The False Self in Borderline Personality Disorder and Pathological Narcissism

A woman sitting alone on a green couch waiting for something

What is the relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder and Pathological Narcissism? It is the False Self in Borderlines that houses pathological narcissism?

Narcissism, pathological narcissism, is not just found in those who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) also wrestle with it as I outline in my newest ebook, available now The Shadows and Echoes of Self – The False Self Born Out of the Core Wound of Abandonment in Borderline Personality Disorder.

The core wound of abandonment that is experienced by those with Borderline Personality Disorder is, in fact central to what causes and shapes Borderline Personality Disorder. The pathological narcissism of the borderline false self is at the core of almost everything borderline.

“Otto Kernberg uses the term Narcissism to refer to the role of self in the regulation of self esteem He regarded normal, infantile Narcissism to be dependent on the affirmation of others and the acquisition of desirable and appealing objects, which should later develop into healthy, mature, self esteem.

This healthy Narcissism depends upon an integrated sense of self, that incorporates images of the internalized affirmation of those close to us, that is regulated by the super ego and ego ideal, internal mental structures that assure us of our worth and that we deserve our own respect. When infantile Narcissism fails to develop in this healthy adult form it becomes a pathology.”

(Source: Wikipedia)

The fact that, according to Kernberg, “healthy narcissism depends upon an integrated sense of self” is the first major distinguishing factor for those who are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Those who have BPD – borderlines – lack a known or developed self and have no sense of a self that they could integrate anything with or into.

The reality of the arrested emotional development of those with BPD, caused, largely, if not entirely, by what I have termed the core wound of abandonment results in the psychological death of the authentic self that was emerging pre-abandonment trauma.

The borderline false self rises out of the void left by the evacuation of the authentic self that has left a space where that self was meant to be.

What makes the borderline false self a ‘self’ of sorts that houses pathological narcissism it the reality that it is a pseudo self that was born out of the trauma of the core wound of abandonment. It rises from the juncture at which the lost authentic self was unable to psychologically survive and continue to develop.

Therefore, this borderline false self does not have any previous development. It assumes control of the borderline, if you will, with only infantile narcissism in tact. The arrested emotional development ensures that the borderline false self does not mature beyond the point of the core wound of abandonment. Thus this narcissism, experienced by borderlines through this false self personality organization is pathological, as Kernberg outlines.

In my ebook, The Shadows and Echoes of Self – The False Self Born Out of the Core Wound of Abandonment in Borderline Personality Disorder I outline the similarities and even more importantly the differences between Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). While these two personality disorders are classified in the DSM-IV in the Cluster B designation, and have things in common they do have stark differences and are not one in the same. The way or reasons that the pathological narcissism in the borderline false self manifests is not the same as the way or reasons the false self in those with NPD exhibit and manifest pathological narcissism.

While narcissism has long been described as grandiose self-love where one has a high regard for oneself, the truth about it is that whatever a person presents, be it based on an image, an ideal, a contrived self, and so forth, in those with NPD or BPD, is usually manifested to cover up a very lacking sense of self in the case of BPD or a very lacking ability to see one’s real self (usually false self) in NPD as well.

Pages: 1 | 2 | Single Page

Please help us spread the word and share this article!
A.J. Mahari lives in Ontario, Canada. She is an Author, Speaker, Counselor, Life Coach, BPD/Loved Ones Coach, NPD/Loved Ones Coach, Mental Health Coach, and Self-Improvement Coach. She has been described by many as an insightful and astute student of life’s ups and downs. A.J. is a Mental Health Professional. A.J. writes from her own life experience, education and over 20 years of experience working with clients with Personality Disorders or the Loved Ones of those with them. You can purchase any of A.J.'s 35+ Ebooks or Written and Narrated 45+ Audio Programs or work with her as a your Counselor or Life Coach. She is a sexual abuse survivor and recovered from Borderline Personality Disorder many years ago. She is also an adult living with (“high functioning”) Asperger's Syndrome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *