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Ideal Love Fantasy Borderline And Covert Borderline ( Odd Couples Part 3)

Uploaded 10/18/2023, approx. 53 minute read

Hello, Shoshanim. It is not a good morning, so I'm not going to say it.

Civilians have been slaughtered in Israel savagely, and then civilians are being decimated ruthlessly in Gaza. Both parties are killing each other ferociously and voraciously.

Good morning, Shoshanim. It is not.

But life goes on, and borderline personality disorder awaits no one.

So today we're going to discuss what happens when a covert borderline falls in love with a borderline personality disordered person.

Both these disorders, borderline personality disorder and covert borderline, which is a variant of borderline personality disorder, both of them are exceedingly complex, possibly the most multi-layered mental illnesses or mental dysfunctions ever.

Now imagine putting the two of them together in a pressure cooker, also known as relationship, and witness what's happening.

So today I'm going to divide the video into three parts.

The first part, a mini summary of some of my work on borderline personality disorder. Then an overview of borderline personality disorder, especially the alternative model in the text revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Edition 5 published last year.

I couldn't find any of these online, by the way. And then I'm going to review the clinical features and aspects of covert borderline and compare them to the clinical features and aspects of the borderline, so that we see where the borderline intimate partner pushes the buttons of the covert borderline in a good way or in a bad way. And what happens, what transpires after the covert borderline has been triggered by his borderline loved one, girlfriend, spouse, intimate partner.

So this is a complex video, but stay with me because nothing is more interesting than the borderline Disneyland, the borderline landscape.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. I'm a former visiting professor of psychology and currently I'm on the faculty of SIAS-CIAPS, Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies.

First of all, I recommend that you watch two videos, a video titled "Borderlines Partner, Some Enter Healthy, Exit Mentally Ill" and another video titled "Borderlines Demonizer Partner, Pathologizes Narcissist".

And then there is literature in the description. I've listed the 20 most influential thinkers on borderline personality disorder and definitely the 20 scholars or thinkers who have most influenced my work in borderline personality disorder. And I recommend that you chase them down using libraries or scholar.google.com. Scholar.google.com is a search engine for academic papers and academic articles. Wonderful. I always use it.

As you can maybe hear, there's a black helicopter hovering above this building, probably sent by Hamas, but I will do my best to ignore it.

It seems that wherever we are in the world, and right now I'm not in Israel, I'm in Macedonia, wherever we are in the world, we can't escape the reality, the encroaching reality of conflict, of weaponry, of militarization, of aggression, of violence. This is the world we live in nowadays. It is in essence a borderline narcissistic world.

Yes, they've taken over and it's not a conspiracy theory, according to recent studies.

Okay, enough with my political pontification. I hope you can hear me over and above the noise, the unpleasant noise of the rotating chopper.

Start with something that Grotstein, a famous psychoanalyst, has said. He said a borderline is a failed narcissist.

Now many people ask me where on earth did he say this? We couldn't find it anywhere.

Well, he said it in a personal correspondence with the late Joanne Lachkar. Joanne Lachkar was the first to write a book about the borderline narcissistic couple. She published it, the book, in 1982 and there's a second edition. She died recently. She was a very good and close personal friend and she shared with me her personal correspondence with Grotstein where he said that a borderline is a failed narcissist.

But Grotstein failed to explain completely the mechanism and the dynamic behind this.

What Grotstein suggested is that a traumatized and abused child attempts to become a narcissist because narcissism is a defense mechanism. It's a compensatory way to kind of block pain, to avoid hurt by pretending to be god-like.

So the child invents this private religion with a false self and the false self is everything the child is not. The false self is all knowing. The false self is all-powerful. The false self is invulnerable. The false self is perfect and brilliant. The false self is a totally good object etc and the child deflects the pain and hurt and trauma at the false self thus avoiding the consequences of trauma and abuse.

Grotstein suggested that some children attempt to develop a narcissistic solution to the abuse and trauma but then they fail and having failed they remain stuck in a stage of emotional dysregulation and a lot of pent up shame and hurt and pain and this is called borderline personality organization.

Okay I'm going to stop the recording right now because the noise is becoming oh it went away. You see magical thinking.

So why the failure? Why do some children fail to become narcissists and remain stuck in the borderline phase?

I have an answer where Grotstein essentially doesn't.

My answer is that the child who becomes a narcissist has a dead mother, dead in the metaphorical sense. She's absent, she's depressive, she's selfish, she's manipulative, she's instrumentalizing and parentifying, sometimes pedestalizing and idolizing the child.

At any rate she breaches the child's boundaries, she doesn't allow the child to separate an individual because she's not there, she's not emotionally available to the child.

So the child then proceeds to create a parental substitute, the false self and interact with the false self to the extent that the child merges and fuses with a false self rather than with the unavailable mother and this way the child becomes a narcissist.

But what happens when the mother is sometimes dead and sometimes alive, sometimes absent and sometimes present, sometimes negligent and sometimes protective, sometimes aggressive and criticizing and sometimes loving and holding and caring, sometimes bad and sometimes good, sometimes evil and sometimes righteous, sometimes in short black and sometimes sometimes white.

What happens when the mother provides what we call, what I'm called intermittent reinforcement. I call this kind of mother an intermittent mother, not a dead mother but an intermittent mother and this kind of intermittent reinforcement allows the child to remain somehow grounded in the relationship with the mother while also developing some narcissistic defenses such as grandiosity.

The child is stuck in a twilight zone in a no man's land, the child doesn't become a full-fledged narcissist because the child craves the mother, wants to interact with her, loves her so he doesn't want to go away because mother is sometimes there for the child, sometimes available, sometimes loving, there's no incentive for the child to totally disconnect from the mother.

So this kind of child becomes half narcissist and half borderline.

Gradually there's a failure to develop narcissism because the mother is sufficiently there, sufficiently present, sufficiently caring and loving to prevent the full-fledged emergence of pathological narcissism and this is how the child becomes borderline.

Now this kind of child is distinct from the narcissist, this kind of child does perceive external objects.

