Shy/Quiet Borderline “Diagnosis”, Reality vs. Phantasy/Fantasy

Uploaded 12/23/2023, approx. 25 minute read

And today I'd like to discuss a few topics that you have raised, more specifically the shy or quiet borderline and other topics regarding reality and fantasy and so on and so forth.

First of all before I forget, I'm currently reading this book, A Little Life, and it's amazing.

It describes the adult life of a child who's been sexually abused, egregiously, repeatedly, over many years and then became a male prostitute and how he emerged from this to become a lawyer normally.

And his inner world, the author captures the inner world of an abused traumatized child, in this case sexually traumatized, and not only sexually actually, physically, verbally, psychologically and it is one of the best encapsulations and descriptions of the mind of a child trapped in an adult body, a tortured child, a child who has been deformed perhaps beyond help and beyond reconstruction.

Most recommended.

It's a hefty volume, I think it's about 700 pages long, but an amazing read.

I am halfway through.

Okay, next.

Whenever I post a video, everyone writes to me that is wrong, my neighbor is not like this, my wife is not like this, my child, my husband, my friend, my pastor, they are not like this, they are narcissists, but they are not like this.

I'm a woman and you are wrong about gender, I'm a man and you're wrong about sex, etc.

Well, listen up cutie pies.

Anak Dotes and personal experience have their place, but not here, not on this channel.

This is an academic scientific channel.

Science does not deal with individual experience, science deals with trends and characteristics which are population wide cohorts.

So whenever I say something, it's based on multiple studies, thousands, sometimes tens of thousands and in one case at least almost a million and in another case a few million people.

So whatever I say is based on studies.

I never involve my own personal experience and the total evidence, your personal experience or your anecdotes, they are meaningless on this channel.

Next thing, you are not qualified to diagnose.

So don't write to me my husband is a narcissist and he is not like that unless you're a clinical diagnostician, qualified, trained and with the appropriate credentials, whatever you diagnose your husband with is utterly meaningless and I'm going to ignore it time and again and so would anyone with any kind of rigorous training in science.

Okay, got it.

We move on from one type of nonsense to another and that is new, the proliferation of new diagnosis.

Now new diagnosis have their place of course, Hines Kohut was the first to suggest the new diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder in 1974.

So they have their place, I myself have contributed to proposed diagnosis, inverted narcissist and covert borderline but for a new diagnosis or a new clinical entity or a new clinical construct or a new observable phenomenon to be valid, it has to fulfill a series of criteria and the two most important ones are the novelty, the new thing that is offered, the diagnosis, a construct, a phenomenon, a process cannot contradict the totality of the previous knowledge.

If it does, there's something wrong with it.

An example, emotional flashbacks, an nonsensical idea because it contradicts everything we know about flashbacks.

Different criteria and new diagnosis cannot be a subset, a section of an existing diagnosis because it's already in the existing diagnosis and that is precisely the problem with shy acquired borderline and that's why it is a counterfactual nonsensical diagnosis.

All people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, all borderlines have long periods of time where they are quiet, introverted, shy, periods in which they act in rather than act out, they direct their aggression inwards at themselves and this of course is the explanation for self-mutilation, self-mutilation, self-harm, self-trashing, suicidal ideation and of course suicide attempts.

All borderlines have periods, the periods could be a few days and sometimes a few decades.

All borderlines have periods where they do not act out, they do not direct aggression outwardly, they do not shift or switch to the secondary psychopathic self-state and all borderlines have periods where they do act out, where they do attack and explode in rage and act recklessly and defiantly and consummately and so on and so forth.

So in short, all borderlines are sometimes shy and quiet and at other times, classical, they act out.

So to separate the shy period or the quiet period or the introverted period or the self-directed period in a borderline's life and to say that then she should have another diagnosis, that's unmitigated nonsense, extremely bad practice and indicative of serious ignorance of the condition of science and of psychology in general.

There is no such thing as shy and quiet borderline, there are shy and quiet periods in the lives of every borderline ever diagnosed.

Okay, Sushanim, I hope you got it.

Now before I proceed, have a look at the description, there are links to two videos.

One is a compilation which helps you to understand the differences between complex trauma, CPTSD and a variety of personality disorders, especially borderline personality disorder.

So it's titled CPTSD or personality disorders compilation and it's in my view at least a good introduction to this debate, this current debate in psychology, whether personality disorders are actually post-traumatic conditions and represent manifestations or complications of complex trauma CPTSD.

The second video I advise you to watch is Narcissist When Reality is Just a Dream, the ego's reality testing because it deals with the issue of reality and fantasy in a clinical way based on decades of research and studies and various schools of thought most dominantly or predominantly the psychoanalytic and psychodynamic schools.

Okay, I started by saying that I reject the proposed diagnosis of shy or quiet borderline because it's nonsensical and counterfactual.

There is no borderline alive who is only shy and quiet.

All borderlines switch between certain states, some of which are shy or quiet and some of them are not.

All borderlines are sometimes shy and introverted and sometimes they act out aggressively, having been exposed to stress, anxiety, abandonment, rejection, real or imagined.

So what about those people who claim to be borderlines but to have never acted out?

What about people who claim that they've always been and only been shy and quiet borderlines?

They have never been aggressive, they have never acted out, they have never decompensated, some of them claim to have never dissociated.

Well, the answer is very simple.

These people have been misdiagnosed.

They do not have borderline personality disorder.

No borderline is shy all the time, period.

So if someone is shy and quiet and introverted all the time, he is not a borderline.

She is either a covert narcissist or much more likely she suffers from the after effects of complex trauma, CPTSD, which in clinical settings very often is indistinguishable from borderline.

And vast swaths of the globe, ill-trained mental health practitioners misdiagnose borderline personality disorder as bipolar disorder, misdiagnose bipolar disorder as narcissistic personality disorder, misdiagnose but bipolar disorder as borderline personality disorder, most definitely complex trauma CPTSD as multiple personality disorders.

Simply the level of training and education of the overwhelming vast majority of mental health practitioners is dismal.

They don't keep up with the literature and they don't know how to tell the difference.

They are very poor at differential diagnosis.

So if you have never acted out, you've never decompensated, you've never dysregulated visibly or stentatiously and externally.

If you have never broken object, if you have never slept with a stranger, if you never behaved recklessly, if you never run away, if you have never done something crazy, if you have never been dramatic, then you're not a borderline.

Sorry to inform you.

You're probably the victim of CPTSD and in a minority of cases, you might be a covert narcissist.

To learn more about this, I refer you again to the video whose link is in the description.

Another issue that keeps popping up in dozens of messages is reality versus fantasy.

Now, I don't know why you are raising this subject.

I never said that the narcissist and the borderline have no reality testing, not even once.

I'm very insistent and very careful to say that borderlines and narcissists, and by the way, paranoid and schizotypals and a variety of other mentally disordered people, I've always made sure to say that they have impaired reality testing.

Now impaired reality testing is partial reality testing.

Impaired reality testing is not the same as no reality testing.

Fantasy is not the same as a hallucination.

In a hallucination, which is typical of psychotic disorders, there is no reality testing.

In a fantasy, which is typical of narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, there is reality testing, but it is somehow distorted or impaired.

The narcissist fantasy and the borderline's fantasy borrow elements from reality and construct around them a narrative that is counterfactual, that defies some facts.

But there is always the basis of the core of the fantasy, true, real elements.

Reality is the pivot around which the fantasy revolves.

It's the same in conspiracy theories, by the way.

Conspiracy theories are forms of paranoid fantasies, but at the core of conspiracy theories, there's always some kernel, some nucleus of truth.

The narcissist fantasy and the borderline's fantasy are reality-based.

They depart from reality.

Reality is the launchpad from which the fantasy takes off and develops escape velocity.

The narcissist, the borderline, the paranoid, the schizotipo and so on.

They cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality precisely because fantasy and reality share components, ingredients, elements.

They have a lot in common.

That's why it's very difficult.

The line is fuzzy and blurred.

It's very difficult for these mentally ill people or mentally disordered people to tell where fantasy ends and reality begins.

Generally, these people have problems with separation, with boundaries, with the externality and separateness of other people, with the very concept of object.

So these people are ill-equipped to demarcate fantasy from reality because fantasy and reality have a common area.

Think of fantasy and reality as two circles.

You know the famous Venn diagram, V-E-N-N diagram, where two circles intersect?

The intersection of these two circles is the reality components of the reality elements of both the fantasy and of reality.

They are entangled.

The twine met.

They can be divorced.

If fantasy were to divorce completely from reality, we would not be talking about fantasy.

We would be talking about psychosis.


The narcissist fantasy, the fantasy in narcissistic personality disorder, is infantile.

It's very early stage fantasy type.

Melanie Klein called it fantasy with P-H, fantasy, spelled P-H, not with an F.

In the absence of a fully-constellated and integrated self and ego, the narcissist fantasy is limited to self-regulation via cognitive distortion, known as grandiosity.

So the narcissist fantasy is very narrow.

It does not constitute the total existence of the narcissist.

That's why narcissists can function perfectly in workplace settings, in their career, or in other interpersonal relationships where there is no shared fantasy.

But when they are in the shared fantasy, when they're embedded, immersed in the shared fantasy, they behave very differently.

It's as if they have two personalities, one for one public facing and one intimate and real and internal.

So the narcissist fantasy, because it is very, very, very primitive, infantile, pure, if you wish, the narcissist fantasy is goal-oriented.

It's focused on maintaining, sustaining, buttressing, and feeding a cognitive distortion known as grandiosity in order to accomplish the regulation and stabilization of a sense of self-worth.

Another function of the narcissist fantasy is to resolve early childhood conflicts, also known as separation individuation.

These are the only two functions of the narcissist fantasies, and they are somehow interconnected and interlinked in the absence of a fully-constellated and integrated self, in the absence of a functioning ego.

Certain ego functions have to be outsourced, projected somehow, derived from the environment.

And so this kind of person doesn't have a personal boundary, doesn't have an autobiographical boundary.

This kind of person doesn't know, cannot tell where he ends and reality begins, the outside world begins.

He has no sense of internal and external.

There's no demarcation.

So this kind of person is going to be obsessed with separation individuation.

It will become a compulsion.

And so the narcissist fantasy is geared at securing separation individuation in order to restore the ability or to bring on a new ability to regulate the narcissist's sense of self-worth internally.

Of course, this doesn't work, never succeeds.

So the narcissist is caught in a repetition compulsion, trying all the time to accomplish the twin goals of regulation, external regulation of the sense of self-worth and an attempt to separate an individually in order not to require anymore, not to need anymore this external regulation of the sense of self-worth.

That's why, by the way, narcissistic fantasies never work because they have two incompatible goals.

The first goal is to elicit input and feedback from the environment in order to stabilize and regulate a component of the internal landscape, which is the sense of self-worth.

And the second goal is incompatible with this first goal because the second goal is to accomplish velocity, accomplish separation individuation so as to regulate internally and not externally.

So there's a clash between the two goals of the narcissist fantasy and it can never come to fruition.

It can never yield any favorable outcome.

We can say that it is not self efficacious.

The borderline fantasy, fantasy in borderline personality disorder also involves external regulation, but on a much more massive scale, whereas the narcissist external regulation has to do only with the sense of self-worth.

The borderline's external regulation has in its purview almost every psychological process, almost all the psychological processes of the borderline are regulated from the outside.

Her moods are laid by, her emotions overwhelm her and swamp her and dysregulate her.

So she needs someone to regulate her emotions.

She needs someone to stabilize her moods.

