of the classic borderline, even when she does find a perfect intimate partner who totally adores her and loves her beyond words and would make any sacrifice in the universe for that just to be happy. It's still never enough because one day he may abandon her. And yesterday he didn't say good morning with the right tone of voice. So he rejected her and he has to go on a business trip. That's of course, that's of course, he's deserting her.

So life itself forces the borderline relentlessly, inexorably to devalue even the most perfect partners. And the borderline knows this and she regrets it afterwards. And she accumulates these losses and they weigh on her.

And she begins to believe that she's hopeless. She begins to believe that she's naturally bad, deficient, corrupt, deformed, defective. To some extent she's right. The classic borderline has a marked sensitivity to criticism and to realistic setbacks. And in this sense, she's socially anxious or even in extreme cases, socially avoidant.

The covert borderline is very sociable, very gregarious on the contrary. He seeks to be in company because it is there that he can get his sustenance. And the sustenance of the covert borderline is not narcissistic supply. That is something that separates him from the narcissist. The supply, the food, the fuel of the covert borderline is not attention, adulation, admiration, like the classic narcissist. It's not.

What he is looking for is love, love, comfort, affection, compassion, being held, being babied in a way. He's a bit of a child, so he wants to be babied. He wants to be accepted unconditionally, loved in a way not connected to performance. He wants to be a child and still be loved. He wants to be an adult and still be adored the way a mother adores the child, adores the baby. He wants to infantilize in a way, even as he makes adult claims, like claims about his accomplishments.

And so the narcissist seeks narcissistic supply, attention, adulation, admiration, being feared. Psychopath wants to be feared and is goal-oriented, doesn't care what other people would think, what they say is besides the point, unless it affects his goals. The covert borderline is interested in love, affection, support, succor. And this is what he seeks. This is his supply.

And so both the classic and the covert borderline, they have mood lability because inevitably life is very frustrating. You can't get everything you want all the time. So their mood lability is exogenous, comes from outside, reactive, but also endogenous. So it's not only, for example, if the covert borderline or the classic borderline are disappointed, they would both react by a crash. They will both crash. They will both have a severe down. They will both acquire the blues instantly. But they will also react internally. It will start a cascade of internal processes over which they have no control.

So this is lability. And also, for no reason whatsoever, they will switch to the opposite pole, the manic pole, where they are related and happy and joyful, cheerful, and they can't tell you why. Nor can you tell why by observing them. So mood lability is common to both types. And both types are emotionally dysregulated. Both can't control their emotions. They're both overwhelmed by their emotions. The covert borderline is highly hyper emotional. Not like the histrionic.

The histrionic is hyper emotional, but in a theatrical way. Her emotions are acting. They are like thespian. They're like stage production. She externalizes her emotions, the histrionic, externalizes her emotions ostentatiously for everyone to see and admire. The borderline, the classic borderline, is also hyper emotion. She's also very emotive. But her dysregulation is real. Her emotions are real. And they're very, very powerful, very potent.

They take over her. They drown her. They kill her. They smother her. They suffocate her. They bury her. The feeling is horrible. The feeling is like, I can't breathe in a minute. And many of them have panic attacks with shortness of breath and so on. They somatize. They somatize the dysregulation.

And so this is the classic. And she reacts to this. She reacts to this constant, repeated dysregulation by numbing, numbing. She simply kills the emotions. She puts them to sleep. She isolates them, compartmentalizes them. She pretends they don't exist. And this forces her to be dysempathic, forces her to ignore other people, their needs, wishes, fears, hopes, cries. She becomes as dysempathic as the narcissist and even as the psychopath.

It's part of the secondary psychopathy process in borderline women. And at the same time, she feels nothing. She feels like she is in a dream state, sleepwalking. And that is part of the dissociative processes in borderline.

So simultaneously in borderline, there's a dissociative process which separates the borderline woman from her emotions in order to survive, in order to preserve her existence, in order to reduce suicidal ideation, for example.

So there's a dissociative process, derealization, depersonalization. She feels she's not in reality or reality is not real. She feels that she's not herself. She's like an autopilot. She's observing herself. And dissociative amnesia, she forgets things.

And all this is intended to separate the classic borderline from the emotions that are threatening her very life. And this is the dissociative part.

And then this is the psychopathic part.

She becomes dysempathic. She caters only to her needs. She says, right now, I don't have time for you. Right now, sorry, baby, I'm surviving. I'm busy. Call me after the crisis. Right now, I have to be with another man because I need comfort. I need affection. And you're rejecting me. You're humiliating me. So I'm going with another man.

Right now, I need to spend all the family's money. Right now, I don't know, I need to be aggressive and break objects. Right now, I need now to misbehave. I need now to misbehave because misbehaving is going to restore me into a state of existence. Not a state of happiness, but a state of existence. If I trash myself, if I hurt you, if I destroy things, if I prostitute my body, if I drink to excess, if I do all these things, at least I will be busy. And I will not, I have time to experience my very, very life-threatening emotions.

So this is what the classic borderline does.

The covert borderline, also there's emotional dysregulation. But what he does, in typical male form, he rationalizes his emotions. He invents reasons. He asks himself, why do I feel this way? And then invents a narrative, a piece of fiction, a storyline, a script as to why he's feeling this way. And then he adheres. He believes his own stories, his own confabulations, his own lies.