The narcissist you recall is incapable of perceiving or appreciating the externality of objects, the separateness of objects because the narcissist, the child turned narcissist is incapable of separating from mommy, of individuating.

So the narcissist has no concept of separation and so the narcissist doesn't see other people as separate from him, as external to him, he regards everyone as a kind of internal object to be manipulated by the narcissist and the narcissist continues to interact only inside his mind with this Disneyland of external objects.

The borderline child is capable of perceiving that other people, also known as objects in psychology, other people do exist and they exist separately. They're not extensions of the child, they're out there, they're objects which are not the child.

And this is because the borderline child does have a mother which is out there, a mother which is sometimes loving and present and holding and containing this kind of mother allows the child to realize the externality of objects.

So what the child does, it outsources ego functions, it outsources internal processes such as emotional regulation, it outsources them to external objects. Sometimes the borderline outsources her body to external objects and this is known as promiscuity.

So when I say her, it's also him. About half of all borderlines nowadays are men and half of all narcissists are women.

Okay, so forget the gender norms, replace them in your mind if you're so inclined.

So the borderline has a huge narcissistic investment in herself. It's a compensation for the times when mother is absent, when mother is negligent, when mother is away, when mother is depressive, mother is selfish, then the child invests, affects, invests emotional energy in herself.

This is narcissistic investment but on the other hand the mother is sufficiently there to allow the child to develop what we call object relations but this is a very sick kind of object relations. It's outsourcing oneself to an external object.

So while the narcissist gave up on the externality of separate objects because they are bound to frustrate him, to hurt him, to humiliate him, to provoke shame, so the narcissist gives up on external objects.

He says I don't need anyone, I'm self-sufficient because I'm god-like, I'm omnipotent, I'm an omniscient. God doesn't need anyone and I don't either.

The borderline still maintains some kind of hope and it's not necessarily a sick or pathological kind of hope. She interacts with separate external objects via merger and fusion and here is something very interesting.

The narcissist wants other people to become his internal objects. He internalizes, introjects other people, a process that I call snapshotty and then he coerces these people to conform to the internalized representation in his mind and this I call coercive snapshotty.

The borderline is different. The borderline wants to become someone's internal object. She wants someone to create with her, to engender with her a symbiosis. She wants to become one with someone else. She wants to merge and fuse similar to the codependent and so she wants to become an internal object.

The narcissist is looking for someone he could convert into an internal object and they are a perfect fit.

Now don't forget that covert borderlines are in large part narcissist as well.

So the covert borderline is enticed, endured, and seduced and tempted by the borderline's willingness to suspend herself as an external object and re-emerge in the covert borderline's mind as an internal object.

Yes, the covert borderline also snapshots and introjects.

So here's a perfect match. The first point of contact between these two.

The covert borderline comes across a borderline and the borderline signals to him in a variety of ways including body language, not necessarily verbally. The borderline signals to him. I'm willing to yield. I'm willing to submit. I'm willing to enter your mind and never exit because that's a safe space for me. I feel good inside your mind. I feel stable and secure.

Please let me enter your mind. Let me convert myself from an external object which is painful for me to an internal object which is held in the womb of your mind. It's going back to the womb as Gantry had observed.

So this match between two victims, because remember that narcissists and covert borderlines and borderlines are victims of trauma and abuse in early childhood. They resonate their victimhood, their state of having been victimized, resonate, and they dig each other. They glom each other. They understand each other to perfection.

Here the borderline says I'm willing to symbiotically merge with you to become one. As one we are going to be godlike because you are godlike. I'm going to be godlike by proxy.

This caters to her grandiosity. The covert borderline is a child who was first subjected to a dead mother and then to an intermittent but loving mother and he's trying to recreate this love for the rest of his life.

Let us summarize this part.

The narcissist is a child who has been exposed to a dead mother. Trauma and abuse inflicted by a mother who was absent, disinterested, selfish, instrumentalizing, parentifying, etc.

The borderline is a child who has been exposed to a mother who engaged in intermittent mothering. She was sometimes there, sometimes not, sometimes loving, sometimes indifferent, etc. That's why borderlines split.

The covert borderline is a child who has been exposed initially to a dead mother, but then the dead mother had been supplanted by, replaced by a real good loving mother or even an intermittent mother.

So the covert borderline retains the experience of having been loved and craves this experience.

I would say that covert borderlines are love addicts. They're addicted to a fantasy of ideal, all-encompassing, all-engulfing, all-pervasive love that consumes them and they want it to rigidify, to encode it into a relationship, a marriage.

And they regard children as the ultimate reification, manifestation, and expression of ideal love because children are innocent. Children are malleable. Children are open to learning and evolution and growth and development. They perceive children as tabula rasa, a blank slate upon which they can write their love.

And so for them, children are the perfect conduit of love.


And now a very important point.

There is a suggested diagnosis banded about, it's called shine or quiet borderline.

Let's start by stating that there is no such thing. All borderlines, all people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder sometimes act out, they misbehave, they lose themselves, they do crazy making things and sometimes act in. They become self-destructive and self-defeating and depressive. All borderlines are therefore sometimes shy and quiet and sometimes classical and aggressive.

So there's no need for a separate diagnosis. However, it is a useful idea, unfortunately, miscussed as a diagnosis, but it's a useful idea because the covert borderline, for example, is attracted mightily to the shy or quiet aspects of the borderline, while the narcissist is attracted to the aggressive in your face, defiant, antisocial aspects of the borderline.

So the narcissist would be attracted to a borderline which is externalizing aggression, which is flamboyant, which is defiant, reckless, contumacious and a bit psychopathic, faux two psychopathy.

While the covert borderline would be attracted to a borderline which is a bit withdrawn, a reckless, introverted, shy, quiet, self-defeating, self-destructive.

So the narcissist with one type of borderline and the covert borderline with another type of borderline.

Now the borderline has exactly like the narcissist, has anicytic, so a-n-icytic, object choice. In other words, she chooses mates, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, she chooses intimate partners who are reminiscent of parental figures, mainly mother, but also father.

