The Differences Between Abusers with Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs. Borderline Personality Disorder
As a writer who speaks about narcissistic abuse (emotional abuse and manipulation perpetrated by malignant narcissists), I am often asked what the differences are between having an abusive relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder vs. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or those who display borderline traits vs. narcissistic ones.
While these are both Cluster B disorders that have some overlap, there are similarities as well as differences that set these disorders apart. The ways they behave in relationships may be similar on the surface, but they differ in the degree of empathy they’re capable of, the motivation behind their behavior, their emotional range as well as their responsiveness to treatment.
This list may not apply to borderlines with co-morbid NPD or vice versa. Those with co-morbid personality disorders tend to display traits from both and will often share more similarities than differences. It is also important to note that women are more likely than men to be diagnosed as borderline, while men are more likely to be diagnosed as narcissists, which may be due to a bias driven by cultural stereotypes. Thus, neither disorder should be presumed as something that is gender-specific: there can be female narcissists as well as male borderlines.