And they become a part of his biography. And he's going to defend them tooth and nail. I mean, if you challenge him on this, he is going to say that you are crazy or stupid or an enemy.

Because, we will come to it a bit later, both types of borderlines have splitting defenses.

Either you're all good or you're all bad. Either you're all friend or enemy.

So if you dare to challenge the rationalization of the dysregulated emotions, if you dare to challenge the story that the covert borderline had come up with, in order to feel comfortable with his overwhelming emotions, you're an enemy.

And so this rationalization of the emotions leads to reactance. Reactance is externalizing defiance and aggression the way psychopaths do.

And usually it involves contumaciousness. Usually it involves a rejection of authority. And the authority doesn't have to be the government or the men in black or the Illuminati or some other conspiracy or reptilians or whatever, whatever it is that you believe in. Authority could be your husband or your wife, or even your child who makes demands on your time. So the rejection of structure, a rejection of order, Cleckley called it a rejection of life.

The classic borderline, one of the reasons she has to dissociate from her emotions is that she has something called alexithymia, the inability to label her emotions properly. When we're angry, we know we're angry, healthy people, when they're angry, they know they're angry. You ask them, what's the matter with you? They're angry. When they're in love, usually they know they're in love. So you ask someone, why are you looking at her? Well, I'm infatuated with her. I'm in love with her. People know to label. They know how to label emotions.

The classic borderline has severe difficulty with this. Similar to the narcissist, by the way, emotional mislabeling is common to both. Alexithymia causes the borderline to wonder not only about the potency or the power of his emotions.

The borderline wonders, why am I overwhelmed? Why do I feel so bad? Why do I feel that I'm about to drown, about to die, about to get buried?

So not only this, but she also asks herself, what is it that I'm feeling? I'm feeling something. It feels very threatening. I feel that I'm about to be disbalanced. I'm about to be dysregulated. I'm about to disintegrate. I'm about to decompensate. I'm about to act out. But what is it that causes all this? What is the emotion? What am I feeling? Is it love? Is it hatred? Is it attraction? Is it repulsion? Is it revulsion? She can't label.

And of course, the main reason classic borderline cannot label, and the narcissist, is because they are ambivalent as opposed to healthy people. Narcissists and borderlines, classic borderlines, can have two contradictory emotions simultaneously towards the same object. So a classic borderline and a narcissist can love passionately and hate destructively the same person at the same time. Makes it very, very difficult to label your emotions. Of course, all you know is that there is some kind of nuclear fission going on, some mushroom cloud inside you. But you don't realize that the mushroom cloud is the outcome of colliding molecules of uranium, mental uranium.

The covert borderline doesn't have alexithymia. What he does have, he has a low boredom threshold, low boredom tolerance. He gets bored very fast.

And when he gets bored, he cannot tolerate it. He needs to do something about it. And in this sense, again, the covert borderline is identical to the primary psychopath because primary psychopaths react this way to boredom.

Minnie break.

While the covert borderline reacts badly to boredom, the classic borderline reacts very badly to frustration. One of the main reasons for abandonment anxiety and one of the main reasons she overreacts to actual rejection and abandonment and to perceived anticipated rejection is because it makes her very frustrated and she has very low frustration threshold and tolerance.

In other words, a classic borderline gets frustrated with the tiniest, most minimal things.

She clicked on a website and it took a millisecond longer to open. End of story. She utterly disintegrates. She goes crazy. She smashes the laptop, then she fights with her husband, then she goes out and she gets drunk and she sleeps with the first stranger she meets at the bar. I'm kidding you're not. The cascade is that bad and that unstoppable. And this causes in the classical borderline a lot of depression and anxiety.

She realizes that she's out of control and she realizes that she's her trigger.

Trigger is a clinical term in psychology. It's an event, a place, smell, sound, a person who recreates internal mental dynamics and processes. Sometimes to the point that you cannot tell reality from your inner landscape. This is called flashback. The borderline has a cascade of behaviors, misbehaviors usually and emotions and everything which are triggered similar to the victim of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, similar to the victim of PTSD.

And that's why today we find it increasingly more difficult to suggest a difference, a differential diagnosis, a difference, a clinical difference between a victim of PTSD and a patient with borderline personality disorder. They're both triggered.

But still the borderline, the classic borderline, is triggered by nothing. It's triggered by, it's a featherlight trigger. It's a hair trigger. She's triggered by the most amazing things. I mean she wanted to talk to her intimate partner. He was on the phone with his boss and he took five minutes longer than she had anticipated or that she had been ready to accept. End of story. She will break up with a guy and she will divorce him with six children. She moved to another city.

I have heard in 25 years of dealing with personality disorders, the most unbelievably shocking stories of transition from minimal frustrations to earth shattering apocalyptic actions by people with classic borderline personalities.

And this creates in them a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety because they anticipate what's going to happen. They know they're out of control and it depresses them. They don't want to be like that. They're even histonic. They hate themselves.

And so a classic borderline would start by internalizing, internalizing frustration, hurt, humiliation, rejection, criticism, disagreement, all kinds of triggers, and then she will externalize.

The covert borderline is exactly the opposite. He starts by externalizing. He starts by acting on his environment. He can be aggressive. He can be charming. He can be manipulative, but first he will act on other people. And then their reactions will cause in him internal processes. And usually these processes will cascade. They will also escalate and be a bit out of control.

So in classic borderline, internalizing leads to externalizing and in covert borderline, externalizing leads to internalizing.

Consequently, the covert borderline doesn't have suicidal ideation. All his aggression is directed at other people.

While both the classic borderline and even much more so the shy or the quiet borderline, they are suicidal tendencies because they internalize. Everything is happening essentially internally. When they break objects, when they cheat unnecessarily with a stranger, when they get drunk and get raped, and when they, I don't know, when they do horrible things, when they misbehave egregiously and unpredictably and unjustly, they do this because what's happening to them inside is a volcano and they are just showing you the volcano. They're just granting you access to the volcano. And this process is called externalizing.

And so classic border lines self-harm. They abuse substances. They self-trash. I mentioned egregious promiscuity, but there are many ways to self-trash. While the covert borderline doesn't do any of this, there's no self-mutilation. There's no, you know, self-trashing. It's rare.

But what does happen with the covert borderline, he has hypochondriasis. He's afraid of disease and illness. He's constantly on the alert. He's hypervigilant with regards to new viruses, new bacteria, the germophobe, new bacteria, new viruses, new diseases. Does he have this disease? Does he have this problem? He spends more time in hospitals and clinics than at home. He's like his hobby is his health or lack of health, actually, in his mind. In his mind, he's dying.

And he has addictive behaviors. So this kind of person is likely to drink maybe. Or if it's not drinking, doesn't have to be drinking. He may sublimate his addictive behaviors. He may have addictive behaviors which are socially condoned, socially acceptable. For example, collecting things, collectibles, or a hobby, which he dedicates an inordinate amount of time to, and it becomes an addiction.

Borderline personality disorder is founded on dissociation. Dissociation used to be one of the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV. And borderlines have, today we think, that borderlines have dissociative self-states. In other words, that they are a bit similar to multiple personality disorder in the sense that their personality is fragmented and they present aspects or facets of the personality in different circumstances to different people under different stresses and intentions and so on.

And so the dissociative self-states of the classic borderline involve derealization, not perceiving reality as real, a nightmarish feeling that you're not in reality, you're in a dream state. Depersonalization, feeling that you're outside your body, observing yourself on autopilot, you know, like a movie, and of course amnesia. These are the classics, I mentioned them before.

The dissociative self-states of the covert borderline are totally different. He dissociates by, for example, paying selective attention, selective attention. He filters out information that doesn't sit well an internal process, a thought, an emotion he's having, an idea, or so he constantly filters out. He's not open to the totality of the information sphere or information ecosystem. He's highly, highly selective.

It's not confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is when you have an opinion and you select information, there's only information that will support your opinion and filter out information that negates or challenges your opinion. That's not the case with the covert borderline.

His selective attention has to do not with his opinions, mostly not with cognitions, not with thoughts, has to do with emotions, mostly.

So selective attention. Of course, when you pay attention selectively, you wall out, you push away big parts of the world around you, which is a very good definition of dissociation.

He tends to confabulate. He tends to speculate as to what might have happened, what probably had happened, what possibly implausibly, can, should, and will have happened, and so on. And then he believes it. And of course, if you believe in fiction, then essentially you're dissociating.

It's precisely the process that we undergo when we watch a movie. When we watch a movie, we dissociate. We believe in the fiction of the screen. Part of our brain knows it's not true, but this part is dormant or suppressed.

So there's repression or denial, which are the classic dissociative mechanisms, first described by Sigmund Freud, or even before, Loylan. So repression or denial, he represses, he denies material that is incongruent or discrepant.

And he has a psychopathic protector. Sometimes classic borderlines also have this, but covert borderlines always have it. It's when push comes to shove, when he is threatened, not challenged, but threatened, when he feels that the integrity of his so-called soul is at risk, that he's about to fall apart and then taken advantage of, that he's vulnerable, that he's open to attack. He struts forward, he puts forward a psychopath.

And that's his protector. That's his protector self-state. And this psychopath is a primary psychopath. It's goal-oriented, it's violent, it's aggressive, he is defiant and not to be messed with. And this protector isolates, like a firewall, the covert borderline from reality and fends off other people who might try to intrude, interfere, invade, and change something, transform somehow, or take advantage of the borderline.

Interpersonal relationships of both types are also very different. The classic borderline has an inability to genuinely depend on others or to trust them. In other words, she's hypervigilant.

She constantly expects the worse. She constantly assumes that she's going to be abandoned, humiliated, rejected, exploited, taken advantage of, raped, messed with, etc. So she has a bit of a paranoid ideation. She has persecutory delusions and in extreme cases, she has a persecutory object. She transforms, for example, her intimate partner to be demonic. She perceives him as demonic, not an enemy only, but a demonic enemy, an entity malevolent, how to get her, how to destroy her. So this is the classic borderline.

The covert borderline is more so-called reasonable. He has paranoid ideation. In other words, he's a suspicious type. He never takes anything for granted or at face value. He's kind of cynical in a way.

He has numerous, the covert borderline has numerous, but shallow relationships, of course, if you can't trust at all, if you're paranoid, it's very difficult to develop real intimacy, to open yourself up, to be vulnerable, to be defenseless.

