YOU: Trapped in Fantasy Worlds of Narcissist, Borderline

Uploaded 3/21/2023, approx. 2 hour 13 minute read

Can you believe the weather? Where is global warming when you need it? It's bloody cold here and it's the end of March.

I'm going to sue someone up there.

Okay, Shoshanim, welcome back to my garden.

Today we are going to discuss the fantasy worlds of the narcissists and the borderline.

Both the narcissists and the borderline have very rich and detailed fantasies which they inhabit.

They rarely venture out of the fantasy and when they do, it's for a very short period of time and just in order to return.

Additionally, both of them have false selves.

Yes, breaking news, borderline, people with borderline personality disorder also have a false self. Everyone is false and everyone is selfish.

This is the world we live in today.

To introduce myself, a prop of false and selfish, my name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism, who visited a former visiting professor of psychology and a current professor of finance, etc.

I want to read to you a poem which I think captures to a large extent the narcissist's experience of his own being.

The narcissist is dead. He just doesn't know it. His body is yet to catch up with his soul or, shall I say, long lamented soul.

Okay, okay, I don't believe in souls. Of course, I don't know what is a soul. I cannot define it.

But you know what I mean. There's an emptiness there. A void. A corridor with howling winds leading nowhere. A hole of mirrors.

Yes, the narcissist is a deserted, abandoned carnival grounds. Pieces of paper floating in the wind sepia color.

This is the narcissist.

Let me read to you a poem. It's titled "Not Waving, But Drowning." It's written by Stevie Smith. Nobody heard him, the dead man, but still he lay moaning.

I was much further out than you thought. And not waving, but drowning. Poor chap. He always loved larking, and now he's dead. He must have been too cold for him. His heart gave way this, they said.

Oh, no, no, no. It was too cold always. Still the dead one lay moaning. I was much too far out all my life. And not waving, but drowning.

That's a narcissist.

The narcissist appears to be waving, attracting attention. But actually, he's drowning.

So today's lecture focuses on borderlines and narcissists.

And I ask myself a simple question to get it started.

What is the main driver of narcissism? What is the main driver of borderline?

And I've reached a conclusion or a suggestion that there are two forces at play.

The first force is the need to be seen.

And the second force is what is called internalization.

Narcissists want to be seen. It is true that they want to be seen because they need narcissistic supply, which helps them to regulate a sense of self-worth, etc.

I can heap additional insights on this. I can analyze it to death, my death at least.

But that's not the point of this lecture.

At the core, narcissists simply need and want to be seen. They are waving because they're drowning. They need and want to be seen, not the way healthy people do.

Everyone wants to be seen, but they need and want to be seen compulsively. They can't help it. I don't know what's going on with my computer. The phones are changing size.

No, I haven't drunk anything yet. It's my first of the day.

So they want to be seen compulsively. They can't help it. And that's why I use the word drive or urge.

In Freud's work, drive is a compulsive thing, something that you can't control, something that you need to develop personality constructs in order to contain.

And that's why we have, for example, the superego in Freud's work.

I repeat, you have the superego.

Super ego contains the id, contains it, I mean, limits it, holds it back.

The id is a drive.

Originally, by the way, the id was the drive to have sex.

But it's a drive.

And that's why we have the superego.

There's a level which is compulsive, some place inside you, the dark side, that is utterly out of control.

People develop as they ageconstructs or structures superimposed on the drive in order to contain the drive.

And this is a good description of narcissism.

It's exactly what happens in narcissism.

You would develop a need to be seen if you're not seen.

And then you would develop structures to contain this need so that it doesn't get out of hand to sublimate it, to render it socially acceptable.

If as a child you're not seen, if as a child no one pays attention to you, you're neglected, abandoned, your mother is selfish, depressed, absent, sometimes physically absent.

In other words, if your mother is what Andrei Green called in 1978, a dead mother.

Dead is a metaphor.

Your mother got sick. She went to a hospital for a few months.

I don't know if you're not seen as a child, this would become a lifelong compulsion for the rest of your life.

You would need to be seen. You would want to be seen.

Why is that?

Because to not be seen as a child is to risk death.

It's an issue of survival. It's a coping strategy, which is intended to guarantee survival.

The child tries to attract attention to itself because it cannot cater to its own needs.

It needs money to do this for it.

So the first force I've identified is the need to be seen.

The second force is what has already been identified in previous literature as a bad object internalization.

And I have several videos dedicated to this.

When you're told as a child, or it is somehow communicated to you behaviorally or otherwise, environmentally, or if you're embedded in a culture where this is common, where children are denigrated, humiliated, there are such cultures.

So if you're subject to any of these circumstances, whatever the case may be, you internalize the belief that somehow you are unworthy, insufficient, inadequate, broken, damaged on the verge of losing your mind, fragile, vulnerable, etc.

Somehow, if you are told repeatedly that you are bad, you would ultimately come to believe it, internalize it, identify it, and validate it by being bad.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. You internalize other people's view of you.

View of you as bad and unworthy. It becomes an inner conviction. You believe it. You adhere to it.

And so the bad object is about being unlovable.

The bad object revolves around this premise or message or signal.

You cannot be loved. You cannot be loved because you are inadequate, you're a failure, you're ugly, you're stupid. It's a message that parents send usually.

Parents can accuse you of being selfish, for example, by blackmailing you emotionally. Whatever the case may be, whatever the message is, you internalize it.

You end up internalizing. You internalize it because you can't contradict your parents. You need to validate it. You need to trust that they know what they're talking about.

And this happens at a relatively early age.

And to internalize a bad object, you need to be exposed to constant messaging prior to age six. These are called the formative years.

If you've been exposed to this kind of messaging before you've reached the age of six, you end up having an internal bad object all your miserable life.

And then you send out the message, "I'm worthless. I'm ugly. I'm stupid. I'm annoying."

This kind of child who has internalized a bad object and then seeks to validate it behaviorally, this is what we call borderline.

On the other hand, some parents ignore the child. They don't pay attention to the child. And the child feels somehow endangered.

And this developmental pathway leads to narcissism.

So these are two bad parenting strategies.

Donald Winnicott described what he called the good enough mother. He made a list on how to be a good enough mother. This list included both parental pathways that I've just described. And he prescribed them. He said they're wrong.

But the outcomes depend in large extent on this parental messaging, but also on circumstantial evidence on the environment. We'll come to it a bit later.

I'll summarize this sub-chapter.

If you as a parent ignore the child more, child tends to become a narcissist, wants to be seen. If you abuse the child more, child tends to become a borderline.

Sexual and physical abuse, we're more likely to end up with a borderline child.

Neglectful, absent parenting style, you're more likely to end up with a narcissistic child.

When we say that narcissists are the outcome of trauma and abuse, we actually are talking about parents who had refused to regard the child as a separate entity and therefore could not see the child.

How can you see something that is inside you, that is not separate from you?

You can't see someone unless you acknowledge that they're separate from you, that they're not you.

The very act of seeing someone allows them to separate from you.

The minute I see you, it means that I recognize you as separate from me, as an external entity, an external object, clinically speaking.

If I don't see you, if I just treat you as my extension or my internal object, my luggage, I don't allow you to separate.

This doesn't allow you to become your own person. There's no personhood.

This is intimately connected to a process known as separation/individuation, which I will discuss in a minute.

Imagine everyone around you pretended that you don't exist. Imagine everyone around you looks right through you. After a few minutes, you will begin to feel that you don't exist. You will begin to doubt your own existence. You will feel extremely uncomfortable. You will begin to look around. You will begin to try to engage in eye contact to force an interaction.

But if everyone conspired to not see you or to pretend to not see you, you will have become the invisible man. You would ultimately become invisible.

You have the experience of being invisible.

So the need to be seen has to do with two issues.

The perception of a threat to life as a baby.

You need to be seen. You need to be noticed because you need to be fed. You need to be sheltered. And much later in life, after age 18 months, the need to separate from mommy and to individuate, to become an individual.

By not being seen, you're not allowed to become.

Separation and individuation is a process that's been described by several scholars, Mahler, Melanie Klein, many others.

Any mother would tell you that this process is absolutely true. It happens. It's reality.

Separation individuation is when the child around age 18 months, and then much later is another lesson, by the way, second phase of separation and individuation.

The critical phase is 18 to 24 months when the child develops grandiosity, narcissism.

Jung explains how, through a process of introversion, the child becomes a big grandiose. And then armed with this grandiosity, the child feels that it is ready to take on the world, ready to explore reality.

The child undergoes a massive trauma when he realizes that he and his mother are not one, that they're not a single entity, a unitary entity.

There's a schism. There's a break. Suddenly the child begins to realize that mother is not him.

And then the child develops compensatory grandiosity.

Child says, "Okay, I'm not one with mother. I need to go out into the world and find my compliment, my completion. I need to become whole again. It's like after following amputation, it's a physiotherapy of the soul.

So we all spend the rest of our lives looking for the other half, the missing half.

Why does this happen, by the way? How come the child suddenly realizes that he and mother are two separate entities?

Because mother keeps frustrating him. He wants her to breastfeed him. She wouldn't. He wants her to stay in the room. She lives in the room.

The frustration comes from the outside. It's external. The more the child is frustrated, the more the child begins to realize that mother is not the same as him.

There's he and there's mother. How could he frustrate himself? Clearly someone is doing this to him. And this someone is not him.

There's a process of the breakdown of the universe itself.

So the frustration creates aggression and the aggression leads to splitting. Splitting is when the child attributes all good qualities to the mother or all good qualities to himself.

There's a debate among scholars.

At some point the child realizes, "Mother is not me. I am not mother. So maybe there are other things out there. Let's explore."

To take on the world when you are 18 months old, you need to be seriously grandiose. And Freud calls it primary narcissism. It's healthy narcissism. It stays with you for life. And this healthy narcissism is a foundation of your self-confidence and self-esteem. It allows you to regulate your sense of self-worth.

So it's critical for everyone to have healthy narcissism. Everyone should be a healthy narcissist.

In the absence of narcissism, at least a grandiosity component of narcissism, you would of course be terrified to leave mother. You would be afraid to leave your room. You would need to feel godlike in order to take on the world.

And if you fail in feeling godlike as a child, then you withdraw. You avoid life. You reject it and you constrict your world.

To say goodbye to mother and to seek the world, to seek out the world, this is personal development. This is growth. This is the separation phase.

The child bids farewell to mother and ventures out into the unknown. It's reflected in many folk days, in many mythologies and so on, where the son waves goodbye to his mother and father and embarks on a voyage. This is the separation phase.

But it never works if mother doesn't recognize the child as a separate entity. Mother needs to provide the child with a secure base.

