Narcissism or the narcissistic personality disorder is on everyone’s lips these days. Which is not surprising, given that between 60 and 150 million people in the United States alone have experienced narcissistic abuse. Narcissists are not always immediately conspicuous in their behavior and there are also many „false diagnoses“. Other personality disorders such as the emotionally unstable personality disorder (also known as borderline personality disorder), antisocial personality disorder (formerly known as sociopathy), psychopathy and the histrionic personality can appear similar to narcissism from afar and are often referred to interchangeably. But now we want to find out in this series what exactly characterizes and distinguishes these other personality disorders.
Emotionally unstable personality disorder (also known as borderline)
The most significant difference between people with borderline personality disorder and narcissists is their intent. Borderliners crave love and sometimes security, while narcissists crave recognition and admiration.
Borderliners struggle to balance their fear of loss and at the same time their fear of closeness. When people get too close to them, they say goodbye quickly and permanently. This personality disorder is characterized primarily by disorders of affect regulation, impulsivity and instability. The search for one’s own identity, with fluctuating moods and emotions and unbalanced interpersonal relationships are predominant. Borderliners feel a lot of uncomfortable tension, which can often lead to self-harm. They are often found attracted to potentially life-threatening situations, including, for example, excessive drug and alcohol consumption.
The comparison to narcissism
People with borderline personality disorder usually feel bad about themselves and their emotions are experienced as extremely intense. They are not as dependent on the reaction of other people as narcissists, but suffer from their fear of loss and at the same time a fear of intimacy and too much closeness. Borderliners tend to be more likely to be left because of the constant fear of loss, while narcissists, after idealizing their partner, are more likely to be the part of the couple to end the relationship.