What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD is a mental health disorder or personality disorder that manifests in a number of symptoms, including an ongoing pattern of mood swings, distorted self-image, and various behavior issues. While this disorder is sometimes mistaken for narcissistic personality disorder, the two are different in that people with BPD have empathy, and those with NPD do not.

Survivors of narcissistic abuse are sometimes misdiagnosed with BPD, and clearly, its symptoms can result in impulsive actions and major problems in relationships.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

While BPD is sometimes mistaken for narcissistic personality disorder, the two are different in that people with BPD have empathy, and those with NPD do not. Survivors of narcissistic abuse are sometimes misdiagnosed with BPD, and clearly, its symptoms can result in impulsive actions and major problems in relationships. People who have BPD can be unstable at times and be erratic and unpredictable in their behavior.

Someone with BPD might struggle to form and maintain healthy, stable relationships. They often struggle with their self-image as well as their self-worth as they both fluctuate frequently. In some situations, you’ll notice someone with BPD might act totally “normal,” while other times, the same person might be completely out of the ordinary, unpredictable, and incredibly inappropriate.

Their level of impulse control can also be impaired when they’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

Are more men or women diagnosed with BPD?

While most people diagnosed with BPD are female, men can also be affected.  When narcissistic abuse is involved, in some cases, someone who is diagnosed with BPD might actually be diagnosed with C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder). if their doctors understood how the trauma and abuse had affected their lives and psychology.

More on BPD Symptoms, Signs and BPD and NPD Similarities

In this video, we’re going to talk about the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder and how BPD and NPD are very different in some ways – but they’re also surprisingly similar in some ways. Mental illness and personality disorders can change your life in some serious ways. People in relationships with BPD can often struggle to keep their emotions on track – especially when those relationships also involve narcissists.

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When Narcissists Use Religion to Control You

When Narcissists Use Religion to Control You

Are you dealing with religious abuse or spiritual abuse?

Are you dealing with religious abuse or spiritual abuse from a narcissist? If so, you’re not alone. Narcissists are infamous for using religion to manipulate, control and absolutely dominate you through fear of what will happen to you if you don’t do what they want.

In this video, Narcissists and Religious Abuse (AKA Spiritual Abuse): When Narcissists Use Religion to Control You, I’ll define religious abuse and outline how narcissists use it against you.

What is religious/spiritual abuse?

The official definition of religious/spiritual abuse: Religious abuse is abuse administered under the guise of religion, including harassment or humiliation, which may result in psychological trauma. Religious abuse may also include misuse of religion for selfish, secular, or ideological ends such as the abuse of a clerical position.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

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How to Build the Courage to Leave an Abusive Partner

How to Build the Courage to Leave an Abusive Partner

When you’re in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to see the way out. But, you don’t have to be trapped in a relationship with an abusive partner. Here’s some help.

How do you safely leave an abusive partner?

Discover how to separate yourself from them in a safe way by using these strategies:

Be honest with yourself about why you haven’t already left.

Understand why you stay. You can’t gain the courage to leave until you understand why you’re staying. Are these reasons preventing you from leaving,

  • Maybe you’re staying out of fear.
  • You may feel stuck in the relationship because it’s the only thing you have right now. Despite the issues, it’s a familiar place. You may even feel secure in the familiarity.
  • You might even stay because you feel that you deserve to be punished. You’re worried that you won’t be able to find someone else who is better. And, because of the abuse, you may feel responsible for the situation.
  • In addition, perhaps you believe that you can fix the issues. You may think that if you love your partner enough, then they will stop being abusive.

Focus on getting stronger, mentally and emotionally.

 Strengthen your self-esteem. Low self-esteem is at the root of many abusive relationships. Increasing your confidence and self-esteem will help you gain the courage to leave the abuser. You can start by acknowledging that your self-esteem needs work.

  • Look for causes for your low self-esteem. Were your parents perfectionists who expected too much from you? Did you feel inadequate growing up or at work? Once you have the answers, you can work to resolve your feelings about your past. You can put the past in the past and ensure that these negative feelings don’t affect who you are today.
  •  To raise your self-esteem, do a nice thing for yourself each day. Pay attention to what others say about you that is positive. Journal about it or take notes, so you always have a reminder of your positive aspects.

