Narcissist-Borderline: Take My Shadow, Give Me Love

Uploaded 11/8/2020, approx. 36 minute read

Today I have a real treat for you. I am going to read to you several of the best comments posted on my videos on my YouTube channel, and then I am going to react to these comments, and then you are going to ask questions about my reactions, and then I am going to comment on your questions, and then you are going to react to the comments that I reacted to your questions.

I lost the thread. I hope you didn't.

So, before we get that, allow me to present myself. For those of you who don't know, who the hell am I?

My name is Sam Vaknin, minus a lot of hair, and I have been and forever will be the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, first edition, 1999, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and there wasn't a narcissist in sight. I also authored many, many dozens of other books, and I am a professor of psychology in many, many, many, many universities.

Having dispensed with this self-promotion, we can now get to the point.

I want to read to you a truly heartbreaking comment by one of the viewers. If I had a heart, it would have been broken.

Since you do, yours will be broken, because it's really, really a sad testimony to how it feels to be with the narcissist.

You remember Red's confession or Red's testimony, where he described the narcissist's point of view?

Now, I'm going to give you the intimate partner or the insignificant other's point of view, and it corresponds very closely to what I'd be telling you.

So, here goes. I'm keeping her anonymous, just in case.

She said, this is also interesting, so horrific. A lot of these, wait a minute, let me enlarge the font a bit, because at my age, I hardly see the computer, let alone the script.

So, this is also interesting and so horrific. A lot of these things are elements I've somehow sensed but could not pinpoint or put into words. I have been dating a child. He did not begin this way. A man who I first thought would somehow be the man of my dreams is now revealed to be an almost feminine child. Worse than Peter Pan, I'm finding that I'm dating a little girl. He came off initially as very masculine and very confident. A few months later, I was doing all the driving. I was buying him dinner. I was planning dates, along with other things that men in my previous relationships would have naturally done without being us. I'm still trying to figure out why it is so difficult to extract myself from this relationship. I know it isn't good for me. It isn't fulfilling. It is draining, actually.

At this point, I've lost any type of sexual attraction to him and he had become asexual.

It is strange, but I seem to have developed a somewhat maternal feeling towards him. I feel pity for him. I worry about his well-being. I worry that he drinks too much and that he doesn't eat well.

But this relationship is never going to be whole. The doctor is right. Doctor is me. Doctor is right. No woman wants to be turned into her partner's mother.

But in some strange way, it can feel good at times. It can feel like a form of love. I know it is not a healthy relationship, but it is still a relationship.

I feel somewhat protective of him in some way.

But at the same time, I feel so unhappy, so frustrated that he will never be a grown-up.

I have watched these videos many times to try to understand and help me verbalize all the things in this relationship that I've intuitively known since very early on. These videos have become my therapy. Much more helpful than seeing a counselor.

I had a need to know what I was dealing with and why. And these videos answer all my questions and more.

Anyone who is struggling, explore these videos and you may find answers. It might not help you escape the relationship, but it might give you some insight into your partner and into yourself and the dynamics involved in these seemingly addictive relationships.

Heartbreaking. Heartbreaking, but typical. Totally typical. That's what I've been hearing from narcissists in my database and from their spouses, girlfriends, intimate partners, life partners.

They're all saying the same.

One question which keeps arising, and really it's a bit of a conundrum.

People say sex is not age-dependent. There's no such thing as age-appropriate sex. Sex is a drive. It's a biological thing. Even babies must obey. Even babies have sex. Psychosexuality starts in the womb.

So how come the narcissist gives up his sexuality as a cerebral or in other settings? How can the narcissist give up on biology? How can the narcissist give up on body?

Okay, the narcissist's mind is seriously in need of tweaking and tinkering and so on.

But what about his body? Doesn't his body have a life of its own?

The thing is that narcissists, the vast majority of narcissists, if not all of them, I would even go on a limb and say that all narcissists are either auto-erotic, that's the vast majority, or a tiny minority, a sliver, are actually sadistic.

Sex is an irresistible, primordial, largely reflexive. It's a reflex. It's an autonomous language. And like every other tongue, like every other language, it can be used to express many things.

