Surviving Borderline-Narcissistic Relationships: A Comprehensive Guide

Mental Health

Personality Disorders and Borderline Narcissistic Couples: A Comprehensive Overview

Have you ever encountered someone who seems too clingy, extremely confident, and manipulative? Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who seems to be all sunshine and rainbows one minute and then suddenly becomes angry and hostile the next?

If so, you may have encountered someone with a personality disorder, specifically Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Personality disorders are mental illnesses that affect an individual’s behavioral, emotional, and cognitive processes.

They are typically diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist and are characterized by persistent patterns of behavior that deviate from societal norms. Today, we’ll be focusing on BPD and NPD and how they impact relationships, particularly between couples where one or both parties suffer from these disorders.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

BPD and NPD are two different types of personality disorders with distinct characteristics. Individuals with BPD experience sudden shifts in their moods and have extreme perceptions of themselves, others, and the world around them.

They often experience anxiety, have low self-esteem, and a fragmented sense of self. They may experience guilt and remorse, but at the same time, lack empathy for others.

On the other hand, individuals with NPD have an inflated sense of self. They have a deep need for attention, admiration, and an overwhelming belief in their superiority and talents.

They often have troubled relationships due to their lack of empathy and their tendency to manipulate others to get what they want.

Attraction between Borderlines and Narcissists

At first glance, you might think that these two types of individuals would never get along. However, research suggests that BPD and NPD individuals are often attracted to each other due to their shared fears and insecurities.

Borderlines may be drawn to narcissists because of their self-confidence and strong sense of self. Meanwhile, narcissists may find borderlines appealing because of their clingy and dependent nature.

However, this relationship dynamic is far from healthy. Both types of individuals tend to engage in self-destructive behavior, lie, cheat, and manipulate.

Such a relationship can be emotionally draining, and at times, dangerous.

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Self-Perception and Emotions

Individuals with BPD often view themselves as unlovable, questioning their self-worth and struggling with a sense of emptiness. They may swing between feeling powerful and completely powerless, leading to extremes of emotions.

Narcissists, on the other hand, often have an inflated sense of self. They may see themselves as grandiose beings, believing themselves to be superior to others.

This belief in their own abilities leads to an entitlement attitude, where they feel that they deserve things that others do not.

Behavioral Differences

Individuals with BPD may struggle with intense fear of abandonment. They may cling to their partner and become very dependent on them.

However, due to their deep-rooted insecurities, they may also push people away by being very detached and distant. Narcissists, on the other hand, may be distant and abusive towards their partners.

They may withdraw affection as a means of control and punishment.

Typical Traits

Borderline individuals often engage in self-harm or suicidal behavior, and they may lash out at others when they feel criticized or rejected. They may also experience paranoia and have a hard time trusting others, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Narcissists may engage in gaslighting, manipulating others by making them doubt their own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. They may also lack empathy towards others, leading to toxic, one-sided relationships.

Harm and Sensitivity

Individuals with BPD and NPD may harm themselves or others when their emotions become excessive or overwhelming. They may engage in substance abuse, dangerous sexual practices, or experience suicidal thoughts.

These individuals are also highly sensitive to criticism. They may become defensive, lash out, or distance themselves from others.


Personality disorders can make relationships very complicated and challenging. While it is possible to work through these struggles with the help of therapy, it takes a lot of effort and dedication.

If you suspect that you or your partner may be struggling with BPD or NPD, it is crucial to seek professional help to ensure that you are receiving the appropriate care and support. Remember that it is not your fault that you are struggling with a personality disorder, and there is no shame in seeking help.

3) The Effects of Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders on Relationships

Narcissistic and borderline personality disorders can create significant dysfunction in relationships. Relationships with individuals who have these personality disorders are often tumultuous, stormy, and unhealthy, leading to much turmoil and disappointment.

They can be filled with drama, and the highs and lows can wear down a partner over time. Relationships with borderlines and narcissists often end up being short-lived, with frequent breakups and periods of hostility.

Even when enduring, it can result in scars of wounds that are never able to heal. Despite the brief nature of these relationships, they can lead to life-long emotional pain.

Studies show that relationships with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder often end within seven years. Meanwhile, relationships with individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can last for decades and sometimes even as little as two years.

While the length of these relationships may differ, the turmoil, chaos, and disappointment felt are universal.

