The Double-Edged Sword of Narcissistic-Borderline Relationships
I have been reading a lot about Narcissism and Borderline Personality Disorder recently. The articles about Narcissism usually talk about ego-maniac men who deliberately seduce innocent women with Borderline Personality Disorder. In these cases, the BPD victim has no boundaries, so she loves too much and is unable to get away from the man who is manipulating her. Very often these relationships involve an element of adultery and the forbidden fruit is what intensifies the thrill of the chase.
Of course, it can also happen the other way around with the woman being the narcissistic seductress and the man being the victim. The Bible lays the blame for adultery firmly on the woman’s shoulders, as if it is always she who seduces the poor defenceless man. Proverbs 5 vs 3 states, “Know that the lips of the adulteress drip honey and her words are smoother than oil.” We see in cultures where adultery is punished severely that it is usually the woman who takes most of the consequences, often paying with her life.
However, I don’t think it’s ever that simple that one person seduces another while the “seducee” has no choice in the matter. The reality is that both the man and the woman are responsible for setting up the relationship, and it may be that both have certain characteristics of both disorders. Admittedly, I am not a psychotherapist, but I suspect that the roles can alternate between the couple in different situations. After all, they attract each other, they both hold onto each other and the relationship for whatever positive feelings they are getting out of it.
By definition though, these relationships are doomed from the start and ultimately become toxic for both. The narcissist feels swamped, so longing for freedom goes out hunting for other prey, while the BPD victim is constantly frustrated, insecure and heartbroken.
If we turn to Proverbs again we see that this text written in the 4th century BC contains wisdom for the modern day as the next line contains the warning: “But the outcome is as bitter as wormwood. It is sharp like a double-edged sword.” Proverbs 5 vs 4.
If you are in any kind of toxic relationship you need to either get out of it or take responsibility for your part in it and work on it through counselling, coaching, prayer, personal journaling, reading and retreats.