Why the Emptiness in Borderlines, Narcissists? (Introjection Failure and Compulsive Introjection)

Uploaded 4/28/2024, approx. 29 minute read

You have been unfortunate enough to watch my previous videos are by now acquainted with the fact that there is an emptiness inside the borderline in the narcissist, where a self should have been, or an ego, or a person, there is absolutely nothing. A void, a black hole.

And this raises the interesting question, which very shockingly has never been tackled in literature. What gives rise to this emptiness? Why do borderlines and narcissists end up eviscerated, hollowed out, shells, envelopes with nothing inside? Why this absence pretending to be a presence? How come borderlines and narcissists have failed to become, to develop a full fledged self in the case of the narcissist or an ego, and to develop the ability to self-regulate in the case of the borderline?

This emptiness is all-consuming. It gnaws at the borderline and the narcissist from the inside. It threatens to take over. It is metastatic, like cancer, like a miasmic cloud of darkness threatening to engulf and compass the entire landscape.

The narcissists and the borderline spend their lives fighting this emptiness in a variety of dysfunctional ways, non-adaptive or maladaptive strategies, desperate attempts to pretend that they are rather than that they are not.

And this is a topic of today's video.

What gives rise to this horror-like movie, Emptiness, this corridor with howling winds which leads nowhere and includes nothing and no one? What is the etiology? What is the cause of this emptiness? How does it emerge and how does it replace normal processes of personal development, growth and becoming?

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Loyalty and Narcissism Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CEOPS, Commonwealth Institute of Advanced Professional Studies.

Okay, later in the video, I will elucidate some of the terms I'm about to use. Right now, I will give you headline knowledge. I'll go much deeper as the video progresses.

So, in my work, which is an extension of the work of giants such as Könberg and Seinfeld and many others, Sullivan and many others, in my work, we are all born with an empty schizo-it core. We are all tabula-gasa, we are all a blank slate upon which life, an external environment and the internal environment collude to create who we become, to create us to form an emergent core identity.

But we are born empty. We are born as a field of potentials.

I have a similar theory in physics, by the way. I believe in potentials.

We are born as a field of potentials.

Now, these potentials are there and in general, in this sense, I concur. I agree with later stage object relations schools in the United Kingdom. I think we are born with the potential for an ego in multiple ways or multiple egos, if you wish. We are born.

So, the potentials are there. But whether these potentials will be actualized, are actualized, and how they are actualized is determined by circumstances, by genetics, and by brain functioning.

So, we are all born the same. We are all born with an empty schizo-it core.

And this is existentially threatening, this feeling of non-existence, of absence.

The initial response to this is what used to be known as the symbiotic phase.

The child, the newborn, the baby merges, fuses with mother, becomes one with mother. Actually the baby is unable to tell the mother's separateness, externality, and distinctness. Distinction.

As far as the baby is concerned, he is one or she is one with mother. Mother, baby, world, all one, a unitary entity.

And so this is the symbiotic phase.

The baby compensates, tries to offset the emptiness inside by incorporating mother and incorporating the world and becoming one with mother and with the world.

That way, the emptiness is suppressed or repressed or negated altogether.

Later on, as the baby grows up and matures, the baby learns to tell the difference between itself and mother.

This is a major traumatic event. The realization that baby and mother are not one and the same organism with two heads, maybe. They are not a unitary entity, but they are two separate things.

The perception of separateness and externality of mother is the very beginning of object relations, of the ability to other people, other in capacity, the ability to realize that other people are not you, that there is a boundary where you stop and other people begin or vice versa.

This starts with mother.

And when the baby realizes that mother is not him or her and the baby is not mother, there's a major trauma. And to offset this trauma, to somehow cope with it, the baby introjects mother, the baby internalizes mother, identifies with mother, introjects mother, and then incorporates mother.

In plain words, the baby takes a snapshot of mother, like a still photograph, and then internalizes this snapshot.

The baby converts mother into an internal object. Henceforth, mom, mommy is always with baby, even if mother is gone physically out of the room, or is absent emotionally or otherwise, there's always a representation of mother in the baby's mind.

And this creates something called object constancy.

