Narcissists and Borderlines: A Personal Perspective with Hope
Today I want to write from a very personal perspective. I don’t know if any of my readers have ever known a narcissist or someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I can tell you it is like no other experience. I will say here that this is not professional psychological advice nor should it be construed as such. I am writing solely from personal experience. I promise not go into lengthy psychological definitions here. This is not the DSM IV and I am not a psychologist or therapist. I will explain my late husband in the way I saw him. If you or someone you know needs help with either of these issues, please consult a licensed therapist or psychologist. There is hope and people can change how these issues affect them –whether you are the narcissist and/or have BPD or if you are the victim of such a person. Keep reading.
The problem with my late husband, Jeff, who was one of these individuals; is that both characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder and narcissism overlap. There were many times I could not tell if he was being purely selfish or he was displaying the two-person personality you see with BPD. He was both a narcissist and a person with BPD from my perspective. He was also verbally abusive and eventually physically abusive. Since his death, I have learned those who abuse may very well suffer with either or both of these psychological issues. They also likely grew up in an environment with someone like this – usually a parent or other guardian who abused them as well in some way, form or fashion. Their environment and upbringing shape who they become, and I believe they are not aware of this.
*Jeff craved positive attention and a need to look good to the outside world, regardless of what he was actually saying or doing inside our home (narcissism). He would go out of his way to look good to everyone else around him and he hated it if I or someone else did not buy his act. If anything went wrong, it was my fault and trust me, I paid for it in hateful words and actions. He was two people many times – a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of cycle (BPD). Every three weeks, I never knew who I was going to get. Without fail, every third week he cycled and would go from wonderful and loving to frightening and mean. He was also abusive during his bad 3rd week whether that be physically or verbally or both. I would often imagine the good part of him standing outside of his body and watching this person he did not know act out. He alluded to this only once, I think it was something he preferred not to think about. I am certain he did not know how to deal with it. I certainly did not know how to deal with either of these issues in our marriage. I had never dealt with anyone quite like him. I learned quickly I could not love these things away because he did not know how to receive or give love, he had never been taught. In retrospect, these were deep-seeded heart and soul issues for him that only Jesus could have healed. Yet, he did not turn them over to Jesus and remained unrepentant where these things were concerned. I am honestly not sure he even knew he could repent or even how to repent. This is truly what made my heart sad for him, regardless of how cruel he was – I knew the real Jeff was in there but he couldn’t get out. His monster had not only come out of his pocket, it had consumed him.
I want to encourage anyone reading this article that I understand what you are dealing with if you live with such a person. I understand the egg-shell-walking and the abuse. I also understand how awful it is for the one who is the narcissist and/or the person with BPD. You have two minds, you watch yourself and you do not know who you are – you may have never known who you are. There is hope for both of you! To the partner of such a person, I say separate yourself from this, heal and rebuild your life – you will never heal if you stay with a narcissist or someone with BPD – for they destroy all of their relationships. To the narcissist and the person with BPD, I say repent! You can change. You can get to the root of why you are the way you are. You can know who you are. You do not have to live with two selves. You can be whole – your hope is in Jesus for only He can heal you of your deep wounds! Repent while you still have life. Why do I say this to you? Ninety-five percent of persons with BPD especially, will commit suicide at some point in their life because they can no longer deal with their two selves. Jeff took his life but you don’t have to. Is it not better to live and be whole?
**For those who want to know more about our story, see my book The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In-Between. My hope is that if you see yourself, you will learn from Jeff and not go down the same path. For those of you dealing with abuse from someone with BPD and/or a narcissist, my hope is that you will see it is okay to separate yourself from that and be free of that emotional and physical trauma.
May my story and this blog bring you hope, and shine light into dark places, places Jesus wants to heal.
**You can find my book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Audible.com. I have both paperback and digital formats.
*For those interested in more about person with two selves – see Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud’s writings about the concept of the split soul in the Boundaries book series.