I mentioned before, the covert borderline has an intense need for love. He seeks the perfect love from others. And sometimes he becomes a people pleaser in an attempt to garner love, to secure love. He says, okay, I will please you, but love me.

But he has this problem with hypervigilance, paranoid ideation, and he has a lack of real empathy, especially when he's in the psychopathic phase, in his case, the primary psychopathic phase.

So this combination renders him effectively a narcissist in interpersonal relationships.

The only exception is, the only difference actually, is that the covert borderline, while narcissistic in the relationship, usually would truly bond with his children, not because they are social supply, remember, he doesn't need supply. But he would value his children over his spouse, for example, in family life, he would bond mostly with the children. And he would bond with the children because there he can suspend his paranoid ideation. He doesn't need to suspect them, to be vigilant, to look behind his shoulder, to expect backstabbing, when his children are his, they love him unconditionally, and because he's a child himself. So that's the only exception.

Narcissist is incapable of this. Nevermind what kind of show the narcissist puts on, that he loves his children and so on. That's nonsense. He loves them as potential sources of supply.

The covert borderline really lost.

Now, the classic borderline has similar problems in relationships.

First of all, she immediately jumps into full fledged intimacy. She has instant intimacy, but it's fake. It's fake.

And you can see it's fake because she creates the very same level of intimacy, for example, in casual sex with a stranger. She would pick up a stranger in a bar and within a few hours they would be, you know, best friends, best friends in the universe. And she would idealize it, and she would sleep with him because she's grateful to him. She loves him. She loves him as a person at least.

So instant intimacy in all circumstances makes us doubt very much that it's what we call intimacy, that it's real. Maybe it's wish fulfillment. Maybe it's fake, not in the sense that she's faking. She's a fraud, but it's fake because it's instant. She needs it, so she invents it. She convinces herself. It's, in other words, self-deception or self-delusion.

And the classic borderline, as we have mentioned, has abandonment anxiety. But her abandonment anxiety is a derivative of the imposter syndrome. She feels that she's a fraud. She feels she's defective, deficient. She feels she's bad, corrupt, horrible, dangerous, and so on.

And she says, if I let anyone, for example, a potential intimate bar, get close enough to me, up close, he's going to see all these things. He's going to expose me. He's going to reveal who I truly am, the imposter, the fraudster, the court artist, the scammer that I am. And so I don't want anyone to get too close to me because if they get too close to me, if they get too intimate with me, if they get too lonely, well, they are for sure going to abandon me. They're going to dump me. They're going to reject me like a hot potato because they're going to realize who they're dealing with. And they would run to the hills screaming.

So better keep them, keep them at bay, keep them at a distance. And if somehow they penetrated the defenses and got really, really close to me, I'm going to destroy this. I'm going to ruin this relationship because it's a threat. I'm going to abandon them before they abandon me because they're going to abandon me. They are going to abandon me. Once they see who I am, they're going to reject me once they see who I am.

So I wait. Why wait? They got through my defenses, bad for me. I'm going to push them back. I'm going to push them away, never to see them again.

And this is why the classic border lines feels that she is engulfed. She is engulfed with anxiety and fear of intimacy because of this imposter background. And she feels that the only way an intimate partner can ignore how bad and corrupt and deficient and defective she is, is by digesting her, by taking over her, by rendering her a part of himself. So if he merges with her, if he fuses with her, then he will not reject her. He will not humiliate her.

And so she has what we call rejection sensitivity. She anticipates rejection, very sensitive to it.

And she has no effortless control. She can't tell herself, this is the way I feel, this is what I want to do right now, but I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to do it because it's going to have horrible outcomes for me, for others. I'm going to damage, I'm going to hurt, I'm going to have a bad impact on my future, on my love life, on my relationship, on people I love. She doesn't have this.

She has what we call effortful control, effortful control, control that requires effort. And it usually fails.

And so when you're like that, it's normal to envy other people. And the classic borderline is very envious, exactly like the narcissist. She's envious of other people's talents, their positions, their happiness, and the capacity for deep relationships, object relationships. She wants what they have, she wants to be loved, she wants to be held, she wants to be accepted, but she knows she can't, she's envious. And this chronic envy makes it very difficult for her to function and gives her another motivation, another reason to push away people.

By comparison, the covert borderline is also unable to genuinely participate in group activities, but not because he's envious, but because of, as I mentioned, his lack of empathy and his grandiosity and so on. So the covert borderline's problem with interactions with other people, interpersonal relationships, any group activities, such as business, corporate settings, and so on. It's the same like the narcissist, same reason.

And so consequently, the covert borderline is passive aggressive, sullen, surly, self-denying, and his behaviors involve cunning and very often premeditated malevolence.

While the classic borderline has a lack of regard for other people's boundaries, she disregards other people's time, limitations, obligations, resources, and she does this by being very clinging, very demanding. Now, she wants everything now, no delayed gratification, and she wants it in full. It's not good enough to give her, let's say, 90% of what she wants. It has to be 110. And this is of course disrespecting people, people's boundaries and so on.

Now, all this gives you the picture that the borderline is highly unpredictable and she is, she's capricious, she is totally, she, from the outside, she looks like a train car out of, you know, the slope. And she is unpredictable, and her behavior is explosive, and she's impulsive, and she's reckless.