As I said, I will deal with all these concepts a bit later.

Let's summarize, let's recap the first stage.

The first stage is the baby is born, the baby is born. It's an empty schizoid core, a blank slate, a tabula rasa.

The baby compensates for this sense of not being this sense of negation, this sense of annihilation. I am not.

The baby compensates for this by becoming one with mother and with the world. This is known, or used to be known, as the symbiotic phase.

As long as baby is one with mother and mother is one with the world, baby is one with the world, and there's no emptiness. We are the world, as the words of the song go.

This is the first attempt at compensation, the first attempt to offset, offset the harrowing effects of the internal void, threatening, spreading, metastatic as it is or might be.

And then there is a trauma, a major schism, a break in the unitary world. The child of the baby realizes that he or she is not one with mother. Mother is a separate entity. Mother is external. Suddenly there's a perception, a growing perception of the externality and separateness of mommy and later on of other people.

And this is the othering, the capacity to other. This is a major trauma because suddenly baby finds itself all alone, all by itself. Mommy is gone and with mommy, the world, everything and everyone is out of the grasp of the baby.

The baby is totally, existentially isolated. It's a solipsistic feeling.

And then again, the baby comes face to face with the internal emptiness, with the void that is the core of the baby.

And this is something the baby cannot countenance or tolerate. So the baby moves on to the next compensatory stage, next stage of compensation.

The baby introjects mother. It's a very long process with four stages. I will go into it a bit later.

But in principle, the baby converts mother into an internal object and then carries mother with it. The baby carries mother with him, with it. Wherever the baby goes, mother is no longer out there, separate, external, capable of abandoning the baby.

But mother is inside the baby's mind now, introjected. She is in here. Baby carries mother wherever baby goes.

And this creates something called object constancy. Object is another word for people. The first primary, most important object is the mother.

Object constancy, mother is constant. Mother is always with me. Mother cannot abandon me.

Why? Because mother is in here, not only out there, but in here.

And this is this introjection process and incorporation process.

That's compensation, a compensatory mechanism in order to cope with the ominous threatening presence of the absence, the void, the emptiness, the black hole inside.

Now, mind you, these are all make-belief processes. That's why they are compensatory. They're not real.

In the symbiotic phase, the baby is one with mother and one with the world.

And that's of course not true. It's counterfactual.

In the second phase, the second solution, the second strategy is introjection.

Mother is not only out there, but mother is in here, says the baby.

So mother is always with me. That's of course also self-deception, a form of make-belief.

So these compensatory mechanisms are counterfactual and in many ways delusional.

But they are absolutely necessary in the first 36 months of life because they allow the baby to develop relationships with other people which are perceived by the baby to be safe.

They create a secure base. The baby feels confident enough to interact with other people, starting with mother, by using these self-deceptive mechanisms of introjection and so on.

Baby is actually interacting with the internal objects that represent the external objects out there.

Baby does not interact with people. He interacts with the representations of these people in his mind.

It's a very useful boot camp. It's a kind of drill or exercise that the baby can carry on or carry out without any adverse consequences if he were to fail or choose the wrong person to interact with.

So this is very crucial in the first 36 months of life.

Between 24 months of life and 36 months of life, there is a process known as separation and individuation.

Baby separates from mommy, becomes an individual, begins to have object relations with real people.

This is what happens to healthy human beings.

In the case of the borderline, there is an introjection failure. For some reason, the borderline is unable to transition from the symbiotic phase to the introjective phase. She's unable to introject. She has introject inconstancy. She creates internal objects that represent people out there, but these internal objects dissipate and fade almost instantly whenever the external object is not present physically.

So the borderline is incapable of maintaining avatars, snapshots, images, representations of people in her life which she finds meaningful and significant because she's unable to maintain this photo library. She's unable to maintain the snapshot. She's unable to maintain the internal voice. She's unable to maintain the internal object that represents this person in her real life.

And so inside her mind, there are fleeting images of other people and they immediately convert themselves into smoke and mirrors. They immediately disappear into wisps of evaporated representations.

So there's nothing there. There's an inner emptiness. The borderline is unable to introject and because she fails to introject efficaciously and because of this introjection failure, because of this inability to maintain object constancy, introject constancy, sorry, she is... she comes face to face with the emptiness.

To remind you, the healthy baby, the normal baby, populates his mind or her mind with internal objects, avatars, representations of meaningful, significant people like mother, like father, like grandmother, later on like some peers and so on. These internal objects which represent external separate objects, people out there, these internal objects create a kind of noise or interactions which mask, camouflage, disguise the emptiness.

Gradually, as the child learns to interact with real external objects and so on and so forth, the emptiness is subdued to the point of vanishing or at the very least is relegated to the unconscious.

With the borderline, there's a problem. She fails to internalize people. She fails to introject. She fails to maintain a constant memory, if you wish, representation of people, real people in her life. She can't keep maintain their representations in her mind. She fails to remember them, if you wish, colloquially speaking.

So this introjection failure and consequent introjecting constancy give rise to her sense of emptiness. She feels empty because there's nobody there. She's not there and nobody else is there because she's unable to maintain a library or a compendium of avatars, snapshots of other meaningful people in her life.

So nobody's there. It's totally empty. Her solution is, of course, to outsource her inner landscape, to outsource the regulation of her emotions and moods and everything else to an intimate partner, to a special friend, to a favorite person and so on and so forth.

We are not going into this. So what gives rise to the feeling of emptiness in the borderline is her inability to introject efficaciously. It's a failure in the introjection process.

Why does this happen? What's the problem?

It happens because of hereditary reasons. Borderline personality disorder is hereditary.

There are brain abnormalities that have been identified in multiple rigorous studies. And there is a fear of introjecting. In the mind of the borderline, introjection is perceived as a kind of Trojan horse, a fifth column. People in the borderline's life, a mother, his father, people in the borderline's life are perceived as enemies. They are persecretary objects. They are not friendly. They are abusive. They are traumatizing. They are imposing. They are demanding. They are critical. They are hateful. They are not safe. People in the borderline's life, as a child and as an adolescent, are not safe. So she is afraid to bring people into her mind. She is afraid to introject them. She is terrified. Who would want to have an enemy inside his mind or her mind? If your father or your mother or your peers or your teachers hate you, abuse you, traumatize you, ridicule you, humiliate you, shame you, attack you, threaten you, terrorize you, etc. Why would you want to introject them? Why would you want to bring them into your mind and perpetuate and perpetrate these atrocities? You wouldn't, wouldn't you? You would block them out.

Sointrojection failure in the borderline's mind and life is a confluence of hereditary or genetic predisposition, brain abnormalities, which render the borderline a bit paranoid and persecretary delusions and so on, and real life, trauma and abuse or mistreatment or shunning and social exclusion and so on, so forth, which disincentivize the borderline to introject.

The borderline has an incentive to not introject these people. And so gradually, introjection is a muscle. It's use it or lose it. The borderline loses it. She's unable to introject. So she remains empty.

Remember that in the healthy baby, in the normal course of personal development, introjection is the second strategy. It's a compensatory strategy. It allows you to populate your mind with other people so that you don't feel alone and you don't feel empty. And later on when you have real relationships with external objects, with people out there in reality and this conforms and resonates with corresponds to the internal objects, you feel whole, you feel safe, you feel complete, you feel at ease, egosyntonic. And this, of course, defrays, alays, represses and supplants the emptiness and the emptiness is gone.

Not so with the borderline. Her mind remains empty because she's unable to bring other people into her mind. She's unable to introject. It's like an empty space. Nobody's there. The borderline is not there. Nobody else is there. So emptiness in her case is an outcome of introjection failure.

But how would we explain emptiness in the case of the narcissist? The narcissist is a master of introjection. The narcissist introjects everyone. He converts everyone into internal objects and then he assimilates them and he continues to interact with these internal objects.

If the narcissist mind indeed is so overpopulated with people or representations of people, why would the narcissist feel empty?

Remember the following. Introjection, incorporation, interjection, incorporation. That's the mechanism that the baby uses in order to fight back, to block, to repress the menacing perception of the inner emptiness.

The baby is terrified by the inner emptiness. So the baby brings home many, many people, many strangers who become internal objects. And so he brings home mother, father, teachers, peers and so on.

