Background

Narcissist Needy as Codependent, Crazymaking as Borderline (with Daria Zukowska)

Uploaded 4/13/2022, approx. 38 minute read

Hello everyone, in another video with our guest, Professor Sam Vaknin. If someone doesn't know him, give me a minute, and I would love to introduce him. He is a visiting professor of psychology, Southern Federal University Rostov-on-Don in Russia, and the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. And of course, a professor of finance and psychology in CIAS in Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies.

Hello again.

Finally, I know who I am. What a feeling. What an amazing feeling. Thank you for having me.

Thank you for saying yes.

So today I would like to speak with you about, I think, it's a really important topic, about why breaking up with NPD is so difficult and why NPD have so many difficulties to breaking up, for example, with VPD or DPD.

And I think, yeah, it's a lot of misunderstanding around this. And yeah, I would love to dive into this topic.

People think that the narcissist is totally autonomous, independent, strong, dominant, alpha male or alpha female, and so on and so forth. And of course, the truth is exactly the opposite. Narcissism is a post-traumatic condition.

The narcissist is needy. He's exactly like the codependent. Both the codependent and the narcissist are needy. They just need different things, but they are both needy.

The narcissist is addicted to narcissistic supply. And without narcissistic supply, he falls apart. He falls to pieces. So he needs supply. And more precisely, he is dependent upon sources of narcissistic supply.

Clinically speaking, there is no distinction between codependency and narcissism. Both of them involve external regulation.

In narcissism, the narcissist regulates his internal environment by obtaining feedback from outside sources.

Similarly, the codependent regulates her internal environment by obtaining input from an external source, her intimate partner.

So they both go out. They outsource. They both go out of themselves to regulate their internal environment, their emotions, their moods, etc., etc.

In this sense, narcissists and codependents are mirror images. The narcissist needs to be seen in a highly specific way, but he needs to be seen. He needs to be noticed.

The borderline and codependent need to be needed. The crucial element in borderline and codependency is, as my wife keeps saying in her work, the need to be needed.

So this is a perfect match. It's a match made in heaven because the codependent finds, I will say, women and men, although it applies to all genders.

So the codependent finds a man who is needy, who needs her, and she needs to be needed. So it gratifies her fully, satisfies all her needs, and makes her feel safe. She needs to feel safe. And if she is needed, she feels safe only when she is needed.

So the narcissist needs her and makes her feel safe with him. She feels safe with the narcissist.

There's another element, and that is the false self. The false self of the narcissist is perfect, all-knowing, omniscient, all-powerful, omnipotent, godlike, brilliant, etc., etc.

In other words, the false self of a narcissist is a parental figure. It's how we see our parents when we are 18 months old or two years old. We regard our parents as all-knowing, all-powerful, infallible, never make mistakes, godlike, godlike figures.

The narcissist has the false self, and the codependent binds with the false self as a parental figure.

So the narcissist becomes, in a way, a substitute parent for the codependent, which makes her feel very, very safe again. So she feels safe in two ways with the narcissist.

One, the narcissist needs her for supply and so on. And second thing, the narcissist's false self is a substitute parental figure.

She cannot feel safe this way with any other type of men, only with the narcissist. Same goes for the borderline.

And this is the secret sauce, this is the glue that holds these psychological profiles together.

Now, the narcissist takes advantage of the codependence of borderline's neediness.

What the narcissist does, he idealizes the codependent and the borderline, and then he gives the borderline and he gives the codependent access to this idealized image.

He makes them fall in love with their own idealized image, which is a form of self-love.

And then this creates a very strong bond, a very strong attachment, because self-love is the most powerful form of love.

And if you don't have self-love, you miss out on a lot.

For example, you're unable to love other people, you're unable to have intimacy, you're unable to have relationships.

For the first time, usually, in the life of the codependent and the borderline, she experiences self-love.

She doesn't love her real self, she loves her idealized self, and this gives the narcissist enormous power over her.

So there are many, many dynamics at play which bind these profiles together, and it's very difficult to break this apart.

Part of it is a trauma, but actually it's not a big part.

Trauma bonding is not the big part in these relationships.

It's opposite, actually. It's the feeling of safety. It's the feeling of being mutually needed. It's the feeling of self-love via idealization.

Actually, the dynamic between narcissist and borderline, and narcissist is codependent, is largely positive, not negative.

Because if you go online, if you read texts and so on, they say that what binds the narcissist and the borderline is trauma bonding.

There is element of trauma bonding, but there are many other elements which are essentially positive, which is why it's extremely difficult to break this particular bond.