Set up a proper support system.

Get outside help. It may benefit you to get help from friends, family, or others. You may need to turn to therapy or a doctor. In some cases, outside help is needed to leave an abusive relationship.

  • Your friends, family, coworkers, or others may be able to assist you so you won’t be alone and can develop the courage to leave. There may also be community resources, nonprofits, and organizations that can help.
  • You might want to work with a therapist or a coach.

Consider the costs.

Figure out your finances. Are you scared to leave your partner because you depend on them financially? Maybe you’re dealing with financial abuse, too? If you know that you’re financially secure, then it’s easier to leave.

  •  When you have a job, set money aside that your abuser can’t access. You can also ask friends or family to contribute to your savings.
  • When you don’t have a job, you have to be more creative. You may be able to save money from the stipends you receive. You may be able to sell some items.
  • Even if you’re not certain about your finances, you can make plans for the future. Prepare for a job that can support you after this relationship ends.

You don’t have to stay with an abusive partner out of fear. Relationships can be difficult to end, but it’s not impossible. Figure out a way to escape and leave them, even if you need someone to help you do it. There are resources and people who can help you get out of your abusive situation and get started in a healthier life.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

 

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Toxic Narcissist in Your Life? 35+ Tools and Resources That Can Help

Toxic Narcissist in Your Life? 35+ Tools and Resources That Can Help

Update: Click here to visit our new resources center. 

Looking for tools, tips, resources and help with a narcissist in your life? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve collected more than 35 of them for you, right here.

I have written several books on narcissism, but I know that not everyone can have books delivered and/or doesn’t have the cash for the Kindle editions. Or maybe they’re afraid of being found out by their very controlling narc.

Listen, I’m not here to judge. I feel you. TRUST ME.

At any rate, that’s why I’ve put together a few links for you here. If you bookmark this post and/or this site, you can refer back to it as needed to get the virtual support and/ir validation that you need.

Consider this site your very own sort of “online ebook” of sorts – no charge, no strings attached. Just because I know how important it is to know that you’re not crazy when you’re in the thick of a relationship with a narcissist.

Is there a narcissist in your life?

Your narcissist could be anyone – your spouse, your child, your mother, your father, your boss – even your best friend or your neighbor. Here are some tips for identifying the one(s) in your life.

What is the definition of a toxic narcissist?

It’s confusing for a lot of people because people think being narcissistic means you take a bunch of selfies and care about how you look. But that’s not necessarily a toxic narcissist – the fact is that every human alive has a certain amount of narcissism in their makeup – it’s self-interest. It’s what makes us get up and get ourselves dressed, feed ourselves, get jobs, get married, have kids – it’s the part of us that prevents us from just giving up entirely.

But a toxic narcissist (or a person with NPD), is someone who has no ability to empathize with other people and who treats the people closest to them accordingly. The toxic narcissist is also referred to as a malignant narcissist.

What’s the difference between narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder and high self-esteem?

 

Are you being manipulated by the narcissist?

We all know that narcissists are master devastating emotional scars narcissism quotemanipulators.

Here are some posts to help you identify and recognize the manipulation.

Can you take control of the situation and/or overpower the narcissist?

beat a narcissist at his own gameIndeed you can, my friend, if you’re willing to stand up for yourself – at least temporarily. Once you’ve recognized the situation, you’re already one step closer. Now you need to know how to get through it. Try these posts for help and ideas.

Can you make the narcissist be nice to you WITHOUT acting like a narcissist yourself?

Yes, absolutely – and it can be done in two ethical, repeatable steps – check it out right here.

Can a narcissist ever really love?

I think we both know the answer to that question, but just in case:

What are some other ways a narcissist will manipulate me?

You might already know all about gaslighting, but that’s just one way that narcissists manipulate people. Here are a few others.

Can you show me an example of real-life gaslighting?