A secure base means that a child goes out to the world and then comes back to mommy and is not punished for having dared to separate from her.

She can constrain him physically. That's a bad mother.

She can say to him, "Don't go. It's dangerous. That's a bad mother."

An anxious mother, for example, would find it very difficult to let the child wander off.

An narcissistic mother would feel injured if the child were to abandon her and interact with another person. A desperate mother would simply be there and hold on to the child because that's the only source of comfort she has.

So these kinds of mothers don't allow the child, their children, to separate. And their children never separate. And they remain embedded, fossilized, ossified in the unitary phase, in the symbiotic mode where mother and child are one. They're never allowed to separate.

When you're not allowed to separate, you never become an individual.

The precondition for becoming yourself, self, precondition for personhood is separating.

Separation, individuation.

And these are the two forces.

They need to be seen and they need to separate individually.

The need to be seen is relatively simple.

And consequently, narcissists are very primitive, two-state machines.

They seek narcissistic supply. They get it. They're happy. They don't get it. They're angry, depressed, and so on. End of story. That's narcissism.

Borderlines are much more complicated structures and creatures psychodynamically, I'm glad to say.


Because the bad object is internalized. It's introjected. The bad object becomes a part of the borderline. The bad object internalization means that you come to believe that you are a bad object. Other people are telling you that you are a bad object. You are worthy. You are failure. You are this, you are that. Negative things. Ugly, stupid, whatever. And you come to adopt this view of yourself.

Why would a child do this?

Because mother can never be wrong. At least when you are very young. If mother is wrong when you are very young, that's life threatening. Because mother could feed you the wrong thing. Or she could let you out in the cold. Or she could mistreat you somehow.

So mother must always be right. She must always be omniscient, allknowing. She's godlike.

When mother tells you something, for example, when mother tells you that you're ugly. Or stupid. Or bad. You have two options as a child. You can say mother is stupid, I'm not stupid. Mother is stupid. She's wrong.

But then if she's wrong about this, she might as well be wrong about giving you the wrong antibiotics or something. She might.

You can die. If your mother is stupid enough to misjudge you, she's stupid enough to kill you. You can't even contemplate this horror. You can't countenance this terrifying scenario. So she can't be wrong. You are wrong. She is rightand she is right about you being a bad object. You are the one who is defective and deformed. She is the one who is getting you right. Bad object internalization is a much bigger problem than the need to be seen.

There's a process called identification between the child and the bad object. They become one.

Narcissists do have a bad object.

But the way they cope with a bad object is very different to the borderline.

And I'll come to this a bit later when we discuss the narcissist and the borderlines.

Fantasy defense, gone awry.

Okay, so now we have a situation that we have two damaged children, two hurt and harmed children, types of children.

These are children who have been traumatized, who have been abused in a variety of ways.

Parentifying the child, for example, instrumentalizing the child, pedestalizing the child. These are all forms of not allowing the child to separate, not allowing the child to form boundaries, not allowing the child to interact with reality, not allowing the child to become his or her own person.

Personhood is denied.

So imagine we have two types of damaged children.

There are many other types, by the way.

For example, codependency goes, codependents go through a separate process, which I'm not going to write now.

Okay, let's focus on narcissism and borderline.

It's a good reason to believe that codependency is a mixture between narcissism and borderline, but we'll leave it aside.

All of these narcissism, borderline, codependency, they're all post-traumatic conditions.

You're beginning to see the rudiments of a unifying theory.

Imagine a family and the family has these two children.

The mother is a dead mother, metaphorically. Again, it's a phrase coined by Andrei Green. It's a mother who is not good, a bad mother.

Bad mother is a dead mother.

You have the good enough mother and you have the dead mother, in contrast.

A dead mother is a lie, physically, but she's not a mother. She's a very bad mother. She's absent.

So there are two children in this family. Both of them are damaged.

One of them becomes a borderline. One of them becomes a narcissist.

This is for simplification's sake. This never happens. Only a small minority of children develop personality disorders.

But for discussion's sake, imagine that in this unfortunate family, both children react psychopathologically, the psychogenesis of pathology.

The children choose different strategies.

Another reason for children to get traumatized is that parents don't treat their children identically. That's a myth.

Parents do have favorite golden children. They do prefer certain children to others. They do find certain children more difficult or palatable than others. They do reject certain children. They do adopt others.

And so it's very likely that one of the two children in this imaginary family would be neglected and abandoned and ignored and rejected.

Whenever this child tries to approach the parent, he would be shunned.

What about the other child?

The other child would be told that she's bad and hopeless and a failure and ugly and stupid and what have you, unworthy, ungainly, unsimly, you name it.

So there's one child who is ignored because he's not the favorite child. He's shunned.

And there's another child who is getting a lot of attention, but the wrong kind of attention. He's getting object attention.

So of course, these children exposed to different kinds of treatment or maltreatment would react differently with an adopt different solutions.

The child was about to become a narcissist. His solution would be to actually create a world where he is seen. He would solve the problem of not being seen by creating a paracosm, an alternative reality where he is seen. It's a compensatory reality.

In the imaginary environment created by the child, the child is seen. It's compensation for not being seen by the parents in reality. It is a form of self supply.

The child creates within the paracosm an imaginary friend. This imaginary friend later become the narcissist's false self.

And we are focused now on the proto- narcissist, the child who is about to become narcissist in adulthood.

By the way, all children, most children have imaginary friends. Children also have what we call transitional objects. It's a teddy bear, a pillow, a blanket with which they bond. They walk around carrying the transitional object with them.

The imaginary friend and the transitional object allow the child to experiment with relationships without the risk attendant on relationships. So it's a riskless training behavior, relationship training behavior. It's kind of object relations with inanimate objects rather than people.

So these children, they have a relationship with the transitional object or the imaginary friend. They experiment.

This is why dolls are very popular among girls, mostly, not onlybecause that way girls learn a lot about life. Everyone has an imaginary friend, but in the case of the narcissistic child, the role of the imaginary friend would be to see the child. The imaginary friend's gaze defines the child, imbues the child with a sense of existence. This would be the main role of the imaginary friend.

And gradually this imaginary friend, as I said, becomes the false self, is everything the child is not.

The false self is omnipotent, all powerful, omniscient, all knowing, perfect, brilliant, handsome, smartest. Everything the child is not.

This is the imaginary friend whose role is to see the child.

So this way the child solves a problem of not being seen within the paracosm, with this fantasy.

And from a clinical point of view, it's a fantasy defense.

The borderline also, the child about to become a borderline also creates a fantasy defense.

Both children decide to avoid reality because reality is unbearable, intolerable, too painful.

Reality is hurtful.

And also it's immutable, unchangeable.

How can you change an adult?

These children are powerless. They have no ability to affect the behavior of adults around them. They don't have self-efficacy.

So they're retreating to fantasy.

And the borderline fantasy is identical to the narcissistic child's fantasyin some respectsand different dramatically in others.

Both of them have an imaginary friend, both of them.

The narcissistic child's imaginary friend sees the child, observes the child.

The borderline's imaginary friend, which also later becomes the false self in due time, both of them end up with a false self.

So the borderline's imaginary friend kind of pats her on the head.

This imaginary friend tells the borderline, "You're a good girl if she's a girl. You're a good girl. I love you. You're safe with me."

And this is the initial phase of the formation of the false self.

So the narcissist's false self sees him, validates him with an external gaze.

The borderline's false self comforts her, soothes her.

Whereas the narcissist's imaginary friend is saying, "You're brilliant, you're great, you're wonderful, you're all-knowing." With the borderline, it's much less about being seen. It's more about self-soothing.

It's an identical developmental pathway, just the job description of the imaginary friend is different in both cases.

One of them has to notice the child, the other one has to comfort the child, to soothe the child.

Of course, you can ask, "Why as a child would you need to be comforted and soothed?"

Because being constantly told that you're bad, unworthy, a failure, and disappointment, it's dysregulating. You can't control your emotions, for example, your overwhelming sense of shame.

So it creates this regulation, and the role of the imaginary friendlater to become the false selfis indeed to regulate regulation.

When you're comforted, when you're loved, when you're soothed, when you're held, when you're contained, this creates regulation.

So the borderline learns to regulate her internal environment, her emotions, her moods, her cognitions. She regulates everything inside her, all her internal processes via the agency of the imaginary friend.

It's the same to a large extent with the narcissist as the psychoanalyst, Roschstein, has observed long ago.

The narcissist regulates, but not the same things as the borderline.

Borderline regulates mainly her emotions. The narcissist regulates his egoboundary functions.

Ego boundary functions are a series of functions carried out by the ego.

One of them is, for example, reality testing. Another one, a sense of self-worth, self-esteem.

The narcissist also regulates his anxiety. He uses the imaginary friend to regulate his internal environment.

Through the imaginary friend, both children learn that nothing can come from the inside. Everything comes from the outside. Everything comes from the imaginary friend.

These children don't know about projection. They don't know about defense mechanisms. All they know is they are soothed and comfort from the outside if they tend to be borderline. Or they are upheld, adored, adulated from the outside, and seen from the outside if they tend to become narcissists. So they're emptied out, these children. They're hollowed out functionally.

Nothing, no function is carried out internally. No process occurs internally. Everything comes from the outside. Nothing comes from the inside. Everything comes from within the fantasy.

The fantasy must include an agent, a third party, an imaginary friend.

So many scholars spoke about this, discussed this in terms of ego functions. Of course, there's no such thing as ego. No one caught an ego lately. No one spoke to an ego recently, unless you're a politician.

But the ego, albeit a metaphor, despite the fact that the ego doesn't exist, it's a useful metaphor.

Freud, Adler, many others, Adler emphasized aggression rather than sexuality, but all of them discussed this internal structure. All of them discussed the functions of the ego.

Ego is an internal thing. And the functions of the ego are also internal, but in the case of the narcissists, the functions are outsourced.

I mentioned reality testing, regulation of sense of self-foil.

Reality testing is the ability to perceive reality properly in a nuanced way and without too much deviation from the facts, not counterfactually.

You have to recruit initially an imaginary friend and much later external people, other people, to provide a reality testing.

So you don't do it from the inside.

Because as a narcissist, the child doesn't develop an ego.

Narcissists ironically don't have an ego. They are selfless. That's the irony. They're not egotistical because they don't have an ego.

Everything comes from the outside. It's like they're outsourcing their minds exactly like the borderline.

They recruit people the same way they had recruited the imaginary friend.

Sometimes they coerce people to provide these functionslike reality testing.

So this is the narcissist.

