How Borderline Sees YOU ( Intimate Partner)

Uploaded 12/24/2022, approx. 19 minute read

Okay, baby seal and multiple chfanpanim.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

And yes, I am a professor of psychology in CIAPS Center for International Advanced and Professional Studies, the outreach program of the CIAPS consortium of universities.

A few weeks ago, I made a video about how the narcissist sees you.

Today, I'm going to tell you how the borderline sees you, her intimate partner.

It's going to be a tough ride, very triggering.

Mind you, make frequent stops, drink water, make positive thoughts.

The borderline is a harrowing experience. Living with the borderline, let alone loving a borderline, is a suicidal mission, but it's intense, it's colorful, it makes you feel alive like nothing else.

You had been warned, baby seals, chfanpanim and shovavim. Look it up.

Okay, so there's a borderline in your life, and you are her intimate partner.

Yes, yes, yes. Before I get an avalanche of sanctimonious self-righteous comments, 50% of all borderline personality disorder diagnoses are handed down to men. I propose a new diagnosis, covert borderline, which better suits men, because while the emphasis with borderline women is about emotionality and sexuality, the emphasis in borderline men is more about grandiose power and similar things.

Borderline men resemble much more the narcissist than borderline women. That's why I'm proposing to break the two apart and to have an emotional dysregulation disorder assigned to women with secondary psychopathy as a self-state and covert borderline, which is a combination of borderline and narcissism, assigned to men.

Okay, so every gender pronoun here is interchangeable. I'm going to use she, I'm going to use a female figure, female protagonist in this narrative, because hitherto, which is a fancy word for until now, most BPD diagnoses were handed down to women. Women were diagnosed mostly with BPD.

Okay, enough with this gender nonsense. Let's get to the point.

How does a borderline see you? Her intimate partner.

And so as you well know by now, there are two stages in borderline. And these two stages in the borderline's behavior correspond to her two anxieties, abandonmentanxiety, the clinical term is separation insecurity, and then engulfmentanxiety.

The borderline's point of view is the outcome of her internal dynamics, especially the compulsive need to approach you and then avoid you. I hate you. Don't let me go. I love you. I want you dead. I detest you. Don't ever leave me.

These conflicting messages, these mixed signals render the life of the intimate partner of the borderline. A mayhem. Totally chaotic, utterly unpredictable, a roller coaster of motions, reactions, and pain. Pain permeates every interaction with the borderline. Pain coupled with exhilaration, coupled with pain, coupled with exhilaration. The ups and downs of the borderline infect the partner. They are contagious.

In the approach phase, this is how the borderline sees you. You're my world. You're my life. And she means it. She means outside of you, apart from you, there's nothing. There's no one. She kind of minimizes herself and projects herself onto you and into you. She renders herself the equivalent of an introject. She wants you to subsume her. She wants you to consume her.

This is not exactly merger and fusion, which are common in codependency. This is much more than that. This is identification and introjection. It's an infantile process.

The borderline is intensely childlike, which provokes in you paternal or parental reactions. The borderline parentifies you. You're my world. You're my life because I don't know any better, because I don't have any other access, because you are the vector through which I exist. I resound d'etre to use my antiquated fringe.

The borderline sees you as a savior. She foists on you the role of a rescuer. You will save me from myself, she says. I'm horrible. I'm intolerable. I'm poisoned. I ruin everything for myself and for others, and you are going to change all this. You're going to save me from myself. You're going to save me from others, and you're going to save others from me. You're going to be the buffer, the firewall between me and my pernicious, radioactive impact on the world around me. Everything the borderline tells you, everything is meaningless without you.

Your existence as my intimate partner imbues the world, events, other people, interactions with sense.

You, my intimate partner, you make sense of reality for me. You are my reality testing.

The borderline is likely to often ask you, do you think the same? Is it true?

Because you are the yardstick of her universe. You are her reality. You are a stable rock, guaranteed presence, permanence, constancy, determinacy. When you are there in her life, the borderline feels utterly oceanic, safe.

You are, in other words, a secure base.

Again, these are infantile childhood dynamics.

But you have other roles in the borderline's life during the approach phase. Don't ever mix your drinks.

To stabilize the borderline's moods, she has ups and downs. It's known as moodlability.

She's depressiveand she's a bit manic, which is a reason why many diagnosticians confuse and conflate borderline personality disorder with bipolar disorder.

Wrong, of course. The first is a personality disorder. The second, the latteris a mood disorder.

But people with borderline personality disorder cycle all the time. This rapid cycling of moods, effects, cognitions, decisions, choices, values, behaviors, reactions, these render the borderline identityless.

This is called identity disturbance. It's as if she has no core, no kernel, no stable atom inside her, which kind of oscillates and determines her time.

The borderline is a river in flux, an ephemeral cloud. And it is a role of the intimate partner.

You, to stabilize, says the borderline, to stabilize my moods, you should regulate your emotions because with you, I feel safeand with you, I feel whole. I feel completed without you.

I'm partial. Without you, I am almost dead. Parts of me decay and decompose and fall apart and disintegrate without you.

You are the, you are the animating force within me, says the borderline.

When you are with me, committed to me, monopolized by me, 100% mine, possessed by me, owned by me, inside me in every way, sexual and otherwise, you are me.

But you are a better me. You're a stronger me. You're more stable me.

And so I can merge with you, thus improving my functionality, allowing me to cope, to survive, to somehow go through lifebecause I don't like life. I hate lifeand I hate who I am in life.

I need you to live another life for mevicariously, by proxy, and I will give my life for you. I will sacrifice myself, self-sacrificial.

It's the same with the narcissist, by the way. He sacrifices his true self for a false self.

The borderline also has a false self, but her false self merges with the intimate partner, a process known as external regulation.

So gradually, you are sucked into the vortex of the borderline. You begin to feel responsible for her moods, her emotions, even her cognitions.

She pretends to be dependent on you all the time, fostering dependency in you. You are becoming co-dependent on the borderline because she can't live without you. She can survive without you. You feel responsible. She is very childlike. She's very vulnerable. She cries, her beautiful eyes tear up anytime you threaten to leave or to goand you just can't take it. She pushes all your buttons. She leverages your softness and your empathy. All you need to be needed, all your grandiosity.

The borderline is adept at finding all the chinks in your armor, then invading you and penetrating you like no other.

The borderline says, I'm bad. I'm evil. I'm unworthy. I'm poisonous. I'm a bad object, but with you, my intimate partner, I feel good. I feel worthy because you accept me as I am, because you love me as I am, because you see me like no otherand because you enable and empower every part of me, every hue and every frequency in my spectrum. I become more through you. I self-actualize through your agency.

The borderline borrows your agency in order to become more self efficacious, but in the process, she renders you less agentic.

And this is merely the approach side.

Now we are heading into the real tumour, the avoidance.

You can't win with the borderline. You love her. You're intimate with her. You lose her. You're cold and detached and neutral and therapeutic and aloof. You lose her.

You try to help her too much. Give her advice. Direct her. You lose her. You ignore her. You let her live her own life. You lose her. It's a lose-lose proposition or a lose-win proposition in some cases, but usually a lose-lose proposition.

There's no winning strategy with a borderline.

And some people are addicted to the ride, to the drama, to the roller coaster. They don't care about the borderline. They want to experience the borderline's dysregulation vicariously. They love the ups and downs. They adore waking up in the morning, not knowing what the day will bring.

The borderline guarantees this serendipity, this unpredictability, this inconstancy, impermanence and indeterminacy. The borderline is a bag full of surprises, a never-ending adventure, a risk, a novelty, a danger lurking in your own bed.

How is this resistible? It's not. It's not even for healthy people.

Soapproach is always followed by avoidance regardless of your behavior, behavioral choices, and regardless of your strategies with the borderline.

Approach and avoidancerepetitioncompulsion in the borderline is, as the name implies, a compulsion. It's out of the borderline's control and it is not mitigated or affected by any external factors or parameters.

At some stagethe borderline says I'm overwhelmed by pain. You are hurting meowing to your rejection and abandonment.

And yet the borderline tends to interpret almost everything as a rejection. Almost any behavior is a form of abandonment. You are too long on the phone with a business associate. You're abandoning and rejecting. Go on a business trip. You're abandoning and rejecting. You have your own set of friends. You're abandoning and rejecting. You cast a glance at a beautiful woman in a restaurant. You're abandoning and rejecting. You refuse to countenance and accept the borderline's egregious misconduct and bad behavior. You're abandoning and rejecting. You disagree with the borderline more than once. You're abandoning and rejecting. Everything is abandonment and rejection in the borderline's eyes and she often projects abandonment and rejection onto you. It is she who wants to abandon and reject you and she projects it onto you. She anticipates abandonment and rejection. After all, she is a bad object. She is unworthy. She's corrupt. She's unlovable. She's inadequate.

Why would you not abandon and reject her? It's inevitable, ineluctable that you should.

So she prepares herself. She preemptively cheats on you. She prophylactically abandons you first before you abandon her.

You're not protective, she tells you. You don't love me, really. Your love is not true. You don't care about me. You found someone else to take my place. You're disloyal. You're looking for alternatives.

And no amount of proofs to the contrary, no amount of evidentiary presentation would help you.

She's made up her mind. Don't confuse her with the facts.

Most borderline women are also misandrist. They hate men because they've been exposed to the vagaries of abuse and bad relationships. They're post-traumatic. So they're likely to punish you for being men. They're likely, for example, to cheat on you in order to cause you pain or to triangulate, to accomplish the same, to get a rise out of you.

By sexually self-trashingwith other men, the borderline accomplishes multiple goals simultaneously. She affirms and confirms the bad object in her, thus justifying her anticipation of rejection and abandonment. She also proved to herself that all men are immoral beasts. That all men take advantage of how broken, damaged women such as herself that upholds her misandrist, men-hating view. Cheating is only one type of reckless behavior from insecurity, one type of reckless behavior.

The borderline can become violent, aggressive in other ways. Shopaholic, workaholic, pathological gambler. There are numerous ways to self-destruct.

But whenever the borderline anticipates abandonment and rejection, she decompensates. All her defenses collapse. And at that point, she's ready to move on to a stage called acting out.

But not before she switches into another self-state, a secondary psychopathy self-state.

She becomes merciless, disempathic, hateful, revengeful. She needs to prove to herself that she is still irresistible and she would do it with another man. She needs to prove to herself that she is omnipotent. Her grandiosity equals easily the narcissist. So she would, I don't know, overspend, deplete the family's savings. In retail therapy, spray shopping, reckless behaviors are very common in borderline.

In the acting out phase, be it with men, be it with money, be it with violence, be it with behaviors such as drunk driving, etc. At some point, the borderline decides upon the following sequence.

You're a man, she's a bad object. Because you're a man and therefore impervious to the needs, emotions and love of a woman. Because you're a man, you're evil, you're a beast, you're immoral. Because she's a bad object, you're going to abandon her, you're going to reject her.

She needs to strike first. So she would decompensate, she would switch to a psychopathic state and she would act out. And while she does this, she experiences triple dissociation. Three types of dissociation. Amnesia, depersonalization and derealization in the borderline experiences typically two or all three during a period of acting out. Amnesia, she deletes the memories. Simply she has no access to them. She has very blurred memories, even when she's not drunk. Autopilot, depersonalization, she feels that she is not inside her body. That it's just she's just going through the motions that her body is some kind of independent entity taking on a life of its own. Depersonalization, it's not me. I'm not there. This is not happening to me. I'm not doing this. Derealization, the whole thing feels like a movie. It's not real. It's dreamlike or nightmarish.

These are three mechanisms of dissociation that operate in a borderline that had been hurt, that had been rejected, that had been abandoned, that had been humiliated. This is her reaction. She acts out dissociatively. She says to herself, I need to do something. I have to do something. I need to do anything. I need to hurt him, my intimate partner. And then having hurt him, the power matrix restoredbecause it's a power play, of course. Having hurt him and the power matrix, power balance restored, I can regain his love. I'm going to cheat on him and still regain his love. I'm going to destroy his finances and he would still love me. I need to test him to the limits. I need to push beyond the most extreme nether regions of my world and then act in ways which are so egregious, so ostentatious, so horrible, so beyond the pale, that if he still loves me after all this, it means that he really loves me. It's a test of loyalty, which many intimate partners or friends often fail. It's a test of loyalty and a test of the veracity of the intimate partner's lovebecause a borderlinenever trusts the intimate partner to truly love her.

How can anyone love her? She's horrible. So she acts horrible. She becomes the bad object, orish, or whatever. And then she returns to the intimate partner begging for forgiveness, forgiven with guilt and shame and discomfort and egodystony, begging on her knees to be forgiven and accepted back to the fold.

And if the intimate partner says yes, for a while, she rests assured that she's loved. She feels accepted.

In the avoidance phase, the borderline openly says, "You want me dead. You want to shackle me. You want to shame me to your world or to your bed. You want me to be only yours. You want to disappear into you."

She says to the partner, "You've changed. You blame shift. I'm the victim, not you. You guilt-trick me. I've done nothing wrong. You've rejected me. You've abandoned me."

And so I was just retaliating. And I didn't even know what I was doing because I was dissociating. It wasn't me. I don't feel it was me.

There's some vaknin with his self-state theory. So I think it was a self-state. It wasn't me.

She says to the intimate partner, "You're not even self-aware. You're very self-destructive. You're going to destroy our relationship. Never mind what I've done. You can forgive me. You know I can't help it. You know it's stronger than me. You know it's not me."

I wasn't there when I shagged this guy, when I slept with him. I wasn't there. It was just my body. And it's anyhow meaningless because I love you and only you. You're judgmental. You're over-critical. And you want to drag me with you. You just, after my leg looks, you just want to have sex. You don't really love me. And paranoid ideation sets in in the avoidance phase.

The borderline becomes paranoid. She develops persecutory delusions. A persecutory object which used to be you. The idealized object of the intimate partner, the idealized introject, the internal object, is replaced by a persecutory one. The intimate partner becomes the enemy. "I love you. Don't leave me. I hate you. Stay with me. I want to kill you. I hope you live forever." Persecatory object.

And the borderline is likely to tell you, "You're lying to me. You constantly deceive me. You constantly cheat on me. You're out to get me. You entrap me. You never mean what you say. You gaslight me. You hate me. While I love you unconditionally and self-sacrificially, you don't know how to love. You arehumiliating me and shaming me all the time. You're malicious. You know how guilty I feel? You know how shameful I feel for what I've done? And yet you harp on it. And you keep bringing me back to these memories which I want to erase, which I just want to forget. And yes, of course it will happen again. But that's just the way I am. It's a take-it-or-live-it proposition. If you truly love me, you will accept me.

And now that you have survived the ordeal, the test that I've imposed on you, now I know that you truly love me. And now I can approach you again. Again, you become my world. You are my life. You will save me from myself and from others. Everything is meaningless without you. You're a stable rock. You stabilize my moods. You regulate my emotions. With you, I feel safe and whole, completed. I will give my life for you. I'm bad and evil, but with you, I feel good and worthy because you've just proven that you accept and love me as I am a borderline.


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