Review Paper Splitting


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  • Over the course of talking with others and researching various personality problems including Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and getting to know others with severe problems I became interested in what causes a person to engage in a behavior and either not remember or not understand what caused them to do this. I believe it is a problem that, like others that have been researched, if we found the answers we could help many people out of their painful situation.
  • There are many children in the Foster Care system and those who have illnesses and are forced to be raised and nurtured apart from a constant, loving, caregiver. In order to develop in a healthy way psychologically, as well as physically these children may need intervention so that this type of personality problem or inability to develop into a person that is separate and able to be self-regulatory can mature and grow. With the amount of trauma and adversity in the world today it would be so helpful to find a way to intervene in their lives and in some cases the lives of their parents and help them attach so this doesn’t happen.
  • Of these many studies I research I found it astounding that many of the people in prisons which were used for these studies may not be there if they didn’t have such a traumatic start in life. With help in the beginning, maybe our cost could be put to better use than developing more prisons to house individuals who may be able to be treated earlier in life. In these studies and research statistics they used Narcissistic Inventories, histories, DSM-IV-TR evaluations, past records and other criteria to assess these patients. The people used for the control groups had no diagnosis’s and were relatively free of psychological problems.
  • Dr. Karyl McBride, Ph.D. wrote a book entitled “Healing the Daughters Of Narcissistic Mothers: Will I Ever Be Good Enough”, In her book she talks about the effects of this behavior and the emotional damage done to many who suffer from a parent who has this problem. In many of these studies regarding “splitting” and “depersonalization-deregulation” emotional abuse is a key factor in the development of this disorder. My own mother had parents who while they loved her, they did not parent her. My grandfather, as my mother reports, wanted a boy and not a girl and she became his boy. She always rejected her famaleness. How tragic. Her life and the lives of her children were effected in so many ways. She felt unloveable and unaccepted for who she was. I believe what the studies show but, I think we need to help parents learn to parent their children.
  • Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances for why a person has attachment issues. I think of the ill child who is separated by hospitalizations due to illness. Those parents love them dearly but they still suffer trauma and attachment issues. I think of the parent who is totally committed to the child who has problems from infancy on through no fault of the parent. One research area that would benefit many is to research the family heritage and genetics which point to inherited psychological issues. Providing teen mom’s with parenting courses and providing community support to parents who need help may first be a resolution to the problem. An example would be to force counseling (just like you would for those on probation or anger management issues) to parent’s who have children at risk.
  • The reference list listed all of those articles read and studied. There were actually other articles and books on this topic not mentioned which showed the same information. The interview from Mr. Terry L. Wall, Licensed Family and Therapy Counselor was also more extensive than reported. I have gleaned much information regarding “splitting” and the causes and effects of this behavior. Many children, through no faulty of their own, exhibit quite extreme behavior and this is not just due to “poor parenting” but to attachment issues from the first several years of life. My example is personal and I grieve for the children who, through no fault of their own, are in pain every single day of their life. They “feel” unloved, worthless and rejected. The trust they should be able to put in others, they choose to only put into themselves so as not to be hurt “again”. If we could begin to see these broken children and love them maybe we could start healing them instead of harming them further. We need to identify “at risk children and their parents” and get them help.
  • Review Paper Splitting

    1. 1. Splitting: An Escape From the Self Splitting: An Escape From the Self Sandy Ross Professor: Katina Clarke Argosy University
    2. 2. Project Overview  The problem of “splitting” occurs when a person is unable to experience the emotions of guilt and shame and uses this defense mechanism to create an idealized self. 
    3. 3. Research Elements that contribute or lead to splitting: • Without secure infant and child attachment an individual is vulnerable to a defense mechanism of “splitting” due to the inability to integrate their concept of the good and bad parent. They become separated and disconnected. • In order to create a separate “self” they must first experience a self that is dependent and “trusting” of the others in their lives in order to have a degree of self-regulation. • Maltreatment including neglect, abandonment, physical and sexual abuse have profound effects in this ego development stage. • The inability to see themselves as separate beings and the fusion of themselves with others creates a narcissistic relationship with the world around them. • This narcissism, shame and inability to experience their emotions causes “splitting” and a “psychic “ disintegration which can lead to mental illness and psychopathology.
    4. 4. Variables  Controlled variables. Controls with no diagnosis of Depersonalization-Deregulation problems.  Independent variable: Depersonalization-Deregulation Diagnosed Patients.  Dependent variable: Personality characteristics and symptoms of psychic disintegration. Use of test scores, clinical interviews, past histories and records, medical reports and DSM-IV-TR.
    5. 5. Results and Discussion  Parent and caregiver relationships are vital to the ego development and conscience formation in childhood.  Maltreatment, neglect, abuse and trauma lead to extreme shame which results in the defense mechanism of splitting.  “When a child views the world as rejecting and bad and themselves as unlovable and worthless they develop an inner shame that they cannot deal with.”
    6. 6. Results and Discussion  The individual uses the defense mechanism of splitting to avoid reality.  In these studies conducted “emotional abuse emerged as the most significant predictor of depersonalization.”
    7. 7. Strengths and Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses  Studies had “good to excellent” in both reliability and validity.  Studies involved multiple tests, interviews and, questionnaires regarding symptoms and traits.  Same consensus on all studies.  No known data on individuals experiencing these backgrounds who do not exhibit these characteristics.  Biological and genetic factors that may contribute to this problem.
    8. 8. References Adshead, Dr. Gwen, Damage: Trauma and Violence in a Sample of Women Referred to Forensic Service. Http:// url= Bradlow, PA: International Journal of Psychiatry: Depersonalization-Ego Splitting Non-Human Fantasy and Shame: 1973: 54: 487-492.
    9. 9. References (continued)  Jarvinen, Liisa: Personality Characteristics of Violent Offenders and Suicidal Individuals. Source: Suoomalainen, Tiedeakalemia, Helsinski, 1977, 195 pp.  Lee, Jackson, Henry, Patterson, Child Abuse and Neglect , Jan 2002; Vol 26., Iss. 1, p. 73  Michael, M., Kaufhold, J., Overbeck, G., Grabhorn, R., Narcissistic Regulation of the Self and Interpersonal Problems in Depersonalized Patients. Clinic for Psychosomatic medicine and Psychotherapy of the H. W. Goethe University Frankfurt AM Main, Germany
    10. 10. References (Continued)  Ornella, Caccia, Source: Journal of Analytical Psychology, Primal Splitting as a Basis for Emotional and Cognitive Development in Children., Sept. 2010, Vol 55, Iss: 4, pp. 601-602.  Steiner, Ricardo, Aquano, Joseph, Proquest: On Understanding Projective Identification in the Treatment of Psychotic States of Mind. Http:// International Journal of Psychoanalysis., Dec; 2009. Vol. 90; Iss. 6, P. 1435.
    11. 11. References (Continued)  Wurmser, L: Abyss Calls Out to Abyss: Oedipal Shame, Invisibility and Broken Identity. American Journal of Psychiatry: 2003: 63: PP. 299-316.