She needs someone to interface with reality, to serve as her reality testing.

She needs someone to provide her with object constancy and introject constancy via constant presence.

In short, the entire mind of the borderline, her entire internal world is outsourced to an intimate partner who becomes her world and the rock around which she can construct her precarious personality on the fly.

So the narcissist in the borderline have a false self.

The narcissist in the borderline have engaged in shared fantasies.

The narcissist in the borderline have impaired reality testing.

They do have a reality testing, but it's partial and it's subject to cognitive distortion.

So it's distorted.

But the difference between the narcissist and the borderline is that the borderline relies on the outside, on an external object, usually the intimate partner, to accomplish almost all the, all her psychological needs, to accomplish all the internal regulation, to get her processes in action and yield favorable outcomes.

So she, her dependency on the intimate partner is super crucial, critical, and she cannot do without the intimate partner.

This is the reason for her extreme separation insecurity, also known as abandonment anxiety.

When the fantasy fails, the fantasy defense fails in narcissistic personality disorder, the outcome is shame, dysregulated shame.

This is also known as modification.

The narcissist kind of firewalls his shame as a child and never gets in touch with this shame because it's life threatening.

When the fantasy fails, then the narcissist has no defense.

He's skinless.

There's no defense against the shame.

The shame dysregulates the narcissist.

At that particular phase, the narcissist clinically is in a borderline organization.

So at first there is some challenge, some humiliation, some undermining of the grandiosity, and then the narcissist reacts by feeling very ashamed and very humiliated.

He then dysregulates for a short while, and this is very reminiscent of borderline personality disorder or at least this element in BPD, and then there's modification and the narcissist goes on a quest to reconstruct the fantasy and the grandiosity.

When the borderline fantasy fails, the outcomes are total dysregulation and total lability, and they never stop or they never cease until the borderline is able to reconstitute a new shared fantasy with a new intimate partner.

That's the difference between narcissist and borderline when it comes to the collapse phase.

The collapse phase is another name for the deactivation or the disabling of the fantasy defense.

When the narcissist and borderline come face to face with reality, unable to reframe it, falsify it, fend it off, pretend it doesn't exist, incorporate only parts of it, and so on and so forth.

Fantasy defense is not active, both of them dysregulate in different ways, and then the narcissist goes on to reconstruct grandiosity to again cognitively distort everything and come up with a new fantasy, and so does the borderline.

But the borderline requires an intimate partner, a new intimate partner to do it with or the old one.

In the NPD shared fantasy, in the narcissist shared fantasy, the partner is not real.

You know I mentioned earlier that the narcissist fantasy has elements common with reality, shares some elements with reality, is constructed around reality, borrows components and ingredients from reality.

The intimate partner is not one of them.

In the narcissist's mind, the intimate partner is not real.

The narcissist is unable to perceive the intimate partner's separateness and externality.

Narcissist cannot interact with external objects.

He doesn't perceive the externality and separateness of anyone, so they are unreal to him.

What the narcissist does, he snapshots the partner, he interjects her, he creates an elaborate, usually idealized internal object, and he continues to interact with this internal object to the very bitter end of devaluation and then later on he's forced back into reality and he discards the partner.

So in the narcissist shared fantasy, the intimate partner or the partner, it could be a friend, could be a colleague, could be a neighbor, could be a child, could be you know, the partner to the fantasy, the partner to the shared fantasy is not real. He

or she is a mere internal object. It's an avatar, it's an icon, it's a figure, an abstract. In borderline fantasy, in the borderline shared fantasy, the partner is hyper real, is the only real thing, it is the borderline who is not real.

So in the narcissist shared fantasy, the narcissist is real, the intimate partner is not real.

In the borderline shared fantasy, the borderline is not real, the intimate partner is the only real thing, it is hyper reality or hyper reflexivity.

So the intimate partner's reality washes over the borderline.

She derives her sense of reality and existence from the reality of her partner.