You can use sex to say anything. You can use sex to say, I pity you. Or you can use sex to say, I want to make you feel good or happy. Or you can use sex to say, well, that's my goodbye, or you could make sex. You can use sex for any reason whatsoever. It's a language. It's a vocabulary.

And most people use sex to say, I love you, or as a minimum, I like you, and I desire you within our growing intimacy.

That's a healthy kind of sex, adult, mature, reciprocal. And this is another type of sex.

I want to render you an extension of myself. And that way I can make love to my own extended being. So I want to make you part of me so that I can make love to myself. This is what we call auto-eroticism.

And I will go in depth into it in a few minutes in response to a comment by a psychoanalyst.

So this is auto-eroticism.

And there's a third possibility.

I want to humiliate you. I want to hurt you. And that's sexual sadism.

The sexual sadist is actually asexual. The cerebral narcissist, his sex drive is so repressed that he's technically asexual as well. They can go celibate. They can abstain from sex for years at a time.

I've had a stretch of 15 years without sex at the prime of my life. And at that time, I looked really good. I was rich. I was famous. I had it going. I could have had anyone. I could have had anyone. Literally.

And for 15 years, I went without sex.

So cerebrals and sadists can go without sex. Why can they go without sex?

Because they don't have a sex drive. The psychosexuality of the sadistic narcissist.

And you can conceptualize the cerebral narcissist as a sadistic narcissist because he uses sex to punish. He withdraws his sex. Sex withdrawal is a form of abuse.

To deny your partner sex is to punish your partner. It's a punitive measure. It's an aggressive measure, a transformation of aggression.

So you could safely say that cerebral narcissists have a sadistic element in their psychosexuality.

So sadistic, people who are sexual sadists, let alone narcissistic sexual sadists, they don't have a sex drive. They're asexual. That's why they can go without sex for ages, for eternity.

The psychosexuality of the sexual sadists is more like the psychosexuality of the rapist. You know that rape is not about sex. Rape is about power, the power matrix, the power asymmetry between the rapist and his victim. It's a power play. It's a power play, not a language, not a mode of communication. And it's easy to prove. When the sexual sadist's intimate partner, ostensible intimate partner, when she tries to revert to conventional sex, when she says, listen, I don't like it anymore. I don't like these games. I don't like these role plays because they're very, they hurt me. They cause me pain. They humiliate me. I feel degraded and debased. I don't like it. It doesn't turn me on. Let's try to have conventional sex. The minute she says this, the sadistic, the sexual sadist becomes hypo-sexual, not hyper, but hypo. His sex drive diminishes dramatically. He doesn't have arousal. He cannot be aroused sexually. And he has numerous bouts of erectile dysfunction.

You try this. You date a sexual sadist. You play along. You comply with all these crazy fantasies and wishes. You become a plaything, an object.

He does to you anything he wants. He humiliates you. He degrades you. He does to you disgusting things. He forces you to do disgusting things.

And then at some point, you say after a few months, listen, I've had enough. Let's try to have some normal sex, shall we?

And he would lose it. Literally. He would not be up to the task.

And to regain his erstwhile drive and prowess, sexual sadist transition from sexual sadism to exhibitionism and voyeurism.

Just to make something clear before I go, sexual sadists do engage in conventional sex, missionary position or some other positions, conventional sex. They do engage in it. It's not that it's totally absent from their repertory, but when they do have conventional sex, it's masturbatory.

They use the woman, the partner's body to masturbate. So it's totally self-centered, erotic, egotistic, and mechanical and has nothing to do with the partner. The partner is just there as a sex doll, inflatable sex doll, or animated dildo if it's a woman.

So sexual sadist uses conventional sex in lieu of masturbation. If he's confronted with a demand to give up on his sadism and to engage only in conventional sex, he transitions to exhibitionism and voyeurism.

At that stage, he would, for example, masturbate. He constantly masturbate, only masturbate, in his partner's presence, turned on, aroused by her gaze, that's exhibitionism. Or he would initiate threesomes in group sex because he wants vicariously to enjoy the proceedings. He wants to watch his intimate partner having sex with others. That's voyeurism. Or he would watch his sexual partner gratify herself. It's another form of voyeurism.

So the thing with most narcissists, by the way, including somatic narcissists, they don't have a sex drive because they're not adults, they're children. They don't have a sex drive.

