I’m not going to review the movie “Boogie Nights” here but there’s a scene I want to talk about because of how powerful it is.
“Boogie Nights” is a 1997 film that starred Mark Wahlberg as Dirk Diggler, young man who fled his mother’s abuse and became successful as an adult film star during the late Disco era. The soundtrack consists of disco and dance hits from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
This was actually a very good film, and the acting by his mother (Joanne Gleason) in this scene (set in 1977, when the story begins with Dirk leaving home), is terrific. She is like a lower-middle-class version of Mary Tyler Moore’s character in “Ordinary People.” She shows more “emotion” because of her social class, which doesn’t require her to “stuff” over-the-top emotion, but she’s every bit as malignant as the mother in “Ordinary People,” and Dirk is obviously her scapegoat. She may have BPD rather than NPD, but it really doesn’t matter either way, because sociopathic, soul-murdering behavior like this is possible with either disorder.
Notice the way she gaslights and blame-shifts, while at the same time is freaking out because Dirk is refusing to provide her the supply she needs and is leaving her. This is one of the things that can happen when you inflict injury on a high spectrum, malignant narcissist. Wahlberg’s character is a somatic narcissist himself, but it’s hard to see that in this scene.