The borderline, if the borderline wants to know anything about reality, which is an ego-boundary function, so both of them, I want to be clear, the narcissist and the borderline, outsource ego-boundary functions and remain as empty husks, as vacuums, as voids, black holes embedded in a fantasy.

What does the borderline do when it comes to her externalized or projected or outsource ego-boundary functions?

For example, what does she do if she wants to have a reality testing, if she wants to know something about reality?

She refers to her intimate partner. She asks the intimate partner, "Is it real? Do you think so too? Do you share my view?"

And in the absence of an affirmation or confirmation, it won't be real. She won't feel real.

This is a process known as derealization. It's a dissociative reaction.

A narcissistin contrastwould ask you, "Am I not a genius? Am I not brilliant?"

It's a game-testing reality.

A narcissist wants to be seen, a borderline wants to be confident and soothed, but in both cases, they externalize, they outsource processes and functions which in healthy people are internal and are associated in the trilateral model associated with ego.

So they're going to ask people different questions, but these are all different questions with the same aim, to provide ego functions, including reality testing.

So, no healthy person would ask you these questions. No one would ask you, "Am I a genius?" Or, "Is this real?"

You know, if he's healthy, but a narcissist would.

A borderline would.

Do you agree with me? Did you just see this? Did this really happen?

You know, these are very common questions of a borderline.

It's exhausting because you become part of the apparatus. You become part of the machinery of regulating the borderline's internal environment or the narcissist's internal environment. You become an extension of these people, of their minds.

The narcissist uses you as an extension of his grandiosity, which is a cognitive distortion. The borderline uses you as an extension of a regulatory environment, external regulation. Left alone, the borderline is likely to become suicidal and the narcissist is likely to lapse into the equivalent of psychosis. They don't exist in the absence of other people.

In every possible psychological way, narcissists and borderlines don't exist without other people.

We're talking about a post-traumatic condition that has destroyed any vestige of core identity. They are non-entities. They are walking, talking, nothingness. They are absences, black holes.

I mean, we can use numerous metaphors and similes. They don't have a personality. We therefore can safely see that borderline narcissism are at the root of many other mental health issues. They are relational disorders. They also happen to be culture-bound, but only in the sense that narcissism is diagnosed more among men and borderline more about women.

So, gender bias and so on and so forth. But leave that aside.

Let's return to the fact that the borderline and more so narcissism is a disorder of absence, not a disorder of existence. It's an absence wanting to become.

If the borderline narcissists were to be isolated, most of the manifestations of their disorders would diminish or even vanish because their disorders are relational. There would be a total disintegration of the person. There would be psychosis, would be attempted suicide.

And of all the manifestations of borderline, behavioral manifestations would vanish, but not this.

So, the reaction to the absence of people, the reaction to the secession, the end of external regulation would be essentially self-annihilation.

They have to relate to someone in order to exist.

Even the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, they're largely relational in the alternative model of narcissistic personality disorder and the alternative model of borderline personality disorder, which are now incorporated in the text revision of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Even there, 80 to 90% of the text is about interactions with other people. There is no other such disorder except schizoid personality disorder.

Schizoid personality disorder is defined as someone who avoids other people even for sex, finds no pleasure in the company of people. It is also a relational disorder.

Indeedin the 1960s, the prevailing view was that narcissism and borderline are schizoid disorders. That's why everyone was saying Seinfeld, Genry, others, everyone was saying that both narcissism and borderline incorporate an empty schizoid core.

There are good grounds to believe that narcissism and borderline are manifestations of a deeper schizoid disorder.

In this sense, they have a lot in common with schizophrenia or psychosis as Kernberg himself had suggested decades ago.

There's a misunderstanding of schizoid mind. There's a behavioral description of schizoid personality disorder, which is something completely different.

A schizoid core is an organizing principle. Schizoid simply means that you had internalized a bad object and consequently failed to develop object relations also because you have never been allowed to separate and individuate. And you've chosen to avoid all objects. It's another solution simply.

And so narcissists, for example, go through many schizoid phases. When the narcissist doesn't get supply, he isolates himself. He becomes schizoid. Borderline is the same. They become loners. They become even asexual.

Major trauma, rejection, humiliation, abandonment. Borderlines go through a schizoid phase where they have no sex. They don't meet anyone. They become cat ladies or whatever, Netflix.

There are two dynamics, two developmental pathways that lead to narcissism and borderline respectively.

One is not being seen, being abandoned and neglected.

The other one is being abused and mistreated and told that you're a bad object.

In the first case, you develop narcissism.

Second case, you develop borderline.

Both types of children who are abused in early childhood develop, react with the fantasy.

Within the fantasy, they have an imaginary friend. The imaginary friend sees the narcissist, narcissistic child. The imaginary friend soothes and comforts the borderline child.

Eventually the imaginary friend becomes the false self and subsumes the child, becomes one with the child. And then the child resorts to other people in order to regulate his internal environment because internally he's totally empty. There's nothing there. Nothing is working. It's a dead space.

So the child needs to go out for regulation.

The borderline goes to her intimate partner in most cases in order to regulate her moods, her emotions and so on. The narcissist goes to other people to regulate his sense of selfworth, reality testing and so on.

And this is known as ego boundary function.


So now we have reached the age of six years old.

There are two damaged kids.

One of them is about to become a narcissist. It's a proto-narcissist.

One of them is about to become a borderline. It's a proto-bodeline. Both of them have evolved fantasies. Each one has a fantasy of his or her own.

In these fantasies there's an imaginary friend which will become the false self a bit later or a lot later, whatever.

The functions of the false self in the fantasies are different. I mentioned it and so on and so forth.

As these children grow up, remember, they've never separated from mother. This is a crucial fact.

These children carry their mothers with them wherever they go. The mother is internalized, introjected. The mother has become an internal object, a voice inside their heads. And they can never get rid of the mother except with decapitation.

No, no, it's a joke. Bad joke.

So when these children grow up, they begin to develop object relations.

In other words, they begin to play with peers. They begin to notice members of the opposite sex or the same sex according to emerging sexual orientation and so on and so forth.

Here they are, empty inside, with mother here, an introject, a voice that controls them, and about to begin to interact with people outside.

And so this creates a mess. They begin to develop gender differentiation. Some of them become boys. This is socially and culturally determined. Others become girls.

And object relations means that the child is beginning to be exposed to other people, real people, real people, not imaginary people.

The child starts to have interactions with people out there, could be peers, teachers, neighbors, I don't know, begins to be forced into the world. There's no way to avoid the world anymore. And this forced interaction with other people changes the nature of the fantasy.

Why isn't the fantasy sufficient when other people are involved?

Because other people push back. They provide input and feedback. They provide countervailing information. Other people disagree with you, I don't know, criticize you, mock you, bully you, put you down, reality intrudes, reality refuses to collude with the fantasy. You need them to make a choice as a child.

So you're still a child, may I remind you, about age six.

Now exposed to the world, a world which does not collaborate with the fantasyeven undermines it, challenges it.

You need to make a decision.

You're this is a child that has been abused, traumatized, created a fantasyand within the fantasy, there's an imaginary friend. And the imaginary friend sees the child and comforts, sees the child if the child is a protonist system, comforts the child of each other as a protonborderline regulator.

So now the child is thrust into reality.

Reality doesn't comply, doesn't collaborate, doesn't constitute, doesn't pedestalize, doesn't idolize you, doesn't idealize the child.

Reality is brute and harsh and nasty.

What to do?

Piers are cruel, teachers are insensitive, neighbors are overbearing.

So it's a problem. It's a problem to maintain the fantasy in the face of all these incursions, all these invasions, all these violations of boundaries, the boundaries of the fantasy, huge amounts of energy go into maintaining the fantasy in the face of this encroaching reality.

At some point, a compromise needs to be struck because the child is faced with two alternatives, giving up on the fantasy altogether and integrating with reality or retreating into the fantasy altogether and giving up on reality. Neither option is either palatable or even possible.

The child cannot go fully into reality because the child never separated from his mother. The child has never become, he's never emergedlike from a cocoon, he's never become a butterfly. He cannot go into reality fully because his internalized mother, the mother, introject, won't allow him to separate.

Every time the child tries to venture out into reality and to become a part of it, the mother introject prevents the separation.

Some of you may be vaguely acquainted with the concept or notion of conscience.

What is a conscience?

A conscience is an introject.

You want to steal something. There's a voice, the voice tells you, "Don't do it. It's bad, it's wrong. Don't steal it."

So the mother introject is the same, same like the conscience.

You want to separate, you want to develop friendships with real people or with peers. You want to go out into the world, you want to be absent for two days, you want to go to a party, attend a party, you want to sleep over in some.

The mother introject says, "Don't do it. It's wrong." Exactly like your conscience.

Conscience is an introject, it's an internal object.

Inject is a representation of your mother in your mind. It's an internalized mother.

It's like a small, small, mini, mini motherbut very influential, very powerful, margaret toucher kind of inside your mind.

She talks all the time. All mothers do, outside your mind as well.

But she definitely talks all the time inside your mind.

The mind is populated in my work, in the footsteps of Philip Rommberg, the mind is populated with self-states.

One of the self-states is an interject.

So each interject is a self-state.

Your mother's representation, your father's representation, influential peers, teachers, role models, they all create representations in your mind, avatars, and these are all self-states.

They provide moral guidance, behavioral guidance and so on.

So mind is populated with these people who have been significant in your life.

And these interjects talk to you all the time. These are the voices that you hear when you're doing something wrong or when you talk to yourself, when you consult with yourself. When you ask yourself, "Should I do this?" The interjects answer you.

So you have a population of interjects. I refer you to my video on IPAM, the intra-psychic activation model. I'm much more precise there.

It's not exactly the interjects. The interjects are linked to specific self-states via constructs.

But for simplification's sake, in this particular video, I'm going to discuss the interjects as if they were self-states because they inform the self-states.


You have a population of interjects.

Most of them are unconscious. But interjects are ego-conquering. You perceive them as part of yourself.

You perceive these voices as you.

You don't say, "Wait a minute. It's my mother who is talking to me now." You say, "I feel that I am talking to myself now."

In therapy, for example, one of the main things we do, we distinguish between authentic voices and disinterjects.

Interjects create automatic thoughts and so on.

Again, go to the video about IPAM, I-P-A-N.

Okay, so there's an internal space. And there are self-states, which are internal objects. And the internal space is populated with internal objects. And these internal objects, which are self-states, are connected to interjects.

Interjects are representations of meaningful others in your mind.

Your conscience is another interject.

So we have behavioral scripts, sexual scripts. These are all forms of internal objects.

Self-states themselves are internal objects.

