A difficult or toxic relationship inevitably leaves us feeling confused. We often ask ourselves, is it my partner or friend who has issues, or is it Me? Confusion causes us discomfort, because we seek to make sense of our experiences, and until we do, we struggle in an emotionally difficult state called, limbo. Being in limbo keeps us feeling destabilized, so we want to escape this sensation as quickly as possible. It's the not-knowing, that we humans find hard to tolerate.x Our need is to capsulize or tie up our loose ends in a neat little box, and label them. This has become part of our 'storage' ritual. Once we can make sense of a painful experience, we feel more dominion over it~ presumably, because we believe it's finally off our mental platter~ we feel no more need to struggle with it.
Throughout my decades in practice, thousands of people have appeared relentlessly determined to apply diagnostic labels to their partner or ex, in order to "make sense" of some of their deeply troubling and painful relationship experiences. They've combed the internet for months, sometimes years, to discover why they're in excruciating pain in the aftermath of having been involved with someone personality disordered. Mostly, what they're seeking is relief from constant, obsessional thinking about that confusing, painful relationship and why it ended, and they cannot stop this mental masturbation, until they find a solid answer that may enlighten them.
My numerous articles (25 in total) written about one's confusing, painful, tormenting experiences in a romantic involvement with a borderline disordered partner, have provided millions worldwide with the clarity they've sought to finally make sense of why they could never maintain a harmonious, loving bond with this person. The flooding sense of relief these people gain from having absorbed my online materials, made them feel like I'd been an observer of their relationship from its exhilarating start to painful finish. I'm not exaggerating, when I say I've heard thousands of times from people living all over the globe, "It's like you were a fly on the wall in my relationship!"
My writings about Borderline Personality Disorder are acutely accurate as to what you'll encounter in one of these types of relationships~ yet many strangers called, still trying to elicit a definitive diagnosis from me about their current partner or ex. They wanted to regale me with precise, chronological details of their tormenting, toxic affair, whether or not these points had been covered in my articles. They hoped I would give them the "proof" they sought, to either make breaking up with that person easier, or confirming they'd dodged a bullet, if they'd been abruptly left by him or her. From where I sat, it seemed these people were essentially looking for me to help them start putting their obsessional thinking about the relationship to rest, so they could "move-on" from their pain.
I never pandered to this type of request. I'd answer questions they had, but always told them that beyond the comprehensively detailed information they'd read on my site about BPD, a definitive label or diagnosis from me would NOT help make their emotional anguish abate. I sensed they believed that with definitive confirmation their ex was indeed a Borderline, they could categorize him or her as "crazy"~ which might help them stop struggling with desire for that person. Even though I fully understood the human-nature aspect of their need, I recognized it for the pure folly that it was.
Rather than indulging their desperate plea for diagnostic confirmation, I'd explain how crucial it was to start learning why they were drawn to that person and found it impossible to leave~ despite all the pain they'd experienced. In short, putting a definitive diagnostic label on their beloved, wasn't going to alleviate their anguish or CHANGE anything for them. It was not going to be the last nail in their virtual coffin of obsessional thinking.
If we can pathologize another who's made us feel tormented, confused and crazy at times, can't this in some way help us feel better by contrast, about ourselves?? Of course it can! But no healing occurs from this enlightenment, because in order to truly mend from any painful relationship experience, we must first accept that like attracts like. It's the unresolved childhood pain in US, that propelled us into our relationship with a core-damaged person, in the first place. In essence, we've vibrated at their frequency, and they with ours. In terms of our respective emotional development, we are precisely the same, as "birds of a feather flock together."
My BPD articles don't merely discuss the traits and behaviors of Borderlines. They force the reader to take a deep dive into their own nature, to recognize and identify traits that propel them toward intimate alliances with people who only know how to seduce and take, as opposed to reciprocate supplies of adoration, affection, respect and care.
You will never see an emotionally sound, whole, genuinely empowered, self-actualized individual hook up with someone who is not. It simply does not happen, because their vibrational frequencies don't line-up or match. Besides, genuinely empowered people wish to spend their free time with others of similar ilk. They do NOT prey on the weak or needy, because their confidence and self-esteem don't demand they need to be NEEDED in order to feel worthy of another's attention, or emotionally secure within a relationship bond!
Precious few in the psychotherapeutic field have an accurate or intimate understanding of BPD, and the toxic or malignant range to which it can (in many) display. A lot of people choose to vilify NPD or "Narcissists," but think of Borderlines as a lesser threat, due to believing BPD is a "mental illness," and they deserve our sympathy. Both are personality disorders that harm others, yet they're related to very differently by large segments of our population. This is partly because Narcissism has been written about on the Web decades longer than Borderline Personality Disorder has! BPD is a relative "newcomer" in terms of the public's awareness of it. Literally thousands have said to me, "I've never even HEARD of this disorder, before now!" For the most part, this is due to it being inadequately labeled for years, merely as "narcissism."
In the personality disorder world, a few writers like Sam Vaknin decades ago, came up with the phrase, "Malignant Narcissist," ostensibly to describe the terribly confounding, crazy-making, vitriolic/volatile behaviors that some narcissistic individuals display with close others. Apparently, this became a popular catch phrase among many, and it's appeared on blog sites for many years, to explain why the broken-hearted had been routinely lied to, gaslighted, betrayed, misunderstood and/or physically attacked by a person they'd loved and trusted.
What is NOT explained, is that ALL people who have Borderline Personality Disorder traits are narcissistic~ and some, to an acute or extreme extent. We are all narcissistic, or we'd literally fail to get our physical needs met in this lifetime. Narcissism in itself, isn't necessarily an evil or bad feature on one's personality, and you might never have heard from most of us who've successfully made it to the frontline of progress, were we devoid of this trait.
What is factual however, is that when we think of "toxic or malignant" levels of narcissism, we are actually referring to aspects of BPD that unfortunately, impact many. Basically then, a "malignant Narcissist" is a Borderline whose irrational, destructive, crazy-making, acting-out behaviors indicate they're on the extreme end of the BPD spectrum.
Sadly, the erroneous popular assumption that BPD is a "mental illness" (which couldn't be farther from the truth), triggers a sympathetic response toward Borderlines from laymen AND clinicians. All my clients were given birth to by narcissistic mothers. Tragically, many were raised by moms who had BPD traits, which made their experiences during childhood with Mother, extremely confusing, painful, frustrating, and toxic.
These clients all grew into adulthood, inextricably attracted to lovers who were borderline personality disordered. It's an unfortunate fact that who we grew up loving, whether they returned our adoration or not, is who we bond with as adults. This issue is driven by an unconscious Attraction Strategy, that has us frantically trying to secure love and positive mirroring, from a source that's not emotionally equipped to supply us with either.
This primal patterning or blueprint if you will, is familiar and comfortable to those who grew up associating "love" with painful longing and yearning for an unresponsive maternal object, and developed a distorted definition for what real love is supposed to feel like! Core trauma or feeling work with a skilled professional can teach you how to experience emotions in your body and NOT analyze them in your head. This type of inner-work has the sublime power to break your cycle of being attracted to under-nourishing, non-reciprocal and/or abusive relationships.