The Not so Gentle Waltz between the Narcissist and the Borderline

A dramatic life

Denise Thong
9 min readMay 10, 2021


Source: Gemma Chua-Tran from


In my work as a mental health counsellor, I have noticed that many people including the patients themselves do not understand what Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders entail.

Some authors and practitioners blacklist these categories of clients rendering them untreatable or better left alone.

Yet, from my experience, I have realised that these clients are not too different from those with depression and anxiety, they just need a proper scaffold to be understood.

Hence, I have made a feeble attempt to combine attachment theory with aspects of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to explain their condition(s) to them and to come up with treatment plans that will best improve their quality of life in the shortest possible time*.

*To clarify, long-term therapy is still needed but it is humane to ameliorate distress as quickly as possible.

The Narcissist and Borderline’s Common Dream

Yes, most counsellors would already know this — the Borderline and Narcissist have a common dream or more accurately put — a common world view. To be more specific, both have an idealised image of what love is.

Hence it is not uncommon for both to fall in love and get entrapped in a tangle of chaos and drama.

The Borderline Script

For the Borderline, due to childhood neglect and abuse, they tend to have fantasies (i.e. a rescue script) much like the Cinderella story.

A Prince (Rescuer) comes to rescue them (Victim) from an evil Step-mother (Persecutor). At this point, it may be good to familiarise oneself with Karpman’s drama triangle.

Due to their upbringing and lack of exposure to realistic, healthy relationships, the Borderline, upon being rescued, gets hooked to the euphoria of being rescued. She idealises her Rescuer and imagines that her life will be henceforth free of distress.

This expectation is of course, impossible to meet, and the initial idealised impression of the Rescuer quickly crumbles as the…



Denise Thong

Counsellor, Writer (Christianity, Children’s short stories)