The Borderline

What is the borderline?

Distant relative of the narcissist or close cousin?

Or something else altogether?

35 thoughts on “The Borderline

  1. Anna says:

    I care to disagree. Of course this is just my opinion.

    Brain scans have shown that individuals with BPD have differences in the volume of their hippocampus and amygdala. They also tend to hate themselves unlike narcissists. They are fragile, unlike narcissists, and they are full of emotion unlike narcissists. A narcissist has an inflated ego. A Borderline does not have an ego, they are a swirling mass of ID.

    Those who are severly damaged may become a borderline sociopath. They can switch their emotions on and off. They have emotional empathy but have learned to control it. They are like fire.

    A narcissist who is damaged may become a narcissistic psychopath. They are ice. They have no emotional empathy but they have cognitive empathy.

    Fire and Ice.

    Of course all of this maybe under ASPD, but there are many types.

    Personally I hate categorising individuals. I find it distasteful.

    I agree with Contagious, what was written above. There is a massive difference between borderlines and people with narcissism. People effected with borderline are living in their own private hell. The emotional pain is intolerable. A bit like the exhaustion you may have when you have hypothyroidism. You are not tired, you are absolutely exhausted until you get your levothyroxine. Narcissists do not feel this emotional pain. They do not suffer like someone who has borderline does.

  2. ST says:

    That is interesting and absolutely correct that if someone has any empathy and realizes they are hurting others, then they will try to self correct. I don’t think they even have to have empathy, they just need a heart or a moral compass. They don’t have to feel bad. They can just recognize their behavior is bad and decide to self correct for the sake or human decency or morality. Only the cold, stone hearted would hurt others and just keep doing it, and BPDs don’t hurt lightly. They hurt others deeply and viciously.

    So a BPD is a mid range narc. I wonder which type of narc causes the most hurt and damage and why?

    As for the narc label heavily going to men, I agree with HG that the female population is grossly underreported just based on the comment section I have seen on YT videos. So many people have had a narc mom, girlfriend, wife, sister, female co-worker/boss, female neighbor, etc. I think as time goes by the truth will come out just like other things, and if BPD is merged into the narc diagnosis, then the numbers for female narcs will soar!

    Used to you when someone said “spouse abuser” or “child abuser” people automatically thought “the husband/dad”. People did not automatically think “wife/mom”. It was always shocking to hear a mom/wife was the abuser. But now it has been discovered that most child abuse comes from the mom, and females abuse males much more than males abuse females. Females will slap and throw things at a much higher rate than men. And the verbal/mental abuse coming from women is much higher than previously thought. It’s just that men don’t report it like women do. Even more surprising is it is now being discovered that females sexually abuse children at much higher rates than anyone ever imagined. If you say “sexual assault/pedophilia/rape” people still think a man, but most teachers who sexually abuse their underaged students are females but society tends to not take that as seriously as when a man does the same thing. And a lot of children who were abused are not reporting they are sexually abused by their moms, female babysitter, etc. There is a double standard. But abuse is a abuse regardless of the gender or form of abuse. All abuse is traumatizing.

    So back to the BPD, to excuse it is unacceptable because they are abusing people, and all abuse is traumatizing.

    As for CPTSD. That isn’t an excuse either. The older I get the more I realize dysfunctional homes and abuse is really not uncommon. I am beginning to think finding a functional home is more rare than finding a dysfunctional one. So a large number of people have experienced abuse, dysfunction, trauma, or pain of some sort, but that doesn’t give the people the excuse to reenact it on others.

  3. Chihuahuamum says:

    Interesting take on borderlines. I do think “some” borderlines can be narcissists, but i think many are highly narcissistic or have narc traits. Even a non borderline can be highly narcissistic yet not have npd that’s where people get hung up on is this person a narc or not. In the end it only matters how they treat you and if they’re toxic in your life.
    One thing about borderlines is they disassociate and compartmentalize. This could be from ptsd the same as those with npd.
    The loss of control is so true and that’d explain the fear of abandonment. It’s another form of loss of control.
    Many borderlines do feel empathy, guilt and can self reflect, which those with npd cannot. In fact borderlines can be hypersensitive to emotions to the point they have to dissassociate to escape and is a survival mechanism.
    There definitely can be narcissists that are borderlines, but there are many that are not because they do feel remorse and empathy.

