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What Are the Differences: Narcissistic & Borderline Personality Disorders

Therapy 101
2 min read

There’s been a lot of chatter about whether the diagnosis given to Amber Heard by Dr. Curry was correct. The main question seems to be: Are these symptoms consistent with Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders:

  • Differences in the main drive: Is there a drive for admiration or abandonment?
  • Differences in self-awareness: Are they self-centered and unapologetic or self-conscious and ashamed of behaviors?
  • Difference in self-image: Are they arrogant or do they have a shifting self-image from moment-to-moment or day-to-day?
  • Differences in attachment: Do they avoid dependency or long for it?
  • Differences in emotional state: Do they lack empathy and seem cold at times or experiences extreme mood swings?
  • Differences in internal experience: Do they express being bored often or distressed over how empty they feel?
  • Differences in relationships: Do they have superficial relationships or a history of unstable relationships because of inability to to express themselves appropriately?
  • Differences in anger: Do they have rage when challenged or denied something or do they have explosive anger in seemingly surprising moments?


Obviously some of these might look similar in real life. What do you think of some of these nuances? *Let’s not diagnose anyone*

- Dr. Quincee Gideon, PsyD

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About the author: Dr. Quincee Gideo, PsyD is the owner of Woven Trauma Therapy + Trauma Mastery. She is also the host of Multiple Sources Podcast.