The somatic narcissist uses women's bodies to obtain supply and to masturbate with.

Cerebral narcissist doesn't do even this.

And the sexual sadist uses women's bodies to inflict hurt and pain and humiliation. He degrades the woman. He spoils, despoils the woman.

Okay? I hope I made this clear.

Narcissists have no sex drive. End of story. They imitate sex. They use sexual acts to obtain, to cater to, to satisfy psychological needs and only psychological needs.


Dr. Javier Leungquist left two fascinating comments, which I would like to read to you.

The first one was this.

Thank you, professor Wagner. It's a pleasure for me to listen to your videos, especially as a fellow psychologist. Your expertise is thoroughly wide ranging and you are able to synthesize highly complex theory and research from Freud to Kernberg to Bromberg's surf states. And you do it in a way that is highly engaging and convincing. Thank you.

So she continues.

Forgive me, please, for a lengthy comment that I hope you will accept as an expression of enthusiasm and admiration from a colleague.

This video in particular was of interest to me as I have a strong interest in the presentation of narcissistic traits in homosexuals. I have followed much of your material on homosexual narcissists for several years. And I agree with your assertion that homosexual relationships are often highly narcissistic and autoerotic affairs.

Consider a patient of mine who freely admitted with not self-sensory. I would love to sleep with myself because I would know exactly what I wanted and I would make myself feel amazing. That patient also disclosed incest fantasies, especially around two male twins, masturbating to his own reflection and described speaking to his love interest as like speaking with a mirror. It was shocking to me, even after years of reading Freud, to see such overt declarations of self-directed libido.

Libido is the life force which includes the sex drive.

In the video you mentioned the homosexual narcissist interjecting a female love interest so that he can successfully mate with himself.

My question to you, do you agree the same need for a feminine interject is true in homosexual relationships? For instance, in Jungian terms, through projecting the anima onto a male partner and then taking that as an interject into fantasy.

I'll read the question again because it's complex, brilliant by the way, it's complex.

My question to you is this, do you agree that there is the same need for a feminine interject in homosexual relationships?

For instance, in Jungian terms, by projecting the anima, the female part, onto a male partner and then taking that as an interject into fantasy. Or might it function without the need for such a feminine interject in the homosexual case?

In that case, what is the psychic layout?

My instinct is that the presentation of highly narcissistic hetero and homosexual patients differs slightly but can differ only to your expertise on the topic given that very few clinicians or theorists are willing these days to discuss these topics scientifically.

I responded to her briefly. I'd like to expand a bit.

First, let me read my response. Thank you for your kind words.

Regrettably, there are no studies to answer your questions. I speculate that exactly as you suggest, there is some kind of projection of the feminine into the partner, onto the partner, and then later interjection.

At the same time, the other partner is similarly projecting the masculine and then interjecting it.

Homoerotic homosexuality is best described as a projective, introjective, symbiotic swap of anima and animus.

Now, this is for psychoanalysts and clinicians and for you who are laymen and laywomen and are not into this lingo, let me explain what I just said. What I just said is when two people meet, the autoerotic side, the autoerotic partner, the partner who is actually in love with himself, the partner who is infatuated sexually with himself, the partner who finds himself arousing, that partner would take the part that does not correspond to his sex.

So if he's a male, he would take the female part. If he's a female, she would take the male part. So the autoerotic partner, the partner who is drawn sexually, irresistibly to himself or to herself, she will take the sex incongruent part. If she's a female, male. If he's a male, female. We'll take that part of him over and project it onto his or her partner.

Let's simplify it. Let's talk about a male and a man and a woman.

Okay. But of course it applies equally to women and men.

When the men is autoerotic, it applies and when the woman is autoerotic, it applies just change the gender pronouns.

So when the men is autoerotic, but heterosexual and he has a female partner, what he does, he takes his female side because everyone has a male and a female side. He takes his female side, which is usually repressed, suppressed. He takes a female side and he projects it onto his female partner and then he takes it back from her. So he is not interacting with her femininity. He is interacting with his femininity, projected onto her.

He wants to have sex with himself, not with her. In order to have sex with his self, he needs to have sex with his male part and with his female part because they are one and the same.