Sometimes you're narcissistic. Sometimes you're psychopathic. Sometimes you're empathic. These are all self-states, and all people have self-states.

The selection of which self-state will take over at any given moment in any given environment is not random. It's determined by the environment.

When the environment provides you with information, cues, these cues trigger the self-states.

If you find yourself among criminals, for example, you will have a psychopathic self-state coming out.

So there's an assemblage of self-states.

These are not like alters, in multiple personalities or dissociative identities. The self-states share memories, share resources and assets.

For example, they intellect. They have common databases. They are not dissociative. They are associative, not dissociative. These shared databases are what we call databases, or what we call identity.

Anyhow, one of the shared databases is the database of memories.

So all self-states share memories.

Another database is your emotional repertory of emotional states. Another database is your cognition.

And so these are the databases, and they're shared by all the self-states.

Anyhow, the concept of personality, a unitary self, is antiquated, counterfactual, and very German, if I may say. It's hierarchical, it's disciplinarian.

You can see a very specific culture reflected in it.

Alsounfortunately, it's wrong. Any psychologist would tell you, it's wrong.

Simply there's too much money invested in the idea of self.

Any psychologist, therapist, would tell you it's nonsense.

No one has a unitary fixed immutable core or self. People are like a river, they're not like a pond. They're self-states, not.

So everyone in self-states has healthy people, sick people, pathological people, but with a narcissist.

And we are coming now full circle back to the narcissist and borderline.

You remember that before we digressed to discuss self-states and introjects and so on, we said that narcissists and borderlines regulate from the outside. They don't have internal regulation, they have external regulation.

And so they resort to other people.

And there is a delicate and intricate interplay between introjects inside the narcissist and inside the borderline and input of feedback from people outside, like the borderline's intimate partner and the sources of narcissistic supply.

So and we will discuss these interactions in detail a bit later when we delve into the rudiments and the elements of the fantasies of the narcissist and the borderline, respectively.

So now the child is exposed to other people and other people don't treat the child as mommy and daddy do.

And so reality intrudes, it's harsh.

The child has two choices.

He can get rid of a fantasy or he can get rid of reality.

But these choices, of course, are imaginary. He doesn't have these choices.


Because he cannot make this choice. The child cannot choose reality because to choose reality means to be an individual, to make decisions as a separate entity that can venture out.

But these children, both the proto-narcissist and the proto-borderline, these children cannot go out to reality because they have had a mother that didn't allow them to separate. And they have a mother introject that tells them, don't go out to reality. It's wrong. Don't separate from me. It's a form of emotional, internal emotional blackmail.

If you separate from me, I will die. If you separate from me, it proves that you're a bad object, you're a bad boy, you're a bad girl. If you separate from me, you will fail. You will never succeed because you're ugly, you're stupid, you're inadequate, you're not skilled, you're not talented, you're not qualified.

There's a voice inside you. There's a voice inside this children.

And it's the mother's introject that tells them, don't ever separate from me. How can you go out to reality if you're not separate from me?

You can't.

The answer is you cannot.

So the child doesn't really have this choice of dispensing with fantasy and choosing reality.

On the other hand, the child cannot maintain the fantasy in its pure form because the fantasy is constantly attacked by realities.

Too much information that the child has to suppress and deny and repress and frame. It's a full-time job. It's a bloody mess.

The child can't simply can't do it in the long term.

Creates dissonance.

When the child is finally exposed to object relations, to other people, to reality, this creates in the child a nonce dissonance. And the dissonance is ongoing every second of every minute or every hour of every day.

This is an intolerable state because dissonance creates anxiety.

So the proto-narcissist and the proto-borderline, they have a fantasy and they maintain this fantasy only for as long as they have not been exposed to other people.

Fantasy worked perfectly. Then they're exposed to other people and they transition into a phase of anxiety, overwhelming anxiety because this fantasy is not working anymore and they can't choose reality over the fantasy.

And of course, anxiety, which is a form of frustration, creates aggression. They don't dare to externalize the aggression. They should be angry at mommy. It's a bad mother. She'll be angry at daddy much later.

But they can't be angry at daddy. They can't be angry at mommy. It's not legitimate. It's also a bit dangerous when you're six years old.

So they internalize the aggression and they become depressive. This is actually described in Melanie Klein's work. She called it a depressive phase.

But she attributed all these phases to a much earlier stage, the first two years of life.

She said there's a depressive phase and then there's a schizoid phase and so on and so forth.

So I've done, I've taken Melanie Klein's work and I've kind of stretched it. I stretched it to fit much later stages in life.

I think these phases can be attributed not only to specific, highly specific humans in early life or early childhood, but well into the end of the formative years.

It's definitely true when we come to narcissistic borderline and borderline disorders and pathologies.

Narcissistic and borderline pathologies, the child never grows. The child remains stuck at age 18 months. We used to call it arrested development.

In narcissistic and borderline disorders, the child is 18 months forever.

So Klein's model remains equally fixated, remains equally valid and active forever. Child goes on now to an anxious depressive phase because of this inability to get rid of the fantasy or choose reality.

And what's the solution?

You ask. Don't you ask?

Ask what's the solution?

The first thing the child does, it fortifies its defenses.

The child becomes defensive, feels under attack.

The imaginary friend, which has had very few functions, very well defined and was a kind of friend. This imaginary friend is now separated from the child.

When you talk to the child, the child describes the imaginary friend as someone out there, sometimes with its own name, physique and so on.

The child doesn't say the imaginary friend is me. Child says, it's out there. I'm talking to it.

So nowhaving become defensive under the onslaught of reality, the child moves closer to the imaginary friend to the point of merging with the imaginary friend, fusing with the imaginary friend.

The child subsumes the imaginary friend, becomes one with it.

It's a defense because the imaginary friend is God. It's a private religion in effect.

The child is creating a primitive religion and the Godhead of this religion is this imaginary friend, which now subsumes the child or vice versa. They become one.

Now, we know that in primitive religions, people made human sacrifices, right?

The child comes to the imaginary friend and says, you're God. I want to be God also. So I'm going to worship you. I want to sacrifice myself to you, human sacrifice. And then I'm going to become one with you.

When you look at primitive traditions, when there was a war, warriors used to eat the bodies of prisoners of war. They used to eat the liver. They used to devour the heart. These warriors believed that the qualities and properties of the prisoners of war are transferable, can be transmitted by consuming their internal organs.

If they were courageous by eating the heart, they would become courageous by eating the liver.

Sothe child, by sacrificing his body, because in his mind there's a picture of a body like a map. So by sacrificing himself, the child acquires the properties of the false self, exactly like the warriors.

The warrior eats the heart of a courageous dead warrior and becomes courageous. The child sacrifices himself to the false self, becomes one with the false self. So he acquires the properties of the false self. He disappears.

And that is the true self. The true self disappears. Up till this moment of human sacrifice, the child had existed. Up to the anxious depressive phase, the child made a clear distinction between himself and the imaginary friend.

And now the child says, "I'm under attack. There's an invasion. I'm terrified. Reality is after me. I don't know what to do. So I'm going to disappear. I can't survive in reality. It just can't be. I will not be. "

And I must become something else.

How am I to not be? How will I accomplish this? How will I disappear and reappear? I will not be or cease to be by becoming one with my imaginary friend. I will merge and become one with my imaginary friend and I'll sacrifice myself to this God and this God will subsume me and become me. I will become this God. I will become individual, unitary entity. I will disappear outside this God and reappear inside it.

The minute the child does this, he actually solves the problem.

Because as a false self, the child is above reality. Everything that reality has to throw at the child is irrelevant to a God. It's a God, you know?

I don't think this God pays attention to what reality has to offer or what reality has to offer. I mean, who cares about reality when you're God? God doesn't take offense. Everyone is annoying, like ants. Everything is a nuisance, but not much more. Or not even a nuisance.

Reality is nothing to a God.

The main function of the new self is to devalue reality. We're beginning to see the origins of idealization, devaluation, the cycle.

The child idealizes, when the child is exposed to reality finally, the child idealizes the false self and simultaneously devalues reality.

And it's religious. It's a religion, but for grandiose reasons.

So the child says, "Now I'm God. Now I'm divine. He idealizes the false self.

And by implication, himself.

And it devalues reality, which is exactly what he's going to do for the rest of his life, also and mainly with his intimate partners.

He's going to idealize himself, idealize himself by idealizing his partner.

And this is known as co-idealization.

And then he's going to devalue his partner because she represents reality.

The narcissist partner is an external object. The narcissist partner is part of the world that is attacking the narcissist. Part of reality.

And reality doesn't see the value of the narcissist, the true worth of the narcissist, the superiority of the narcissist.

Reality doesn't accept or realize the divinity of the narcissist.

And you, the intimate partner of the narcissist, you are reality's agent. You are the representative of reality in the narcissist's fantastic court.

So he devalues you.

All the dynamics, all the dynamics that the child goes through are replicated in future relationships.

For example, the child cannot separate from his mother. So he doesn't allow you, his partner, to separate from him.

The narcissistic children don't do separation.

The child idealizes the false self. So he idealizes you in order to idealize himself, of course.

The child then devalues reality. So he devalues the partner because she is a part of reality.

These cycles last till the very end of life.

So now the child has found a solution.

By the way, borderline and the narcissist, both of them adopt essentially the same solution.

They both have a false self. They identify with the false self. Everything is fine and dandy for a while.

The borderline is regulated because the false self she has identified with is soothing, a soothing, comforting God. It's a loving God. It's a New Testament God.

The borderline is God is a New Testament God.

The proton-narcissist is identified with a false self, became one with a false self, and his false self is an Old Testament God.

It's punitive. It's harsh. It's demanding, but it's also superior, perfect, omniscient, omnipotent, etc.

These are the attributes of the Old Testament God.

That is overt grandiose narcissism. It is not an accident that we have a New Testament and an Old Testament.

Now so the two children, the proton-narcissists and the proton-bout borderlinehave found a solution.

They merge with the false self. They became divine. As divine entities, they are not amenable to reality's attacks and incursions.

The fantasy remains intact.

They become gods.

Reality has been devalued.

The God is idealized.

They feel great. They feel comfortable for a while.

But the problems start soon thereafter.

It starts becauseat some pointlife itself makes demands.

Life intrudes, not reality. Life in general, or not only reality, but life in general.

The child I know has to graduate school, go to the army, find a job, exigencies of life. They interpose. They impose themselves on the narcissist and the borderline.

There's no way to avoid life. Even if you seclude yourself, become a hermit, and isolate yourself in a room. There's no way to avoid life. The pizza delivery boy, I don't know, images on television, a bird perching on your ledge. There's no way to avoid life.

So a new solution is required.

Let's start with the protonarcissistic child.

Whenever the protonarcissist attempts to make a transition, I don't know, start a new job, begin to study something, as a new friendship.

The mother interject with inside the mind of the protonarcissistic child, or adolescent, the mother interject keeps warning, keeps warning.

Do not separate. Do not be autonomous. Do not be independent. Do not develop agency.

And this hampers. This obstructs the child's self-efficacy. This hinders the child's ability to act in and on the world in order to extract beneficial outcomes.

The mother interject is obstructive. It's self-defeating.

The protonarcissistic child, on the one hand, is hemmed in, constrained, imprisoned, shackled by the mother interject. On the other hand, he has this self-perception as a god because he has merged with the false self, which is godlike.

So which is it to be? Is he his mother's slave, or is he the god of all worlds?

Again, a gap opens.

This time, it's a performative gap, a functional gap, not an informational gap because the first gap, when confronted with reality by playing with peers and so on, there was an informational gap mostly.

Now it's a functional gap.

Now your actions, the actions, define the protonarcissist.

Whatever the protonarcissist does, there's a sense of failure, a sense of being an imposter, an imposter syndrome.

So there needs to be another modification to the fantasy, a new solution.

Each time the fantasy is modified, the narcissist never ever chooses reality.

The mother interject is too strong inside the narcissist.

The only thing the narcissist can do, he can modify the fantasy, where mother has no domain to which she has no access.

The fantasy is a refuge from the mother interject, a subterranean world, the railway underground.

So now the narcissist modifies the fantasy to incorporate a mother figure.

Suffice it to say, and now we move on to the borderline.

Borderline is faced with the same predicament she has to modify her fantasy.

Similarly, she encounters difficulties when she faces life demands and vicissitudes. She is not comforted anymore. She's not soothed. She's not regulated. She has no inner peace. She disregulates emotionally. She has mood lability and so on.

So the fantasy is no longer working for the borderline. She needs to modify the fantasy as well.

Similar to the narcissist, the borderline never chooses reality. She never transitions to reality. She modifies the fantasy.

But in contrast or contradistinction to the narcissist, there is a twist.

The borderline's fantasy is object centered. The narcissist's fantasy is introject centered.

Don't you just hate these clinical terms that mean nothing to you and just display my irreducian grandiosely? Ten dollar words and not a single penny in sight.

Okay, let me accommodate you and explain to you what's the difference between object and interject and why the borderline's fantasy is centered around objects and the narcissist's fantasy is centered around introjects.

Okay, when the borderline is forced to modify her fantasy, what she does, she finds someone out there. This someone out there, her intimate partner usually, it's a kind of liaison to reality, a bridge to reality, a representation of reality. It's a real person. It's blood, flesh and other unmentionable parts. It's a real person. She finds someone out there and his job is to provide her with reality testing. He becomes her reality.

If you talk to the borderline, I will tell you he's my life. He's my world and he is. It's not just saying, you know, he is.

Intimate partner is the borderline's life. Intimate partner is the borderline's world.

She finds an external object, someone outside herself. This person is out there.

So this is known as external object. She finds him and then she relegates to him. She passes on to him.

All the functions inside herself that conflict with the fantasy, he, she passes on to this person all the regulatory functions.

The fantasy is supposed to stabilize the borderline, supposed to regulate her.

So now she's dysregulated. It means the fantasy is failing and the borderline cannot afford this failure. She will disintegrate, fall apart.

If she comes to believe that the fantasy had failed, she will commit suicide.

The minute the borderline reaches a point where her fantasy had failed her and she cannot modify it and there's no way to fix it, she commits suicide.

That's about 11% of borderlines.

So luckily the majority do succeed to modify fantasies efficaciously.

So the borderline cannot accept that the fantasy is failing.

So what she does, she takes everything inside her, all the internal processes that conflict with the fantasy and she hands them over to a partner, to an intimate partner.

So she says to the partner, she tells the partner, listen, I'm dysregulated. Please regulate me. Please regulate my emotions. My moods are up and down. Please stabilize my moods.

She tells the partner, please change my internal processes so they don't conflict with the fantasy so I don't have to get rid of the fantasy.

The borderline annexes the partner. She appropriates the partner. She swallows the partner. She internalizes him. She assimilates him. The same way she had merged previously with a false self, she now merges and fuses or tries to atleast with an intimate partner.

It's very similar to the process of creating the false self.

The borderline and the narcissist merge with the false self. They are swallowed by the false self, consumed by the false self.

Now the borderline tries to do the same to the external partner.

It's a concept that's very difficult to understand. What does it mean? What does it mean to assimilate? What does it mean to merge and fuse and to become one?

By the way, these processes are prevalent co-dependency as well.

The borderline is a fantasy. The fantasy is I am the false self, therefore I'm God or God-like. Therefore I can regulate myself. It's God, I can stabilize myself. It's God, I can have inner peace. It's God, I can function perfectly and so on.

So these are the God-like attributes of the borderline.

It's not the same God-like attributes of the narcissist. It's a grandiosity of a different kind.

Okay, so the borderline's fantasy is it's okay, it's okay, I can regulate myself, I don't need anyone, but it doesn't work. It's all working.

She keeps getting dysregulated. She has mood lability falling apart. It's bad.

And then there's a nagging doubt. She starts to ask herself, if I'm so powerful, if I'm so much in self-control and so put together, well put together, so why am I feeling so bad? Why am I dysregulated? Am I lying to myself? Maybe I'm not so God-like. And this is a forbidden thought.

If the borderline were to accept that she is not God-like, this would have life-threatening implications. It's death or God, nothing in between.

And remember again, that's not the narcissist's God. The narcissist's God controls external objects. It's an internal object that controls external objects.

The borderline's God is an internal object that controls her emotions, moods and so on.

But at any rate, neither the borderline nor the narcissist can contemplate the possibility that they are wrong, that their grandiosity is a cognitive distortion. It doesn't reflect what's really happening. They can't contemplate this.

If they do, they will fall apart. They will disintegrate. They will become psychotic or suicidal.

So the borderline finds someone, someone out there. And she says, "Listen, I'm at serious risk. My fantasy is not working. I don't know what's happening. I'm dysregulated. I'm leb on."

Can you please regulate me? Can you stabilize me? Can you comfort and soothe me so that I'm able to continue to maintain my fantasy?

Because then I'll be regulated. If you comfort me, I'll be regulated. If you soothe me, I'll be stable. I'll be comforted. And then I will have no problem to maintain my fantasy.

So the intimate partner becomes an extension of the fantasy, a figment of the fantasy, a driver of a fantasy, a facilitator embedded in the fantasy. He enters the fantastic space.

And together, the borderline and her intimate partner, they create, of course, a shared fantasy.

And this is where the concept of shared fantasy comes from.

The intimate partner colludes with the borderline in her fantasy.

Of course, some people faced with these inexorable demands, which tend to become stockish or, you know, they walk away. They say, "What the hell? I don't want this." And they just walk away.

But some people get trapped because it's very flattering to believe that you are the source of someone else's regulation. You're the one who makes them feel good. You have the power to make them feel bad. It caters to narcissistic elements, grandiose elements in intimate partners.

And by the way, covert narcissism is very close to borderline. The mechanisms are a bit different, but it's very close to borderline.

So some partners are amenable to the borderline suggestion. They accept their role in the fantasy. They become integrated in the fantasy. They become a fantasy element. They become a figment of the fantasy.

And in order for the partner to become a figment of the fantasy, the borderline idealizes him. She idealizes her partners. She kind of photoshops the partner. She changes the partner so he fits into the fantasy.

And from that moment, the partner regulates the internal environment of the borderline, which allows her to keep the fantasy. And everyone is happy until no one is happy.

Of course, narcissists, borderlines, they're never happy. Not for long at least.

Then she falls apart because there's a risk to the fantasy.

Ironically, this ostensibly successful solution, I will find an intimate partner. I will idealize him. I will make him part of my fantasyand then he will regulate everything.

So ironically, it puts the fantasy at riskbecause the borderline realizes the intimate partner will ultimately fail, ineluctably, inevitably. There's no way he will succeed because her demands are impossible, unrealistic.

The truth is that a few partners do succeed.

But then the borderline makes sure that they fail. And she makes sure that they fail because she has engulfment or enmeshment anxiety.

So the borderline has an abandonment anxiety because she needs the intimate partner to regulate. The intimate partner is the guarantor of the longevity and functioning of the fantasy.

But then the intimate partner gets too close for comfort. It gets to know her too well. He subsumes her. He consumes her.

And again, she experiences the trauma of disappearing. As a child, she disappeared into her parents. She was not allowed. She's not been allowed to separate and to become.

And now that she has an intimate partnerand she has outsourced her mind to the intimate partner, she feels that she is disappearing into the intimate partner, dissolving, merging and fusing. It's a reenactment of the early childhood trauma all over again. The child vanishes, disappears, not seen as a narcissist or cast as a bad object, counterfactually. Child is never allowed to become himself or herself.

And with the partner, the borderline has the same, the very same experience. The closer she gets to the partner, the more she develops engulfment, anxiety. The more the partner is adept at regulating the fantasy, managing the fantasy, the more she is at his mercy, the more they become one, the more she vanishes into him.

So this is known as approach avoidance, repetition, compulsion, push and pull. I hate you. Don't leave me.

These dynamics are preordained, predestined, immutable, incurable. These are lifelong dynamics.

Even when the borderline loses her diagnosis, about 81% of borderlines lose their diagnosis after age 45. She doesn't lose this.

She approaches the partner because she wants him to eliminate the processes in herwhich challenge the fantasy.

And then he does his job. He regulates her. He stabilizes her. He soothes her. He comforts her. He's constantly there.

And then she feels suffocated, trapped, disappearing, imprisoned, shackled, smotheredonce to run away.

In other words, the price that she feels that she's paying for the maintenance of the fantasy is too high. The price is not worth the price.

What's the price? Her existence.

She has to disappear.

Maybe the fantasy is left behind, like the smile of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.

So she says, what the heck?

I mean, okay, fantasy is nice, but I also want to be.

So she runs away.

The minute she runs away, the fantasy is threatened because her dysregulation kicks in.

And so she runs back and away and back.

The partner becomes an external regulator.

This is the borderline solution to the onslaught of life and its demands, which threaten the fantasy.

The main preoccupation of borderline narcissists is the maintenance of the fantasy.

Fantasy matters to these people more than anything, more than anyone, more than husbands, more than wives, more than children, more than money. Fantasy is it.

