Based on overlapping symptoms, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are often mistaken for one another. The two personality disorders even have a rate of co-occurrence of about 25 percent, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Though the two personality disorders share some common symptoms, they are distinct disorders with their own set of diagnostic criteria. For example, both BPD and NPD deal with conflict in a way that is unhealthy to themselves and those around them. It’s the expression of the anger that results from the conflict that is different. In her article “Blame-Storms and Rage Attacks,” Randi Kreger, co-author of Walking on Eggshells, points out the difference in how those with BPD and NPD express anger.
While those with Borderline Personality Disorder may fly into a rage and push people away, they will often calm down, feel shame for their reaction, and promise never to do it again. “Unless they’re in treatment, the underlying issues don’t go away. Some conventional borderlines do not get raging at all, but hold it in or express it inwardly through self-harm,” says Kreger.
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