Narcissistic personality or TLP? How to face a relationship

Narcissistic personality or TLP? How to face a relationship

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The Personality disorders traditionally they have been understood as disturbances in the patterns of thought, emotions and interpersonal functioning, which give rise to poor and deteriorated social interaction mechanisms. These personality patterns, for a long time, were seen as immutable characteristics.

Subsequently it has been seen that these types of Personality patterns are established in early times of life, as ways of dealing with the absence of support or deficits related to the lack of attachment in childhood in the development of personality.

In the DSM V the rankings list up to ten types of personality disorder, two of which are "Borderline Personality Disorder" and "Narcissistic Personality Disorder". The common descriptions, at first, seem to be very different:


  • 1 Characteristics of BPD and Narcissistic disorder
  • 2 Similarities between BPD and Narcissistic disorder
  • 3 Differences between BPD and Narcissistic disorder

Characteristics of BPD and Narcissistic disorder

Borderline personality disorder

He is an unpredictable, manipulative, unstable personality. He fears abandonment and isolation. Live fast experiences with large fluctuations in mood. Quickly switch between love and hate. He sees himself and others, alternatively, as all good and all evil. Your moods are unstable and often changing. People with Borderline Personality Disorder have a recurring pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

He is an egotistic, arrogant, grandiose, carefree personality type. Fantasies of success, beauty, or achievement. He sees himself as admirable and superior, and therefore entitled to special treatment. It is a mental disorder in which people have an exaggerated idea of ​​their own importance and a deep need for admiration. People with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they are superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings.

Similarities between BPD and Narcissistic disorder

As similarities between both disorders we can see the two they are the result of creating a wrong self concept. This results in poor or incomplete identity formation and subsequent independence, in which there should be a healthy and safe separation from parents or caregivers, which means seeing oneself as an independent being. It is believed that the crucial moment for this phase of development in humans occurs between 18 months and 3 years of.

Both narcissists and TLP grow up with the need to define themselves in terms of other people in order to feel valued. The narcissist builds a façade or false personality built on the feeling or need to be seen as better That the others. The narcissist depends on others to affirm his special character and seeks people and situations that support this illusion. In contrast, the TLP joins another person with the feeling that he may be a potential savior. The person with TLP seeks the appreciation of others to feel safe from abandonment and thus fill its void.

Both cases have difficulties to reflect on what they feel or need or want and are likely to be dishonest, by avoidance or manipulation, rather than clear and assertive. They act with an incomplete sense of their effectiveness and can be impulsive and unpredictable.

Behind both personality disorders there is a deep fragility of the I. In situations of severe stress, both types decompensate and can become essentially non-functional.

With the narcissist this can lead to extreme anger, even suicidal despair or sociopathic acting or some combination of these. This is the example of the disgraced tycoon or the politician with a secret fetish. This severely decompensated border is very emotional and self destructive, to the point that he or she may seem psychotic. This is the person who learns that they have dedicated their lives to a farce or that their hero has feet of mud. The weak sense of self has disintegrated leaving a sense of annihilation and the inability to cope. In a milder way victimization responses are given.

Differences between BPD and Narcissistic disorder

What differences can be observed between both disorders? In principle that the two are likely to have serious difficulties in maintaining healthy relationships. In both there is a lot of emotional disorganization especially when it comes to relating, although they are very quick to find and accept help.

Given the the two disorders are the result of problems of lack of early attachmentIt may be less important to specify whether the person is a narcissist or a BPD and more important to know what their type of relationship is. Are you always vigilant and easily enraged? Is insecure? Is it driven by a very competitive ego? These obsolete "survival skills" are based primarily on the particular nature of the person's early trauma, combined with the developmental trajectory that followed.

To a large degree we all have relationship patterns that were established early, but that may not particularly affect us in adulthood. In part, having a significant relationship in the present will help you learn and grow to generate a more realistic and strong self-concept, whether through an individual sentimental relationship.

If you know someone who has some of these symptoms, you can now understand why a relationship went wrong, for example. If you can know their history, with their parents and friends, you can even have a vision of how these relationships were distorted or problematic. Luckily or unfortunately, we are often more blind to the relationship we have lived in our own family than in others.

Someone who is not open to obtaining a greater awareness of himself and the resolution of these issues will not be prepared to face a relationship serious, no matter what your diagnosis really is. As a starting point, the person has to be committed to growth and open to real change.


American Psychiatric Association Borderline personality disorder. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013: 663-666.

Gunderson, J. (2002). Borderline Personality Disorder: Clinical Guide. Barcelona: Ars Médica.





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