The baby populates his mind or her mind with so many avatars, so many representations, so many snapshots, so many introjects, so many voices that the emptiness is forgotten. It can be safely ignored. It's no longer empty. It's full of people. It's populated. It's like when you're sad or when you're really frightened of something, you want to talk to someone. You want to talk to a friend or you throw a party and then during the party you forget your troubles.

So it's the same thing. The baby throws a party and invites to the party everyone, mommy, daddy, everyone comes to the party and stays trapped, locked inside the party as an introject. That's a healthy phase of development.

What happens to the narcissist? He remains stuck at this stage.

Narcissism is compensatory but also infantile, whereas the borderline never reaches the stage of introjection. Her attempts to introject fail. She has introject inconsistency. Narcissism, the narcissist, remains stuck at the infantile stage of compensatory introjection.

So the narcissist fights off his or her inner emptiness by ceaselessly introjecting, interjecting and incorporating everyone all the time. He can't stop. He's like a demented baby who keeps interjecting all the time because he's terrified to stop introjecting. The minute he ceases to introject, he comes face to face with an emptiness. The emptiness that threatens to swallow him, to digest him, to assimilate him, to negate him and to eliminate him. He's terrified of the emptiness so he's introjecting all the time.

In this introjection, this ceaseless, compulsive, over-introjection masks the emptiness compensates for it.

So we have two diametrically opposed situations. The borderline fails to introject because she fails to introject. Her emptiness remains intact and active. Her emptiness abreacts if you wish, is very active.

To compensate for this, to fight it somehow, to cope with her internal emptiness, the borderline latches onto external objects. Because she cannot maintain internal objects, there is introject inconsistency, the borderline is very focused on external objects as a countermeasure to the emptiness, as a way to fight the emptiness.

So the borderline resorts to external objects to fight the emptiness and the narcissist resorts to internal objects to fight the emptiness. They're both engaged in fighting the emptiness in this battle, in this cataclysmic, cosmic war against the void, the black hole that threatens to consume them.

Only they have adopted different strategies.

Since the borderline has failed as a child or as a baby, as an infant, to introject, she uses objects, external objects, to self-medicate against the emptiness. Her objects are constant. Her introjects are not.

So she learns to rely on objects. She uses objects such as the intimate partner, special friend. She uses objects to regulate her internal environment, her moods, her emotions, and even her cognitions, and to create a semblance of fulfillment. She is not empty. She is full. She is overflowing. She is not devoid of a core. It's just that her core is external. She outsources her core identity. She derives it from her relationships with the outside.

We call it identification failure.

I will discuss it in a minute. This is the borderline solution.

The narcissist solution is exactly the opposite.

The narcissist solution is to continue to introject the same way a baby does.

The narcissist is a baby.

So it continues or she continues to introject all the time.

And as the narcissist introjects, the narcissist populates his or her mind with numerous avatars and snapshots.

And there's a party going on.

And as long as a party is going on, the drama, the shared fantasy, idealization, devaluation, discard, separation and individuation, it's a full-time job to be a narcissist.

The emptiness is forgotten. The emptiness is forgotten, suppressed.

These are the two strategies.

The borderline strategy is public facing, outward, external object oriented and involves object constancy and introject inconstancy.

The narcissist strategy is inward looking, involves internal objects, ceaseless or constant introjection.

The narcissist is introject constant but object inconstant.

These are mirror images of the solution.

And the emptiness in the case of the borderline arises because of the inability to introject.

And in the case of the narcissist, the emptiness arises because of the inability to generate object constancy, inability to integrate, to integrate bad and good aspects of people and to trust people to be there on a constant basis.

Emptiness though precedes the borderline pathology or the borderline personality organization. It precedes the narcissistic pathology or the narcissistic personality.

It precedes them.

We are born with this emptiness. That is the primal existential condition.

Emptiness, we are emptiness when we are born.

And then emptiness compels us and propels us to reach out to other people. Our relationships with other people, the relational aspect of the formation of the self, our need to engage with other people, object relations.

This is because of the terror, the existential terror of the emptiness. It is the emptiness that drives us towards other people.