But that's not legitimate because if he has sex with his male part, that's homosexuality and he's homophobic. So he can't be a homosexual. He can't admit to it. He's heterosexual.

So what he does, he projects his feminine side onto his partner. Then he takes it back from her and now he feels that he is having sex with a feminine side, that he had taken back from his feminine partner. He deceives himself.

This process of projection and introjection is to convince the narcissist that he is having sex with a female, with a feminine aspect, not with his male side.

But it legitimizes his auto eroticism, which is 100% homosexual.

I hope you follow this. The narcissist needs his female partner as an excuse. He needs her as a foil.

Deep inside he is auto erotic. He's attracted only to himself. So he is homosexual by definition because he is attracted to himself and he is the same sex as himself. He is attracted to a man. That man happens to be him, but it's still a man.

Now he needs to legitimize this. He needs to say, I'm not gay. I'm not attracted to a man. What are you talking about?

So he finds a woman and then he finds a woman, but he cannot have sex with a woman because he's not attracted to her. He's attracted to himself. So he takes a part of himself that is feminine. He projects it on the woman that he takes it back.

And now he can have sex safely with himself because he can lie to himself and to his partner that he's having sex with a female. Of course, his partner is not aware of all this. He is not aware of all this. It's a totally unconscious process, but his partner feels something awry, an off note, something off key, something wrong, a wrong note. She feels it. She feels that when he's making love ostensibly to her, he's too focused on himself, on his body, on his performance, on his past, on his, on himself. He's too insulated. He's in a bubble.

It's like sleeping with someone through a bubble, through the walls of a bubble, through a glass, darkly, through a partition.

When you have sex with a narcissist, you never feel that you are really there fully. He is really there fully, but not with you. You never feel his gaze because we all derive our sense of existence from the gaze of other people. If we are not seen by anyone, we would feel that we are disappearing, that we are transparent.

We need other people to acknowledge our existence by seeing us. We need to see in their eyes that we exist. When you are with a narcissist in bed having sex, it's like you're not there. It's like you don't exist.

Gradually, you don't exist. He is fully there, but for himself. Every intimate partner of a narcissist would tell you this.

Don't misunderstand. The sex can be great, pyrotechnic, supreme maestro performance. Technically, mechanically, the mechanics of the sex could be supreme, could be unprecedented. This could be the best sex in your life, but mechanical.

There's no soul in the sex with a narcissist. There's a lot of emphasis on the user's manual and which buttons to push when, but there's no soul there because he doesn't really have sex with you. You are an absence. He is an absence and now he makes you an absence by expropriating and appropriating.

What is yours? Your femininity, but he does this by giving you access to his femininity and then merging the two of you together. I hope you understand. I don't think I can get it simpler than this.

Another comment by Dr. M. Javier Leungquist. I don't know why I assume that it's a woman.

Bizarre, could be a man.

Anyhow, Dr. M. Javier Leungquist. He, she, I prefer to think of her as a she. Much more pleasant.

She writes about another video. Precisely, excellently expressed.

CPTSD, complex trauma, and BPD, borderline personality disorder. CPTSD and BPD, and even despite the hype, NPD, narcissistic personality disorder. These cannot be distinguished psychodynamically, etiologically, or otherwise. I fully agree.

Dissociation is a healthy coping mechanism as long as it does not create an irreconcilable divide between self-states.

As Professor Wagner states, pathological dissociation, post-traumatic in nature, creates an overarching eye which is unable to integrate the split true self and false self.

I would further suggest that the true self and false self are clusters of self-states.

Brilliant suggestion. From this perspective, gaslighting is hardly a plot by a narcissist, but instead it's merely a behavioral phenomenon of pathological dissociation.

The false self cannot remember what other selves did.

Professor Wagner has discussed such memory issues in detail on his channel, so do check his videos.

Thank goodness for this evidence-based expert discussion amidst the chorus of misleading, self-victimizing psychobabble on YouTube.

Thank you again, Doctor.

So I've been asked about the narcissists and borderlines, covert borderlines, and so on and so forth, a possibility to maintain long-term relationships.

Why do they fail to maintain long-term relationships?

And I will answer this briefly, because I did. I did broach this subject for hours in other videos.

But in a nutshell, both the overt borderline and the overt or classic borderline, they are both, or borderlines, are gregarious. They are sociable. They crave social interactions. They also crave long-lasting intimate meaningful relationships.

The narcissist misinterprets and reframes his need for various types of narcissistic supply as a desire for long-term relationships.

So while the borderline, all types of borderline, really need, really seek, really try to have true intimate meaningful long-term relationship, the narcissist does not.

What the narcissist does, he tries to acquire, to captivate, to capture long-term sources of narcissistic supply. And he calls this hostage situation, he calls it, long-term relationship.

But it is true that all three covert borderline, classic borderline, and narcissist, all three fail in their quest to maintain long-term relationships.

Why is that?

For different reasons.

The overt classic borderline is hampered by her abandonment anxiety. The constant buzz of constant fear, constant anxiety, constant anticipation of abandonment and humiliation and rejection and pain and hurt, they push her to act out. She decompensates, she disintegrates, she's all over the place. She becomes discombobulated and she acts out. When she acts out, she destroys herself and she destroys any intimacy and trust that she may have garnered with her wounded partner.

The covert borderline fails owing to his grandiosity and paranoia. How can you maintain intimacy if you consider yourself vastly superior to your partner and also suspect her of misbehavior in a variety of ways, including misplaced romantic jealousy.

So he undermines his own relationships. The narcissist loses his partners because he coerces his partners into participating in a shared fantasy. And he wants them to renounce reality and everyone else. He wants them to reject life itself as he had rejected it. And they rebel. They rebel, they don't want to, they don't want to die. They don't want to become a mummy, ancient Egyptian mummy in his museum. They don't want that. They don't want to lie dormant under cobwebs, you know?

So they betray him. They walk out on him.

So why doesn't he change?

Many asked me. They asked me, by the way, you're intelligent, you're this, you're handsome. Why don't you change?

Well, why don't narcissists change?

There are several reasons.

Because there are several reasons, it's impossible to change the lack of wish to change. It's impossible to alter and modify their resistance to change. They're ossified, ossified and fossilized, precarious internal balance. They refuse to change because there are too many good reasons to not change.

First of all, there's defiance, defiance, reactance, rebelliousness, nonconformity. No one will tell me what to do. I'm God, I'm omnipotent, I'm omniscient, I'm handsome. No one will tell me what to do.

Number two, grandiosity. It's my way or the highway. F of factor. Grandiosity.

Number three, it's too late to change. At my age, I just have to be the way I am. And I'm not talking about 60.

Narcissists say this when they're 16. It's too late. I am the way I am.

Number four, I like who I am. There's egosyntony. Narcissists describe themselves as carefree, resilient, powerful, brave, playful, noncommittal, adventurous, childlike, true to myself, etc.

If you ask the narcissist to describe himself out of 100 words, maybe if you're lucky, there will be two negative ones. And even these negative ones, depending on the context, are not necessarily negative.

So narcissists have a very positive view of themselves. You want positive psychology? Talk to a narcissist. They've been exercising positive psychology long before any psychologist.

Number five, the narcissist feels liberated when he is not in a relationship. When he ends a relationship, it's painful. It could be even mortified, but it's also a relief. It's liberating. The narcissist feels unshackled with an infinite horizon of unlimited options, possibilities, opportunities, and potentials. He's unbridled. He's let loose. It's a good feeling.

Try it. Try divorce. Okay.

Number six, the narcissist preempts anticipated failures. He says to himself, I'm going to fail anyhow. I'm going to fail anyhow. I'm going to lose her anyhow. She's going to dump me. She's going to cheat on me. She's going to betray me anyhow. It's for sure. It's guaranteed. It's not the borderline's anticipated abandonment. The borderline anticipates abandonment with huge anxiety. She absolutely falls apart when she anticipates or spots or misinterprets behaviors as abandonment.

The narcissist, when he thinks about abandonment, it's a fatalistic kind of thing. That's life. That's the world. People abandon each other. People are animals. It's a jungle out there. The world is hostile. It's cynical. The stubby on the back on the first opportunity to steal your money. Yeah, yeah. Even my spouse.

So like the narcissist takes it in his stride and assumes with absolute certainty that whatever he's doing right now, whoever he's with right now is going to end badly. So if it's anyhow going to end badly, why try?