I don’t usually share many personal stories about the gaslighting I have experienced in my life but recently, a well-known narcissist actually gave me a little bit of an unrealized opportunity by actually gaslighting me online.

Oh yea. Online.

What if leaving my narcissist isn’t an option?

It’s not always, and you and I both know this. Unless you’re being physically abused, sometimes it feels like the wolf you know is better than the one that you don’t. But here are some posts to help you get your head in the right place and tools to help you be happier.

Is there a course or class I can take to help me recover from narcissistic abuse?

Absolutely! On this page, you’ll find all kinds of freebies, some of which include online courses. You can also visit Life Makeover Academy, NarcissismSupportCoach.com, or take my Udemy course that helps you to take back your life after narcissistic abuse, right here.

See My Books About Narcissism 

See all of my books, including those on topics such as weight loss and how to be a hot wife at BooksAngieWrote.com.

See the most recent posts about narcissism, gaslighting, and toxic relationships right here. If you have any resources for victims of narcissism in relationships, please share them in the comments section, below. 

Why Narcissists Are Often Misdiagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

Why Narcissists Are Often Misdiagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

Today, in response to a question from one of my narcissistic abuse recovery coaching clients, I’m covering the differences – and similarities – between narcissistic personality disorder and bipolar disorder – and why psychologists and other medical professionals often confuse the two.

I’ve been writing and talking about narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and narcissistic abuse recovery for years, and one of the questions that I hear over and over again is actually related to another major issue – bipolar disorder.

The question: What are the differences between bi-polar disorder and NPD?

For example, one client told me her ex-narc has been diagnosed by a psychologist as bi-polar, but that she doesn’t believe this to be the case – and no one will listen to her. While I haven’t experienced this exactly, I can certainly relate to her pain – how about you?

Why Are Narcissists Are Often Misdiagnosed by Psychotherapists?

Narcissists tend to be misread by many therapists, and generally in one of two ways – either the therapist doesn’t see an issue, or they are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Why does this happen? Well, there are a few reasons, so let’s talk about that.

Psychology schools haven’t taught about NPD.

First, many schools didn’t teach psychologists a lot about narcissistic personality disorder, so a lot of therapists aren’t educated on NPD at all. Others just don’t even recognize it as a possible diagnosis. One of my clients told me that she mentioned gaslighting during a therapy session, and her therapist told her that he not only hadn’t heard of it but asked her how to SPELL it. No, I’m not kidding.

Bi-polar and NPD symptoms overlap.

Another reason this happens is that so many of the symptoms overlap between these two disorders.

So, to put it in clinical terms, let me share this with you from a 2008 study published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, entitled Commonalities and differences in characteristics of persons at risk for narcissism and mania, written by
Daniel Fulford,* Sheri L. Johnson, and Charles S. Carver.

“Clinicians have long noted overlap in some of the key features of narcissism and bipolar disorder, including excessively high goals and impulsivity. In addition, empirical findings consistently document high levels of comorbidity between the two conditions. To better understand the similarities and differences in psychological qualities associated with mania- and narcissism-related vulnerabilities, we administered to 233 undergraduates a broad range of measures pertaining to goals and affects (both their experience and their dysregulation) and impulsivity. As hypothesized, tendencies toward both narcissism and hypomania related to elevations on measures of affective and goal dysregulation. In addition, hypomania tendencies were related to higher impulsivity, but that association did not appear for narcissistic tendencies. Results highlight key commonalities and differences between those at risk for mania versus narcissism. Future research should examine these relationships in clinically diagnosed samples.”

Putting it in layman’s terms, both someone with NPD and someone with bipolar disorder will present with grandiose perceptions of themselves sometimes, and both will have unrealistic fantasies of power or success – plus, both may also feel a heightened sense of their own abilities or accomplishments.

This is most commonly misdiagnosed when a therapist believes that the person is experiencing mild hypomania – an elevated mood that hasn’t reached the full manic level yet – due to bipolar disorder. Of course, based on these symptoms alone, even a well-trained professional may misdiagnose their patient.

