Bpd or aspd

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Bpd or aspd
« on: June 19, 2021, 07:37:39 AM »
I have not posted here for ages because I was getting too triggered, but I'm really struggling with something and just wanted to ask the forum members about this. I have Aspergers.

I have a PD mom, who I thought was borderline until recently therapy has unearthed a whole load of things that sound a lot more like psychopathy.

My question here is how on earth am I ever going to work out whether my mom is a psychopath as opposed to borderline? She is narcissistic, but not a primary N, she is certainly cluster B but how to distinguish aspd from bpd? I feel the need to do this to both heal, and learn how to spot it in future. I cannot work out how. The info I read on both PDs is very clear, I'm not needing any more info on the PDs, but it's more like, how do I know if everything she's ever told me is pathological lies of a psychopathic mom, or instead was the truth as my mom saw it through a totally warped reality (borderline).

My mom has almost all the traits of psychopathy. But it might be borderline too. For example when it comes to pathological lying, I'm not sure. Has every single thing she's ever said about who she is and what she's been thinking been a lie,or has it been truth, from a completely deranged stand point, these are my questions to myself not to the forum.

If anyone has any advice for working out how on earth to know whether their mom was bpd or aspd I'd like to hear. Don't give invalidating advice please (like I should stop worrying about it), I only want advice relating to my query please.

Thanks a lot. I'm really completely stuck not knowing how to get to the bottom of this one. If you've experienced anything similar please let me know, I'd love to hear about that.



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Re: Bpd or aspd
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2021, 10:40:05 AM »
Good morning, and welcome back! The good news is you recognize the dysfunction and are trying to work through it rather than take it on as something you've supposedly done to trigger it. The bad news ... She may not be either - she could be both, and then some. What I've read over the years is there less of a chance you'll find a "pure" (enter PD here), and much more likely there's a mix.

I know I've seen it in mine - all kinds of issues and behaviors that don't make sense as BPD but absolutely ping as NPD, and even HPD. She's a hard mix and none of it is anything new. The things she says - she seems to believe them. AND I know she twists and turns into things lies to excuse or defend herself, as it suits her purpose at the time. It's not always clear where one stops and the other begins.

Not trying to invalidate you as you suggested, just pointing out the facts - we can call it anything we want but at the end of the day, truly nothing matters but the actual behaviors and the resulting relationship. You may honestly never know "what" she is, considering that she may be perfectly satisfied (in her own way) where she is.

"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

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Re: Bpd or aspd
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2021, 10:56:13 AM »
I can only offer my own experience for you to compare to. My mother is undiagnosed bpd. I feel strongly (and so did a therapist) that she meets the criteria and all the pieces of the puzzle click nicely into that part of the PD spectrum. It is its own spectrum though, so the edges of things are not nice and neat and clear.

One thing that helped me decide was her tendency toward drama. She exaggerates, uses hyperbole, and in retelling stories goes so far with these exaggerations that it becomes a lie. My memory is too accurate and long-lived to allow these lies to stand.

She also fits two of the four archetype borderline personalities. These four are the Queen, Witch, Waif, and Hermit. My mother fits the Waif/Hermit too perfectly to be anything else. The combination of those two types means that she is terrified of any sort of change (not the same way as autism, it's oddly different and hard to describe) and resists it.

The love of drama is just so overwhelming. Her eyes light up, she gets excited, and she pushes the dramatic version of events so hard that she sometimes foams at the mouth. It's an addiction for her. The same as any drug addiction.

Does this sound anything like your mom? I understand that this is important to you in a fundamental way. I know where you're coming from.
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous
Lasting happiness is not something we find, but rather something we make for ourselves.



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Re: Bpd or aspd
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2021, 12:30:01 PM »
I completely get where you're coming from.  I want to know.  I want a diagnosis and, even more than that, I want to know why.  With my MIL, it was relatively simple.  I knew something wasn't right, and before I even found this forum I had read several books about personality disorders. MIL checks every box for Histrionic PD.  Every single one.  And in the books I read, when I got to the chapters on Histrionic PD, it was like they were describing my MIL to a tee. 

My own mother was more difficult for me.  It took years for me to realize there was something off.  Actually, it wasn't until she moved near me, about three years ago, that I truly saw it.  My mom checks most of the boxes for covert NPD.  But also quite a few for waif BPD.  Based on things I told a therapist, his best guess was severe anxiety.  I suppose any of these, or a mixture of them, could be the truth.  My mom also lies all the time.  She used to lie to get something or to fit her narrative about something.  As she gets older, she appears to be making up stories to fill in the blanks if she forgets something.  So this could also be the start of memory loss or dementia.  It's very hard for me to tell.  With my mom, I'm going to have to be more flexible in my thinking about what is going on.  But I hear you - I wish I could say with certainty what is going on.  It would just make me feel better to know.

You may have to go with your gut - which diagnosis "feels" more correct to you?  And which strategies work better when you deal with your mother?  That may also give you some clues.  Also, read descriptions of classic cases and see which ones ring more true when you think about your mother. 


Cat of the Canals

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Re: Bpd or aspd
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2021, 09:35:04 PM »
Most psych professionals who deal in treating and diagnosing PDs talk about how hard it is to draw a line between the various diagnoses when it comes to actual patients, as opposed to listing the traits on paper. It's extremely common (and perhaps the norm) that PDs will be a "blend" of two or more. It's also common that an individual might see more than one clinician who will diagnose them with different PDs. It is not a perfect system. It isn't black and white. It is even subject to change. For all we know, in ten years there could be four more Cluster B disorders, and someone with your mother's blend will be Antisocial Borderline PD.

All a PD diagnosis actually does is describe the traits someone has. If your mother has traits of BPD and ASPD, then maybe that's the best way to think about it. It sounds like it's probably more accurate than trying to shoehorn her into a singular diagnosis.


Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Bpd or aspd
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2021, 10:59:05 PM »
If I’m off base, I apologize. But I believe a common manifestation of Asperger’s is an intense desire to classify and understand where our own observations  fit into the scheme of existing knowledge. I think that’s common to everyone, we all want to make sense of things, especially things that explain our personal sufferings.

But personality disorders tend not to fit their neat tidy descriptions in real life, as the others have pointed out. That’s part of what makes PDs so difficult… a lot of the behaviors just make no sense from our point of view. And yes, there is a lot of overlap and co-morbidity of PD. Another point to consider: BPD refers to “borderline” what? Borderline psychopathy. So the ambiguity is part of the very name of the disorder.

I think it’s impossible to answer definitively whether your mother’s lies were conscious or simply a reflection of her delusions. Like with the nature of the disorder, in my experience and from what I have studied, it’s very likely a messy mix of both. My opinion is that pwpd commonly do not experience reality as simply reality. Feelings are facts and if they felt one way, well then that’s the way it is or was or will be. If their feelings should change, the facts change right along with it, with no awareness of having contradicted themselves. My own uPD father would commonly claim, “There is no reality, only perception.” If something he did made him look bad, well then of course that couldn’t have happened, because it doesn’t fit his perception of himself as someone never in the wrong. I must be mistaken. If someone does him “wrong,” like me going NC with him, he creates damaging lies from the slimmest of evidence to suit the narrative of me as an absolutely terrible and messed up person, because surely I can’t be right to cut him off. I feel sure that’s there’s lots of malice and deliberateness in this brand of unreality, because it seems impossible for the carefully crafted narrative he constructed to have arisen spontaneously, and the calculated nature of the smear campaign he launched. But he can’t possibly be a bad person in his own mind, so there’s some way he justifies it to himself and that then smoothly becomes what he believes wholeheartedly, even when confronted with the evidence against him. For the some PDs, like my grandfather-in-law, he claims outright and seems to believe that he creates his own reality simply by believing it. So if he wills himself to become rich or famous, it will happen. Spoiler alert, he’s not famous, but that fact doesn’t seem to shake the strength of the belief, even though he’s an old man who’s been about to get his big break for seventy years.



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Re: Bpd or aspd
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2021, 02:19:51 AM »
I could be off base, but this is how I personally differentiate cluster B (including BPD) from ASPD in my mind.

Cluster B, as I see it, looks to confirm their value as human beings by certain cues from other people: what they think is love, attention, envy, awe/admiration, caring tasks, etc. (Most of us do, but they do it to a disordered extent).

A pure ASPD derives their pleasure from dominating another person. A cluster B might enjoy this but the ultimate goal would be to show it to other people as evidence of their value. A pure ASPD may be satisfied by the act of domination alone, regardless of who knows about it and what they think of it.

So as an example, an ASPD might beat out coworkers for a promotion and feel satisfied by the act of winning alone. A cluster B might be happy beating their coworkers to get the promotion, but the prize is ultimately the ability to brag about it or otherwise leverage it in the eyes of others.

As has been stated, having traits of multiple PDs is common and it may be difficult or impossible to sort out. I just use that as my way of understanding the concept of more “textbook” cases, but as I said, my concept might be wrong.

I hope you find some clarity. Best wishes to you. 



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Re: Bpd or aspd
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2021, 01:06:26 AM »
People with PDs are slippery characters. They lie, they misperceive, and they're always accusing others of lying and misperceiving. It can take years and years and years for us to figure out there's something wrong. It can take even longer to realize that they probably have a personality disorder. So we end up living for decades with people whose behavior is confusing. And at least for me, I've spent all of that time trying to figure out what is going on with a strong desire to finally make sense of it all, finally pin it all down.

So, of course, you want to know exactly what your mom's PD is. You know you're finally on to something, and you want to get to the bottom of it all. I've been there. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that my mom has BPD. But it took awhile before I felt confident about it. And there was a step in there where I just went with, "I think she has BPD" like I was trying it on for awhile to see if it fit. So, I'd say you're on your way to greater clarity, and you'll get there even if it's really hard that you don't feel clearer right now.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2021, 01:09:56 AM by WinterStar »
I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me. -Elizabeth Bennet