And if you look at the covert borderline from the outside, it looks the same, but it's totally different. What the covert borderline does, he is also unpredictable and explosive, but he does it in order to bully, in order to control. It's what we call intermittent reinforcement. Hot and cold, approach avoidant, love you, hate you, gonna abuse you, and torment you, and taunt you, and torture you, going to then hold you, and hug you, and soothe you, and solve your wounds, and heal you. Intermittent reinforcement, you don't know what to expect.

And the bully becomes the sole source of solace and consolation, so you become highly dependent. And this is what we call trauma bonding.

And the covert borderline has scorn for others, but he's hiding this scorn behind a mask of pseudo humility, false modesty, false humility. He pretends to be humble, but he's not. And many of his behaviors are attention seeking behaviors. He is a bit of a histrionic. Yes, even the men, they seek attention, but they don't seek attention like the narcissist.

The narcissist seeks attention by displaying either his body or his mind.

Cerebral displays intellect, fireworks, pyrotechnics of the intellect.

The somatic shows his muscles, his tattoos.

The covert borderline is histrionic and is attention seeking, but not the same way. He seeks attention by displaying his vulnerabilities and his neediness. He kind of, for example, he can seduce a woman by showing her how much he needs her, how much of a child is, and how much she can be his mother, how much she is the, she is the only source of support, love, acceptance, how much, how much she means to him, how much she comes him down and rejuvenates him and provokes his creativity and so on.

So this is the type of attention he's seeking, but he's reckless. Make no mistake about it. Exactly like the classic borderline is reckless, but opposed to the classic borderline whose recklessness is intended to self-trash, the borderline's recklessness is intended mostly to damage herself, to punish herself, to destroy herself, to defeat herself. The covert borderline's recklessness is aimed at hurting others, at affecting others.

So if a borderline woman would sleep with a stranger, she would do this to self-trash, to harm herself, to damage herself, to punish herself, and she would never tell her husband.

But if a covert borderline woman would sleep with a stranger, she would make sure her husband finds out so that his property, which is she, she is his property, yes, so that he realizes how much his property is devalued by a stranger. It's like she, by sleeping with a stranger, she has devalued her husband's property. She punished him this way.

So this is the difference between covert borderline and classic borderline. The covert borderline is sadistic, punitive, it's goal-oriented, and even when the covert borderline triangulates, he or she, they do it because they have a goal.

They want to achieve something, I don't know, they want money. They ask for money, they didn't get money, they're going to triangulate. They ask for time, and the husband or the wife are busy, they're going to triangulate, they're going to punish, and it's sadistic, I'm going to hurt you.

The classic borderline also triangulates, but she triangulates because she wants to revive the bond, she wants to feel again accepted, wanted, desired. By her primary partner, the triangulation partner is irrelevant. She would discard him in a heartbeat if the primary partner shows renewed interest, tries to reclaim her.

And so there are different, same behavior, totally different reason, and in this sense, the classic borderline is also a people pleaser, but a very limited set of people, mostly the intimate partner.

And so both types, the classic and the covert approach and avoid, they have what Freud called approach avoidance repetition compulsion. They constantly repeat the same cycle of approaching and avoiding, approaching, it's very confusing, very disorienting, and it creates an unbelievable mess in the intimate partner's mind.

And so the borderline knows this, and so she says, I'm approaching, I'm avoiding, I'm approaching, I'm avoiding, who can tolerate this? No one can take this for long, he's going to abandon me, he's going to leave me, but I can't help it, I can't help it, I must approach and avoid, it's who I am, I can't change who I am, my identity, my essence, my quiddity, so I know he's going to abandon me, I know he's going to reject me, let me do it first.

And so her own approach avoidance leads her to preemptive abandonment, leads her to abandon the relationship, to break up before it's done to her.

And it's easy for her to do because she has no object constancy. She has what we call object inconstancy, object impermanence, she out of sight, out of mind. The minute she broke up with a partner, she may feel guilty, she may feel ashamed, but she will not, the partner doesn't exist anymore. If he's not in her life physically, he is not in her mind in any way, shape or form. Perhaps as a transient memory, and even that passes very briefly.

So it's very easy for her because no one is real, exactly like the narcissist, the borderline interacts with a snapshot. So a snapshot of the person, a representation of the person in her mind, an avatar. So no one is real. So when she's away, she forgets about her partner. And this is why borderline, people with borderline personality disorder are at much higher risk of cheating.

By the way, there are no statistics. No one knows if they cheat more or not, or less or whatever.

But everyone agrees, they are at a much higher risk of cheating.

And the main reason is not because they're impulsive, and not because of abandonment, anxiety, the main reason is object inconstancy.

If a borderline wife travels away to a conference, her husband ceases to exist, had never existed, is gone, erased, expunged from her mind, from her memory, from her emotions, and from her cognitions. She's single. Again, she's alone, she's free. Until she returns home, and then he re-emerges, he's resurrected. You know, it's like a religious ceremony, ritual. He's resurrected, he's revived in her mind. On, off. Yes object, no object.

And this, of course, gives rise to a lot of drama. And classic borderlines use drama, they're drama queens, when they use drama to manipulate and so on.