    1. karmicoverload says:

      Even more confusing when there is a diagnosis of BPD with co-morbid NPD. I mean, what’s that all about?
      He seems to “fit” a BPD description most of the time, but NPD rears its head on occasions for sure. And don’t get me started on Pathological Narcissism Vs Malignant Narcissism Vs Covert Narcissism.
      I think I much prefer H.G’s descriptive terms.

  4. MMG says:

    This makes sense. When my husband cheated on me a second time with an emotional affair with a coworker, I lost me s*** for awhile. Then we had dinner with a woman he is friends with and her friend. They had a friendship which was too intimate. No sexting or romance but sharing intimate details. I never liked this relationship and all our friends didn’t like it. We had many fights but I didn’t banish her because I felt bad taking away his friend. True NPD he didn’t voluntarily surrender this friendship even though it caused arguments and made me unhappy. So I was worked up and was unpleasant to her, not attacking her. But she was talking about getting laid with some random dude on a trip and I was like wtf you could get an STD a lot of older people getting them now. Then talking about something else and Again I was lie, why would you do that it seems unsafe to put yourself in that position. Well valid points on both but I was a bit aggressive in my delivery. Unlike her who is a NPD and my NPD husband I felt bad later about it. Honestly you’d think she would be concerned about STD s. But def think my behavior was PTSD. My daughter friend diagnosed with Borderline. Her mom def NPD I always thought her daughter reactive to abuse not Borderline. Now I totally see it is PTSD not borderline. She needs to get out of house and go away to college.

  5. psychologyandworldaffairs says:

    I struggle with this – PTSD or narcissist. I can find branches which could determine either. Bordaline I find no evidence for = my ex did not have abandonment issues (except maybe fear of his parents – if he displeases them?). Or am I supposed to think that? I got the impression he was emotionally stunted as a child and never grew past it. But at the start of our relationship this never manifested – I thought him sweet and loving – incredibly smart and able.

    1. Asp Emp says:

      PAWA, maybe have a look at HG’s article ‘To Control is to Cope : The Creation of Narcissism’? That may prompt some thoughts for you and may give you some answers? (in relation to your ex).

      However, your words “PTSD or narcissist” did make me think – hang on a second, with LOCE and GPD being present = formation of a narcissist. Yet, a narcissist would be subject to some kind of abuse in relation to the LOCE – just wondering, thinking out loud here – maybe it is, in some way, it could be PTSD / CPTSD until the development age of around 9 years – before an individual develops into narcissist (APD) – purely because the individual has not been ‘removed’ from the LOCE in question? I’m not wanting to ‘cloud’ the process or challenge anything (or anyone) – it’s just a concept that came into my mind……

  6. content-being-average says:

    Interesting video HD and I question I have often asked myself. Elinor Greenberg (psychiatrist) differentiates BPD from NPD (saying BPD = the pursuit of love) vs (NPD = the pursuit of admiration) as a core need. I like that empathy failures in BPD show it is more likely NPD in sheeps clothing (ie: the female variant). Your comment on Angelina Jolie as a Narc sociopath made me laugh. I work with anti-social offenders and as HG says – it ‘aint an anger management problem — it is FURY with a capital F. Always about control.

  7. Benedetta says:

    I always wondered if Angelina Jolie is a borderline and Brad Pitt a narcissist. He is a chameleon that always “steals traits” of girlfriends, hair, dressing style, interests, she was abandoned by her mother because she looked too much like her father, and therefore she did not get any care or affection. It is said that Jolie is a fan of opioids and Brad Pitt a raging alcoholic. Have you ever thought of that, Mr. Tudor?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Angelina Jolie is a narcissistic psychopath. You can have that one for free.

      1. karmicoverload says:

        I always thought there was something “off” about her! Thanks for the freebie, H.G 😉🙂

      2. lickemtomorrow says:

        Why do you say she is also a psychopath? As well as being a narcissist.

    2. A Victor says:

      Thank you for asking about this Benedetta, this is a couple I have been curious about also. I have felt sad for their gaggle of children right from the start. Hopefully they find HG’s work early on, if they’re empaths.

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        I always wondered what she was trying to prove by gathering children up from all these different countries in some kind of humanitarian gesture. It seemed to be more about her image than the children themselves. Very sad for them, that they are just extensions to help enable her facade.

        1. A Victor says:

          Yes, I have wondered as well. And equally sad for those born to her, they can’t even deny having her genes. I don’t know what Brad was thinking, whipped I guess.

  8. Summer says:


  9. S says:

    Fascinating! I have so many questions about this for our next session. S

  10. Asp Emp says:

    HG, it’s good to see your opinion that ‘borderline’ should be removed. I agree. My basis for saying that is the fact (in my opinion) the word ‘borderline’ is too broad and generic.

    Your descriptions in relation to ’emotional empathy’ was really good to read and giving a really good insight into individuals who have experienced ‘trauma’ and / or abuse at some point (if, not all) during their life time (whether they are a narcissist or not).

    “even though the abuses stopped the consequences of it were so extreme that they continue almost like an echo from the original event” – a brilliant way to describe it.

    Another interesting point that you talk about is the fact females are not necessarily ‘counted’ as much as the males due to the ’empathic caring’ characteristic. For a number of years, I had supposed that it was more difficult to spot Autism in females because of the difference between male and female hormones / genetic make-up and as a result, in some way, thinking differently.

    “those which have no awareness at all don’t even realize that they are causing a problem for other people and if it’s pointed out to them you get the blank look they’re at a loss” – this reminded me of HG’s ‘The 404 Narcissist’ video.

    The way you explain – especially in this video – in, my view, the importance of it and the wording you use is so that a lay-person can understand, without the use of jargon or techo-babble. It allows ease of translation into different languages without the need for a lot of ‘deciphering’ to be involved.

    This is a really good video that should (and must) be read / understood by those who are working with people who have experienced trauma / abuse. Those who are training to work in the field of neurological science and / or mental health profession must grasp this understanding.

    I’d like to think that one day, this video will be used during a lecture for those learning about the human psyche.

    HG, this is brilliant, thank you for doing this video.

  11. lisk says:

    “Narcissist Lite”—I love it!

  12. WiserNow says:

    Thank you HG, for explaining this video (and others too) thoroughly and in detail. It makes a lot of sense and provides down-to-earth, practical information.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  13. Yolo says:

    This information is factual and I’ve found very helpful. Thank you!!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome, good to see you back Yolo.

  14. WhoCares says:


    1. HG Tudor says:

      Succinct. HG approves.

  15. NarcAngel says:

    Enjoyed hearing your take on this. It’s a vague title. I used to think bordering on what? and imagined someone got a large grant to come up with a “catch all” category. The name implies it’s at the edge of something but not fully which as you point out – affords the ability to excuse the behaviour (as in “I’m only on the border of narcissism but possess empathy so I’m not). I wonder if because of this diagnosis, some people mistakenly think narcissists can change (in that perhaps the abuser is just on the “borderline” and therefore has empathy they could tap into – which of course they can’t). I can think of a few examples (one more specifically) here previously who claimed to be diagnosed borderline. They seemed like they had just the slightest hold on cognitive empathy and then would lose their shit completely over something and follow it up subsequently with : I’m borderline and was triggered. A pattern.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, I have heard other people who began thinking the term meant being close to the edge as in “just over” the line and then thinking “Hmm, this person’s behaviour is full on, not just over the line,” another way in which this description of certain people is misleading.

      1. Contagious says:

        I have read of a covert borderline from some expert from Russia who wants a dsm 5 class for this type b. It is mostly male. I wonder if cluster B should be trashed. A spectrum. What’s the difference when someone abuses to control or fears abandonment? Isn’t that control? I know from personal experience. It gets weird I have seen paranoia and a person dissociate. Blank out or create a new reality. I have seen empathy of sorts to dogs to kids etc… but the abuse to me IPSS is without empathy. It is very hard fir me to feel a difference. I have seen different personalities. I just think it’s a cluster fuck of B with the same result. but the big but is borderlines can change with help. How can that be? Narcs can’t. If so closely aligned and one has hope, how can you know?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Covert borderline is a Mid Range Narcissist.