So the borderline is primed to respond totally to the narcissist fantasy of a maternal figure and also she's primed to provide the covert borderline with a fulfillment of his wish to team up as a parental figure with a borderline, with someone actually, not only with a borderline.

So the narcissist wants to infantilize, wants to regress, the narcissist wants to become a child, the covert borderline wants to become a father or more precisely a mother and that's why the covert borderline and the narcissist perfectly fit with the borderline because the borderline has anaclitic object choice, she chooses exclusively almost intimate partners who represent, stand in for her mother or father.

The narcissist fantasy is to be loved by a mother figure, the covert borderline's fantasy is ideal love expressed through his children with him as a parental, ing, a defying figure, figure that induces change, transformation, growth and development in his partner.

And the borderline's fantasy is to be regulated externally via a intimate partner who would serve as a parental figure, who would constitute a secure base, a special friend, a rock.

So they all fit perfectly like locks and keys, substrates and reagents, the fit is perfect, there's no daylight between these types.

The borderline either caters to the narcissist's need to be a child or caters to the covert borderline's need to be a father.

And in all these types of relationships she is engaging in parental role play and I have a video dedicated to role theory in conjunction with everything I've just said.

But it goes deeper than that and I have to provide you with this clinical background for you to understand the super complex, hyper complex relationship between covert borderline and borderline. It's not easily explained.


Okay, so let's continue with the clinical landscape.

Borderline personality disorder, the borderline suffers from persecutory delusions, paranoid ideation. It is the borderline's way to extricate herself from engulfment.

Remember that borderlines have twin anxieties, not one but two. The overwhelming fear is separation insecurity. The borderline is terrified, terrified of being rejected or being abandoned.

But at the same time, the borderline dreads intimacy because she feels suffocated, she feels engulfed, she feels enmeshed and this is the second anxiety, engulfment anxiety.

And so she develops paranoid ideation or persecutory delusions and the persecutory dynamic allows her to separate from her partner because if she suspects her partner or something, if she's paranoid about her partner, she could easily let go of the partner.

And this is approach avoidance repetition compulsion. She approaches the partner.

She's terrified of being abandoned by the partner because he fulfills the parental role that she needs. And then she feels suffocated. She feels that she's dying and she needs to run away.

So the way to run away, by the way, running away doesn't have to be physical. It could be emotional withdrawal. It could be avoidance within an existing relation.

So running away is facilitated via paranoid ideation. She suddenly begins to regard her intimate partner as a kind of enemy. I hate you. Don't leave me.

This persecutory dynamic can go both ways. It's either auto plastic.

And then the borderline tells herself, I'm really evil. I'm a bad object. I'm an abuser, or it could be alloplastic. I'm a victim. This is different to the narcissist.

The narcissist's reaction is always alloplastic. I'm a victim. I've been set up. I am not guilty. I've done nothing wrong, etc.

When you hear someone saying all these things, that's a narcissist. These are alloplastic defenses.

The borderline, however, is a mixture of alloplastic and alloplastic defenses because she is capable of negative emotions which are alloplastic, such as shame or feeling guilty or feeling blameworthy or responsible.

This sets the borderline apart from the narcissist.

And so when the borderline needs to run away because she feels engulfed, she feels enmeshed, she feels that she's being consumed and subsumed by her partner, she would then develop paranoid ideation about the partner and accuse him of victimizing her or accuse herself of victimizing her partner.

Now, when there is a failure of defense, when the borderline cannot convert her partner, the idealized object in her mind, cannot convert her intimate partner to a persecutory object. In other words, when she cannot lie to herself that her loving intimate partner is actually an enemy because there's too much reality out there, too much information to the contrary, the data contradict this kind of conversion or transformation.

The partner is really loving, really caring, really there for her always. So there's no way to convert the partner into an enemy.

And this is a problem because she then cannot regard herself as a victim. And the only thing that's left for her is to say something is wrong with me. I am damaged. I'm broken. I'm a bad object. I'm an abuser.

And this is a dissonance. This is egodystony.

And it leads her then ironically, to decompensate, she falls apart as a bad object. She can't tolerate this she can't, she can't, it's unbearable for her to see herself as she really is abusive, for example. So she falls apart, this is decompensation, her defenses are disabled, and she acts out psychopathically, ironically, often against the intimate partner, in order to remove him as a source of frustration, self examination, self doubt, and the pain of self awareness and introspection.

Borderline therefore legitimizes forbidden repressed introjects. She resonates with pathological parts in her intimate partner. And she becomes a vector of contagion.

Again, my late lamented, very good personal friend.

John Lachcar suggested that borderlines and narcissists and covert borderline is a form of narcissism.

borderlines and narcissists experience their shadows through their partners.

She said that the archaic wounds of Freudian term, the archaic wounds of these two resonate. Later she called it V spots, vulnerability spots.

So the same processes is happening here. The borderline kind of dumps forbidden shameful repressed introjects on the partner. And this is known as projective identification, she tries to compel the partner to behave in a way that would render her an all good object.

And the partner is trying to do the same. And so they infect each other. They kind of transfer to each other, the parts in themselves that they regard as deplorable, that they reject, they consider shameful. They don't want these parts in themselves.

And so they handed these parts over to the partner. They say to the partner, please take these parts away from me. My police take these traits, these misbehaviors, these weaknesses, the shortcomings away from me because I'm ashamed of them. Please make them your own so that I can then feel that I'm all good. And you are all bad. It's a form of splitting, of course.

The borderline splits herself in this process, because she hands over critical parts of her mentality of her psychology of her psyche, solely if you wish. She hands them over to her intimate partner. This is the outsourcing.

The borderline actually considers herself a bad object externally, but not internally.

She says, I'm a good person inside. I'm just misbehaving. My misbehavior, which is bad, which is not okay, I shouldn't have done it, I feel guilty, I feel ashamed. My misbehavior is not indicative of who I truly am. And who I truly am is a good object, an all good object, perfectly good object. This is grandiosity combined with splitting.