But it's important to understand that the drama, which is very useful and an essential tool in the arsenal of borderlines, they use drama to obtain outcomes in reality, favorable outcomes, they believe.

But it's important to understand that it's easy for them to be dramatic because of the aforementioned issues.

Object inconstancy, when you don't really get attached to anyone, when you don't really bond with anyone, when you have highly dysfunctional attachment styles, avoidant, other, it's much easier for you to create drama, for example, by triangulating, or by cheating, or by doing things with other people which constitute betrayal.

So the drama is an integral part of the fact that the borderline, classic borderline, is not entirely there.

Now the covert borderline also has object inconstancy. But his object inconstancy is very similar to the narcissist. He idealizes, he devalues, then he discards, and then he reverts or replaces, reverts to the original body or replaces.

So the cycle of the covert borderline resembles the narcissist and the cycle of the classic borderline resembles a hurricane. No rhyme or reason, no goal or direction, nothing, incomprehensible.

How about functioning in society?

The classic borderline has, as Kernberg was the first to describe, a hole, a void. It's a human being superimposed on a black hole. There's nagging emptiness, void, and aimlessness. And this creates a lot of social anxiety, shallow commitment to anything and everything, including vocational commitment, profession, direction of life, family, relationships. Everything is fleeting. Everything is passing. Everything is ephemeral. Everything is here today, there tomorrow. Everything is aimless. And everything, of course, is meaningless as we started the conversation.

This creates a lot of social anxiety, as you cannot function in society if you do not adhere to some tenets and principles which imply the existence of some meaning.

Society, the collectives within which we operate, institutions, they all are based on assumptions, implicit or explicit, that they embody reify meaning and generate meaning. In the absence of meaning, you can't function socially. Your attitudes are militant and charlatan-like.

And the classic borderline knows this, so she's very socially anxious.

Compared to that, the covert borderline is socially charming and charismatic and actually consistently engages in hard work. And he's doing this work to seek admiration. So it's pseudo sublimation, what we call it. It's channeling his impulses and needs and urges towards socially acceptable goals. But to seek admiration, not like the narcissist.

The narcissist is indiscriminate. The narcissist is attention promiscuous. First come, first serve. Anyone can give the narcissist attention and it's good. And the narcissist seeks as much attention as he can from as many people as he can.

The covert borderline seeks admiration and attention from his love interests or from people who are meaningful to his ability to regulate his emotions and his internal grandiose space.

Again, his grandiosity is tied intimately to emotions. So he would, for example, be grandiose in his love life. He would seek perfect love, perfect intimacy, amazing intimacy, unprecedented. The first in history, he would write sonnets like Shakespeare. And this is his grandiose. So he would seek admiration and so on, but from his love interest, facilitators towards the goal of perfect love. Or he would act within this space while the narcissist has no boundaries and regulated space, he is all over the place. Narcissist is indiscriminate.

And that's one myth propagated online by self-styled experts and so on, that the narcissist is discriminant. For example, he has a preferred type of spouse or preferred type of intimate partner. That's wrong. It's not true.

Now the covert borderline has intense ambition and he's often successful. He's preoccupied with appearances. And these he shares with a classic narcissist, but again, the goal, the direction, the aim is emotional regulation, being more successful at emotional regulation via the agency of another party.

The classical borderline by comparison is nothing of the sort. He has multiple but superficial interests. He's chronically bored, as we mentioned. His aesthetic taste is imitative. It's an exact rendition of the covert borderline.

What about ethics, standards, ideals? We mentioned at the beginning the identity diffusion or identity disturbance. If you don't have identity, you don't have values. And indeed, the classic borderline is ready to shift values to gain favor. He changes values. He reflects and mirrors others. And in this sense, he's very much like a psychopath. The classic borderline grooms people.

The difference between psychopath and classic borderline is that the classic borderline does it intuitively, reflexively, instinctively and unconsciously most of the time.

The psychopath does it knowingly, manipulatively as a strategy. But both of them groom and they groom by mirroring, but becoming the other person.

So it's very easy for the borderline because there's nobody there. Exactly like the narcissist, there's nobody there. There's no identity. There's no core.

So she changes and shifts values. She lies. She's a pathological liar. Classic borderline are pathological liars. They tell you, good morning, look out the window, call the meteorological service and buy a newspaper just to be sure that it is morning. So they are pathological liars.

Many of them are addicted to materialistic lifestyle. They externalize cathexis. They cathect, they invest emotionally in objects because they can control them. They will never be abandoned or rejected or humiliated by objects. Although this is also possible with classic borderline.

And some of them have delinquent tendencies. They're antisocial a bit.

That's where the secondary psychopath comes into the play.

Why? Because he is the law. He writes the rules, his own rules, my way or the highway.

And in this sense, the covert borderline is very much like a psychopath.

We mentioned the covert borderline's caricature modesty. And they, many of them, they are activists.

Apropos today's anti-racism activists all over the world, many, many of them are covert narcissists and covert borderlines. Covert narcissists obtain indirect attention via their activism and covert borderlines obtain access to self-gratification. They feel that by being activists, they belong.

And as I mentioned before, perfect love, perfect acceptance, perfect belonging. It's very important for them.

So many covert borderlines are activists with apparent enthusiasm for social political affairs. And they are involved in many issues that require ethnic or moral relativism. So they are out there.

