Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, I Have Qualities Similar to Extraterrestrial Aliens!

Themes of alienation. 

Schizoids feel so alienated and different from others that they can experience themselves literally as alien—as not belonging in the human world. I have a patient from Argentina who quoted a saying in Spanish that describes her experience: She feels like a "frog who's from another pond." In their alienation, these individuals cannot imagine themselves in an intimate relationship. The people world seems strange and frightening, even if also desirable. When they see couples being intimate, they are often mystified: "How do they do that?" No matter how they force themselves to date or to meet new people, they cannot imagine themselves in a sustained intimate relationship. This leads to the theme of futility.

Feelings of futility. 

The schizoid experiences loneliness, futility, despair, and depression, although the latter is somewhat different from neurotic, guilt-based depression. Both are comprised of dysphoric affects and an avoidance of primary emotions and full awareness. However, neurotic depression has been described as "love made angry." That is, the depressed person feels angry at a loss followed by sadness and broods darkly against the "hateful denier." This aggressive emotional energy then gets turned against the self.

In contrast, schizoid despair has been described as "love made hungry." The person experiences a painful craving along with fear that his or her own love is so destructive that his or her need will devour the other. The schizoid feels tantalized by the desire, made hungry, and driven to withdraw from the "desirable deserter." The deep, intense craving is no less painful because it is consciously renounced or denied. In ordinary depression the person has a sense of the self as being bad; usually he or she feels guilty, horrible, and paralyzed. The schizoid, on the other hand, feels weak, depersonalized, like a nonentity or a nobody without a clear sense of self. Guntrip said that people much prefer to see themselves as bad rather than weak. They will typically refer to themselves as depressed more readily than weak, bad rather than devitalized, futile, and weak. Guntrip called the depressive diagnosis "man's greatest and most consistent self-deception." He went on to say that psychiatry has been slow to recognize "ego weakness," schizoid process, and shame. " It may be that we ourselves would rather not be forced to see it too clearly lest we should find a textbook in our own hearts." Fortunately, I think in the last few years there has been a real opening in therapeutic circles to recognizing relationship and shame issues present in the therapist as well as in the patient.

No comments: