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How Borderlines, Narcissists Destroy Their Intimacy

Uploaded 11/21/2021, approx. 13 minute read

The more observant of you may have noticed that Minnie is back.

Last night, we had a piercing discussion about our relationship, and Minnie said, I really am sorry that I cannot offer you intimacy, but I can offer you intermugry, intermugry instead of intimacy. I said, Minnie, I have two problems with you.

One, you're not transparent. And second thing, your dark side is to emphasize.

So I'm going to take one sip and discard you as all narcissists do.

And instead, I'm going to have me a new transparent and stimulating relationship.


And now to the topic of today's conversation. I'm going to discuss narcissists and borderline and how they conspire and collude to destroy all intimacy in a relationship. Why do they do that? How do they do that? And what are the very surprising outcomes?

So stick with me throughout this video and you will be unpleasantly surprised at the end.

For those of you who don't know me, luckily for you, my name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and I'm a professor of psychology in several universities on several continents and Antarctica not included yet. But give me time. I'm still young and handsome and flourishing in this time of pandemic.

Okay, enough with the banter. Let's get to business, you all say.

And to business we shall get.

Nothing terrifies the borderline more than abandonment and rejection.

Abandonment and rejection by anyone, by the way, not only an intimate partner, but especially by the intimate partner.

The reason is simple. The intimate partner regulates the borderline's internal landscape, regulates her ego functions.

And so without the intimate partner, the borderline feels empty, denuded, and it's annoying and annoying feeling.

And we will see in a few minutes how she copes with it.


Now, abandonment or separation insecurity, the clinical term is separation insecurity, by the way.

Abandonment anxiety or separation anxiety, fear of rejection. They are actually one of the, they are part of the diagnostic criteria of borderline personality disorder in the fourth edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual text revision. But they are also included in the alternative model of borderline personality disorder, which is the future model, the model that will take over once the DSM six is published.

So it seems that abandonment and rejection, separation insecurity and anxiety. These are at the core of borderline personality disorder.

And it doesn't have to be a real abandonment. It can be anticipated abandonment, imagined abandonment, many, many innocuous acts, decisions and choices are often misinterpreted by the borderline to mean abandonment and rejection.

And in the wake of such of repeated such harrowing experiences, because the borderline to be abandoned and to be rejected is to be annihilated is a small, small death. It's a process of dying and resurrecting time and again.

So in the wake of repeated such harrowing experiences, borderlines react in two ways. And they often alternate between the two solutions.

Number one, some borderlines avoid all contact with potential intimate partners. They constrict their lives to their career or to the workplace. They become schizoid and avoidant. They stay at home.

Many of them misinterpret these state or condition is shyness. They will tell you I'm shy. Many of them mislabel their newly found schizoid tendencies. And they say I'm introverted, but they're not shy. And they're not introverted. And there's no such thing as a shy or quiet borderline. It's another nonsensical invention akin to empath. They're not shy. And they're not introverted. They are simply avoidant. They are fearful of pain, the pain of rejection and abandonment.

So that's solution number one. And you can see millions of borderlines cocooned at home, never leaving home if they can afford it. And just staying in the nest occupying or busying themselves to the best of their ability because borderlines suffer from boredom and from loneliness.

And that's it. That's solution number one.

Solution number two, as is usually the case with borderlines, is exactly the opposite of solution number one, diametrically opposed actually.

Solution number two is sexual self-trashing.

Some borderlines in the wake of rejection or humiliation or abandonment, real, anticipated or imagined, sexually self-trashed, in casual, random sex, exclusively with strangers, which they pick up somewhere in a bar, in a party, on a dating app.

This way, by limiting their sexual encounters to random total strangers, these borderlines avoid experiencing heartbreak. They never experience heartbreak. They mitigate the pain of having been rejected. So they experience pain having been rejected and abandoned.

And they kind of solve or use sex with strangers to feel better. They restore their wounded grandiosity with their conquests. They call it validation. It enhances their self-esteem.

Attention and sex are the two main staples in the borderlines medicine cupboard.

So they self-soothe. It's a form of self-soothing, similar, for example, to compulsive eating. So it's an addictive behavior.


The second solution is an addictive behavior of sexual self-trashing.

And when I say sexual self-trashing, I mean total self-trashing. I describe self-trashing in other videos.

So you may wish to listen to them and to make the distinction between self-trashing and promiscuity, promiscuity is agentic, promiscuity is empowering. Self-trashing is about self-degradation, self-punishment.

Borderlines self-medicate with anxiolytic predatory men.

Now the word anxiolytic is crucial here because when they have random self-trashing sex, their anxiety level goes down. So these men, these predatory men, they're the equivalent of anxiolytics, anti-anxiety medications. And these men often victimize the borderline. They mistreat the borderline egregiously, even in one-night stands.

And so this creates a dissonance. In both cases, in both solutions, there's a dissonance.

In the first case, the borderline has to explain to herself why is she isolating herself socially? Why is she avoiding contact with other people? Why is she cocooned at home? Why is she so afraid to step out of the door?

It's a form of attenuated agoraphobia, if you wish, and she has to explain this to herself because it creates a dissonance. The borderline regards herself as an emancipated, liberated, empowering person.

And this kind of behavior, this kind of avoidant, fearful, shy behavior runs counter to the borderline's self-narrative and self-image. So she has to explain to her why she's doing this.

And she casts it in the terms of a choice. She says, I'm choosing to do this because I'm strong, because I'm empowered, because I'm a genetic, I'm choosing this. I'm choosing this. I'm saying goodbye to the world. The world doesn't deserve me.

Of course, it's a manifestation of brandiosity. Narcissists do exactly the same. They go into a schizoid phase when they cannot obtain narcissistic supply.

Similarly with the second solution, which is random self-trashing sex with predatory, abusive strangers.

In this second solution, there's also a dissonance because truly empowered, liberated and emancipated women don't do that. They don't render themselves trashy. They don't make themselves available to partners who are inappropriate to use another statement. They don't expose themselves to abuse. They don't court and seek maltreatment. They don't self-punish. They don't self-destroy and self-defeat.

So there's a dissonance there between the behavior and the self-image.

And in this case, in the second solution, the defense is fantasy. It's a defense against the mortification, the shame and the guilt involved in acting out, involved in being maltreated contemptuously by predatory men to avoid the dissonance between reality, harsh reality, and elevated grandiose inflated self-image to avoid this dissonance, to avoid mortification and the shame and guilt that come after these misbehaviors.

The borderline immediately imposes a romantic or defiant fantasy on the stranger that she's with or end on the unfolding unsavory proceedings. So she finds herself in a hotel room with a total stranger she's just met and she's forced or she acts in ways which are considered to be unusual for the event, extremely intimate or socially unacceptable. She has to explain this to herself.

And this stranger is mistreating her in many ways. He gets her drunk. He expends her from the hotel room after the proceedings. She has to tell herself some story. And the story is a fantasy. The fantasy is, I was infatuated with him. There was something going on between us. There was a possible future there. He could have been my boyfriend. Actually, I felt that he is my boyfriend for the night. This is a fantasy defense.

And this fantasy defense is used by borderlines, not only in sexual self-trashing, but in all other forms of self-trashing. For example, substance abuse.

They say, I choose to drink. I choose to drink because it makes me function better. It makes me more sexual. It makes me sociable.

So they justify, they have self-justified narratives, which are founded on counterfactual claims and fantasies. That has to do with all self-harming and self-trashing behaviors.

Similarly, borderlines justify cutting, self-mutilation, burning with the same fantasies or self-justifying claims. So let's recap this part.

The borderline dreads rejection and the humiliation of abandonment. When she loses her intimate partner, she loses the capacity to regulate herself. She becomes dysregulated.

So she's terrified of this ultimate condition. When she anticipates abandonment, when she is abandoned, or when there is imaginary abandonment, doesn't matter, she acts in two ways. Either she withdraws and avoids the world and the intimate partner, and justifies this by saying that it's a choice, an agentic choice, or she self-trashes.

Sexually, she self-trashes via substance abuse. She self-trashes financially. She causes the self-harm. She self-harms. It's a form of self-mutilation. She self-harms with men. She self-harms with alcohol.

But she self-harms. And to justify this self-harm, to reconcile the self-harming acts with the empowered, strong, emancipated, liberated, agentic meaning, this self-image, to reconcile these two, the borderline imposes a fantasy on what is happening.

So if she, for example, is sexually self-trashing, she would say that she is not sexually self-trashing. The stranger is not really a stranger. He's a potential intimate partner. And what the stranger is doing to her, which is egregious mistreatment and maltreatment, what he's doing to her is consensual. She's doing it because she wants it, not because he wants it.

Borderlines react with derision and hostility to any attempt to undo or challenge the fantasy. They cast well-meaning and caring therapists, friends, intimate partners and family members as persecutory objects, almost as enemies.

You dare to challenge the borderline's fantasy, self-justifying, alloplastic defenses. It's not my fault. You dare to challenge any of this and you become the enemy and the borderline splits you.

Borderline has a splitting defense mechanism, decontinous thinking, black and white, right and wrong, all good, all evil. Decontaceous thinking, black and white, right and wrong, all good, all evil. She switches you from one camp to the other within a split second. You dare to challenge your fantasy. You transition from being her best friend to her worst enemy, to being her worst enemy.

Unfortunately for borderlines, they tend to pick narcissists as intimate partners and mates. Narcissists abhor and dread true intimacy. They regard intimacy as a threat, a permanent challenge to their grandiosity. Narcissists are terrified of intimacy. Even the few narcissists, for example compensatory narcissists, some covert narcissists, even the few narcissists who seek intimacy actively, they are approach avoidant. They seek it and then they flee away from it.

So this approach avoidance repetition compulsion, this avoidant insecure attachment style, is very characteristic of narcissists.

So now you have an intimate partner who is afraid of intimacy, regards it as demeaning, humiliating and to be avoided at all costs.

And on the other hand, you have the borderline who seeks intimacy almost as a form of medicine. She needs intimacy to regulate her internal environment. She needs intimacy to survive. The absence of intimacy or the cessation of intimacy are a threat to her survival, to her functioning, to her life.

But at the same time, borderlines equally undermine intimacy because they are afraid of being engulfed or enmeshed. They are afraid to disappear. Borderlines are afraid to disappear because they don't exist. There's an emptiness, an empty schizoid core where a human being should have been.

In both narcissists and borderlines are incarnations, reifications of emptiness. These are like two black holes meeting and merging. Both of them would repel each other because of the intense gravitational fields.

The narcissist and the borderline seek intimacy, plunge into intimacy almost instantaneously in the love bombing and grooming phases. Their affairs are intense like supernovas, giant explosions and irresistible to both parties.

But both of them, each for his own reasons or her own reasons, are terrified of intimacy.

As Richard Graham says, intimacy is the narcissist's kryptonite and the borderline's kryptonite.

Borderlines are terrified of intimacy because they feel that intimacy will devour them. Intimacy will assimilate them and digest them. They feel that intimacy will remove all the outer layers and leave only the emptiness. It's like an onion. They feel they are being peeled by intimacy to leave nothing behind but the smell.

Narcissists are terrified of intimacy because they regard intimacy as the common men's thing, something that makes them commoners, average, normal, and they don't want to be common, average, normal. They want to be special and unique.

So both parties fight each other. The more they become intimate, the more conflictive or conflictual the relationship becomes, the more adversarial. The more they become intimate, the more they seek to destroy the intimacy, to undermine it, to challenge it. The more they act in ways which render intimacy impossible. For example, they lie to each other or they cheat on each other or they betray each other all in order to destroy the intimacy. The two parties abuse each other as they attempt to cause their partners to decompensate and to act out, in other words to misbehave. This is projective identification.

The parties push each other to abuse them.

So the borderline pushes the narcissist to abuse her and the narcissist pushes the borderline's buttons to make sure that she abuses him.

And they want the abuse because the abuse is an excuse. They now can legitimately cheat. They can stray. They can betray. They can lie. They can walk away. They can destroy the relationship. They can break up. It's all legitimate because they had been abused.

Projective identification is about pushing your partner to behave or to misbehave in ways which restore your comfort zone. And the comfort zone of the borderline is actually a lack of intimacy. That's why borderlines are very comfortable with casual sex, where there's minimal to no intimacy. In their fantasy, even casual sex is imbued with intimacy. But in reality, of course, there's no intimacy or no intimacy to speak of.

So the abuse in the relationship between narcissism and borderline is induced by both parties, affording them an excuse to break up and start all over again.

Because if you break up with your intimate partner, he cannot reject you. He cannot abandon you anymore. Breaking up is the ultimate solution to abandonment, anxiety, and separation insecurity. You're alone. You're safe. You're with a stranger. You're safe. Stranger can't break your heart.

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