The borderline, the classic borderline is in there. She is very, very self-centered, but not egotistical, not like the narcissist.

Narcissist is self-centered in the sense that it's everything about his supply.

The borderline is self-centered because she doesn't have energy or resources to do anything else but to manage herself. Managing herself is a full-time job, consumes everything she has. So she can't sometimes get out of bed.

She resembles very much, as far as the clinical picture, she resembles very much someone with a major depressive episode. She's like in constant depression, unable to get out of bed, unable to function. She's dysfunctional because to cope with a low level of organization and the internal chaos of the borderline personality leaves nothing for any other pursuits or interests or vocations or activities.

The covert borderline doesn't have these problems. Doesn't have these problems, so he's much more outgoing and much more involved in the life of the community and many of them become pillars of the community like the narcissist. But he's likely to pretend content for money, for materialistic goods. He's likely to present himself as spiritual.

So many of the gurus, life coaches, mystics, yogis and other types of con artists, they are actually covert borderlines. They're covert borderlines and unfortunately many of them are also covert narcissists. And they pull the wool over people's eyes because they tell people what they want to hear.

And when any of you have a choice between what you want to hear and the truth, 99% of the time you will choose what you want to hear. Fact, unfortunate fact.

Plus there's something called the base rate fallacy. You will believe 95% of what you're told without bothering to check. Also, substantiated in studies, numerous studies, base rate fallacy. Look it up online, base rate deficit.

And so the covert borderline would be the type of spiritual guru, let's say, or king philosopher, or public intellectual, or life coach with the secrets, the secret for your happiness or this kind of nonsense, this kind of scammer or con artist. And he would be a reverent towards authority. He would defy authority and he would pretend that he's above everything, above money, above material goods. As he drives around in his Rolls Royce towards his palace, palatial residence, he will tell you that he doesn't care about money. As he checks his bank account with the millions of dollars given to him by brain dead people like you, he will tell you that he's not in it for the money, he's in it because he loves you, etc. You know the time. I'm sure you know the time. And still, and still you will pay to hear these people speak. What can anyone do? Sucker is born every day.

What about love and sexuality?

Classic borderlines are unable to remain in love. And the same with covert borderlines. There is marital instability or relationship instability.

The classic borderline has an impaired capacity for viewing the romantic partner as a separate individual with his or her own interests, rights, values.

While the covert borderline regards the potential romantic partner or the romantic partner as a separate entity, but a target, an object to be acquired via seductiveness.

So the covert borderline is cold, is greedy, and he has many extramarital affairs. And he's very promiscuous, he's adulterous, he's cheating. And both of them have severe inability to genuinely comprehend or accept taboos, sexual taboos, such as, for example, the incest taboo.

And the both of them have uninhibited sexual life, and occasionally engage ng kink or BDSM or other sexual, unusual sexual or unconventional, nonconventional sexual practices, which some people like to call perversions, whatever that means.

Finally, let's talk a bit about the way they think, the cognitive style.

Both of them have dichotomous thinking. Dichotomous thinking means black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. Everything is either that or that. There are no nuances, no shades of gray, sadomasochistic or not. Nothing in between. It's either or. You're either my friend or you're my enemy. And you can't be, for example, my friend who disagrees with me.

So they're splitting. Everything is painted all black or all white. One day someone is your friend. The next morning he disagreed with you and is your total enemy. You want to destroy him and kill him and burn his body and kill all his family and strangle his dog and hang his cat just because he disagreed with you.

So this is dichotomous thinking coupled with splitting and aggressive impulses, cathected in splitting, connected to splitting.

This is why it's very easy for borderlines, for example, to damage or hurt both types of borderlines, very easy for them to damage or hurt, to cause pain to people they claim to love because they love them one day and they hate them, literally hate them, hate their guts, hate every cell in their body the next day. And the day after they would die for that. And the day after they would poison their food.

This is the rollercoaster of splitting and dichotomous thinking.

And in the case of the classic borderline, you should add catastrophizing.

Classic borderline creates in her mind scenarios of the future where catastrophes are bound to happen. She will definitely be abandoned, rejected, cheated on, damaged, hurt. She's catastrophizing.

But the problem with borderline personality disorder, exactly like the narcissist, is that these people have no good reality testing.

They confuse inner objects with outer objects. If anything happens in their mind, then it is so. It's called magical thinking. Whatever they imagine exists had already happened. So if she catastrophizes, it means it has happened, is happening, or will happen, for sure, a million percent, because her mind is the world.

Her imagination is reality. Her thoughts transform magically and miraculously into facts.

And so she reacts to her own internal processes, creative processes of imagination, imagery, and of extrapolation and of speculation.

The covert borderline is impressively knowledgeable, while the classic borderline may know a lot.

But her knowledge is usually limited to trivia. We call it headline intelligence.

The covert borderline has an egocentric perception of reality. Everything revolves around him, exactly like the narcissist. Everything revolves around him. He's responsible for everything. He made everything happen. He controls everything. Even bad things that happen, he made them happen. So I don't know if his wife cheated on him. It's because he abused her. He made it happen. He caused her to cheat on him. If something good happens, similarly, he's the cause of everything good and everything bad.

Like God in the Middle Ages, it used to be called prima causa. He's the first cause.