By preempting anticipated failure, the narcissist regains ostensible control. The narcissist can say, I don't have a thriving business because I didn't really try. You know, I didn't dedicate myself to it. Or he can say, she dumped me because I abused her. I abused her. That means I initiated all. It's an internal regaining the internal locus of control. It's conversion from external mortification to internal mortification. It's failing in charge.

So now this precipitate abandonment, precipitate, make sure there's a breakup, push the partners away because any of the, any of it's going to happen. So let the other shoe drop now. I don't have time.

Number seven, most narcissists are indolent, bored, slackers. Here I said it, politically incorrect, a tiny sliver of a minority, make it to the top.

And we can discuss this some other time. What's the difference between productive, high functioning narcissists and a slacker narcissist, but most of them are slackers. They hoard, they mummify people, they hoard devices, they hoard books, they hoard videos, they hoard women, and then they mummify them, they freeze them.

They don't want to invest, they don't want to commit, they don't want to work hard. The path of least resistance is the only path and all the rest is resistance. They can't be bothered to make use of even what they have, even what they own, even people who love them, they can't be bothered. They don't maintain anything.

So everything falls to pieces. There is rot and corruption and depreciation and amortization of everything they've ever managed to accumulate or to create. Objects fall apart, women flee.

So there is a tendency in the narcissist to terminate long-term relationship because it sits well with his self-image and with his, the way he sees his future and caters to many, many, many, many of his needs.

Now I keep comparing the narcissist and his life to conveyances, the conveyance metaphors. I say that narcissists are like a car or like a boat or like a train or like a bus, hop on, hop off bus, you know.

The narcissist has his route. He is traveling. You can hop on, hop on and hop off. He doesn't even notice. Buy a ticket. You're in. Find a wagon. Stay there for as long as you are. Get off whenever you want. Nasties couldn't care less. He's a train. He's a bus. His life is a movie anyhow. You're on the set. You're on the set. You're an extra hand. You're, you know, you're not the star. He's the star. You're co-starring at best. And that's a movie. It's not real.

So no harm done, you know. See you.

And I regret to say that this narcissistic approach to life has now permeated and pervaded all the last two generations.

There's the millennials and the Z generation, the Z gen.

They have this attitude, you know, conveyance attitude. I'm a car. I'm a train. I'm my own car. I'm my own train. I'm my own bus. I'm a director of my own movie. And all the others are symbols, metaphors, free riders, sojourners, you know, they're not meaningful. Sex is not meaningful. Relationships are not meaningful. Nothing is meaningful.

What's so meaningful in a bus route? Nothing is meaningful in a bus route. The more stops, the better. The merrier. People come up, people come down. That's how people relate to their lives today.

The pandemic is not making it better.

And there is a question, this raises, of course, the question of object constancy.

The narcissist, we keep talking about external object constancy, that the narcissist is never sure that people in his life will stay in his life.

It started with his mother, who was a dead mother, was never there for him, emotionally unavailable, or instrumentalizing, or objectified, or parentified, or was depressive, or was absent, physically absent, or was narcissistic. So he was exposed to first object in his life, first person in his life, was not constant, whatever else you see.

So he had developed an insecure attachment style coupled with objects in constancy.

But we keep talking about external object constancy.

But wait a minute, by far more important is internal object constancy.

We have a self, constellated self, the lucky ones. You know, we feel this as a bit separate from us. That's why we're able to engage in introspection, to look inside ourselves as though we were the object of our gaze.

We look at us, we observe ourselves as though we were a separate object.

And there is object constancy.

Do you feel that yourself is a constant, reliable, safe base to be trusted object? Or don't you?

Narcissists, borderline, they don't feel that inside themselves, there is an object that is constant that they can trust, that will always be there, that will provide them with safety, at the very least by being consistent, that will endow their lives with meaning, that will organize the world and reality in ways which would be comprehensible and manipulable in the good sense, that will enhance their self-efficacy. They don't have such an object, which is otherwise known as self.

So they don't have external object constancy, and they don't have internal object constancy.

And similarly, they have two phenomena, phenomena, ego incongruency and ego discrepancy.

Ego incongruency is when the internal object is in conflict, because internal object is not integrated.