    2. karmicoverload says:

      This is timely. My LMR narc has recently put me back on the shelf (Potentially with the thought of disengagement) after proclaiming to have been diagnosed (And be under DBT for) you guessed it, BPD.
      The irony of this is that I introduced him to the term about two years into our relationship. I was constantly trying to excuse his behaviour, I desperately wanted to believe he was not a narcissist. So at some point I asked if he had considered whether he may be BPD.
      I was aware of the “condition” because I was convinced I had it because of my own behaviour. Either that, or autism, or ADD….or any number of other mental health disorders. I still consider if autism may be a factor for me.
      A wonderful soul on one of H.G’s other postings regarding shelf IPSS pointed out that BPD can be a misdiagnosis of CPTSD. Given previous traumas faced by many of us here, and our subsequent treatment by narcissists, it would be very interesting to see how many of us actually do suffer from PTSD/CPTSD.

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Karmicoverload, RE: CPTSD is still a relatively new ‘condition’ that the medical / science world have come up with. PTSD has been around longer. Even if victims of narcissistic abuse get diagnosed with CPTSD, it is still very well worth the educating yourself on narcissism and understanding what it is that maintains the ‘addiction’ to narcissists. In my opinion, too few doctors / therapists would actually make the connection of narcissism to a victim’s past because a victim may not actually realise (or be aware) that it is related to narcissistic abuse.

        RE: autism – there are online self tests that you can do as a rough guide for yourself and if you wished to pursue it as an official diagnosis, maybe contact your own doctor in the first instance? Simon Baron-Cohen @ the Autism Research Centre is a good starting point. There some Autism Quotient (AQ) tests as well.

        Having said that, there are a number of similarities in the characteristics of those with CPTSD, autism, ADHD, aspergers – to name but a few – hence the reason (which is now my belief) why some people get ‘diagnosed’ with BPD because it is easier for one ‘label’ to be attached rather than going into the nitty-gritty of further analysis. Also historical medical information about your family can help ‘narrow’ things down a bit.

        I hope this helps you a bit 🙂

        1. karmicoverload says:

          Thank you Asp Emp, all great info! 😊

  16. Caity says:

    Another brilliant video, HG. I’ve always thought the term ‘borderline’ was just a catch all diagnosis which seemed the go-to for psychiatrists and psychologists who were too lazy to actually break it down. The “I don’t know, so we’ll call it this” diagnosis.
    Thank you for getting inside this label and explaining what it really is and most importantly, what it is not.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

    2. Contagious says:

      Cluster B is debated by many. Some say it should be eliminated. HG? In my case, I thought my “Mid-Ranger Narc “ was a narc because during a rages he had no empathy. However, now after three years of studying borderline or CPPTSD I think he is a male borderline versus narc. BPD especially with DBT can be treated and even disappears on its own with age! DBT started in 1993 has a 91% rate. Why do I think he had BPD? He had remorse. He admits to mental issues. He has hyper sensitivity and empathy to me and animals. Remorse. But he can’t take blame as if he does he feels worthless. He feels all bad not guilt as if he committed a bad act. But when stressed he had “ nervous breakdowns” that lead to rage or semi silent treatments. My husband has remained faithful. His silent treatments were physical absences but daily texts of suffering and love. He tried suicide then as he missed me but could not communicate as too upset about what he did. He does not say he is BPD. . His mother is. Trust me. Obvious. Doctors diagnosed her. He had a bad history of verbal and psychological and some physical abuse, isolation and was not educated for 5 years but talked him into a college degree at top UK school. My husband quit drinking 6 years ago due to his behavior with me. He went to therapy to change. He did quit and life got better but… there are residual events. If very stressed, such as a job loss, he acts irrationally and turns to fight or flight mode, suffers, leaves or is raging then leaves apologizes later and remains committed. It has got better in time. He does not know why the trigger happens. I am trying to learn DBT to reduce the emotion. I validate him, try to be compassionate while keeping boundaries. We shall see. But I don’t know if he has BPD or CTPTSP or if DBT will work short time. I have seen it helps a lot. But I see a difference in BPD and narcs, and I have studied neurology too in this area. BPD can remit. Narcs don’t. BPD has hope, Narcs don’t. BPD show empathy. I could be wrong as I sometimes think my husband is a trauma victim that does not have BPD but the DSM 5 suggests he had. By the way after 3 years studying BPD, my BFF has a daughter that showed alarming symptoms. Rage. Suicide attempts. Battering. I recognized it. I said she had teen BPD and suggested DBT. All the highly skilled doctors from UCLA neurology to local theuropeutic facilities to high risk local hospitals said the same. I am not a doctor at all but some if this stuff you get. Either a person has empathy or they don’t. HG?

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