This person does not appear to be narcissistic at first glance. People who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder don’t have the inner strength to maintain the facade the way the other antisocial personalities do. They will swing from a position of high competence and disdain for others to depression and self-doubt believing they are much worse than others. They can be very confusing because they often are bright and very skillful and yet, never really tend to believe in themselves. Because they cannot maintain the image of success, they often quit before they achieve success. In a relationship, they are very difficult to be with as they have severe mood swings that are not caused by any external event.
They often feel victimized and will turn into a vicious persecutor at the drop of a hat. Because they personalize almost everything anyone else does or says, it is difficult to know how they are receiving what you are saying to them or doing with them. This also leads to a fair amount of paranoia. They are very concerned about what others think about them and often believe others do not like them. In some ways, they often can look like the reverse of a narcissist in that they can be very sloppy in their dress and have poor body hygiene. One of the difficulties in identifying the borderline personality is that they can appear very different in public than in private. Also, they are not consistent in their behavior or in their presentation.
It is important to recognize when relating to a borderline that you don’t really exist. When they see you, they see a fuzzy image that is filled in with projections from their own unconscious. If you do not realize this you will feel very crazy with them. In fact, most children growing up in the family of a borderline parent have a deep abiding belief that they themselves are the one that is crazy, not the parent.
Depression is often the symptom that brings the borderline into treatment, but they have a very difficult time staying in therapy. Typically they go untreated except for intermittent bouts with depression, which is relieved with medication.