How to Deal With Narcissists & Borderlines
People who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can be challenging to deal with on a regular basis. While these two disorders appear to be opposites from the outside, they have a great deal in common.
American psychiatrist James F. Masterson was the first to decode these personalities and explain that both types develop a “false self” in early childhood due to parental control or rejection. Narcissists develop an “inflated false self” that results in grandiosity while borderlines develop a “deflated false self,” resulting in feelings of emptiness.
5 Steps to Deal With Narcissists & Borderlines
1. Understand that this person is dealing with a disorder that is deep-seated, painful and frustrating.
Remember that as much as you are suffering in your contact with him, he is likely to be suffering more. Try to imagine where he is coming from. The narcissist only acts grandiose because of deep insecurities while the borderline is manipulative because of fear of being abandoned. Attempt to contemplate the depth of their fears and insecurities.
2. Become acquainted with your triggers and learn to resist reacting to them.
Spend time working with yourself or a therapist to understand where these triggers come from, which will be a quicker fix than getting your borderline or narcissist to stop triggering you. If your narcissist demeans and criticizes your abilities, or if your borderline loves you one moment and hates you the next, then you may become infuriated.
Dig into your past experiences to understand what personal insecurities their behavior is tapping on that might make you temporarily lose sight of reason.
3. Avert their attempts at manipulation.
Both of these personalities are gifted manipulators and do not react well to not getting their way. Be aware of the manipulation as it occurs when the narcissist is trying to convince you to take on more than your fair share of work or the borderline believes she is justified in demanding more of you emotionally.
Instead of reacting negatively, try to show understanding and compassion without sacrificing too much of your own emotional energy.
4. Be a positive influence.
Influence your borderline or narcissist away from destructive and impulsive behaviors, such as using drugs, alcohol or sex to distract them from pain. Suggest more positive outlets, such as camping, exercise or picking up hobbies instead, and engage in these activities with them.
5. Suggest that your borderline or narcissist see a therapist on a regular basis if the person is not already doing so.
If he is not, then ask if he would like your help in finding one. Narcissists prefer therapists who have demonstrated prestige, while borderlines benefit from therapists acquainted with dialectical behavioral therapy. Engage in self-care by seeing a therapist of your own and attending support groups.
Tips and Warnings
- Borderlines can benefit from your throwing humor into the discourse on their struggles, while narcissists will recoil at any fun being poked at them due to their inflated egos.
- ,Borderlines can be hypersensitive, so be prepared for unexpected reactions that seem inappropriate.
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