There is a lot of chaos, we call this disorganized personality. There's a lot of chaos there, constructs are fighting with each other, interjects are shouting over each other. There's a bloody mess, it's pandemonium inside the borderline and inside the narcissist.

And very often, the needs of one construct, one part of the self are diametrically opposed to the needs of the other.

For example, one part could be introverted, and one part could be extroverted. So it creates ego incongruency when there is input, and the constructs can't get their act together, can't operate in a cohesive coherent manner, outcome oriented manner, self efficacious manner with an agency.

We have severe problems within the ego. That's why I keep saying, narcissists don't have an ego. The incongruity and discrepancy are so gigantic, they don't have an ego.

Actually, there is attempted ego at best. And similarly, there's ego discrepancies when external input from the outside, external input conflicts dramatically with certain functions of the self and certain needs of the self.

For example, when grandiosity is challenged. So all these processes are happening.

And as a result, there is no core. There is no stable state. There are self states, multiple, many, and they are in flux.

When you talk to a healthy person, you can safely assume that 80%, 90% of this person will remain in one year's time. You can't make this assumption about the narcissist in one hour's time.

And with the borderline in 10 minutes time, the narcissist and the borderline are not solid objects. They are fluids. They're in flux.

I'll give you the best metaphor, glass. Glass is not solid. Glass is a liquid. I don't know if you know that. Glass is a liquid that is flowing glacially, very, very, very minutely and microscopically.

So you don't notice it, but glass is liquid. It's a form of fluid. It's the same with the narcissist.

From the outside, the narcissist and the borderline look like you and me or you and you. They look normal, healthy, functioning somehow. They have their act together, but actually it's glass. It's brittle. It's fragile. It's vulnerable. It's not resistant to external shocks and it's in constant flux.

So there are numerous self-states that kaleidoscopically and dizzyingly replace each other. You never enter the same narcissist twice.

The famous Heraclitus saying you never enter the same river twice. You never enter the same borderline twice.

And what they're trying to do desperately is to use the partner to legitimise the shadow part. They have very pronounced shadow parts, parts of themselves that they had repressed, complexes that they had repressed, suppressed, denied.

And they want the partner to legitimise these parts for them. They want to experience this part of themselves, the shadow part.

And in the case of the male narcissist, part of the shadow part, an integral part of the shadow part is the feminine aspect.

So they want to project the shadow part on the partner and they want the partner to allow them to experience the shadow part through him vicariously or through her.

So the intimate partner's role is to allow the narcissist and the borderline to experience themselves by legitimizing their shadow part.

I'm using Jungian parlance, but you can use any other metaphor. It's a metaphor of course.

And when the partner is healthy, he can contain the shadow part that was given to him, handed over to him, projected onto him. He can contain it because he has boundaries and he doesn't allow himself to be influenced.

But what happens when the partner is equally sick, when you have a narcissist and a borderline, they trade the shadow parts constantly. They constantly try to force their shadow parts on each other.

And it's a war. It's a war because they don't have boundaries and they constantly trespass. They constantly invade and they constantly mirror each other in the bad sense of the word.

The narcissist suddenly becomes a borderline for a minute because he had absorbed the shockwave of his borderline partner's shadow part. And the borderline becomes grandiose and narcissistic because she had absconded with the projected grandiosity of her narcissist's partner.

They become each other's mirrors.

But you know, put two mirrors and have a look what happens.

If you put two mirrors facing each other, have a look what happens. Infinite regression.

You never get any word. The depth is infinite. It's a corridor of mirrors.

And that is what I call the whole of mirrors.

And there is, in these people, the borderlines and narcissists, there is a background process of mourning and grieving. They are grieving a dead object, probably the dead mother, but not necessarily.

And they are grieving this dead object. And because they have early on interjected this object, they are actually grieving themselves.

And when they give the shadow part to the partner, they feel whole, but only by subsuming the partner. When they give the shadow part to the partner, the shadow part is legitimised and the borderline of the narcissist can experience it finally, safely.

But to do that, they must assimilate the partner because he has the shadow part. To become one whole, they must merge and fuse with the partner because he is holding an important part.

So imagine that I'm a borderline and you are my partner. I take my shadow part and I give it to you. That moment, I have to digest you. I have to merge with you. I have to fuse with you because half of me is with you. You have half of me. You own half of me. You control half of me. And to experience myself in my totality, we have to become one.