Yeah, I do agree, and also when I'm working with my clients, I can see this pattern, this scheme.

Like, if you don't want me, you will need me.

So this is, I think, also what you are talking about, like, needs to be needy, to be needy, right?

And yeah, it's also important.

But also, one of the ingredients in this group is also to be worthy.

Not only say, but like to be worthy, finally, for codependent and for BPD.

Yes, the sense of self-worth in a codependent, exactly like in a narcissist.

The sense of self-worth is regulated from the outside, is externally regulated.

When she is needed, she feels worthy because typical codependent was brought up to feel that she is a good object, that she is worthwhile, that she can be loved, that she is lovable only if she provides services, only if she is needed, only if she helps, only if she supports, only if she performs.

So it's performance-based.

Both the narcissist and the codependent as children, they were loved conditionally. They received love only if they performed.

The narcissist had to perform, you know, like in a circus, like in a theater. The narcissist had to show as a child that he is intelligent, unusually intelligent. He had to get good marks at school. He had to collaborate with one of the parents in a parentifying role. He had to fulfill the dreams and the wishes of the parent, dreams and wishes which were not realized and frustrated the parent, etc., etc.

So the narcissist got the message, you are not lovable unless you perform.

Same with the codependent, exactly the same with the codependent. She received the message, you are not lovable unless you help me, unless you support me, unless you provide me with services.

So she learned that to obtain love, she must find someone who needs her. She must be needed.

And then she feels that she's a good object, a worthy object, you know, and so on.

So this is the dynamic between these two.

And the dynamic is extremely powerful.

Again, I repeat, because it's largely positive, actually.

The codependent can experience for the first time in her life a stable need, a need that doesn't diminish or doesn't fluctuate.

The narcissist needs supply all the time, so there's a sense of stability.

She also experiences self-love. She's idealized exactly as a good enough mother should have done.

If a good mother idealizes her baby, because babies are a pain in the ass, excuse me for the expression, you know, they do all kinds of crazy things.

Mother needs to idealize the baby in order to be able to love the baby. So there's a lot of idealization in the beginning.

The codependent, when she meets the narcissist, the codependent regresses completely into her childhood.

The narcissist with all his partners, even with partners who are not codependent, he pushes them back to childhood.

He acts as the mother. The narcissist acts in a maternal role.

And so the minute the narcissist acts as the good enough mother and tells you, you're perfect, you're brilliant, you're amazing, you're super intelligent, you're drop dead gorgeous.

The minute he does this to you, the minute he idealizes you, he becomes your mother.

But to receive this from him, you must become a child, because if he's your mother, you must be a child. Otherwise, the interaction is not possible.

So when you meet the narcissist, he idealizes you, he becomes your mother, and you become a child.

In order to receive this from him, this self-love of your idealized image, you need to become a child, you regress.

The codependent regresses, the borderline regresses when they meet the narcissist.

And then they have a second chance to be a child. They have a second childhood.

And it is like, maybe this childhood will be different. Maybe this time, maybe this time I will be loved, maybe this time I will be accepted, maybe this time.

So it's a unique experience that only the narcissist can give them, this second childhood.

Yes, and this is also important, what you said, because sometimes many people are convinced that they have been chosen by NPD because of the empathy or because of the compassion or, you know, another characteristic.

And it's not at all about that. This is a serious, a grave mistake.

The narcissist regards, as I said yesterday, the narcissist regards empathy as a threat.

So he would regard an empathic person as a threatening person. The narcissist doesn't select for empathy.

The narcissist selects an intimate partner who is vulnerable in the sense that the intimate partner wants to be idealized.

Now, this could be a co-dependent, a borderline or normal person. She wants to be idealized because she had never experienced unconditional love and therefore never developed self-love.

It wasn't that, I think, calls it self-love deficit. And I like that phrase. So she didn't experience self-love. She has a deficit.

The narcissist comes in and says, listen, let's try again. Let's start from the beginning. I will make you a baby. I will make you a baby. I will be your mother. And I will allow you to experience unconditional love as an idealized figure. And then you can begin to love yourself.

So the narcissist is perceived as a second chance at fixing everything that had gone wrong in childhood. That is enormous binding power, enormous bonding power. That's why it's extremely difficult to break.

And the narcissist doesn't want his partner to empathize with him because how can anyone empathize with the narcissist?

To empathize means that you are like me. We have something in common. But you're not like me. And we have nothing in common. I'm God. You're human. We cannot have anything in common. If you tell me that you're empathizing with me, you're insulting me. So he doesn't look for empathy. He looks for vulnerability. He looks for neediness. He looks for self-love deficit.

And in this sense, the narcissist is really a predator. That part is true. He's predatory.

But he doesn't do it with bad intention. It's just the way he is. He finds such women who are vulnerable, then he bonds with them.

So the borderline and the narcissist plug into the shared fantasy of the borderline and the codependent. They plug into the shared fantasy of the narcissist because it is within this shared fantastic space that they feel safe.

The narcissist needs them. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. So he's a parental figure. So he can be mother. So they can be children. So they can love themselves. And it's a perfect charmed circle, which, by the way, can go on for decades. The shared fantasy can last for decades. It just depends.

If the two partners never grow up or never evolve or never develop, the shared fantasy could last decades. If one of the partners, the borderline, for example, or the codependent, develops their own autonomous life, independent life, that would threaten the narcissist and everything will fall apart.

Yeah, I do agree. And yeah, and still many people are convinced that they are like a magnet for narcissists or, you know, like, yeah, but the magnet cannot do anything about that, right?

They think that if something inside them is, yeah, make it that this kind of match is happening, like, let's say, perfect match. So yeah, they truly believe that still about that.

Well, the narcissist does scan for vulnerabilities, lack of self-love, neediness. So yes, there is a particular profile, but this profile is so widespread. So a huge part of the population has this profile.

So I would say that narcissists are indiscriminate. They're promiscuous. If you can give supply, if you agree to be dependent on the narcissist for your needs, if you agree for him to be needy and to consume supply, if you agree to play each other's mothers, the dual mothership role model, then he doesn't care anything else about you. He doesn't care about your empathy, your compassion, your affection, your emotionality, or these are alien to him. He is not interested in them.

And many of these things threaten his uniqueness, threaten his sense that he's sui generis, that he is one of a kind, you know, as if one of a kind. He doesn't need help. He doesn't need advice. He doesn't need support. And he doesn't need your empathy. It's an insult.

Because he's superior. So yeah, it's obvious. Exactly. Why would you need your help or support?

Yeah, I do agree. So yeah, but how people are affected, especially codependent PPD by this relationship with NPT because they are affected.

Before we go into this, you asked two questions, I answered only one. So I should be sorry, because I answered only one and forgot about the other one. But now I remember the other one.

You asked why NPDs find it difficult to break up with BPD. Yes. When narcissists find difficult.

And here the answer is, is a bit interesting.

We said that, I said earlier that codependence and borderline, they kind of adopt the false self of the narcissist, they internalize it.

Because the narcissist is needy, because the narcissist needs the codependent, the codependent feels that she is in control of the narcissist. He needs her, so she controls him. So if she controls him, and he is the false self, she controls an object that is godlike.

The codependent needs to feel safe. She needs to feel needed, and she needs to feel safe. These are the two driving forces in codependency.

So when she internalizes the narcissist, when she makes the narcissist an internal object, when she takes over the narcissist, controls the narcissist by giving him supply, like a pusher of a drug, she gives him the drug, so he's a drug addict, he's addicted to her.

When she makes him addicted to her, at that time, she internalizes him, she internalizes his false self, and she becomes godlike. She subsumes, she digests the false self, and all the properties of the false self of the narcissist become her properties.

So there is a phase in the codependent narcissist dance, borderline narcissist dance. There is a phase where the narcissist becomes very, very, very needy.

The borderline, and to some extent the codependent, feel omnipotent. They feel all powerful. They feel that they own the narcissist, they control the narcissist.

At that moment, all the properties of the narcissist, all the properties of the false self become the properties of the borderline and the codependent because she owns the narcissist.

It's like, if you own a very fast car, the properties of the car become your properties because you can be fast. If your car is very fast, then you are very fast, of course, because you're using the car.

So it's the same with the borderline and the codependent. If they own the narcissist, it's like owning a car. All the properties of the narcissist become their properties.

At that moment, the codependent and the borderline feel totally safe. They feel safety that they had never felt before. Never.

Because they had subsumed, they had internalized and introjected an object, the false self, which is God-like. They became, in other words, gods.

And I call this process apotheosis. They became gods.

This is the process of co-idealization.

The narcissist idealizes the codependent and the borderline, gives her access to this idealized image, acts as the mother, gives her unconditional love, but he needs her.

He needs her because she is also his mother. She also becomes his mother. So he needs her for supply, for other psychodynamic issues.

He needs her. The minute he needs her, she accepts his idealization of her. She accepts it. It becomes a part of her. Technically, both of them become narcissists.

So when the narcissist teams up with the borderline and codependent, he converts them into narcissists. That's why I keep saying that narcissism is contagious.

When you have a relationship with the narcissist, before you know it, you become a narcissist, clinically, definitely clinically.

For example, your grandiosity goes up enormously. There's a huge jump in grandiosity. Some behaviors become narcissistic, some traits become narcissistic.

So you are infected with your partner's narcissism, if you are codependent and borderline, by digesting, adopting, assimilating his false self, by controlling him.

He becomes an extension of you. He becomes a part of you, like a car, like you own a car.


Okay. The narcissist, I would say that the narcissist is much more dependent on the borderline than the borderline on the narcissist.

I would say that the axis of dependency is from the narcissist to the borderline.

The borderline is less dependent on the narcissist because the borderline is capable of acting out.

Acting out in the borderline pathology, acting out is to break the continuity. After the borderline acts out, for example, she finds it much easier to get rid of her intimate partner.

So she has these exit ramps. It's like she's on a highway and there is an exit, exit ramp.

So borderlines go on a highway and they have exit ramps. They can be with another man, a stranger. They can run away for months and years.

So borderlines have these exits.

Narcissist is on the same highway, but he doesn't have the exits. He cannot exit. It's a one-way highway.

There's no exit for him. He doesn't act out. He's totally dependent on narcissistic supply. He's a junkie. He's a junkie. So he has no way out.

And he is much more dependent on the borderline than the codependent.

Then the borderline is on him. So there are five reasons for this, unfortunately.

Never one. There are five reasons for this. I will mention them briefly.


And then if you want, we can go each and every one of them.

The first one is external locus of control.

The narcissist develops an external locus of control. His supply is coming from outside. So he depends on his supply.

So he feels that he's controlled from the outside. But strangely, with the narcissist, when he develops the belief that he is controlled from the outside, his anxiety goes down, not up, for reasons which we can discuss later.

So with the borderline and the codependent, the narcissist feels that she controls him. He feels the borderline is in control. The codependent is in control. And he loves it. It reduces his anxiety.

The second reason is the narcissist regards the borderline or the codependent as an enigma, a puzzle.

And he challenges his omniscience. He challenges his grandiosity.

So he tries to decode the borderline, to decode the codependent, to understand them, to decipher them, to make sense of them. And there is no sense.

Borderline and codependency are nonsensical disorders. There's no sense there. It's total chaos.

So he doesn't succeed to make sense. And this challenges his grandiosity. He feels he feels narcissistic injury.

And so he becomes hooked. He becomes addicted to making sense of his borderline or codependent partner in order to restore his grandiosity.


The third element is that the borderline and the codependent, especially the borderline, are very unpredictable. They're very capricious. They create an ambience of uncertainty.

Now, the narcissist, in this ambience of uncertainty, feels alive. So with the borderline, the narcissist feels alive. The drama, the unexpected outcomes, the acting out, the craziness, the ups and downs, the cycling, all these make the narcissist feel alive, like a Technicolor movie. It's exciting. It's dramatic.

Now, narcissism is a dramatic personality disorder. Cluster B is called the dramatic or erratic cluster.

So narcissism is a dramatic disorder. And narcissists need drama to feel alive. And if they don't get it, they create drama exactly like the borderline.

There are many commonalities between narcissist and borderline.

So we have a drama queen and a drama queen.

Narcissists do create drama or they consume drama and they introduce partners into their lives. They introduce partners that generate drama constantly.

Only then does the narcissist feel alive.

Now, this is exactly the same dynamic in borderline.

Borderlines introduce drama in order to feel alive, in order to drown dissonant voices inside themselves.

When the borderline engages in drama, she doesn't feel bad. She doesn't feel depressed. She doesn't feel anxious. She doesn't have time to feel anything. She's in the drama.

Similarly, when she introduces drama, she feels alive. She feels flourishing. She thrives on drama.

It's the same with the narcissist.

So the borderline is a drama generator.

Now, clinically speaking, to be addicted to drama is a form of self-harm. It's a form of self-mutilation.

So both parties mutilate. I would say that the narcissist infects his partner with grandiosity.

So the partner falls in love with her idealized image and becomes very grandiose by assimilating the false self and by having access to the idealized image.

That's the partner.

But the narcissist becomes borderline. They switch roles.

The borderline becomes a lot more narcissistic and the narcissist becomes a lot more borderline, a lot more dysregulated.

But he feels alive walking on eggshells because narcissists are novelty seeking.

That's one of the characteristics of narcissists and psychopaths, novelty seeking and risk taking, reckless.

This is also a form of psychopathy in narcissism. Narcissists are antisocial.

So the borderline gives him that. She gives him the novelty, all the time new things. She gives him the risk.

In other words, the borderline caters to the psychopathic aspect of narcissism because she is a psychopath. She is a secondary psychopath. She encourages the psychopathic part of the narcissist.

And in this sense, she makes the narcissist more borderline. She pushes the narcissist to become borderline. She pushes her to become narcissist.

It's a very fascinating, fascinating dynamic. This creates, of course, intermittent reinforcement because the borderline approaches and then avoids, withdraws. Approach, avoidance, repetition, compulsion. She comes close to you. You show some signs of intimacy. She runs away. She then again approaches you. And again, you fall in love. And again, you show signs of intimacy. And again, she runs away or sabotages the intimacy or does something crazy or acts out. And this is a compulsion. This is a compulsion.

And the borderline does all this to gain control over the partner. She creates the uncertainty. She creates the unpredictability. She creates the crazy making.

And so therefore she is in control. She can stop it or start it and stop it. And that's precisely what she's doing all the time. It's a power play and a control mechanism.

And the narcissist is subject to intermittent reinforcement.


Now, the borderline has two anxieties. She has engulfment anxiety and abandonment anxiety.

So when she gets close, she's afraid of engulfment and loss. She's afraid to lose herself, to disappear.

So she runs away. When she runs away, she's afraid of being abandoned and rejected. So she comes back.

And the narcissist is subjected to this dance. And finally, this dance regulates the effects and the moods of the narcissist.

Narcissist feels good, feels bad, is up or down, depressed or elated in accordance with what happens in his relationship.

So it's approach avoidance that starts to regulate the internal landscape of the narcissist, its external regulation.

Now, if you put all these together, you get a very bizarre picture, which is a picture that is contra to almost everything online, almost all the YouTube videos.

For example, it is not the borderline. It is not the narcissist partner that is subjected to intermittent reinforcement. It's the narcissist.

Because if you go online, they say the narcissist plays with you. He's hot and cold. He approaches, he avoids, he's playing with you. No, it's not true.

Narcissists are very, very stable because they need a stable source of supply. It is the partner of the narcissist that plays hot and cold. I'm here today. I'm there tomorrow. I love you. I don't love you. I hate you. Don't leave me. You know, it's the partner, it's the borderline and the codependent who are playing these games, not the narcissist.


Also, there is the belief that the narcissist affects the moods and the emotions of the borderline, regulates them, so to speak.

But it's usually exactly the opposite. It's the borderline that changes the moods and the effects of the narcissist, etc.

The picture, as it is described online, gets it completely wrong, completely opposite. Everything that online people, so-called experts here, tell you that his borderline is actually narcissist. And everything they tell you is narcissist is actually borderline. The borderline is the one who controls the dynamic of the relationship with the narcissist. She controls the regulation of his moods and effects. She controls approach avoidance. She controls walking on eggshells. She controls his feeling, making him feel alive. She controls him totally.

The narcissist is totally controlled.

Yeah, I do agree. And I have, like, proof in my clinical experience also, because when the NPD is coming to my office, they're saying, like, why I cannot leave my partner with BPD. They cannot leave. And then they don't know why this is happening.

So, yeah, I'm really grateful that you mentioned about this drama dynamic, why they need this, like, because they can avoid these tough and hard feelings, especially borderline, that it's inside her and mostly her, sometimes in him.

But, yeah, so I'm really happy that you mentioned about that, because, yeah, this is the mostly narcissist asking, why is all this drama about and why it's like that?

They cannot move. They're exactly playing all the time this approach, avoid and dance. So, yeah, it's also tough for them.

Yes, you can think of it as an addict. An addict, a narcissist is an addict, and the borderline provides him with a perfect drug. She gives him supply. She gives him drama. She controls his moods. She controls his emotions. She approaches him. She avoids him. She gives him the perfect ambience, the perfect ambience.

He needs all these elements, and she needs the perfect package. She provides all the elements in one package. And this is irresistible to him. The narcissist will never leave the borderline. The narcissist is a stable partner, not the borderline.

The borderline is the unstable partner, exactly opposite what people are saying online.

Yeah, and you also mentioned about that, and this anxiety is going down with this.

What could you say or why, please?

One big mistake, catastrophic mistake, I would say, and the information online is that psychopaths and narcissists have no fear and have no anxiety.

That is very, very old information. We no longer teach this or think this.

We now begin to consider psychopathy perhaps as a form of anxiety disorder, and we definitely know it's even in the DSM-5, the alternative model for narcissistic personality disorder, page 767.

We definitely know that narcissists suffer from anxiety disorders, comorbid anxiety disorders, and mood disorders, depression as well.

So this is an antiquated, very obsolete and wrong information. So narcissists suffer from anxiety, severe anxiety, and they are subjected to mood swings. They have mood disorders as well.

In this anxiety, there are two ways the narcissist tries to overcome this anxiety.

One way is grandiosity.

Grandiosity is a compensatory mechanism. The anxiety of the narcissist is because as a child, the narcissist was helpless, was subjected to abuse, was not loved.

So of course he developed anxiety. He didn't know what will come next, what will happen next. He could not predict what the adults around him are going to do to him.

This created a background of anxiety and depression. I call it prolonged grief. The narcissist mourns himself, grieves himself. It's like the narcissist had died as a child, the true self died, and then the false self emerged.

But the false self is not the narcissist. It's a piece of fiction. It's a story, a narrative.

So the narcissist dies as a child, and ever since then, he is in mourning, he is grieving.

So the background of anxiety and depression is there. Now the narcissist overcomes it in two ways.

One, grandiosity. If the narcissist says I'm godlike, then he doesn't need to be anxious anymore because God is not anxious. God can do anything. God knows everything. God can predict anything that's going to happen. God can prevent anything or make anything happen. So God never has anxiety or depression.

And so this is one solution.

But there is another solution, which is much neglected in the literature.

The other solution that the narcissist adopts is by giving up his independence, autonomy, agency, and self-efficacy. Giving them up.

By saying, from now on, I don't decide my destiny. I don't decide my fate. I don't decide my life. Someone else does.

He hands over the responsibility to someone else, usually his intimate partner.

Now this sounds completely anti-narcissistic. So this deserves some deeper explanation.

I apologize that I'm monopolizing the conversation, but these are totally new things.

Yeah, I'm grateful that you are doing this.


So most narcissists, ultimately we know this. It's substantiated in studies and so on.

Most narcissists finally develop external locus of control. Most narcissists at some point become externalized.

So they say external locus of control. So they say my life is decided by my boss. My boss is not promoting me because he's jealous of me. So he decides my life. My wife is not doing this or is doing this.

And consequently, I cannot do this or I can't do this. So it's like my wife is deciding, my boss is deciding, my neighbor is deciding.

This is called alloplastic defense.

The narcissist is blaming other people, blaming them for anything that goes wrong in his life.

But when you blame other people, what are you saying? You're saying these other people control me. They're in control.

If I blame you for something bad that happened to me, then you are in control of me because you made this bad thing happen. You're in control.

So the narcissist hands control to the environment. He hands it over and he develops an external locus of control.

Of course, because the narcissist is dependent on narcissistic supply, the locus of control is always out there. He needs supply from other people.

So these other people control his internal environment.

So we have two things. One is external locus of control. The narcissist perceives his life as determined from the outside by others.

And we have addiction to supply, which is also an external locus because supply comes from outside.

In other words, the narcissist feels that he is not in control of anything ever. That's a very frightening feeling. It creates anxiety.

He is anxious exactly as he was anxious when he was a baby. He is always in a state of infantilism. He is always a child and things happen to him. People do things to him. So he says to himself, there's a solution for that.

I will find a woman who loves me and I will give her the control.

So then I feel safe. If my boss controls me, if my neighbor controls me, I don't feel safe. I don't feel safe because they don't love me because I'm not lovable. I'm not doing anything for them or they perceive it that I'm not doing anything for them.

So I don't feel safe.

But if I have an intimate partner in my life and she loves me and she's addicted to me and I can get her addicted to me by becoming her mother, by giving her access to her idealized image, you know, everything we discuss. So this partner I can trust. I can hand over control to this partner.

At that moment, I don't need to be anxious and I feel totally safe because I don't believe that my intimate partner will abuse the power that I'm giving her over me.


Now, the narcissist, when he has an intimate partner, enters a shared fantasy space. Within this shared fantasy space, he actually has no autonomy, no independence, no agency and no self-efficacy. Everything is determined by his intimate partner in the shared fantasy.


Another reason for this is that remember that narcissism is the outcome of failed separation. The child failed to separate from mother.

So the narcissist perceives independence as separation. He perceives autonomy, self-autonomy, as separation.

And he is terrified of separation. He is terrified of separation and he keeps failing when he tries to separate, starting with his mother.

So he's trying to avoid separation. So he needs supply from outside. He needs an external locus of control, which is safe, like an intimate partner. And he needs to not separate. He needs to not separate.

So you put all this together, you get a transfer of power to the intimate partner.

This is the initial phase of the relationship. This is the idealization phase.

