What To Expect From A Relationship With Someone Who Has A Personality Disorder

relationship with someone who has a personality disorder

All I could hear was: “He does not love me enough to marry me.” When I confronted him with that, he tried to reassure me, but I no longer believed him. If he really loved me and I was the one, he wouldn’t have asked for more time. He wouldn’t have needed to talk about all of that stuff. I felt awful and abandoned and ugly and unloved. I left and said, “I never want to see you again.”

From this example, borderline love is highly impulsive and rarely practical. Practicality is seen as unromantic. Most of my borderline clients use splitting as a defense. In their mind either someone loves them unconditionally and proves it by doing everything they want (the all-good side of the split), or else they feel rejected and abandoned (the all-bad side of the split).

What Is The Narcissistic Love Pattern?

The narcissistic love pattern is almost entirely self-serving. It is all about what makes the narcissist feel good at the moment. No matter how devoted and in love narcissists claim to be, their feelings are actually quite shallow. The whole relationship is likely to fall apart as soon as the narcissist feels angry or disappointed with their new mate.

narcissistic personality disorder
What To Expect From A Relationship With Someone Who Has A Personality Disorder

Here are the five basic stages of the usual narcissistic love pattern:

1. Infatuation

They become infatuated with someone they idealize and see as perfect.

2. Pursuit

They engage in a rushed and intense courtship aimed at quickly sealing the deal.

3. The “Construction Project”

They start to notice small flaws in the new partner and try and get the person to make changes. In the beginning, they are nice, but if they meet with resistance, they start to become angry.

4. Devaluation

If the person resists changing, they shift from nice to nasty.

5. Disinterest

They lose all interest in pleasing their partner and express this by abusing, ignoring, cheating on them, or discarding them.

Related: 12 Markers Of A Decent Man That You’ll Never See In A Narcissist

Here is a typical example:

Exhibitionist narcissist Marc fell hard for Rita. She appeared to be everything he wanted in a woman. She came from a classy, wealthy family, was petite and pretty, and had a great body. Everything was fine until they were dressing to go to a party with his friends for the first time.

Marc: Don’t wear pants. You have such great legs. Please wear that hot red dress of yours with high heels. I want every guy in the room to know I have the hottest girl in the room on my arm.

Rita: I am not really in the mood to show off my body tonight to a group of guys I have never met before. That feels weird. You know I prefer not to have everyone looking at my breasts and legs, instead of treating me like a real person.

Marc: Then do it for me. It will give me such pleasure. Don’t you love me and want to make me happy?

Rita: Of course. But not by dressing up like a sex doll.

They had their first serious fight. Marc said a lot of mean things to Rita. She ended up in tears and they never got to the party at all because Marc gave her an ultimatum: “Put on that dress or we are not going.”

Things went downhill from there and Marc started to regularly devalue Rita in an attempt to push her to give in more, and also because he was mad that she dared defy him. He eventually started cheating on Rita and left her for another woman who was happy to dress however he wanted and who allowed herself to be bossed around in ways that Rita had too much self-respect to allow.

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Dr. Elinor Greenberg PhD, CGP

Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., CGP, is an internationally renowned Gestalt therapy trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis and treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid adaptations in a lively and practical way. She has trained psychotherapists in her approach in the US, Norway, Sweden, Wales, England, Russia, and Mexico. Dr. Greenberg is the author of the book: Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration and Safety.View Author posts