4) Handling Borderline Narcissistic Relationships

It is essential to understand that BPD and NPD cannot be “cured.” Still, individuals with these disorders can learn to manage their symptoms to reduce harm and improve the quality of their lives and relationships. If you’re in a relationship with someone with BPD or NPD, you can help mitigate some of the damage by taking the following steps:

Coping with Symptoms

Individuals with BPD and NPD may exhibit behaviors that can be emotionally draining to those around them. For instance, BPD individuals may experience intense fear of abandonment, leading them to cling to their partner and be dependent on them.

Meanwhile, NPD individuals can be abusive towards their partners and may withdraw affection as punishment. To cope with the symptoms of these disorders, it’s crucial to establish and maintain clear boundaries.

It may also be helpful to learn effective communication and conflict resolution skills. It’s crucial to have a strong support system and surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Relationship Counseling

Couples therapy can be beneficial for couples struggling with these disorders. A licensed therapist can help both individuals in the relationship understand how their behavior affects their partner and equip them with the tools they need to manage and improve their relationship.

It’s essential for both partners to be willing to work towards a healthier relationship. A therapist can help educate partners on the patterns of behavior that may be hindering them and teach them the value of mutual respect, open communication, and compromise.

Importance of Treatment

It’s important to note that Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are complex mental health conditions that cannot be treated with medication alone. Psychotherapy is the mainstay of treatment.

A licensed mental health professional can work with individuals to control and manage their symptoms, reduce harm, and enhance their quality of life. It’s also important to be patient as treatment can be a long and challenging process.

But with the right guidance and support, individuals with these disorders can make significant progress in managing their symptoms and improving their relationships.


Navigating a relationship with someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be a challenging experience. However, with the right tools, education, and a strong support system, individuals can learn to cope with the symptoms and improve their relationship’s quality.

It is essential to remember that seeking treatment is vital, and individuals with these disorders can make significant progress in managing their symptoms, improving their relationships, and ultimately, enhancing their quality of life.

5) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Borderline Narcissistic Couples

Here are answers to some common questions about couples where one or both partners have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD):

Relation between BPD and NPD

BPD and NPD are not the same disorder, but they share some similarities. Both disorders are related to difficulties in regulating emotions, self-identity, and interpersonal relationships.

It’s not uncommon for individuals with BPD to have some symptoms of NPD and vice versa. According to statistics, research shows that about 25 percent of individuals with BPD also have NPD.

Possibility of Healthy Relationship

It’s not impossible for individuals with BPD or NPD to have a healthy relationship. However, it does require a deep understanding of the symptoms, boundaries, and ways to manage behavior that may be harmful to the partner.

Treatment through therapy is usually the best way to manage these disorders effectively. It’s essential for the individual with BPD or NPD to be motivated to work on themselves and become aware of their behaviors that are harmful to the relationship.

They should accept responsibility for their actions and work on ways to manage their symptoms. Additionally, it’s helpful for couples to learn healthy conflict resolution skills and work towards effective communication.

It’s also important to create and maintain clear boundaries and understand the needs of both partners.

Average Length of BPD or NPD Relationship

The length of a relationship in which one partner has BPD or NPD can vary. Individuals with BPD typically have shorter relationships, lasting a little over seven years.

Meanwhile, individuals with NPD often have longer relationships, with some lasting for decades or as little as two years. It’s important to note that the length of the relationship may not correlate with its quality.

Even if a relationship is long-lasting, it may still be unhealthy or damaging.


Relationships with individuals with BPD or NPD can present challenges and long-lasting emotional scars. It’s essential to seek professional help if you suspect that you or your partner may be struggling with these disorders.

With the right treatment and support, individuals with BPD or NPD can learn to manage their symptoms effectively and maintain healthy relationships. Navigating a relationship with someone who has BPD or NPD requires a deep understanding of these conditions, establishing and maintaining boundaries, and working on healthy communication and conflict resolution skills.

Remember always to seek professional help to get accurate diagnosis, guidance, and support in navigating a relationship in which one or both partners have BPD or NPD. In conclusion,

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can create significant turbulence in relationships and cause significant emotional pain.

Relationships may be tumultuous, stormy, and unhealthy, filled with drama, and unsustainable in the long term. However, it is important to note that individuals with BPD or NPD can moderate their symptoms through therapy, establish clear boundaries, and work towards effective communication and conflict resolution.

What is crucial in navigating a relationship where one or both partners have these disorders is seeking professional help to ensure accurate diagnosis, guidance, and support. By prioritizing the relationship’s quality and with the right treatment and support, BPD or NPD can be managed effectively, and individuals can experience healthier relationships and increase their overall well-being.

Popular Posts

Sign up for free email updates: