Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are both characterized by extreme emotional sensitivity, which can lead to unstable moods and behaviors. Both disorders are classified as Cluster B personality disorders, meaning they have similar symptoms. However, there is one crucial difference between the two: While people with BPD tend to idealize others before devaluing them in some way, those with NPD may do the opposite—they may view their partners as tools for success rather than love.
Both BPD and NPD have similarities and differences
Both BPD and NPD are types of personality disorders, which means that they can affect how someone feels about themselves, how they think about the world, and how they interact with others. Both are characterized by extreme reactions to criticism. For example, a person with either disorder might fly off the handle when someone tells them that their behavior was inappropriate or blames them for something.
Both conditions also share several other symptoms: a lack of empathy; a lack of self-awareness; an inability to control impulses; an inability to regulate emotions; an excessive need for attention from others; frequent mood swings; feelings of emptiness; and feelings of worthlessness or inferiority
BPD and NPD both stem from childhood trauma
BPD and NPD both stem from childhood trauma. Research has shown that when a person suffers abuse or neglect as a child, it can lead to the development of BPD or NPD in adulthood. Trauma affects how we see ourselves and those around us, causing distortions in our perceptions that get translated into behavior. In the case of BPD, these distortions cause sufferers to have poor self-image and difficulty making decisions; in NPD sufferers, they result in feelings of superiority and an inability to empathize with others.
Intense emotions are a feature of both BPD and NPD.
Both BPD and NPD can be highly emotional. They are both prone to intense mood swings, which may include anger, rage, jealousy and/or depression. One of the reasons that people, including mental health professionals, often have difficulty distinguishing between BPD and NPD is because they share many similar characteristics. These include:
- Intense emotions
- Highly reactive to criticism or perceived rejection
- Sensitivity to perceived slights
While these are some of the more obvious similarities between BPD and NPD, there are other less obvious ones as well:
People with BPD are often more reactive to criticism than NPs, and more subject to impulsive actions.
BPD is generally easier to spot than NPD, because it is more prone to emotional triggers. When you criticize or hurt the person with BPD, their first reaction is often anger and hostility. They may lash out at you in return, or even become hostile toward others who happen to be around at the time (such as your friends). A person with BPD may also become impulsive—for example, by having a heated argument with someone else over something small and then storming off in anger without thinking through what they said or did.
A diagnosis of NPD isn't necessarily better than a diagnosis of BPD if both feel like they apply; however, there's one major difference between them: people with borderline personality disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those who have narcissistic personality disorder. If anyone has ever threatened or tried suicide in response to your criticisms or demands for change (or simply as an attempt for attention), this could be a sign that he or she has BPD rather than NPD
While people with BPD have an intense desire to be loved, in the case of NPs, they have an intense desire to be admired.
While people with BPD have an intense desire to be loved, in the case of NPs, they have an intense desire to be admired. Because they are so concerned with status and power, their relationships tend to be more superficial and less meaningful than those of people with BPD. People with NPD often want to be admired for their achievements instead of being loved for themselves. In many cases, this means that you can't tell when someone has NPD until it's too late—they'll manipulate others before anyone realizes what's going on.
Narcissists tend to have more successful careers and reputations than people with BPD.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between these two conditions is that while narcissism tends to result in greater social status and success, BPD often results in a lack of self-esteem. The reason for this discrepancy is that individuals with NPD tend to have a stronger sense of self and more confidence in their abilities than those with BPD. As a result, they are more likely to be successful at work or school. They also have more opportunities for social interaction because they have solid relationships with others—a quality that’s rarer among people with BPD who tend not only to avoid contact but also get nervous when they do interact with others at all (Schneider et al., 2009).
In addition, narcissists may also be admired by others because they're charming and charismatic (Ruscio & Gordon, 2012). People with NPD often exhibit grandiose behavior where they brag about how wonderful or talented they are—and sometimes even tell lies about accomplishments (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). Narcissists believe themselves to be exceptionally smart or talented even though there’s no evidence supporting this belief (Bressert & Brownell, 2009).
Finally, narcissists usually behave differently toward other people depending on whether or not those around them will benefit them directly. For example: A narcissist might act warmly toward someone whom he expects will give him something later; however after getting whatever he wanted from this person then he may treat her coldly afterward because there's nothing left in it for him anymore (Cooper & Ronningstam, 1992). Meanwhile someone with BPD might treat everyone like an enemy out of fear of rejection
Both narcissists and people with BPD can be problematic partners, but their approaches are opposite. Narcissists tend to use others as tools for their own success, while those with BPD tend to idealize partners before devaluing them. Neither approach is likely to go well long term.
BPD and narcissism are often confused with each other because they share some common symptoms. Both can be problematic partners, but the approaches are opposite. Narcissists tend to use others as tools for their own success, while those with BPD tend to idealize partners before devaluing them. Neither approach is likely to go well long term
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition that causes a person to have an inflated sense of self-importance, seek admiration from others, lack empathy and have a distorted self-image or self-concept. People with NPD may seem like they're very confident in themselves at first glance; however, this confidence isn't real -- it's actually just an act put on by someone who thinks highly of themselves but has trouble acknowledging any imperfections about themselves or their lives
Both narcissism and BPD can negatively affect friendships
Both narcissism and BPD can negatively affect friendships. As a rule, when you have a friend with either condition, it's likely that they'll be difficult or even dangerous to be around in some way.
The distinction between the two is like this: Narcissists tend to manipulate others more directly than people with BPD do, who are more likely to exhibit self-destructive behavior such as self-harm and suicidal ideation (though they may also manipulate). Similarly, narcissists tend to be more competitive than people with BPD—notably in situations where the stakes are high enough for them to feel threatened by their peers' success; this is often referred to as "narcissistic injury."
Both narcissists and those with BPD can be difficult or dangerous parents.
Both narcissists and those with BPD can be difficult or dangerous parents. The most obvious way to spot the difference is in the way that each parent acts. A parent with NPD might be overprotective, such as refusing to let their child play outside or join sports teams because they fear that it will expose their child to danger. On the other hand, a parent with BPD may become so enraged at seeing their child playing outside (or even worse yet, enjoying themselves) that they will physically attack them in a moment of rage. Additionally, both types of parents can also be abusive but for different reasons: an NPD parent might use violence as a means of controlling their children while an angry person with BPD may lash out without thinking first about how much damage they are causing themselves and/or others around them by doing so (i.e., punching holes through walls). In either case though, this type of behavior leads to unsafe conditions where children cannot thrive properly without proper supervision--which ultimately makes it harder for them later down life’s road!
There are many similarities between these two disorders, but also some important differences that you need to know about.
There are many similarities between these two disorders, but also some important differences that you need to know about. Both narcissism and borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be dangerous for your mental health and relationships with others; however, narcissists tend to be more successful in life than people with BPD.
They are both characterized by the inability to see other people as separate from themselves: narcissists will often see other people as extensions of themselves or try to control them in order to get their needs met; whereas those with BPD may have difficulty maintaining boundaries between themselves and others (i.e., “emotional storming”).
Both narcissism and BPD can be difficult to deal with, but if you do your research and take proper precautions, you can avoid the worst situations. The most important thing is to know yourself and others well enough so that you can recognize potential problems early on.