This is it. This is who they are. And this is what they do.

And this is what they want to be.

This is the borderline and the narcissist solutionsin this sense, in this sense, the narcissist and the borderline are no more. They're ephemeral. They became fantasies. They are rare, fight fantasies.

The borderline is simpler than the narcissist because she develops an approach avoidance with a partner and the partner regulates the borderline's internal world.

Essentially, that's where it stops.

She gets stuck in these loops for life.

The narcissist as usual, complicates things.

So the irony is this, the narcissist internal machinations are much simpler than the borderlines, but the borderlines external regulation in fantasy management are much simpler than the narcissist.

The last is complicatations.

When the narcissist goes out to life, his fantasy is challenged as well. And he needs to find a solution exactly the same way the borderline does.

This solution is actually fascinating.

The narcissist says, life challenges me. My fantasy is falling apart because I am not the core of my fantasy.

In some ways, the narcissist saysthe fourth self is not sufficiently differentiated. It's not really out there.

Let me try to explain this.

It's very difficult to understand.

But it this way, life is challenging. The narcissist sayslife is challenging. Life is attacking me. Life is contradicting me. Disagreeing. Life is exigencies, vicissitudes, difficulties, tribulations. Life sucks.

Why is this happening to me?

Because the fourth self is too close to mebecause we are one.

Remember that the narcissist merged with the fourth self, became one with the fourth self, and was accused with the fourth self.

Now all that's left is the fourth self. The true self has been sacrificed to the fourth self and nothing is left except the fourth self.

But the narcissist, as a child, is a bad object. He is an internalized bad object.

So what the narcissist is saying is this.

When I merged with the fourth self, when I became one with the fourth self, I brought with me my bad object.

I contaminated the fourth self. I dragged it down to my level before we became one, before we embarked on a unitary entity.

When the fourth self was out there, not me, he was God, it was God.

But when we merged, I dragged the fourth self down because I'm a bad object.

I'm unworthy, I'm inadequate, I am not disciplined.

So now the fourth self is compromised, infected by me.

What I need to do, I need us to break apart.

I need to unleash the fourth self, release it.

I need to render the fourth self not dependent on me.

How to do that?

Evidently, if the fourth self is dependent on the narcissist in some way, needs to be unleashed and released, then the fourth self is not God.

It's the narcissist's hostage.

So the narcissist has two reasons to let the fourth self go.

One, to remove the bad object from the fourth self, thereby purifying the fourth self and rendering it God-like again, immaculate.

And the second reason isby releasing the fourth self, the narcissist acknowledges the fourth self's deity, divinity.

Because as long as the fourth self is at the mercy of the narcissist, it's not a God and it cannot do its job.

Remember the role of the fourth self, the job of the fourth selfis to isolate the narcissist from realityand to do this, the fourth self must remain God-like.

How to accomplish this?



We're talking about separation.

The narcissist feels the need to go through separation individuation.

The fourth self in this sense is a kind of mother.

It's a parental introject.

Remember that in the previous phase, the child said, okay, the only solution to all the informationunpleasant information that the environment is providing me with, the information that challenges me, the only solution for me is to become one with the fourth self, to become God-like.

So I will sacrifice myself to this new God and I will become the new God.

But reality and life are unimpressed.

They continue.

The challenge, the breach, the invade, the humiliate, the answer to the child says, I must have done something wrong. That wasn't the right solution.

What have I done wrong?

Oh my God, he says, I'm a bad object.

I merged the fourth self with the bad object.

I brought it down.

I made it less than God, unable to protect me.

I need to restore the fourth self's divinity and the only way to do so is to separate myself from the fourth self, separate myself from God, allow God to be God, unadulterated by me.

And be known to the narcissist or the narcissistic child is trying to reenact the separation individuation, which remains uncompleted, incomplete with his mother.

Narcissist is trying to replay the separation individuation from the maternal figure.

The fourth self is a standin internalized maternal figure or parental figure.

So this time, instead of separating from an external object, which is mother, there's a separation from an internal object, which is the fourth self, but the fourth self has parental attributes.

The same way a child sees his parents when he's very young, you know, they're God-like, they're infallible, they are.

The narcissist sees the fourth self the same way.

So it's a parent.

Similarly, the protonarcissistic child merges with the imaginary friend, which had become the fourth self and renders the fourth self God-like.

And then he sacrifices himself like a human sacrifice and disappears into the fourth self, merges, becomes one with the fourth self.

And then life continues to challenge the narcissist.

Because now having done this, the child had become a narcissist.

Now he's a fullfledged narcissist.

But life continues to challenge the narcissist, continues to heme the narcissist lemons.

Narcissists are not very good at making lemonade.

Insteadthey just cut down the tree, mind you.

So the child needs to modify the fantasy yet again.

Poor child, poor narcissist.

The borderline has modified a fantasy, you remember?

The borderline modified a fantasy by introducing a reallife partner to regulate the environment.

Narcissist needs to modify his fantasy for the second and last time as well.

There are two modifications for the borderline and two modifications for the narcissist.

So second and last time for the narcissist.

To understand what's going on behind the scenes and why the narcissist makes the choice that he does when it comes to modifying the fantasythis time, we need to realize that idealization means divorcing reality.

When you idealize someone, it means you don't want the external object. You don't want the, you're rejecting the real object. You want an idealized version of the real object, which by definition is unreal.

It's a fantasy.

So when the child is a protonarcissist and idealize the false self, the child removed the false self from reality. The child divorced the false self from reality by imbuing it with ideal counterfactual, unreal attributes.

And then in this second phase, the child merged with a false self. They became one, but when the child had merged with the false self, the child brought the false self back into reality.

The child infused the false self with the child's own bad object.

The protonarcissistic child is a bad object.

So when he merged with the false self, the false self now is a bad object.

The child believes himself to be inadequate, broken, vulnerable, fragile, insufficient, stupid, ugly, etc., believes himself to be like that. He believes it's real.

In other words, the child believes that the bad object is real.

The child had idealized the false self and removed the false self from reality.

And then the child merged with the false self and brought reality into the false self in the form of the bad object.

He contaminated the false self with reality because the bad object is an element of reality.

And now the false self is no longer divorced from reality because it includes a bad object which is real and which used to be the child.

So the false self cannot provide a defense against reality because it had become a part of reality. It's compromised.

It is now in reality.

False self loses its power, loses its magical potency because it used to be divorced from reality the way God is divorced from the world.

And now the child brought himself, his very real bad object into the false self and rendered the false self real.

And now the false self is impotent, not omnipotent.

This is an urgent need to again idealize the false self, re-idealize it, to render it fantastic, not real.

Now you see why narcissists re-idealize people like you, objects in the hovering phase.

You see that all the internal processes in the narcissists are projected onto you and reflected in the relationship dynamics.

But this is not the topic of today's lecture.

So narcissists, okay, the false self is contaminated with my bad object.

I need to take my bad object out of the false self and this way re-idealize it.

But how to do that?

The child needs to take the bad object away, but how to do that?

He needs to separate from the false self.

He needs to extricate and extract himself.

He needs to purify the false self from the adulteration that he is.

That is he.

So the child needs to separate from the false self and by separating from the false self, from an individual in reality, still protected by a fantastic false self, a God, but an individual.

As long as the child is fully merged with the false self, the false self is helpless. It is helpless because it is hampered. It is obstructed by the reality of the bad object.

So the child needs to remove reality from the false self, remove the bad object from the false self.

The false self is all good. It's a God. It's all good. It cannot have a part of it which is a bad object. It was a bad mistake. It cannot have bad elements. It was a horrible mistake.

So the child immediately splits. It's a splitting defense. The child becomes all bad. The false self becomes all good. The child had contaminated the false self, rendered the false self partly good, partly bad. That's not God. What is partly good, partly bad? Partly is.

So the child needs to disentangle this, to undo this catastrophic mistake. He needs to separate from the false self and become an individual in reality.

And this is known as separation/individuation.

And that's the solution. It's exactly what the child does.

He separates from the false self and the child creates an individual.

But the minute the child creates an individual, all hell breaks loose. May him.

The mother interjects, intervenes.

What are you doing? Mummy says.

Are you nuts? Why are you separating? I told you not to separate. You're a bad boy. You're ugly, stupid, worthless, bad boy. You're separating.

Don't separate.

Now there's a conflict. There's a dissonance. It's extreme because if the child doesn't separate from the false self, the child is not protected from a reality that is life- threatening.

If the child does separate from the false self, the child is not protected from an internal reality that is life- threatening.

His mother interjects.

Either way, the child dies.

So what to do?

You can't win. If you separate, mother will kill you.

Or the mother interjects.

If you don't separate, reality will kill you.

External or internal? Death. That's your choice.

So what to do?

The solution is to find another mother, of course.

If this mother threatens to kill you, find another mother who will love you.

One mother tortures you, prevents you from separating.

Find another mother.

It's a child's reaction, by the way.

You know, a child would tell Mummy, "Mummy, I hate you. You're a bad Mummy. I'm going to find another Mummy." That's what children say.

And the child, the narcissistis a child, so his reaction is infantile.

He says, "There's a bad Mummy inside me. She wouldn't let me separate from the false self and render it godlike again, re-idealize it.

So I'm going to replace her. I'm going to find another Mummy. I'm going to find another mother, and this time, with this mother, new mother, I will negotiate acceptable separation and individuationbecause I need to separate from the false self, because I need to keep the false selfdivine and fantastic and pure and godly.

And all good. I need to do this. It's a must. I must preserve my fantasy. I must separate.

Sorry, Mummy. Sorry, original Mummy. I must separate.

So original Mummy, go away. I'm going to find another mother.

Because this mother inside my head is not a good Mummy. She wouldn't let me separate from the false self.

So the narcissist goes out, and he finds an intimate partner, a boss, a mentor, someone. Someone could be this maternal figure, the new mother.

Usually in the vast majority of cases, it's an intimate partner.

So the narcissist finds an intimate partner, and he coerces her. He forces her to become his mother. He needs her to become his mother so that he can separate from her and individuate safely. He needs to do it safely. He needs her to encourage him to separate. He needs her to help him to individuate from the false self so that everything is settled again and the fantasy is intact.

The false self is God. False self is all good, splitting.

And the false self is separate from the bad child, the bad object child.

So it's pure. It's immaculate.

Sothe child, the narcissist, needs a cooperating mother, a mother who is collaborative. He finds an intimate partner, and he says to her, "Will you be my mother? Of course he doesn't tell her, 'I'm about to separate from you and individuate from you.'" He doesn't even know it, actually. He doesn't realize all these dynamics.

