What is the difference between BPD and psychopathy?

This question was recently asked on Quora with the following introduction:

I came across an article on Huffington post named “10 signs your man is a psychopath” and all the symptoms listed are almost identical to those of describing BPDs.. I was quite sure my ex-husband was a BPD, but after reading the article, I am not sure. So what’s the difference that would help me understanding who exactly was he?

The Huffington post article by Kiri Blakely listed the following indicators that a person could be a psychopath.

  1. Flattery like you’ve never heard before.
  2. He is just like you. Psychopaths will try to convince you that you and he are soul mates using lies in the process.
  3. Pity plays including fake illnesses and injuries to themselves and others.
  4. Manipulative handling of relationships such as long silent treatments, introduction of third parties, sudden discarding followed by an about face and begin bombarding you with pleas to stay together.
  5. Great sex.

One of the great strengths of the Humm-Wadsworth is that is perhaps the only profiling system that identifies psychopaths who are people who have a high Hustler component. I have blogged about Hustlers extensively and the characteristics listed above of lying flattery and faking, manipulative relationships and focus on sex are all characteristics of Hustlers.

Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD is completely different. Originally defined as a someone being on the border between psychosis and neurosis it is now defined by someone with very erratic behaviour and lacking self-control. Some characteristics are:

  1. Significant mood swings triggered by minor comments.
  2. Impulsive spending, sex, or drinking
  3. Turn up to emergency departments with self cutting.
  4. Distressing fears of abandonment.
  5. Confrontation behaviour for medical and mental health staff.
  6. Shy, no friends at school.
  7. Hate themselves and believe they are evil.

The Humm-Wadsworth would describe such people as having a very low Normal Component. The good thing about BPD is that it is treatable. Not only is the Normal the one component that increases with age, you can also grow it with mindfulness training.

Now of course you can have a person with very high Hustler and very low Normal. Depending on their upbringing they may either become criminals or investment bankers. On the other hand if the person is narcissistic, as most Hustlers are, it is difficult to see them exhibiting much of the behaviour of BPD. They like themselves too much, see themselves as winners to whom the normal rules do not apply and spend time preening themselves.


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