The borderline has difficulty with that because she has, as we said before, an inferiority complex and so on and so forth.

Additionally, she's very, very dissociative. Much more dissociative than the covert or dissociative in a different way to the covert borderline.

So she forgets details and she forgets names. She forgets dates. She forgets. It's very difficult to assume that you are the center of the world if you forget most of the details, most of the information about the world.

So the covert borderline is very fond of knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge. He implements many shortcuts to acquire knowledge, while the classic borderline hates to learn.

She hates to learn. She hates academia. So she has an impaired capacity for learning new skills. She may force herself to learn and she may even learn, she may even get a degree and she may even teach, become a professor, I know personally a few, become a professor at the university.

But her learning would be a hazard, would be incidental, would be anecdotal. There would be huge gaps in the learning when you get down to it and you get deep into it.

While the covert borderline will also have similar gaps and so on, but there will be certain areas, similar like the narcissist's island of stability, there will be certain areas of knowledge where his knowledge will be really deep, founded, perfected.

So consequently the covert borderline is decisive and opinionated and his decisions and opinions are pretty stable over time.

While the classic borderline has a tendency to change meanings of reality when there's a threat to her self-esteem, when she, for example, feels rejected or humiliated, she will reinterpret reality.

And so you can't constantly reinvent reality, rewrite history and reframe what you're feeling and still have knowledge and still have opinions and still have stable judgments, clearly, because you're a different person every minute.

And so the borderline uses language not to describe reality or any knowledge because she has none, no access to reality, no comprehension of the world or of herself or of others. And so what she does, she uses language for one reason only, to regulate her self-esteem, end of story.

The covert borderline uses language because he loves language, he's articulate and it is true language that he tries to secure his needs for perfect love, perfect acceptance and unconditional love that is unconditional performance and so on. In other words, to find a mother.

Okay, that's been a very long introduction to covert borderline. Let's see how this diagnosis develops.

I will dedicate in the future, I will select elements from the diagnosis and dedicate more to them so future videos will be considerably shorter.

Any questions you have and so on, feel free.

My name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. It's a test. Did you survive this video to the end? I'm also professor of psychology for those of you who are wondering by what authority am I speaking?

So thank you for being with me and see you next video.

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

Borderline Mislabels Her Emotions (as do Narcissist, Psychopath)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the emotional and cognitive deficits in individuals with Cluster B personality disorders, such as narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths, histrionics, and codependents. These individuals have deformed, mutated forms of empathy, and their emotional regulation is not healthy. They do not have the basic tools to understand and label emotions in themselves and others, and instead, they use cognitive emotion, analyzing their emotions rather than experiencing them wholeheartedly. Coping strategies in all these personality disorders involve self-soothing, which is dysfunctional. Many of them switch from self-soothing to repetition compulsions.


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.


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.


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.


Borderline or Covert Narcissist? (7th Intl. Conference on Psychiatry & Psychological Disorders)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the differential diagnosis between borderline and covert narcissism. He explains that high-functioning borderlines can be misdiagnosed as covert narcissists due to their ability to regulate their emotions and control mood lability. However, he provides critical differences between the two disorders, including how they externalize aggression, experience separation insecurity, maintain object constancy, and view themselves. He also notes that paranoid ideation is common to both disorders but has different etiologies. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of uncovering all presenting signs and symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis.


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.


Borderline Triangulates with Rescuer to Silence Pain, Abandonment Anxiety

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and its similarities to narcissism. BPD is currently thought to be a female manifestation of secondary psychopathy and involves dissociation. Borderlines often have a diffuse identity and rely on their intimate partners to regulate their internal environment. They may engage in dysfunctional attachment strategies, such as running away or triangulation, and experience dissociation during sex or other emotionally intense situations.


Borderline’s Mating Strategies, Mismanaged Aggression

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the role of aggression in Cluster B personality disorders, particularly in borderline personality disorder. He explains that healthy aggression is externalized and sublimated, while unhealthy aggression is both externalized inappropriately and internalized self-destructively. This ambivalent duality leads to approach-avoidant behaviors and decompensatory acting out in individuals with borderline personality disorder. Vaknin suggests that Cluster B patients need to learn how to externalize aggression safely and sublimate it in socially acceptable ways to improve their mental health and relationships.


Psychopathic, Covert Borderlines (Literature Review)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of covert borderline personality disorder and its distinctions from psychopathic and antisocial borderlines. He delves into the characteristics and behaviors of covert borderlines, including their self-states, emotional dysregulation, and interpersonal relationships. Vaknin also presents recent literature and research findings on the association between psychopathy and borderline personality disorder, as well as the challenges in mentalizing and transparency estimation in individuals with borderline features.


Shapeshifting Borderline, Morphing Narcissist Identity Disturbance

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of self-states in individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), noting that BPD individuals switch between different personalities and identities. He explains the three types of identity disturbance, which include cyclical, allotropic, and object-related identity disturbance. Patients with borderline personality disorder have disturbances in the structural level of selfhood, resulting in an incomplete sense of substance, substantiality, embodiment, and a feeling of having divorced their own body. Narcissistic pathology is a more egregious form of the borderline pathology, and both the borderline and their typically narcissistic partner try to appropriate the other person's identity as a sound and medicine to their own identity disturbance and knowing emptiness.

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