They're mostly unconscious. It's not like the narcissist is sitting with a diagram and says, "Okay, I'm now in stage 443." It's not that cunning, not that skimming. It's not a psychopath. It's a child. It's a toddler.

So there's dissonance, severe anxiety, overwhelming, and so on. It's a kind of dysregulation, actually, and he needs to regulate himself.

He finds an intimate partner, and he converts her into his new mother.

How do you convert an intimate partner into your new mother?

For example, the narcissist becomes helpless. He relies on his intimate partner to do all kinds of things that usually adults do.

He suddenly is unable to cope, unable to perform. He needs to take care of him the way a mother takes care of a very small child, two years old.

And so the narcissist shoe- horns the intimate partner, forces her into the role of a mother.

Now that she's a mother, he's ready for the next stage, which is separation, individuation.

And to separate from her, he needs to devalue her.


To understand why he needs to devalue her, we need to go back.

I like to go back.

When the narcissist comes across a potential intimate partner, the first thing he does, he takes a snapshot of her. He takes a photograph of her, mental photograph, and he internalizes this photograph.

It's an introvert, in effect. He internalizes this photograph, and then he photoshops the photograph.

And this is idealization.

He idealizes the photograph.

That moment, she's ideal.

So because she is ideal and she's inside his mind, he is ideal. She belongs to him. She's an extension. She's his property. She's inside his mind. She is his mind. She's an internal object. She is ideal. He is ideal.

And this is co-idealization.

Stage one.

Stage two.

He converts this snapshot, actually, into his mother. Mother needs to be ideal.

Don't forget.

The reason narcissists idealize the photograph, and thereby themselves, is that mother needs to be ideal.

The narcissist at that point regresses, actually, to age 18 months. The mother needs to be godlike. I mean, the ideal mother, the perfect mother.

So he idealizes. He regresses to age 18 months, and the process starts.

He needs at some point, remember, to separate from her safely. He needs a reason to do that. He needs to tell himself some story. He needs some narrative.

No, I mean, why are you separating? He is idealizer. How do you explain to yourself separating from an ideal partner or ideal object? Sounds stupid, doesn't it? Why would you separate from an ideal partner?

Additionally, there's a problem here.

The narcissist has chosen this object. The narcissist, this involved judgment. It was a decision.

So if you separate from your intimate partner that you had chosen, that you had decided to make your intimate partner, you're wrong. You're wrong. You're less than all-knowing. You're less than omniscient. You're less than godlike. You've made a mistake.

If you want to separate from your intimate partner that you have selected, your selection process sucks. You're valuable. You make mistakes. You're a bad judge of character. You're less than perfect.

And so any fault of separating from the idealized partner, any such thought creates narcissistic injury. Narcissistic injury creates anxiety and it needs to reduce this anxiety.

How to do that?

By devaluing her.

It cannot devalue her as she is because she is idealized in his mind.

So he says, I will keep the introject. I will devalue her.

The introject is ideal. I've made no mistake when it comes to the introject. There's proof of that. Here it is. The introject in my mind is ideal. The introject is here.

So but what I can do, I can devalue her, the external object.

And so this leads us to the concepts of object constancy and introject constancy, which we'll discuss in a minute.


So the narcissist at this stage has a reallife intimate partner. Let's call it an external object.

Many as an internal object, which is a representation of this reallife partner in his mind.

Why not devalue the introject? Why not devalue this representation?

If he were to devalue the introject, he would have had to admit that the idealization process was mistaken and narcissists never make mistakesever. Admitting to have made a mistake would challenge a narcissist's grandiosity and undermine his fantasy.

So he cannot admit that there has been a mistake in the introjection process. He cannot admit that the snapshotting went awry or that the photoshopping was an error. He cannot devalue the introject for this reason, because it would create an internal narcissistic injury.

And there's another reason he cannot devalue the introjectbecause he never relates, never interacts with external objects. The narcissist relates only to internal objects.

The narcissist invests emotionally, cathexes, only internal objects. Narcissist interacts only with internal objects.

Get it? None of you existas far as a narcissist is concerned.

Your job was to create an impression, an imprint on the narcissist's mind, the snapshotand then your gone.

And he continues to interact with the snapshot.

He has fights, he has dialogues, he has debates and arguments with these internal objectsnever with you.

And he modifies these internal objects, not you.

Nothing goes on with the external object as far as a narcissist is concerned.

External object is a kind of nuisance or threat.

The external object deviates or diverges from the internal object.

It's a threat.

So if the narcissist were to devalue the internal object and then discard the internal object, he would develop an abandonment anxiety because he is emotionally invested in the internal object.

The narcissist is bonded with the internal object, is attached to the internal object, not to you.

Healthy people get rid of real life partners out there.

As far as a narcissist is concerned, his real life partner is inside his head, never outside.

So when he loses the external object, you, someone out there, is usually happygolucky and he moves on to the next partner with easeovernight sometimes.

He has no abandonment anxiety, nothing.

But if he were to lose an introject, your representation in his mind, he would develop severe separation insecurity, abandonment anxiety.

He would stop functioning.

It's almost psychotic.

I'm not the first to say this, kind of.

The narcissist inhabits compulsively the inside of his mind.

Narcissism is a near psychotic state.

Not narcissist cross into psychosis that narcissism is more stable than than psychosis because narcissists are emotionally invested in this stability, the cathect.

They don't allow to change the fixated.

It's not chaotic. It's ordered isrigid.

That's why narcissists are very bad at coping with changedevelopments and so onbecause they're rigid.

They're not reactive to the outside. They're reactive to representations of the outside in their minds and these representations are also fixated and rigid.

They're not flexible.

So this rigidity on the one hand renders them stable. They don't evolve into a psychotic state that often.

But on the other hand, it makes them extremely fragile.

Brittle, shall we say.

So there's a delicate balance between rigidity and fragility.

That's why we have covert narcissists where there is an imbalance.

As Adler said, there's a core of inferiority.

Narcissism is compensatory and rigid.

It's like having an exoskeleton.

Imagine that you have, you don't have an internal skeleton, but you have an external skeleton and it holds you.

Hold yourself.

All narcissism is compensatory.

We used to think differently, but in the last 10 years, we are beginning to realize that all narcissism is compensatory.

Even in the alternative model of narcissistic personality disorder in the text revision of the fifth edition of the DSM, narcissism appears to be compensatory.

Of course, the greatest minds like Kernberg, Kohut, Millard, they insisted that narcissism is compensatory.

The narcissist cannot get rid of the introject, cannot devalue the introject because then he will experience extreme abandonmentanxiety, because to his mind, the only real object is inside, not outside.

The outside is dispensable, interchangeable, fungible, it's commodity. You're a commodity, it devalues you.

And so he has an intimate partner. He devalues her. He gets rid of her by saying that she has changed the external object.

She's under the better influence of her friends.

She's, I don't know, her family is poisoning her. Something happened to her, is attributing to her some malevolent deforming change.

The introject, however, her introject, her representation in his mind is immutable and pure.

External object can and does change in the inexorable process of devaluation and discard, but not the internal object.

Devaluation and discard has nothing to do with the intimate partner.

I want this to be clear.

This process has to do with the narcissist need to separate and individuate from a substitute mother, which in turn is interjected in any case.

So it's totally, the whole thing is totally internal. There's nothing to do with you. Nothing the partner can do to prevent this because it's the only way to separate individually.

When this happens and the external object is devalued, there is a temporary problem because there is a gap opening between the external object and the introject.

External object is devalued by now. The introject is still idealized and this creates anxiety.

Even before the devaluation phase, when the object, with the external object deviates or diverges from the snapshot, when the intimate partner becomes independent or autonomous or makes her own decisions, goes on a trip, develops new friendships, is too close to a family.

She conflicts with the snapshot. She becomes autonomous. She has agency.

And this threatens the narcissist because the snapshot has to be preserved.

The ideal partner for the narcissist is an ancient Egyptian mummy in bed shape. Any Egyptian mummy would do though.

Narcissist is flexible on this.

So the minute there is a gap between the external object, which is basically starting idealized, sorry, external object, which is basically devalued and dynamic, and the internal object, which is basically static and idealized, discretes anxiety, dissolves an anxiety.

In the devaluation phase, the anxiety is maximal because the external object is devalued and the internal is still idealized.

There is a tension between these two, infinite tension.

So to resolve this, the narcissist halfheartedly attempts to hand over the introject to the external object.

It's a very interesting process to observe.

The narcissist tries to kind of match the introject to the external object.

He would tell his partner, you know, you've changed, but you're still amazing and unique.

Or he would say, he would make contradictory statements. He would say, I can't trust you, but you've always been my best friend. I don't know. You're a slut, but you're very pure.

This kind of contradictory statement is an attempt to hand over the introject, to match the introject with the devalued external object.

But it doesn't work. It doesn't work.

He can never do this. It's a doomed attempt because the minute he tries to hand over the introject, that minute, the narcissist experiences tremendous abandonment, anxiety, because his only real relationship was with the introject.

The introject is idealized. Why would the narcissist get rid of it? Who wants to lose an ideal partner, even if it's only a figment of your imagination?

So the narcissist begins to experience depressive symptoms, like hopelessness. He says, I will never find someone like that. I will never find an introject like that. I don't want to hand over this introject. It's unique.

So again, it is, you know, so it becomes depressive, it becomes anxious, abandoned and anxieties, and almost, and he stops. He withdraws the introject. He takes it back and he gets stuck with the introject for life.

And that explains hoovering. That's exactly the reason for hoovering.

As long as the introject exists in the narcissist's mind and there is an evaluated external object somewhere out there, already discarded, but still alive, there is this tension.

The narcissist at some point would try to match the two.

He's overwhelmed by the anxiety. He needs to do this. He needs to re-idealize the partner so that it matches, the partner matches the introject.

And this reduces the anxiety.

And this is hoovering.

Now all narcissists hoover all the time.

But not everyone.

And you could ask why.

If that's a general mechanism, why don't all narcissists hoover everyone all the time?

It depends crucially on whether the narcissist has found a substituted maternal figure that can be matched with the introject.

So the narcissist has a library of introjects.

If they find another intimate partner whose profile matches one of the active introjects, there would be no need for hoovering.

It's only when there are many active introjects with no counterparties or corresponding external objects that they would then, the narcissist would then default to some former lover or ex who tried to re-idealize her so that she matches the introject.

And now we come to introject constancy, a phrase I coined.

To understand what is introject constancy, I need to understand what is introject constancy.

I need to talk about object constancy.

When you talk about object constancy, you remember that the borderline, and in this there's also difference between narcissists and borderline.