Psychologist on Bi-Polar and NPD Diagnosis Confusion

Now, as you know, I’m a certified life coach, NOT a psychologist – so I figured I’d bring some advice from a psychologist who IS qualified to offer it here.

According to psychiatrist Michael Peterson, who’s also an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health‘s school of psychiatry, one major distinguishing feature is the timing.

Peterson adds: “Personality disorders are pervasive patterns of relating to others and situations that are long-standing. In bipolar, manic or depressed periods typically last weeks to months, but are not always present.”

Of course, as I said, these symptoms can definitely overlap, and Peterson advises that other factors could play a part in the confusion.

He says: “Many of the core symptoms of bipolar can be confused with normal variability in mood, changes associated with personality disorders — including narcissistic or borderline personality disorder — or changes associated with alcohol or drug use.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Vs NPD Symptoms

Let’s cover the basics here – bipolar disorder is mostly characterized by dramatic and overwhelming shifts in mood or energy – the bipolar person may hit the highest highs and the lowest lows, and these will alternate, often in a pattern. During the manic period, they’ll have lots of energy and be much more extroverted – while when the “down” side hits, they’ll find themselves exhausted, withdrawn, and generally in despair.

Another big marker for bipolar disorder: those who are most seriously affected sometimes can’t function in normal day-to-day life. They can’t keep jobs or relationships due to their disorder. Of course, when it comes to NPD, you’re dealing with someone who is self-absorbed to an unhealthy point, and who does not experience real empathy for the people around them.

So, in order to correctly diagnose or differentiate between the two disorders, psychologists must pay attention to the patterns in the lives of the disorder and be aware of the specific phases, if they believe the patient is bipolar.

Cluster B and Bi-Polar Can Be Co-Morbid Conditions

Sometimes the two CAN coexist: A recent study found that cluster B (which includes borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, and histrionic personality disorders) features were evident in about one-third of bipolar patients, with possible associations to childhood emotional and/or physical abuse.

NPD SYMPTOMS:

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, the official list of symptoms is as follows.

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

According to the DSM – 5, these are the basic symptoms for bipolar disorder – and please note this is a VERY high overview – bipolar disorder is far more complex than you’d expect.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

First, you cannot self-diagnose bipolar disorder – the DSM5 requires a medical diagnosis. “Mania symptoms include periods of elevated mood or irritability. When experiencing a manic episode, a patient often has high energy levels with reduced need for sleep. Less often, people may experience psychosis. Depression symptoms include feeling sad, low energy, low motivation, or loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities.”

  • Mood: mood swings, sadness, elevated mood, anger, anxiety, apathy, apprehension, euphoria, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, inability to feel pleasure, or loss of interest
  • Behavioral: irritability, risky behavior, disorganized behavior, aggression, agitation, crying, excess desire for sex, hyperactivity, impulsivity, or self-harm
  • Cognitive: unwanted thoughts, delusion, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, slowness in activity, or false belief of superiority
  • Psychological: depression, manic episode, agitated depression, or paranoia
  • Sleep: difficulty falling asleep or excess sleepiness
  • Whole body: fatigue or restlessness
  • Weight: weight gain or weight loss
  • Also common: rapid and frenzied speaking

Bipolar Disorder Has Periods of Remission, NPD Does Not

A final thought on this – while people with bipolar disorder might have episodes of “remission” in which the disorder doesn’t dictate their lives, people with NPD are pretty consistent about their behavior. Sure, there might be varying levels of intensity with the gaslighting and the manipulative behaviors with a narcissist, but it’s a character-type that doesn’t go away – and even when there is some success in treatment (rarely is the disorder even treated), it doesn’t usually go away. That fact, along with the fact that the narcissistic person can’t experience real empathy, are, in my opinion, the two most obvious differences between these disorders.

Now it’s your turn – what do you think? Do you know anyone who seems to be a narcissist but who was diagnosed as bipolar? How do you feel about it and what would you say to my suggestion that the easiest way to detect the difference lies in both the patterns and the empathy factor?

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery right now.

 

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