And the narcissist is exactly the opposite. The narcissist considers himself a bad object internally, but a very good person externally, behaviorally.

So narcissist would deny that he misbehaves. He would say, everything I did I did for good reason, and for the good of others. I'm a benevolent person. I'm a good person.

Yeah, but inside I feel bad. I feel evil. I feel an imposter. I feel unworthy. I feel ugly. I feel stupid.

So this is the symmetry. This is the mirroring between borderline and narcissist and borderline and covert borderline.

The borderline says, I'm all good inside, all bad outside. And the narcissist and covert borderline say, I'm all bad inside, I'm all good outside.

In other words, the covert borderline says, I am trying to overcome my bad object by doing good things. I may be mentally ill. I may be mentally dysfunctional. I may be problematic. I may be less than ideal, but my actions speak louder and they compensate for all these deficiencies.

While the borderline says exactly the opposite. I'm a good soul trapped in an evil body. Please take me away from me. Take the good object and nurture it.

She says to the covert borderline. She says to the narcissist, take my good object. See me. I want to be seen as I am. And what I am is a good object.

So the borderline is the mirror image of the narcissist. She has introject in constancy. She has severe difficulties to maintain internal representations of other people in her life.

Now, internal representations have nothing to do with emotions. Don't confuse the two.

For example, the borderline can be jealous of her intimate partner. Even when he is not present and she can pine for an intimate partner who has rejected her and abandoned her and discarded her. She can spend years pining for him, longing for him, missing him. And so that is not an introject. These are emotions. And actually these emotions have nothing to do with the intimate partner. They are forms of self pity. They're self-referential emotions.

The introject representing the intimate partner in her mind is not stable, is not constant.

Many borderlines have severe difficulty to imagine the faces of loved ones having been out of touch for a while. Many borderlines behave as if loved ones don't exist when they are out of sight, out of mind.

So this is what I termed introject in constancy.

While the narcissist has object in constancy, he has very stable rigid introjects of other people, representing other people, but he's not able to interact with these other people outside, externally in reality. So he has no objects.

The borderline has few stable introjects. The narcissist has few stable objects. And again, they fit each other perfectly, as you can see.

The borderline can provide the covert borderline or the narcissist with a constant object because she's clinging, she's needy, she's always there, she never lets go. So she provides the covert borderline and the narcissist with a constant object.

While the narcissist can provide the borderline and the covert borderline can provide the borderline with a constant introject, which is safe and secure and parental, sometimes paternal and loving.

Again, there's a perfect match. The borderline encourages the narcissist to interact exclusively with his internal objects because she doesn't want him to realize that she is an external bad object.

In other words, remember the borderline considers her externality, her behavior, her presence to be bad. And she doesn't want someone, she doesn't want an intimate partner who would notice, who would discover how bad she is. She doesn't want to be exposed.

So the narcissist is perfect because he idealizes her in his mind. And then he continues to interact with the idealized introject, with the idealized internal object in his mind, not with her.

So no matter what she does to the narcissist, he will continue to love her as an idealized object.

The borderline considers herself bad and flawed. She says, if my intimate partner gets too close to me, he will abandon me. If he finds out the truth about me, he will run away better that he should live in a fantasy of me, the idealized introject or internal object.

This is true for the covert borderline as well. Everything I'm saying right now applies to both the narcissist and the covert borderline.

Just remember, when the covert borderline interacts with the borderline, she triggers in him his narcissistic side. The covert borderline is a hybrid between narcissist and borderline.

Okay. The borderline incentivizes and reinforces the covert borderline's pathological fantasy defense and the narcissist. She feeds the covert borderline or the narcissist with drama and with conflicts to keep him busy and distracted as he desperately attempts to realign, reframe and redefine his internal objects. The borderline pushes the narcissist to become psychotic while the narcissist pushes the borderline to become a psychopath.

Now, that's not a very appetizing dynamic, I agree. The borderline requires object constancy. She pushes all her partners to develop introject constancy. She's too painful as an external object in any case, so they all prefer to interact with a representation of her, which is ideal and loving and caring and cutie by and so on.

Interacting with the borderline external object requires high effort coping. To ensure object constancy, the borderline needs to freeze the partner to avoid any change in dynamic, this way provoking the partners and gulf with anxiety and avoidant behaviors. I'm talking about partners with insecure attachment styles.

So some partners react with narcissistic defenses and introject anxiety and so on and so forth. So watch the two videos that I recommended and now let's transition to an overview of the borderline pathology.

Before we go to the third part, the third part is interaction between the covert borderline and the borderline in much greater detail.


So I will start by simply reading to you the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV, which are far inferior to the alternative model in the text revision of the fifth edition of the DSM.

Start with the fourth edition of the DSM.

Borderline personality disorder is defined there as a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by five or more of the following diagnostic criteria.

Number one, frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. This does not include suicidal or self-mutilating behaviors which are covered in point five.

Criterion two, a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

Number three, identity disturbance markedly and persistently unstable self-image of or sense of self.

Number four, impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging.

Spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating and again this does not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior.

We are coming to criterion number five, recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures or threats or self-mutilating behavior.

Number six, effective instability due to marked reactivity of mood. It's also known as moodlability. Intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days.

Number seven, chronic feelings of emptiness.

Number eight, inappropriate intense anger or difficulty controlling anger, frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights.

This all comes from the empty schizoid core mentioned in criterion seven.

Number nine, transient stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

This is the shopping list or the grocery list of diagnostic criteria which capture a few facets of borderline personality disorder and are exceedingly inadequate.

I am now going to read to you a much better rendition, diagnostic rendition of borderline personality disorder known as the alternative model to be found in the appendices of the text revision of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, regrettably because it should have replaced the DSM-4 text and the only reason it didn't is pressure by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

So here is the real picture of borderline personality disorder or the picture that transcends symptoms only.

Remember this picture when we reach the third part of this video and I begin to discuss the interaction with covert borderline.