So you remember that the borderline maintains her fantasy by finding an external object, a real person who helps her to regulate her internal environment so that this internal environment corresponds, matches the fantasy. The fantasy is unregulated, unstable. I have peace of mind. I'm happy. Therefore, I'm functional. The partner helps the borderline to be regulated, stable, happy with peace of mind and functional.

So the fantasy is intact. Everyone is happy and settled. To be able to do this, to allow the partner to function internally inside her, the borderline needs the partner's presence to be guaranteed and uninterrupted. She needs to have the partner present all the time, needs to be there all the time. But I mean like all the time, every minute. And as long as the partner is there, she trusts the partner to be there even when there are difficulties. And this is called object constancy. It's the belief or the conviction that an external object will remain in your life regardless of difficulties or friction, or that there is some bond or alliance or attachment which is stronger than any temporary setback.

So the borderline develops object constancy with her intimate partner, but she cannot maintain interject constancy.

Back a bit.

Every human being develops interjects, internal objects. Whenever people come across someone meaningful, significant, they develop an interject via interjection, internalization, identification. It's an automatic process. Whenever someone means something to you, you will create a representation of someone in your life and remain stuck in your mind. And that's an interject.

The borderline also develops an interject.

So when she finds an intimate partner, he becomes constant as an object, as an external object. And she creates an interject of him because he's significant, he's meaningful, he's useful. So there is an external object out there that she can trust to be there for her, present all the time. And there is an interject that she creates in the mind representing him.

She can maintain the constancy of the external object, but the borderline cannot maintain the constancy of the interject.

When the object, when the intimate partner is away, the interject of that intimate partner degrades, it fades.

In psychology, we often confuse object constancy with interject constancy. It is exceedingly clear in borderline because when the borderline is with her partner, he's definitely perceived as constant.

She treats him as a constant. She relies on him. She hugs him. She talks to him. She hangs on to him, to his every word. He's her life, he's her world, university, regulates her internal processes, he's her reality testing, he's everything, he's absolutely everything. Of course, he's always there all the time.

How would he not be constant and fulfill all this?

But the minute her partner leaves the room, she begins to doubt his existence and his presence in her life. The minute he leaves the room, his interject, his representation in her mind begins to fade, fray at the edges, degrade and pixelate to the point that it vanishes.

She has no representation of him in her mind. It's as if he has never existed.

She develops extreme abandonment anxiety because she cannot hang on to an interject.

This is not an interject. Only people, if I'm in love with someone and she would leave the room, I would still remember, I would hang on to the memory and to the emotions attendant attached to the memory. This memory is her interject. I would hang on to the interject, Ateeshi returns. She goes on a trip of two weeks.

It's not that after two weeks I will ask her, "Excuse me, who are you?" No way, because I hang on to the interject. The interject has maintained her continuity in my mind.

But if I were a borderline and she were to go on a trip for two weeks, the interject will have vanished. I wouldn't be able to hang on to anything. Her memory will fade. I wouldn't even remember how I felt. It would be very difficult for me to recall her face.

It's because the borderline's fantasy is object-oriented, outward-oriented, not inward-oriented. Borderlines are affected. They're emotionally invested in objects out there, not in interjects in here.

There's only a finite amount of energy. The borderlines use it outside while the narcissist uses it inside.

In healthy people the energy is divided.

But in pathological people with pathologies the energy is almost exclusive. In exclusive out or exclusive in.

For extremely intense all the energy will go out, all the energy will go in.

If it goes out your borderline goes in, you're lost.

So the borderline when she's with the object physically she does maintain object consistency.

The minute he goes or disappears or travels, I don't know, she anticipates abandonment and rejection. He doesn't pay her attention. He's on the phone for two hours.

The interject degrades. His avatar, his image in her mind falls apart. She has nothing to hang on to. She feels abandoned. She develops enormous anxiety.

That's why borderlines are clingy and needy. That's exactly the reason because they need to go to the external object to help them to redevelop the interject, to reintroduce it, to reconstruct it.

The borderlines interjects on the fly.

Borderlines develop interjects hundreds of times a month where healthy people develop an interject once a lifetime.

The borderline would need to develop an interject every single time.

No one has measured this, of course, but borderline is busy developing interjects all the time because they don't hold, they evaporate.

Once I was on a forum of borderlines and they told me, someone told me something very interesting. Someone, not all of them.

They told me that they take, when they leave home, they take an object belonging to their spouse or mate or partner. They take a handkerchief, a handkerchief, a photograph, a linchpin. They take something, a tie, a cuffling, and they take something belonging to this guy and they say that throughout the day they would touch this object.

When they're attracted to other men, they would touch the object because they don't have interjects.

You know what it reminds me? Mediums, spiritual mediums.

When you go to a spiritual medium, they say, can you give me something that belonged to the disappeared person? Spirit is an interject.

Okay, so the borderline has no interject consistency. Out of sight, out of mind. Don't make the mistake.

Thinking about someone constantly, even compulsively, even obsessively is not interject. It's a cognitive function.

Interject is mostly emotional. It's an image in the mind that is a scheme. It incorporates multiple strands. It incorporates emotions, memories, and other things.

So many borderlines are obsessed with their exes, but they don't have an interject of the ex. Out of sight, out of mind, because there's no mind, nothing in the mind. Out of sight, nothing in the mind.

Narcissist is exactly the opposite.

The narcissist has interject consistency.

Narcissist recognizes that there are external objects, but he doesn't have object consistency.

He has only interject consistency.

So the narcissist, as far as the narcissist is concerned, it is the external object that degrades and fades, is absent and unnoticeable.

So the narcissist maintains the representation of people in his life, and these representations are more real to the narcissist than the actual people.

It's exactly the opposite of the borderline.

When an external object is present in the narcissist's life, even when it's loving, even when it's caring, even the sex, even you name it, the external object keeps degrading, flickeringas if the object is flickering in and out of existence, like a bad neon bulb.

So you're not sure as a narcissist, you're not sure if it's real, because it flickers all the time.

The interject of this very object, the internal representation of this very object, the avatar of this object in your mind is as stable as a rock when you're a narcissist. It's rigid.

In the narcissist's mind, representations of people out there are rigid and stablebecause they're divorced from the external objects. They're idealized or devalued.

The interjects represent emotional investments in the avatars and the need to separate, individuate. It ties to much deeper dynamics to which the external object has no access.

The internal objects, the interjects are always divergent, they're always idealized.

You could say that the internal object has a life of its own. It never changes its idealized features, but it does have a life of its own in the sense that for example, you break up with a narcissist and then 10 years later, you reunite and the narcissist proceeds to talk to you as if no time has passed.

Just continue smoothly and seamlessly from the last moment you have met as if it were yesterday, as if it had happened yesterday.

Because in the narcissist's mind, the introject is fixated, it's rigid, it's immutable, the internal object.

And so it's normal for the narcissist because he interacts only with the internal object, not with you.

It's normal for the narcissist to continue where you've taken off, where you've stopped, where you've had your last interaction, even if it happened a decade ago.

This is the difference between borderline and narcissist.

And all these strategies and solutions and strategies and adaptations, all intended to accomplish one thing only, to drink red wine.

No, just kidding. And this one thing is to preserve the fantasy.

Now the fantasy is shared. It's shared in the sense that the borderline introduces an external object into the fantasy in order to essentially preserve it.

And the narcissist introduces an internal object into the fantasy in order to essentially preserve it, but it's always shared, always shared.

The message to victims of narcissism, it is a painful message and a hopeful message.

The painful message is you were never chosen. You're not special. You're utterly commodified. You're fungible and interchangeable.

None of your properties or qualities were relevant.

The narcissist interacts not with you, but with a concoction, with a piece of fiction that loosely hangs on you, but has little to do with you.

You are nobodies. You're nobodies in the narcissist world, non-entities.

You've never been meaningful or significant. You are not a significant other. You are an insignificant other.

There's no significance in an external object as far as a narcissist is concerned.

All the significant catechism, all the emotional investment is in the internal object.

It's a very painful message.

You might as well not have existed. You're just a trigger, an excuse to populate this internal world.

And the hopeful message is none of it was your fault. You could have done nothing about it. None of it was your fault and you could have done nothing whatsoever about it.

It's not about you, it's about them.

And it has to do with your compulsive need to preserve a fantasy.

It's not about reality even. There's no way you could have modified the fantasy, entered the fantasy, meaningfully, changed it.

They defend the fantasy ferociously. They never let you in. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of the fantasy.

The fantasy dominates. They are a fantasy. These are dream creatures.

Narcism is a fantasy defense gone awry, writ large.

Same with borderlines. These are fantasy defenses.

The minute people value fantasy more than reality, the minute they cherish fantasy more than you, more than they do you, you have no role. You have no place and you have no contribution, negative or positive.

You're not there. You're not relevant. You're an excuse, a trigger.

I don't know what to call you, but you're definitely not a partner, not a lover.

The attempt to impose a narcissism and borderline, the language of health and normalcy is doomed.

These people are no longer with us. They are not embedded in reality. They react badly to reality.

And you are always a part of reality unless you want to suspend yourself, change yourself in highly pathological ways. You're barring that and you're a part of reality and there's nothing that the narcissism and borderline dread and hate more than reality.

You're an agent of another kingdom. You're the enemy. You're a Trojan horse, a secret agent, object, a fifth column, the representative of reality because you bring reality into the lives of the borderline and narcissists, thereby undermining the fantasy. You are to be banished. It's a war. You're a reminder of reality.

And in the case of the narcissist, you're also a narcissistic injury. Anything you do injures the narcissist.

If you offer the narcissist advice, you imply that he's less than omniscient or annoying. If you offer empathy, you imply that he's pitiful or in need of empathy, helpless, in need of.

What do you mean in need of? He's God. God doesn't need anything. Whatever you do, you challenge grandiosity, reality challenges grandiosity.

In the case of the borderline, if you offer advice or empathy, you're challenging the fantasy because you're broadcasting to the borderline. You're dysregulated. You need help.

If I were to come to the borderline and say, "Listen, I really empathize. I understand what you're going through." That's a bad strategy because it's like saying, "You're dysregulated. Now let me help you."

Your fantasy is a trace. There's no winning strategy with these people. You're not even trying. These people are not built for relationships. They are wedded and committed to fantasies. Never to you. Never to you.

Walk away. Catch your losses. Minimize your pain. Recover and heal and recuperate. It can be done. It can be done.

And understand that none of it was real. None of it was your fault. You just found yourself wandering into a movie set and then spent a year, 10 years in a movie not of your own making.

The end of which you wouldn't wish to see. And the credits never belonged to you.

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