We are born with this emptiness because we need to fulfill it. And we fulfill it with self or a sense of self or ego, whatever you want to call it, and with relationships and representations of other people and the existence of other people.

Our entire life is a constant attempt to flee, to ignore, to repress, to battle, to win against this knowing, lurking, threatening emptiness inside us, which is our only true persistent core.

Everything else in our lives is compensatory. Everything else is an attempt to repress. Everything else is a form of dissociation.

That applies to all humans and to psychology in general.

Borderline personality and narcissistic personality are simply failed attempts to cope with the emptiness, dysfunctional lifelong strategies.

Now I want to clarify a few of the terms that I've used.

Object constancy is a feature of object relation theories. It's the ability of an infant to maintain an attachment to an external object. And this attachment to an external object is independent of whether the external object gratifies the baby or frustrates the baby.

So this is a higher level, higher level of personal growth and development.

The baby gets attached to an external object, not because the external object somehow gratifies the baby, but because of higher needs.

So there's a cognitive capacity to perceive the external object.

And the first external object, the primary object, is the mother. So there's a capacity to the baby develops cognitive capacity to perceive the external object as existing.

That suddenly the baby comes face to face with the fact that existence is discrete, discrete units. There's mummy, there's the baby, there's others, there's the world, and we are not one and the same. They're not one and the same. It's not a single unit. It's not a unitary entity. It's broken. The world is broken. It's a major trauma.

And so there is this cognitive capacity to conceive of other people's existence, mother at the beginning. And then when mother is out of sight, physically, when she's away, she's out of the room or whatever, baby is able to maintain mother's image inside his or her mind. Mother exists even when she's not there physically.

Similarly, baby is able to integrate mother. Mother has positive qualities even when she is unsatisfying, frustrating, or even rejecting. And mother has negative qualities even when she caters to the baby's needs. Pampers the baby in some way, satisfies the baby.

So the baby is able to integrate the positive aspects and the negative aspects of mummy and he sees mummy as an object that exists, that is outside the baby, separate, is external. And baby then creates an image of this object, an internal object that corresponds to the external object and maintains this internal object in his or her mind.

And from that moment on baby feels safe and secure because mummy is not going anywhere. She is here. Even when she is not in the room physically, she's still here with baby.

Baby becomes attached to the mother herself, to the external object because it's safe. When she's away, there is a substitute inside the baby's mind. So it is safe to get attached or to bond with mummy as an external object and not only in order to reduce tensions or anxieties.

The baby gets attached not only to what mother gives the baby, it gets attached not only to the food, it gets attached not only to the physical touch or it gets attached to mother.

Of course, as you immediately see, the narcissist remains stuck at a much earlier phase.

The narcissist gets attached not to you but to what you are able to give him. Narcissist is not interested in you, cannot perceive you as an external object. He perceives what you give him, sex, services, supply, safety. Whatever you give him is what bonds and binds the narcissist to you, which is a very early phase in infancy. It's when the baby still doesn't have object constancy and he's attached to the satisfaction and gratification that mother gives but not to mother herself.

Later on, the baby is able to integrate mother. He feels safe to attach to mother and he gets attached to mother and not to what mother has to give him.

Mother comes to exist continuously for the infant, not only during instances of need satisfaction. This investment by the infant is a specific libidinal object, in a specific libidinal object like mother. This indicates that they no longer find people to be interchangeable. Baby is able to tell itself mother is unique. There's only one mother and I'm getting attached to her. None of this is available to the narcissist.

The narcissist is stuck at a very early phase of interjection and never ever matures beyond it.

So the narcissist is not able to perceive you as interchangeable. He perceives you as a mother figure but he doesn't perceive you as unique and he doesn't perceive you as who you are but as what you are capable of giving him, the gratification or satisfaction element. That's why I keep saying that narcissists are two years old and not six years old or nine years old as many self-styled experts try to say to clean.

Okay, there are four mechanisms involved in the interjection process and all of them fail, most of them fail in borderline and in narcissism. Borderline and narcissism are failures of these mechanisms.

Let's start with the internalization.

Internalization is when an entire relationship is internalized, not a specific object but the relationship with the object.