As I said in other videos, gradually the narcissist wants to separate. So there is a phase where the narcissist devalues you and discards the intimate partner in order to separate.

But then he fails. He fails to separate. And the cycle starts again.

In the initial phases of the shared fantasy, which could last many years or many decades, it is the intimate partner that is totally in control of the narcissist.

Now, the intimate partner needs it. If the intimate partner is a borderline or if she is a codependent, this control over the narcissist makes her feel safe, makes her feel needed. And the narcissist needs it because her control over him makes him feel safe, makes him feel, you know, wanted, makes him feel loved.

So both sides collaborate in this transfer of power. Of course, at some point the narcissist takes this power back. He takes it back and then devalues, discards and so on.

It would explain all these things put together, the anxiety reduction, the other things that I mentioned. If you put all these together, it's very difficult to break the bond. Very difficult.

Too many psychological needs are satisfied and too many processes take place, including regression to early childhood.

So on both parties, both parties regress. As each other's mother, they regress the other.


And how does one abandon one's mother?

How do you abandon your mother? How do you abandon someone who is in control of you and determines every second of your waking life? How do you abandon someone who gives you a sense that you're alive? How do you abandon someone who helps you to forget about your anxiety, about your depression, about your ego dissonance? How do you get rid of someone like that?

It's a perfect package, perfect storm and the narcissist needs compelling reasons to break up with the borderline and the codependent.

And these compelling reasons are the deviation from the snapshot, divergence from the snapshot and the need to separate, which ultimately becomes powerful.

Yes, thank you.

Thank you for this explanation. It's showing a lot about this dynamic and I think the answer why it's so extremely, I would even say, difficult to break this, let's say, perfect match.


So, yes, so yet another question was how people are affected by this because like you mentioned already, like when narcissist is giving you this kind of perfect view on yourself and when you have this self-love befitted, it's really hard to break it, I think, for BPD and DPD because then you have to realize and to see that you never exist.

Yes, it's a good point. The narcissist forces the borderline or the codependent.

And there is a debate what exactly is codependent and whether there is a need for dependent personality disorder as a separate diagnosis.

All probability will not be maintained in the DSM-6.

These are all post-traumatic conditions, as Judith Herman keeps saying, these are all post-traumatic conditions.

As I keep saying much later, she was the first to say, these are all post-traumatic conditions with self-states, with dissociative processes and so on.

So all these distinctions, she's a borderline, no, she's a codependent.

Even I would say the distinguishing between codependent and narcissist, I would say it's a wrong distinction.

But generally speaking, the narcissist pushes the borderline to take care of his false self.

Let's put it this way.

He says, listen, I am controlled from the outside. I'm an addict to narcissistic supply.

People have power over me. That makes me very sad and it makes me very anxious.

Would you mind if I give you my false self and you take care of it? Would you mind?

The borderline says, no, I love you. Yeah, sure. What can I do for you?

Okay, I'm going to give you the false self. You're going to be my source of supply. You're going to be my mother and love me unconditionally.

Even if I abuse you, you're going to love me unconditionally.

So I'm going to test you, I'm going to abuse you to see if you really are my mother, good mother, you know. And you're going to procure, you're going to get me, obtain, get for me supply. You're going to be the gateway, you're going to be the portal and you're going to be in charge of my false self.

Of course, the minute the borderline takes this object, the false self, she gets infected. She becomes narcissistic because from that moment, all the properties and the qualities of the false self become her properties and qualities.

Again, like owning a fast car. If you own a fast car, you're fast.

So if she owns the false self, she is godlike. She is the owner of God, so she is God.

So she becomes a bit narcissistic, a lot narcissistic actually.

The narcissist, having given her the false self, has guaranteed narcissistic supply from a safe source.

So his anxiety goes down, his depression goes down and he feels much more alive. He feels happy. He feels literally happy.


Now someone else has the problem of obtaining supply. Someone else is in charge of the false self.

He can finally breathe. He can finally feel relieved and so on. And he assumes a passive position.

Passive position and she assumes an active position.

At that point, he becomes essentially a borderline. He is subject to dysregulation because she is approaching, avoiding.

She gives him intermittent reinforcement. One day she loves him, one day she hates him. She is ambivalent.

So all this uncertainty and unpredictability, disregulate him. He becomes much more dysregulated and much more borderline like.

They simply switch roles. She becomes narcissist. He becomes borderline.

It's a temporary condition and it's a temporary condition for two reasons.

At some point, the narcissist would need to separate from her because his relationship is a reenactment of his early childhood.

He is just replaying his early childhood with her. He is making her his mother. He is replaying.