And this is the famous process of merger and fusion, which is also common among co-dependence.

And then when we become one, wholeness is restored. Wholeness is restored. A safe base is established. We call it a holding environment. Safe base is established. And this is done in therapy as well.

It's precisely what we do in therapy. We transference, counter-transference. We play with this. Actually, we allow the patient to give us, as therapists, to give us the shadow part. We hold the shadow part for the patient. And we let the patient experience the shadow part from the safety of our base as therapists. It's the same process.

And then the patient feels whole and the morning stops. The dead object is revived and resuscitated.

And yes, if there are religious overtones to what I'm saying, it's because religion is the earliest form of psychotherapy, of course.

And here I acknowledge Jordan Peterson's recent contributions. He went deep into this Netherlands between religion and therapy.

So this is the kind of process that happens in borderline narcissistic mixed couples, also to some extent co-dependent narcissistic mixed couples, and so on and so forth.

Now, one last thing. Of course, in the shared fantasy, by the way, is intended to facilitate exactly this, the swap of shadow parts, the swap of autorerotic libidinal gender roles, the swap, simply the swap.

But because the swap is so extensive and massive and intensive and repetitive, the two parties become one through merger and fusion. They swapped so many parts that they become indistinguishable.

At that point, they lose reality testing. Fantasy, by definition, is poor reality testing. But the fantasy in this case involves disappearing as an individual and reappearing as an organism with two heads, as a merged fused togetherness. And this damages reality testing.

Because reality intrudes, reality challenges, undermines, supports, undermines you, you don't want reality. You want to live in this safe, holding, warm, accepting, unconditional love. It's okay to be you environment.

So there is a problem with reality testing. Some narcissists, definitely psychopaths, and many borderlines react to this, to the loss of reality testing with alarm. They get very frightened.

And they try to restore the reality testing with something called hyper reflection or hyper realism. They actually withdraw from the partner and merge with reality. They extend themselves and swallow reality.

They say, okay, I have to merge. I have to fuse.

But merging and fusing only with my intimate partner denies me the benefits of reality, access to reality, acting upon reality, securing favorable outcomes from reality. It damages my self efficacy, my agency, my individuality.

I don't want that. So they withdraw.

But they must merge and fuse. Merger and fusion is the fundamental dynamic in these disorders, because they are disorders of the self.

And when you don't have your own self, you need another person's self or some other self. You need to have a self by proxy vicariously through someone or through something.

So when they lose the partner, because they're terrified that they're losing themselves, they adopt reality instead. And this is hyper reflection. It's when the self, the dysfunctional self wants to include reality, and it creates something called which I call hyper realism. It's these people become paranoid, cynical, conspiracist, exact opposite, not trusting, fearful, anxious.

And you have these two poles. You have the codependents and borderlines who merge with the intimate partner, lose themselves, vanishes individuals and reappear through the agency of the intimate partner.

And you have those who reject the intimate partner, torture the intimate partner to push him away.

You don't want the intimate partner because they are afraid of enmeshment and engulfment. They want merger and fusion. They want to be enmeshed. They want to be in government. When they do, they're terrified.

Again, they are the withdrawal.

So approach, avoidance, repetition, compulsion. On the one hand, there's the intimate partner. On the other hand, there's the world.

And the borderline swings between the world, rejecting the intimate partner and the intimate partner while rejecting the world. And this swinging motion is the repetition, compulsion, approach, avoidance, repetition, compulsion.

As far as the intimate partner is concerned, he experiences it as lability, more lability and dysregulated emotions. That's how we describe it from the outside. From the inside, it's simply fear.

The borderline and the narcissist live in constant terror, terror of disappearing on the one hand, especially with an intimate partner and terror of having to manage the universe, having to be God. If they flee from the partner, if they avoid the partner and escape the partner, they have to embrace the world.

And because the world is dangerous, hostile, you have to manage the world. So you have to become God.

And this is between zero and hero, between not being and being everything, between vanishing and becoming God.

These are the outside parameters of the existence of people with disorders of the self, such as borderline and narcissism.

I hope you had fun. I know I did. It's time for another sip of water.

Ah, wunderbar mein Kinde.

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