The Borderline and Narcissist Love Relationship
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Of two personality types that are perpetually drawn together – the Borderline and Narcissist regularly find common attraction. Shari Schreiber, M.A. shares with us in a fascinating article about Borderline and Narcissist relationships that demystifying this attraction is no simple matter. I have shortened her discussion for the purposes of this short and massively simplified article, but let’s take a look at the attraction between the Borderline female and the male Narcissists. Obviously these roles can be, and are often, reversed. By the same token, same-sex relationships contain the same universal attraction and often more regularly. But we have to ask, why the attraction?
The basis for this, and in fact any attraction is mostly common ground. It is natural to be drawn to people of similar types. Both of these disordered personalities have incurred wounds to their developing ‘self’ in infancy or childhood. The attraction phenomena is generally thrilling at first but becomes dis-enchantingly pain producing. The big problem is that these patterns remain intact, despite any promise to do things differently.
Behavioral therapy and education can help, and help should really be sought, in particular in the cases where children to a marriage or relationship are involved. If parents are unaware of the fact that they are involved in a Borderline/Narcissistic love relationship, children inevitably get caught up in the crossfire of highly explosive episodes, and so, the cycle continues. Awareness then is obviously a key factor for dealing with this issue.
Because of the natural tendency to be drawn to a person who echo’s the same personality aspects, a similar frequency is shared – this leads these personality types to believe they have found their ‘soul-mate’. Infancy or childhood abandonment issues are the general cause, even if they eventually play out in different ways. Core-focused intervention is the only real way to deal with the scars formed from these early hardships. And never presume that a Narcissist and Borderline are unable to build a successful love match or marriage – what matters is resolving respective childhood traumas.
The Narcissist is often a giver of note – but genuine intimacy is regularly avoided due to fear of ‘engulfment’ – these are the ‘care-giver’ types. They are attracted to borderline personalities who match, this makes them feel ‘safe’. In this relationship, emotional intimacy is a non-issue. However the Borderline female will take the Narcissist male and turn him inside out – he is no match for her – it does not matter how intelligent or powerful he is.
He has self-worth issues, so any grandiosity works against him in this pairing. No matter what his desire to win – she is always much better at playing the game. If he is rich and powerful, he may wind up losing all of his money, become seriously ill, and literally fight to the death, and still lose. She will absolutely */@# him up!
This is a highly combustible mix; the Narcissist has long-standing wrong assumptions triggered by feelings of childhood shame of not being ‘wanted’, or not being ‘perfect’. They live with feelings of insecurity and or self-loathing, for the Borderline this is much the same, but the pathology differs. A Narcissist is a perfectionist who says ~ “I feel bad in this relationship – it must be my fault”. The Borderline, being better at the game says ~ “I feel bad in this relationship – it must be your fault”.
The Narcissist perpetually attempts to fix, rescue, and pursue in and attempt to flee the shame of his infancy or childhood abandonment; while the Borderline rages against him and retreats. It is this pulling and pushing which sets up an ongoing cycle of mutual harm.
There is also another interesting dynamic to these types of couplings. Borderlines and Narcissists often share mutual attractions to one-another, in other words the same types of pathology – and even more scary; any person involved with a Borderline – whether Narcissist or not, is subjected to proximal exposure. This means they adopt similar psychotic symptomology. Professionals sometimes refer to this as “crazy-making’. The same applies to the Narcissist, so in essence we wind up with people attracted to each other because of mutual dysfunction, where in most instances they are barely able to get around on their own steam.