So at some point he would need to separate from her. So this is a temporary condition, what I described.

The role switching. The role switching is a temporary condition.

At some point the narcissist tries to separate from her and at some point she acts out.

So her acting out and his need for separation destroys the relationship, ultimately, inevitably.

So let's say that they are separating for good and how to move on.

And I would just like to add that moving as a process, not as a decision, as many people think.

Or one event is not like that. It's a process.

How to move on?

I dealt with it in other videos, but one thing I didn't say in other videos is that the experience is so unique, both for the borderline and for the narcissist.

It's so amazing, so spectacular, so all pervasive, so that I think the main difficulty to move on is the disbelief that you will ever have any such relationship in the future.

You can't believe that any future relationship will be as good as this, or as bad as this, or as intense as this.

Both the borderline and the narcissist, when they break up, when they separate, inevitably, they believe that all future relationships will be dull and boring and in comparison.

I think that's the main obstacle, actually. I believe that is the main obstacle.

There are other obstacles, of course.

The voice of the narcissist, the introject, the voice of the narcissist remains in the mind of the borderline, the codependent, for a very long time.

And she mistakes this voice. She thinks it's her voice.

So she needs to work on the introjects. She needs to separate his introjects from her introjects and then get rid of his introjects.

That's another major issue.

A third major issue is a trauma. Both parties have been traumatized.

He trusted her as a regulating external object. He trusted her to control him and to do good by him and to take care of the false self and to love him unconditionally. And she's incapable of this, especially if she's a borderline.

She approaches, she avoids, she loves, she hates, she undermines, she constructs, she destructs.

It's not a stable partner. So he's been traumatized.

Narcissists are traumatized by relationship with borderline.

And she, of course, had been traumatized because he idealized her, he mothered her, and then he dumped her.

It's the borderline's worst nightmare to be abandoned this way.

So they had become each other's persecutory objects. They had become each other's nightmares.

And so when they separate, there is this issue of residual trauma, post-traumatic offense.

There are many issues. But ultimately, the trauma fades and goes away.

Ultimately, the introjects also fade away or you learn to distinguish between your voices and the narcissist's voice.

And you can eliminate the narcissist's voice.

But what doesn't go away is the enormous intensity of the relationship.

It was a relationship in color. And all other relationships look like relationships in black and white.

Yeah, I do agree. Many of my clients in the office, they say like, so it was like a rainbow and now it's like blind food.

Like, I don't like it. And it will be like that till the end of my life. I'm not enjoying.

Yeah, they say actually about that.

I'm from personal experience, of course. I've had many borderline partners. And having tasted my first borderline, the first woman I've been with was not a borderline, I think.

Actually, I'm not sure about it. But my fiance, my first fiance was borderline.

Having tasted the first borderline, I want to be only with borderline.

No, OK.

I know it's bad. I know it's mad. I know it's sad. I know it's wrong. I know it's self-destructive. It's a form of self-harm, as I say. Self-harming. I know it dysregulates me. I lose control. I actually lose control. I give control to the intimate partner. That's the deal. I know it's going to end badly because the mothering process always ends badly. And I have a problem with the snapshot as well.

So I know it's absolutely not what the doctor ordered, but I cannot be with any other woman who is not a borderline. I simply cannot.

I need the intensity. I need the color. I need this rainbow. It's not even rainbow.

I think that was a bad, mild relationship. It's an explosion. It's an explosion. It's a well, a well, a well.

It's an almost supernatural phenomenon. The reason, of course, is simple. She provokes in you the child. You provoke in her the child. And you both experience yourselves and the world as children do.

Children experience the world very intensely because everything is new. Everything is threatening and everything is exciting. There's novelty. There's risk around the corner.

And so the borderline and the narcissist are two children. They regress each other to each other. And they then together experience their relationship in the world as children do with all the hope of childhood, all the infinity of childhood, and all the intensity and color of childhood.

Nothing can compete with this. And every price for me is worth it. Every price is worth it.

I'm grateful that you shared with your experience. I hear you.

But from my also experience, I was in a long term relationship. And yeah, I think the ex parte was an NPD. And I feel badly. I will never do for myself such a thing like this.

You're not borderline. Yeah.

Yeah, I'm not borderline and I'm not narcissist.

I'm talking about pathological.

Yeah, I know. But for me, it was like, yeah, really bad and hard experience.

Of course, because you're a normal person.

Yeah, healthy. So I'm so grateful that you shared this with us. Totally. Thank you.

One more time. Thank you for having me.

Yeah. And thank you for listening for your time. And I'm so grateful also for your comments. Thank you and have a nice day.

Thank you.

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