So pay attention now.

Autonomous model for borderline personality disorder. This is also known as a dimensional model instead of a categorical model in edition four. Moderate or greater impairment in personality functioning manifested by characteristic difficulties in two or more of the following four areas.

Number one, identity. Identity in borderline is markedly impoverished, poorly 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 to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity, hypervigilance.

The borderline is prone to feel slighted or insulted, perceptions of others selectively biased toward negative attributes or vulnerabilities.

It's the first time there's an admission that there is a deficiency or deficit in empathy also in borderline personality disorder.

Number four, 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 of approach avoidance, repetition compulsion.

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

Number one, emotional ability, an 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 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 of losing control.

Number three, separation and security, also known as abandonment, is an aspect of negative affectivity, fears of rejection by and/or separation from significant others associated with fears of excessive dependency and a complete loss of autonomy, engulfment, anxiety.

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.

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 or consideration of outcomes, problems in impulse control, difficulty establishing or following plans, a sense of urgency and self-harming behavior under emotional distress.

Number six, risk-taking, an aspect of disinhibition, engagement in dangerous, risky and potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily and without regard to consequences, a lack of concern for one's limitations in denial of reality, of the reality of personal danger.


Okay, hostility, an aspect of antagonism, persistent or frequent angry feelings, anger or irritability in response to minor slides and insults.

Now, some of these elements, some of these diagnostic elements exist in the covert borderline. Covert borderline is a hybrid between narcissist and borderline, but the covert borderline is substantially different to the classic borderline, to the shy borderline, substantially different. It's substantially different because of the impacts of the narcissistic part. It's a hybrid which essentially is a very high functioning type of borderline.

So let us delve right into the clinical picture of the covert borderline and how classical borderlines and shy, quiet borderlines affect the covert borderline with regards to each and every one of these.

First of all, the covert borderline is grandiose. The classical borderline is grandiose and this creates a lot of friction and antagonism and competition, competitive grandiosity.

The shy or quiet borderline, and again to remind you, that's not a diagnosis, it's a borderline who is introverted and would tend to self-aggress, who tend to act in rather than act out, but she also is capable of acting out.

There's not pure shy or quiet borderline. That is the nonsense of the suggested diagnosis.

Okay, the shy or quiet borderline is very similar to the covert narcissist. She would suppress her grandiosity. It will not be overt. It would lead to a lot of seething envy, a feeling of having been discriminated against, injustice and so on, but she will not externalize the grandiose indefinitely. She will not compete head on with the covert borderline.

So the shy quiet borderline is a match for the covert borderline in this sense.

Now, the covert borderline is preoccupied with fantasies of outstanding ideal love. It is a love that is so special that it renders the covert borderline special.

The covert borderline's sense of uniqueness relies on ideal love. The narcissist's sense of uniqueness relies on narcissistic supply, on being recognized as special, as outstanding, as amazing and unprecedented, not so the covert borderline. The covert borderline sense of uniqueness is, for example, if he's a good father or an amazing husband or both.

So ideal love is a foundation or the search for ideal love, which doesn't exist, of course. It's a fantasy defense. It's the foundation of covert borderline. It makes him feel unique, makes him feel entitled, because if he's such a great father and a good husband, he's entitled to, for example, appreciation and admiration, and even facilitates his other plastic defenses because his preoccupation with ideal love, with the perfect family, with amazing children and his unbelievable parental functioning, this allows him alloplastic defenses. He can say, "I'm a good object. Look how good I am. So if something bad happens to me, it's someone else's fault. I'm a victim in short."

So here, again, there's a perfect match with both types of borderline. It's the borderline initially, the first few hours, first few days, first few weeks, if she's really high functioning, the first few months or the few years of the relationship will broadcast to the covert borderline.

Your search for ideal love is my search also. I'm also looking for a perfect family, and as you want, as you wish to be a perfect father, I wish to be a perfect mother or vice versa.

So she mirrors the covert borderline. She deceives the covert borderline effectively into believing that she shares this fantasy, that she is also fully dedicated and committed and addicted to the family as the ultimate environment. Love is the supreme ideal goal.

And then the covert borderline says, "Oh my God, I found my, I don't know, soulmate, twin flame, whatever. I can't let her go. I can't let her go." And the covert borderline becomes very controlling. It's a reflection of separation insecurity or abandonment, anxiety, and it is the outcome of idealizing the borderline.

The covert borderline tells himself, "This is my perfect match. There's only one in the whole world. If I let her go, I'm doomed to loneliness, and I will never realize my fantasy of an ideal love within a perfect family with the most loving children."

So he becomes very controlling, micromanaging, super, super interested in critically and analytically decomposing, deconstructing, breaking apart the psychology of his partner.

You see, unconsciously perceives this as a guarantee or insurance policy against abandonment, separation, and rejection or being cheated on.

Which if I understand my part, the more I understand my partner, the better the match, the glue that holds us together, and the more exclusive I shall become.

The covert borderline is an internal locus of control. He is self-sufficient, so he is not needy, he is not clingy, but he is authoritative, controlling, hyper-analytical, and this triggers the engulfment anxiety of the borderline, the classic borderline.

And she runs away from him. She does exactly, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Covert borderline's behavior pushes away the borderline until she bolts and vanishes into the horizon because she feels suffocated. She feels subsumed and consumed by the covert borderline, and she doesn't want that.

And while with the narcissist it's only imaginary, with the covert borderline it's real.

And so the classic borderline will not survive. The shy or quiet borderline, on the other hand, is very similar to the narcissist in the sense that she doesn't inhabit an external space.

In short, it's like water off the back of a duck. She doesn't pay attention to the to the covert borderline. She doesn't really care what the covert borderline does or doesn't do, his choices, decisions. She doesn't even listen to the covert borderline in any meaningful way. She adopts herself, she shapeshifts, she's like Zellig in a Woody Allen's movie. She becomes what the covert borderline wants her to be. She's malleable, she's submissive.

One could say that a shy or quiet borderline also has strong components or elements of a codependent.