So baby has a relationship with mother, he internalizes or incorporates the relationship within his budding nascent psyche and then baby reproduces the external relationship as some kind of intra-psychic phenomenon.

Baby reproduces the dynamic of the relationship which is external between baby and mother. He reproduces it inside himself as a relationship between internal objects and this is known as internalization.

The baby internalizes the relationship with mother as for example a relationship between elements of the ego. The baby internalizes the relationship with father later on after age three or four years old as a relationship between the super ego and the ego. Between self and other, internalization is not the same as interjection.

Internalization is an internal representation, internal representation of an external relationship. Internal objects interact with each other replicating, imitating and reflecting a real life external relationship.

The second mechanism is known as interjection.

Interjection generally is when an individual unconsciously incorporates aspects of external reality into the self. It could be any aspects, attitudes, motivations, values, qualities or traits of people, personalities of people and so on and so forth.

So interjection is a general term for taking the outside world and bringing it into the inside world and making it a part, an inseparable integrated part of the internal world.

In psychoanalytic theory, interjection means when the baby absorbs the qualities of an external object into the psyche.

So what the baby does, the baby creates an internal object which represents an external object and then attributes to the internal object the qualities of the external object.

There is a mental representation, an introject of the external object which is a clone of the external object, a replica. And this internal object affects everything. It affects emotions or affects cognitions and above all it affects behavior.

This is a totally normal part of development. We interject parental aspects mainly at the beginning mothers and later fathers, anything including values and attitudes.

For example, when you when you interject values you form the super ego. Interjection is very healthy but when you remain stuck on interjection is the exclusive mechanism of interacting with other people. The only way to allay and negate the emptiness inside you then you are a narcissist because people grow, evolve and mature beyond interjection.

Rather than interact with internal objects, they start to interact with external objects.

Now one could argue that the internet for example pornography is driving us back to infancy because it encourages us to interact with internal objects, images on the screen rather than redrill people.

There's a debate for another time.

The third mechanism is known as identification.

Identification clinically speaking or technically speaking is a defense mechanism. It's when the individual incorporates aspects of an object inside themselves, inside the self or the ego whatever you want to call it because the individual is anxious, anxious to lose the object or because the individual has a bad relationship with the object.

So there's an external object and the individual somehow reacts with anxiety to that external object because the external object threatens to abandon the individual or to dump the individual because the external object is hostile because the external object is indifferent whatever the reason may be.

When there is such an anxiety one of the defenses against the anxiety is called identification. The individual becomes the external object. The individual incorporates aspects of the internal object inside himself, his ego, himself whatever you want to call it and becomes in effect the external object.

That's why we call it identification.

And finally there is incorporation.

In psychoanalytic theory incorporation is a fantasy defense. It is a fantasy the one that someone, the baby has ingested the external object, somehow swallowed it. You have it a lot in fairy tales where all kinds of giants swallow people and so on.

So incorporation is swallowing people. You ingest people. You ingest an external object and it feels present in your mind and in your body as a foreign object not exactly as you but there's daylight between you and this ingested object to some extent.

And it happens very early on in childhood. It's an early form of identification and introjection.

Okay so these are the mechanisms.

Now we must distinguish when there are dysfunctions in this mechanism for example in borderline there's a dysfunction in introjection. Consequently there's introject inconsistency and consequently there's emptiness because the borderline cannot populate her mind with introjects. So there's emptiness there.

So the borderline resorts to external objects to fight the emptiness and this gives rise to something called an eclitic personality.

In eclitic personality it's personality whose development is focused on feelings of powerlessness, fear of abandonment, with regard to interpersonal relationships. And if the personality fails to develop properly, if we end up having a borderline personality organization, an eclitic personalities result in psychopathological dependency.

So this is the line of personalities, borderline, co-dependent, and so on.

An eclitic personalities.

And an eclitic personalities are the outcome of introjection failure.

Similarly when there's too much introjection, over introjection, exaggerated, compulsive introjection, we end up having introjective personality.

Introjective personality is a personality whose development is focused on the outside, on achieving not the outside in, in the sense of external object, but on feedback from the outside on achievement evaluation.

And when this kind of personality fails to develop properly, this results in feelings of worthlessness, failure, and psychopathological self-criticism.

So this is why the introjective personality prefers to rely on introjects.

When you rely on internal objects, when you are dependent on objects that are inside your mind, you're actually self-dependent or self-sufficient. You don't need anyone and no one has the power to hurt you or to harm you because it's all in your mind and everyone is in your mind and there's nobody out there and this is what the narcissist does. He over-introjects all the time as a way to avoid the pain and hurt and threats of the external environment which feels to him hostile and unsafe.

But this is just a mechanism that masks, disguises, camouflages the emptiness inside the narcissist. It's not real, it's a fantasy, it's fake, it's false, a false self.

With the borderline the solution is to resort to external objects.

So this creates dependency, powerlessness, fear of abandonment, learned helplessness and so on and so forth.

This is the root of the emptiness in borderlines and in narcissists and they react to this by somehow manipulating internal and external objects.

The borderline fails to create internal objects so she's over-reliant on external ones. The narcissist fails to recognize external objects so he's over-reliant on introjection and internal objects. It's as simple as that.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the dynamics of intimacy in relationships involving narcissists and borderlines. He explains how both parties fear intimacy for different reasons and engage in behaviors that undermine it. The discussion delves into the ways in which borderlines cope with abandonment and rejection, including avoidance and self-trashing. Additionally, Vaknin explores how both narcissists and borderlines push each other to abuse them, providing an excuse to break up and start over.

Why Narcissist Can't Love (with Daria Żukowska, Clinical Psychologist)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of love in relationships involving individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). He explains that narcissists are incapable of genuine love due to their cognitive style, fear of vulnerability, and internalized negative self-image. Vaknin also delves into the emotional impact of being in a relationship with a narcissist, highlighting the complex grief and trauma experienced by victims. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing early warning signs and maintaining assertiveness and boundaries to avoid entering such relationships.

What Happens When Narcissists Meet Each Other or a Psychopath?

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of the uncanny valley, which is the discomfort people feel when encountering a narcissist. He explains how different types of narcissists interact with each other and with psychopaths, highlighting the immediate and distinct reactions that occur. Vaknin suggests that these interactions can serve as a litmus test for diagnosing personality disorders.

How To Talk to Narcissist, Borderline, OCD (with Joan J. Lachkar)

The text is a conversation between Sam Vaknin and Joanne Yuta Lachkar. They discuss the dynamics of narcissistic and borderline relationships, the impact of early childhood experiences, and the role of countertransference in therapy. They also touch on the topic of affairs and their effects on individuals.

Borderline vs. Narcissist Idealization Fantasies

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the differences between the borderline's shared fantasy and the narcissist's shared fantasy. He explains that both borderline and narcissist have similarities, but their internal psychodynamics are very different. The borderline has empathy and overwhelming emotions, while the narcissist lacks emotional empathy and experiences only negative emotions. The shared fantasies of the borderline and the narcissist are also different, with the borderline having a variety of shared fantasies and the narcissist having a simpler, maternal-based shared fantasy. Both types of individuals end up in a victim role, leading to a cycle of idealization and demonization in their relationships.

Pandemics: COVID19 and Daddy Issues in Borderline-Narcissist Couples

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and borderline narcissistic couples. He addresses misconceptions and misunderstandings about COVID-19, such as confusing case fatality rate with mortality. He then delves into the dynamics of borderline narcissistic couples, where one partner is a narcissist and the other is a borderline. These relationships are characterized by power struggles, punishment, and emotional turmoil, with both partners fulfilling critical functions for each other, but ultimately being better off without each other.

YOU: Dead Inside or Self-sufficient?

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses how self-sufficiency is often mistaken for pathological behaviors and traits. He explains that true self-sufficiency is self-sustaining, involves firm personal boundaries, and a stable sense of self-worth. However, people often confuse self-sufficiency with behaviors exhibited by narcissists, psychopaths, and individuals with borderline personality disorder, who are actually dependent on others and exhibit counter-dependency. Vaknin emphasizes that these individuals are not self-sufficient, but rather empty and devoid of a true sense of self.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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