Her partner is embedded in reality, her partner is veritable, her partner is provable, her partner is evidence based, her partner is out there and she is a second order derivative of his reality.

So she becomes real through her intimate partner.

She derives her existence from her intimate partner.

Of course, in the narcissist shared fantasy, this is not the case at all.

In the narcissist shared fantasy, the narcissist feels that he is the only real thing, object in the universe and that everybody else is unreal.

So borderline perceive themselves and their lives as unreal.

That's a great way to describe dissociative mechanisms such as depersonalization, derealization, and amnesia which are very common in borderline personality disorder.

Actually one of the diagnostic criteria of borderline personality disorder is dissociation.

Dissociation means seizing to exist and if dissociation is an extensive parameter of your personality, of who you are, if it defines who you are, then you don't exist.

The only way to exist is through someone else by proxy vicariously, the intimate partner.

With the narcissist, the narcissist dissociation is usually only amnesia.

Narcissists rarely experience the whole panoply of dissociation, derealization, depersonalization.

Narcissists don't have this.

They have only amnesia and they compensate for the amnesia by confabulating and what they do, they confabulate, they pass on their reality status.

Their status is the only real object.

They pass it on to their confabulations.

It's as if the narcissist says, "Since I am the only real object in the world, everything I say must be real.

My confabulations must be real because they come, they emanate from the only real object in the universe, which is me."

So this is why borderlines cling to the intimate partner.

This is why they hover the intimate partner much more ferociously than the narcissist does.

They stalk the intimate partner.

They won't let the intimate partner go unless and until the intimate partner has proven himself to be life threatening by rejecting the borderline in a humiliating manner, by threatening her, by demonstrating conclusively that they could not fulfill the role of best friend or rock or substitute reality.

Only then the borderline lets go.

But as long as the intimate partner is reasonably kind and nice and caring and loving and so on, she will never let him go.

I'm saying she, of course, half of all borderlines are men.

The borderline will never let go of the intimate partner because the intimate partner is not just an intimate partner.

The intimate partner is the borderline's mind.

She has outsourced her mind to the intimate partner and the intimate partner is the borderline's source of reality.

The borderline leverages every opportunity, every contact to reconstitute the shared fantasy.

Let's take an example.

You as the borderline's erstwhile previous intimate partner, you want closure.

You seek closure.

It's normal to seek closure.

It's not recommended, but it's normal.

The borderline will take advantage of your need for closure and she will abuse your quest for closure in order to hook you to hook you yet again in order to get you addicted to her yet again.

Borderline would use and leverage any contact with you to reintroduce you into the shared fantasy and your previous roles as the found of reality and the rock upon which she can stabilize herself and feel safe.

The narcissist hovers because there is an unsettled account.

The narcissist has an internal object that is mismatched with you as an external object now that you've broken up with the narcissist.

So he needs to hover you just in order to balance the books, to close the books, to re-idealize the internal object and then devalue and discard you properly.

As you see superficially on the surface, narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder have many things in common.

The false self, the shared fantasy and so on.

But the etiology and the psychodynamics involved in all these are dramatically different.

They both the borderline and the narcissist maintain reality testing.

They are embedded in reality.

They derive information from reality.

They function in reality sometimes very well again for example in their careers or workplace.

But they impose on reality a fantasy defense intended to accomplish highly specific goals.

So these are narrow fantasies, laser fantasies.

The case of an analysis, regulation of sense of self-worth and resolution of early childhood conflicts via separation and individuation from a new maternal figure.

In the case of the borderline, the shared fantasy provides for total external regulation of her emotions, cognitions, moods etc. and deriving her sense of reality in existence from the constant object in her life, the intimate partner.

This way able to maintain an introject which represents him in her mind.

This in a nutshell, I hope I've answered most of your questions if not all of them.

Actually I've provoked many more.

It's an endless process, endless quest.

The human mind is by far the most complex object anywhere in the universe and we haven't even begun to scratch its surface.

Thank you for listening. I'll be on my way now.

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