So she would play along. It's a role play. She would fit into the theater production of the covert borderline, much better than the classical borderline. She would feel engulfed, but then she would act in. She would become morose, depressed. She would possibly self-mutilate, maybe try to commit suicide. She'll be very sad all the time. Her energy levels will go down. She'll begin to abuse substances and so on.

Still, the shy or quiet borderline is a much better match, much more stable match for the covert borderline.


Next, the covert borderline is also subject to mood lability, emotional dysregulation.

But what he does, the covert borderline, he imposes on this on this lability and this dysregulation, he imposes on it his intellect and his antisocial features.

Because the covert borderline is partly a narcissist, he has strong, kind of psychopathic self-state, antisocial traits. And these antisocial traits are defiance, recklessness, reactance in your face, contumaciousness, kind of posture, cage fighter posture.

And so this posture coupled with grandiosity and coupled with the covert borderline is typically sharp, overwhelming intellect. These are major defenses against dysregulation and against lability.

So when you observe the covert borderline, it's very difficult to reach the conclusion that he's labile or that he's emotionally dysregulated, except after very extreme crisis, when it's clear that he's depressed.

But otherwise, he appears to be totally normal. And definitely a stark contrast to the classical borderline, or even the shy or quiet borderline.

And this is exactly what attracts borderline's wall types to the covert borderline, this apparent ability to control lability and dysregulation.

Like he found the magic key, the magic formula, the spell, the solution to their internal turmoil and tumult and chaos. They hope to somehow that he somehow will be able to regulate them.

And this is called external regulation. They want him to regulate them. They want him to stabilize them, his borderline partners, the outsourced regulation to him, he becomes a rock, a secure base, a special friend, somewhere a refuge, a sanctuary. And this binds them and bonds them to the covert borderline. Incredibly, they're very loathe to give up on it.

And so when they run away, they feel very guilty and very ashamed and very angry themselves, they become very self-destructive and self-defeating, and they come back, or they attempt to come back, they attempt to over the covert borderline very frequently.

Remember that the covert borderline, exactly like the psychopath, has a low boredom threshold, low tolerance for boredom. He needs intellectual stimulation, or other types of stimulation, sexual stimulation. He needs stimulation all the time, or he gets extremely bored, and then he gets frustrated, and then he externalizes aggression.

So the covert borderline is not self-mutilated, is not suicidal, he has no suicidal ideation, but he can and does become, very often, or sometimes depending on the character, aggressive, even violent.

Now this clashes head on with the classical borderlines acting out. This is exactly what happens to the classical borderline. She becomes aggressive and violent as well, sometimes.

And then there are god, god almighty battles and fights and conflicts, breaking objects, hurting each other, physically, beating, I mean, terrible. This never happens with the shine, or the quiet borderline. The shine quiet borderline provides the covert borderline with everything it needs, but without the costs associated with the classical borderline. The quiet or shy borderline, when exposed to the covert borderline's aggression, would exerciseit would trigger in her, autoplastic defenses. She would say, "I provoked him. I did something wrong to him. I victimized him. I abused him." And then she would punish herself. She's very self-punitive. She would direct his aggression. She would absorb it, and her aggression as a bad object. She would self-direct it and become depressive or suicidal or something.

So on the one hand, exuberant hamster, Israeli fights are not likely between a covert borderline and a shy borderline. But on the other hand, the risk of suicide, self-mutilation, depression in the shy, quiet borderline is much higher.

And that surprised the covert borderline for being with her.

The quiet borderline cannot help himself. He doesn't self-mutilate. He does engage in addictive behaviors.

So sometimes the covert borderline, the shy borderline, or even the covert borderline, the classical borderline, find common ground in abusing substances. It becomes a ritual. It structures their lives and give the common life meaning. It's like they've established a diet or a partnership for abusing substances or for other types of addiction, like sex addiction.

And the addiction becomes an exoskeleton. The addiction structures the day, provides purpose and direction and meaning and so on. And the addiction becomes the shared fantasy of the covert borderline and the borderline or even the shy borderline. This often happens.

But apart from this, a borderline would react very badly to the covert borderline's aggression. And the aggression doesn't have to be physical, of course, could be verbal. Being over-critical is a form of aggression. Abounding, dark sense of humor is a form of aggression. Analyzing constantly the other parties' deficiencies and shortcomings and defects and mental problems. It's a form of aggression. Of course, it's externalized aggression.

Now, both of them, the covert borderline and the borderline, classical or shy, all these types, narcissists as well, they all experience dissociative self-states.

In the case of the covert borderline, often selective attention, confabulation, repression, denial. There's a primary psychopathic protector in the covert borderline, which comes out when the covert borderline dissociates. And it's the same with the borderline, but the borderline dissociates differently. She experiences amnesia, derealization, deep personalization.

And this, of course, is a different type of dissociation. It's much more visible and much more deep and profound.

So while the covert borderline's dissociation is passing and transitory and not very serious, similar, let's say, to the narcissist's dissociation. And confabulation solves the problem. With a borderline, both classical and shy, the dissociation is much more extreme and severe.

So the borderline, intimate partner of the covert borderline, often uses dissociation as a defense against the overwhelming domineering, micromanaging, controlling presence of the covert borderline.

And the covert borderline perceives suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, self-ritual and dissociation. It perceives them as insults, as a form of criticism, as a narcissistic injury, even a mortification.

Because here is the ideal partner offering ideal love, unblemished and perfect love, trying to establish a family or a couple which is beyond reproach, and then creating together a life. Here he is offering this perfect package.

And the other party, the borderline, attempts to commit suicide. How humiliating this is. She mutilates, she's not happy, she's depressed.

So the covert borderline perceives the borderline's mood lability and emotional dysregulation, of course, suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts, self-ritualization. It perceives them as criticism of his capacity to attain and to maintain ideal love and a perfect relationship.

And this is for him devastating. This is a destruction of the fantasy foundation of his existence.

When the covert borderline is exposed to the dynamics of the borderline, shy or not, he feels devastated. He feels that he would never be able to recover.

He challenges most profoundly his sense of self-worth, his sense of self-efficacy, his ability to trust himself, his optimism and hope about the future. It destroys everything.

And then he develops paranoid ideation. He begins to suspect the borderline partner in a variety of ways.

Primitive ways, like she's cheating on me, and much more subtle ways she's playing with my mind.

But there's paranoid ideation there. He's attempting to convert her into a persecutory object, into an enemy, which is what all borderlines do.

So the covert borderline is a borderline. It's a typical borderline reaction.

And then having been broken and damaged by the borderline partner, usually the covert borderline will exit a long-term fantasy-based loving relationship with a borderline partner and would become essentially a psychopathic narcissist with promiscuous, shallow relationships, numerous relationships. It's an interim phase until his need for ideal love will re-emerge and reassert himself.

And he would go on another route.

The borderline, the covert borderline, has an intense need to be loved by other people to the point that he becomes a people pleaser.

But he has a lack of real empathy, especially in the psychopathic phase. He values his children above his partner, which introduces extreme difficulties into a couple.

So the covert borderline is unable to maintain healthy long-term relationships unless and until he secures a totally submissive, codependent partner who is also a borderline, preferably a shy or quiet borderline.

So the ideal partner for covert borderline is someone who has dependent personality disorder, also known colloquially as codependency, coupled with borderline personality disorder of the shy or quiet variant, where mostly she acts in rather than acts out. She is able to accept that most of his love will be vested, his cathexis will be vested in his children rather than her.

All borderlines, including the covert borderline, can become passive aggressive, sullen, surly, self-denying. All of them are capable of cunning and premeditation.

There's treatments. The classical borderline is capable of malevolence and malice. She is frequently vindictive and this is something the covert borderline never takes into account.

He's always shocked when the secondary psychopathy of the classical borderline manifests itself. He's devastated by her malice, by her ill intentions.

He says to himself, "I would have never believed it on her. I would have never expected it of her."

And here she is, attempting to destroy him, to ruin him or his reputation, to take him down, to kill him in a variety of ways. I mean, it's bad.

When a classical borderline is triggered, it could be bad. When a covert borderline is triggered, it's never that bad, ever. It's a passing phase, can get angry, can get dysregulated, can get aggressive or violent, but it gets it out of his system and he's again his old self, not so the borderline.

She can remain fixated, for example, on a revenge fantasy. And this is a huge risk that the covert borderline is taking when he teams up with borderlines, even shy and quiet borderlines.

Now, in a desperate attempt to somehow regulate the mood, the labile moods and the dysregulated emotions of the borderline in his life, and the covert borderline loves her dearly, is really emotionally invested in her, is really into her. He really merges and fuses with her. There's a symbiosis there, unhealthy symbiosis.

So in a desperate attempt to somehow manage the most covert borderlines, devolve into intermittent reinforcement, hot and cold, hate and love, ambivalence, and so on, so forth, they use it as a management tool, somehow coping strategy in the relationship.

Of course, it has extremely devastating, extremely destabilizing effects on the borderline, because it takes away her sense of safety and stability. She suddenly can't trust the covert borderline to be her secure base. He's not a rock. He doesn't forgive her everything she does. He doesn't accept her unconditionally, and he doesn't love her unconditionally. He's not like a mother. He's a bad mother. He's a dead mother. And the dynamic starts.

The covert borderline cannot tolerate fools. Nonsense is very sharp intellectually, has scorn and contempt for most people, but disguises it sometimes with pseudo humility, false modesty. It's a bad recipe when it comes to the borderline, because the borderline is grandiose as well, and she's exactly like this. She's a mirror image of the covert borderline.

So they end up clashing over this, and in this case, a very strange transmutation takes place.

When there is a clash of grandiosenesses, "I'm more intelligent than you, no I am. I'm more this, you're more dead. I'm less this, you are," etc., when there's constant comparison of relative advantages and disadvantages and so on and so forth, very often covert borderlines develop histrionic attention seeking. They become histrionic.

Now, if a covert borderline has been mostly cerebral, the narcissistic part has been mostly cerebral, the narcissistic part suddenly becomes somatic.

So there is a lot of histrionic attention seeking hyperemotional behavior. It is as if the covert borderline is trying to out-borderline his borderline partner.

He says, "Anything you can do, I can do better, yeah, anneocly. Anything you can do, I can do better. You dysregulate, I can dysregulate better. You're labile, I can be more labile than you. You're crazier, more crazier than you." So he devolves into histrionic behavior and the more the borderline pushes his buttons, the more she leverages his vulnerabilities, the more she pierces or invades him through the chinks in his narcissistic armor, the more histrionic he becomes.

And histrionics become ostentatious. He shares them with many people because he's a narcissist.

The covert borderline is a narcissist also. So he wants other people to confirm to him that he is not hallucinating. He's not delusional. It's all true. It's all real.

So this public histrionic attention seeking, coupled with recklessness, a lot of recklessness, it finally becomes sadistic or punitive in a way.

And then it is a form of disengaging from the partner. So the sadism, the punitive aspect is first directed at the partner and then redirected at the self.

And the covert borderline begins to develop or rediscover the original bad object. You remember that the covert borderline is someone who in childhood had a bad object and then spent an entire lifetime creating a compensatory good object.

The borderline destroys the good object and puts the covert borderline in touch with his bad object, which is a reservoir of shame. And that pushes the covert borderline to become sadistic and punitive towards her and later on towards himself.

So there is a classic cycle of idealization, devaluation, discard and replacement in an attempt to get rid of the borderline partner.

Shy or quiet borderline, the cycle would be much more prolonged, but the same, essentially the same.

So the best the covert borderline can hope for, if you find a partner which is who is codependent and borderline shy borderline, is a period of a few years or maybe longer in which they both inhabit and reside in a shared fantasy of ideal love and work towards realizing it, even having children together.

And then these dynamics, which are very sick dynamics, take over and the couple disintegrates into drama and histrionic and sadism, punitive measures, alloplastic defenses on the part of the covert borderline, it blames her, and sometimes autoplastic defenses on the part of the codependent borderline, shy borderline, and then she attempts suicide or self-mutilates or abuses substances egregiously.

In the social functioning area, you remember that the covert borderline is exactly like the narcissist, socially charming, charismatic, because he's a hard worker, unlike the narcissist who is lazy. The covert borderline is seriously into his work. He's a hard worker because he's seeking admiration, recognition, attention, and so on. So this is known as pseudo sublimation, but he still works hard. He has a work ethic, he has intense ambition, and he's often very successful.

But he's also preoccupied with appearances, so he's a lot into impression management, anything from the way he dresses to the way he talks to who he's seen with, and so on, so forth.

And so this requires the covert borderline to find an intimate partner which can enhance his status.

So he's very much into trophies, trophy wives, trophy spouses, trophy girlfriends, trophy, so he would emphasize, for example, the professional accomplishments of his intimate partner, or how young she is attracted to him, or how amazingly sexy or sexual she is in bed, or how unusual she is in some way, her biography, her, you know, he would idealize her, but he would idealize her in public as a form of bragging.

This process is known as co-idealization.

Look how beautiful my wife is, look how intelligent she is, look how accomplished she is, look how young, what a young girlfriend I have, and this is a way of broadcasting or signaling that the covert borderline's grandiosity is fully justified.

The covert borderline is either morally indifferent or morally rigid, but then the morality is the covert borderline's morality, not the accepted social mores and so on. So he has a very rigid moral code of his own making, or is indifferent, or is a faker, pretending to be a spiritual kind of person, a guru, and so on and so forth. All types are irreverent towards authority, all types reject authority, because they are their own authority, they set the law, they are Moses, but there's no God, they write their own, they offer their own Ten Commandments, and this is again an area with potential, with a potential conflict with the borderline.

This borderline is morally relativistic, and she is morally relativistic because she has identity disturbance. I'll try to explain this.

The classic borderline and the shy and quiet borderline, they have no identity, because they are dissociative, they have no memories, they have for a variety of reasons which I deal with in other videos, they have no stable identity. So tomorrow, today, they have one set of values, and tomorrow they have a set of values which diametrically contradicts the first set of values.

Today they're against cheating, tomorrow they're all for cheating. Today they are against something, and tomorrow they all fall. That's something. Today they're vegetarian, tomorrow they are carnivorous. There's no stability. It's known as identity disturbance or diffusion. So it makes it very difficult for the morally rigid covert borderline.

The morally rigid covert borderline is very much into contracts, agreements, the stability that is afforded by social consensus or consensus with the intimate partner.

The covert borderline is trying to afford the borderline safety and stability to become a secure base by clarifying and announcing and promulgating the rules of the game.

These are my conditions, these are my rules. The borderline is incapable of observing these rules, not because she's a bad person, but because she's infantile and because her defenses trigger her, and because she has no identity.

The covert borderline is negotiating with a child, and with a child whose identity is not formedand who is in flux.

Same goes for the narcissist, by the way.

So this is a really bad situation as far as the covert borderline is concerned, because it's always shocked and surprised by the borderline's behavior. He's always let down, he's always disappointed, disenchanted, disillusioned by her, he's angry at her, provokes aggression, and as you recall he tends to externalize aggression physically, verbally, or in some other way, is incapable of obtaining dyadic stability, stability of the dyad.

And so he then rebels against this and he becomes cold, unstable, greedily seductive, calculated, even promiscuous, uninhibited sexual life. It's his way of externalizing his pain, his hurt, his disappointment.

Here he is offering his borderline partner an ideal life with a perfect relationship, and what she does is betray him all the time. Let him down all the time, not realizing the treasure that he is and the amazing things he's offering her. How stupid can she be?

He then begins to devalue her in his mind, and because he's in pain and because he hurts, he acts out in effect. He's a borderline, don't forget.

And his way of acting out is to become seductive, predatory, promiscuous, and uninhibited.

As far as the cognitive styles, there's a problem with the cognitive styles as well.

You remember that the covert borderline is super highly intelligent, but in the analytical sense. He is very machine-like or robotic.

Human considerations don't enter much into his equations, whereas the borderline, including the quiet borderline, totally engages totally in emotional thinking. It's the only mode of thinking he's capable of.

So they can communicate. The covert borderline is trying to talk to communicate, to kind of correspond with the borderline's intellect, and the borderline is trying to resonate with the covert borderline's emotions, and they both keep getting it wrong, mass and venous. They can't communicate well.

And so the result is a breakdown in communication, which leads to splitting or decontinous thinking. They gradually convert each other via process of devaluation. They convert each other into enemies, persecutory objects, my love or my enemy, and they begin to split. I'm all good, he's all bad. I am attentive. I am listening, he is not. I am communicating. He refuses to communicate. She is evil and conspires against me. She won't listen.

A lot of splitting and decontinous thinking. And the covert borderline won't take no for an answer. He doubles down. If he attempts to communicate with the borderline and fails, he won't say, "Okay, maybe it's a bad time. Maybe she's incapable of communication along these lines. Maybe her intellect is not developed enough. Maybe her emotions are overwhelming her, are overdeveloped. She's hyper-emotional. Maybe I should let go.

No, the covert borderline is unable to let go. It's like a dog with a bone. It's totally compulsive, also ruminates a lot.

So he doubles down. He makes it even worse. He then brings additional arguments, more knowledge, his perception of reality. He becomes more decisive, more opinionated, more controlling, more demanding, more hectoring, more preaching, more analytical, more and more. He escalates.

In short, the communication style of the covert borderline is a scallatory escalation, while the communication type of the classical borderline and the shy borderline is let's convert everything into the language of emotions. Let's talk heart to heart, not brain to brain or mind to mind.

Ironically, that's the language of love, which the covert borderline claims to want.

And this is the said predicament of the covert borderline. His heart is in the right place, but his mind won't let him get there, ever.

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