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What does BPD with NPD really look like?

Updated on June 6, 2016
My son playing with my camera.
My son playing with my camera. | Source

What is BPD?

BPD stands for Borderline Personality Disorder.

The symptoms of BPD can include:

  • Unstable identity or sense of self-image. They can change drastically or dramatically from one day to the next, even from moment to moment depending on severity.
  • Inability to maintain a stable relationship. The value of worth placed upon the other person fluctuates inconsistently from complete admiration to loathing.
  • Rapid and possibly severe mood swings.
  • Fear of abandonment (whether real or imagined); taking great efforts to avoid this at all costs.
  • Impulsive, risky behavior; being promiscuous, dare-devilish, or irresponsible with money, health, or personal safety.
  • Repeated thoughts, actions, or threats of committing suicide.
  • A nagging feeling of "emptiness"
  • Anger management or anger control issues
  • Paranoia or lapses in memory during times of severe stress.

For a more in depth view of BPD go to

My little Drama Queen
My little Drama Queen | Source

What is NPD?

NPD stands for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The symptoms of NPD include:

  • Being Selfish, self-centered, arrogant, or boastful
  • Needing and seeking out constant attention, approval, and admiration from others
  • Believing they are "above" others or better than everyone else in some way
  • Prone to exaggerate their accomplishments and achievements
  • Their ego or feelings are easily hurt.
  • They will manipulate and use other people to get what they want
  • They feel they are special and deserving above the "norm"
  • Get lost in fantasy world where they have ultimate power, control, and intelligence
  • Hold an unrealistic expectation that people want to do things "their way" all the time.

Oh the drama...
Oh the drama... | Source

How do they go together?

There are a number of different disorders that can manifest in a person with BPD.

  • Schizotypal
  • Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Men with BPD are more prone to substance use, while women with BPD are more prone to eating disorders.

When they are combined:

When you have a friend or loved one suffering from BPD with NPD it is difficult at times to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With so many instabilities and unrealistic demands on the world and people around them, they can seem like a ticking time bomb.

He/she may change their mind, their outlook on life, their goals, or their opinion on something at the drop of a hat. If you are unable to keep up with this rapid shifting, he/she will feel hurt, attacked, abandoned, or misunderstood. They may resort to some of their more negative, manipulative tactics in order to regain the sense of stability and self they are constantly craving.

They live in a very delicately fabricated world, where the slightest upset means the crumbling of their entire infrastructure. It is a world where they are the center point. When they feel that the attention has shifted away from this it throws them into a panic.


Truth behind the mask

At the root behind this, and most personality disorders; is pain, fear, and low self-esteem.

Somewhere in their early development there was an event which jarred them off the track of healthy mental development and self image, to one of self preservation. It could have been a traumatic experience, sexual abuse, death of a loved one, or countless other tragedies. Whatever the case, when they needed someone the most, that person (or people) weren't there. They didn't get the love, attention, affection, or security they needed at that crucial point in their development.

They are scared, lost, sad, and lonely on the inside. The mask they wear is one of protection. It is held onto so strongly because they are afraid. They are afraid that if they let that mask drop, the outside world will see that same small child that "wasn't worth it" so very long ago.

Treatments and Cures

The medical world states that there is no known cause or cure for these and other mental illnesses. There are a number of triggers or factors which may/can cause them to occur, yet are not proven to do so. All they really have to go on is commonality between the history of those who have been diagnosed.

There are treatments which may help regulate the symptoms, but there is no pill or medicine that can completely correct the disorder. The most widely used course of action is therapy. The only problem with that is that the person who is suffering from the disorder has to be so self-harming or dangerous to others that they are committed against their will. Many cases go untreated and un-diagnosed because of this.

Even the suggestion that they may have BPD or NPD will send them into a fit of self-defense. They will feel attacked, misunderstood, and wronged. A person suffering from these conditions is incapable of seeing the truth of how their behavior is affecting themselves or others around them. They will lie, manipulate, and turn the tables in any way possible to remove themselves from the focus of such an accusation.

Handling it at home

Unfortunately, unless you have already gone through enough trauma for your BPD/NPD loved one to actually get diagnosed and on some sort of therapy plan, the best you can do is work around it as best as you can.

By understanding that the main source of these conditions is a lack of self-worth or self-esteem, rather than the overabundance the person shows, you can work on being supportive and understanding.

Try not to overindulge the symptomatic behaviors, rather seek out positive actions and choices to praise. Actions and choices they make which aren't direct attempts at receiving the attention. When you are able to give them sincere praise over unexpected events, this helps them to see that the negative behaviors aren't as necessary as they once were.

Helping your loved one to gain a healthier self-esteem is a long, slow process. You cannot "give" them a higher self-esteem. This is something they must develop on their own. Your part is to make this growth possible through opportunities, support, and understanding.

Disclaimer & all that jazz

I am not a medical professional in any way. I am not allowed to diagnose, cure, or treat any mental illness or illness of any kind. If you feel that you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness, I encourage you to seek trained professional help.


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    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      well thanks for taking a chance on reading my hub :)

      I'm glad you liked it.

      Thank you!

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 5 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      Well written and very helpful info.Remembered you from one of your comments[made you cry]and thought I'd give you a read.Glad I did.


      BTW,that's me on your useful and interesting.

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you Lipnancy. I know all too well how people with mental disabilities and illness can be treated poorly, for I too have my own set of "disorders". The only thing the doctors ever really did for me was give a name to the difficulties I was facing. The rest was up to me. Knowledge over drugs. So perhaps I have a bit more compassion than most since I can not only empathize , but sympathize with what it's like to struggle.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I love the way you bring attention to NPD and BPD with love decency and respect. So many times people with mental disabilities are discarded as being unworthy.

      And then we have the overrated specialists who tell us that they can only be controlled with major drugs and have no idea how to deal with people with love and decency.

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you KristenN4Boys: I am so glad to hear that what I've shared has inspired you! I look forward to reading your soon to be published hub :)

      Living with a loved one with BPD can be very difficult at times. We only have so much strength on any given day, but you're doing awesome! My hubby has BPD/NPD. So many people tell me to just get out & leave him already.

      I think it is so important that people understand that some of the behaviors and symptoms (while taxing) are really out of their control. If they could control it, they wouldn't have the disorder.

      Good luck to you & your mother!

    • KristenN4Boys profile image

      KristenN4Boys 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Good Hub! I have a BPD parent whom I struggle daily with. The mood swings and manipulation are sometimes more than I can bare, but because she is my mother I live in the FOG (fear, obligation and guilt). It's a nasty tornado spinning out of control that, many days, I wish would fling me to the most distant place so I no longer have to endure the pounding of all the flying debris.

      Loved ones of BPD sufferers really struggle and many will cut off all contact once the pain has reached a peak. Others, like myself, stick it out, trying to change how to react, giving that positive reassurance. Yet, there's ALWAYS a time when I don't say the right thing or don't meet an expetation and I'm right back to being a 10 year old little girl in trouble with her mommy again.

      I actually wrote a Hub on BPD, but unpublished it. You have inspired me to edit and republish it sometime soon. Thank you!