Friday, June 29, 2012

Draft Letter to White House Counsel re: Obstruction of Justice

July 5, 2012
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 136
Washington, DC  20008

Ms. Kathryn Ruemmler
Counsel to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Ms. Ruemmler:

Enclosed for your information is a letter dated July 5, 2012 that I mailed to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller regarding a possible obstruction of justice.


Gary Freedman

July 5, 2012
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 136
Washington, DC  20008

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20535

Dear Director Mueller:

There is circumstantial evidence that I am engaged in the commission of a felony against the government of the United States.  There is circumstantial evidence that I have used The George Washington University to help me defraud the government of the United States of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Social Security Disability benefits.

I was employed as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from 1988 to October 29, 1991, on which date my employment was terminated.  To avoid the legal consequences of an unlawful termination, several management partners of the firm conspired to defame me in sworn declarations filed with a state human rights agency, enabling me to defraud the U.S. Social Security Administration of hundreds of thousands of dollars in disability benefits on the grounds that I suffered from disabling mental illness that might be associated with a risk of violence.

I enclose my monthly felony fraud certification for July 2012.

I am concerned that the U.S. Department of Justice will not investigate this possible felony because Akin Gump Senior Counsel Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. happens to be a close personal friend of U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.   The attorney general may be motivated to avoid embarrassing his friend by embarking on a felony investigation.


Gary Freedman

Humor Piece -- 1993

The following humor piece merges the story of John and Lorena Bobbit, who cut off her husband's penis -- with a story about the millionaire Haft family.  Robert Haft owned Crown Books and used to famously say in his television commercials, "Books cost too much."

* * * *
Dear Stell,

Check out the last paragraph.

A Symbol of Shared Rage--Dozens Rallying Around D.C. Woman Who Cut Husband--Man Loses Family, But Keeps Hair

Seven weeks after Gloria Haft took a kitchen knife and cut off her husband's hair following an alleged attempt to renege on stock option agreements, the D.C. woman had become something of a feminist folk heroine.

She has gotten dozens of calls and letters of support, mostly from women, offering everything from simple encouragement to help with legal fees or research on her upcoming court case, said her Alexandra attorney, James Lowe.

"The man in this situation basically got what every woman who has been abused would like to have done but just wasn't able to do," said Elie Petrakis, 37, who along with six co-workers in a District dress shop, including one man, wrote a letter to Gloria Haft and sent a copy to newspaper reporters.

"We thought she needed some encouragement," said Dolores F. Ross, 68, who also signed the letter.  I haven't been cheated out of a stock option agreement but I've been close, and as far as we're concerned, it was justified."

Gloria Haft's husband, Herbert Haft, 72, was charged last week with breach of fiduciary duties and faces a Sept. 27 jury trial.  She was charged shortly after the June 23 incident with malicious wounding.  A trial date is to be set in early September.

Haft's hair was surgically reattached after a 7-hour emergency hair weave procedure, and his doctors report that he is making a good recovery.

Herbert Haft's son, Robert Haft, explaining why his father didn't simply purchase a toupee, is reported to have said, "Toupees cost too much!"


 Herbert Haft

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Meeting with Earl L. Segal, Esq. -- 10/23/91

On the afternoon of October 23, 1991 I met with Akin Gump partner Earl L. Segal, Esq. in his office to review instances of job harassment and to request that I be assigned to a private office or promotion to the firm's legal assistant program from the litigation support group.  Earl Segal was the partner in charge of the legal assistant program.

Something about the meeting stood out in my mind.  At one point I said that some of my coworkers' behaviors might be "tortious."  I specifically recall making that statement.  I vividly recall that at the moment I used the word "tortious," Mr. Segal's eyes opened widely.  Did he view my statement as a veiled threat that I was thinking of instituting some kind of legal action against the firm?  Did my statement in any way figure in Akin Gump's decision to terminate my employment six days later?

New York State: False Imputation of Homosexuality No Longer Slander per se

A unanimous four-judge panel of the New York Appellate Division, 3rd Department, rejected old precedents on May 31, 2012 and ruled that “falsely describing a person as lesbian, gay or bisexual” is no longer regarded as “slander per se” under New York tort law. Yonaty v. Mincolla, 2012 WL 1948006. “Given this state’s well-defined public policy of protection and respect for the civil rights of people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual, we now overrule our prior case to the contrary and hold that such statements are not defamatory per se,” wrote Justice Thomas Mercure.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s action in telling the plaintiff’s girlfriend’s mother that the plaintiff was gay “caused the deterioration and ultimate termination of his relationship with his girlfriend,” wrote Justice Mercure. Plaintiff alleged slander per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress and prima facie tort. The plaintiff did not allege any pecuniary damages (i.e., “special damages”) as a result of the statement that he was gay. Broome County Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey granted summary judgment to defendant on the IIED and prima facie tort claims, but denied summary judgment on the slander claim, finding himself bound by 3rd Department precedent and a large accumulation of prior decisions holding that falsely calling somebody gay is presumed to be harmful to an individual’s reputation.

Under New York precedents, the question whether a particular statement about somebody could be considered defamatory is a question of law. The trial judge has to decide, based on the Complaint, whether a statement has “defamatory connotations” by considering whether “it tends to expose a person to ‘public hatred, shame, obloquy, contumely, odium, contempt, ridicule, aversion, ostracism, degradation or disgrace, or to induce an evil opinion of [a person] in the minds of right-thinking persons,’” according to the old New York cases that set out the essential elements of the tort. In cases of slander, a verbal rather than a written communication, the common law rule required an allegation of “special damages” unless the words fell into one of the recognized categories of slander “per se” that are presumed to be harmful to reputation. Traditionally, New York courts have regarded a false imputation of homosexuality as being one of those categories.

“We agree with defendant and amici that these Appellate Division decisions are inconsistent with current policy and should no longer be followed. . . Defendant and amici argue – correctly, in our view – that the prior cases categorizing statements that falsely impute homosexuality as defamatory per se are based upon the flawed premise that it is shameful and disgraceful to be described as lesbian, gay or bisexual. In fact, such a rule necessary equates the individuals who are lesbian, gay or bisexual with those who have committed a ‘serious crime’ – one of the four established per se categories. That premise is inconsistent with the reasoning underlying Lawrence v. Texas, in which the [U.S. Supreme] Court held that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

The court also noted developments in New York law that undercut the traditional rule, not least the passage in June 2011 of the Marriage Equality Act opening up the right to marry to same-sex couples in New York. The court also noted the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, and the “myriad of ways” that New York law had begun to recognize same-sex partners even prior to the passage of marriage equality. The court also noted that “the most recent Appellate Division decision considering the issue in depth was decided nearly 30 years ago,” and at that time relied in part on federal laws excluding gays from serving in the military or immigrating to the United States as justification for the presumption that falsely calling somebody gay would be harmful to them. The court noted that both of those federal policies have changed. (The immigration ban was repealed in 1990, and the military service ban ended in September 2011.)

“While lesbians, gays and bisexuals have historically faced discrimination and such prejudice has not been completely eradicated,” wrote Justice Mercure, “the fact of such prejudice on the part of some does not warrant a judicial holding that gays and lesbians [and bisexuals], merely because of their sexual orientation, belong in the same class as criminals,” quoting from a federal court ruling that disputed the rationale for the traditional New York rule. “In short, the disputed statements in this case are not slanderous per se and, thus, plaintiff’s failure to allege special damages requires that the remaining cause of action for slander be dismissed.”

Lambda Legal filed an amicus brief by its staff attorney Thomas W. Ude, Jr., in support of defendant’s appeal.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letter to Sheppard Pratt -- July 1993

July 12, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20008

Ms. Suzanne Reynolds
Sheppard Pratt Employee
  Assistance Programs
2033 M  Street, NW
Washington, DC

Dear Ms. Reynolds:

I still await a statement of Sheppard Pratt's confidentiality policy, which we discussed at our meeting on July 7, 1993.

I submit the following draft statement for your consideration.

Sheppard Pratt Employee Assistance Programs does not involve itself in any manner in the personnel decisions of employers.

If an employer were to communicate to Sheppard Pratt a concern regarding the mental state of an employee, Sheppard Pratt would direct the employer to have the employee arrange a consultation with a Sheppard Pratt counselor.  Further, the employer's concerns regarding the employee and the Sheppard Pratt counselor's recommendations in the matter would be recorded on a Sheppard Pratt Employee Assistance Programs Employer Consultation Intake Form, which would be retained in the client's file.

An employer's statement that Sheppard Pratt did not oppose an employer's decision to terminate an employee is consistent with Sheppard Pratt's policy not to involve itself in an employer's personnel decisions and should not be read to imply that Sheppard Pratt concurred in a termination decision. 

I believe that a statement along the above lines would be appropriate.  Thank you very much for your assistant in this matter.


Gary Freedman

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cassandra -- I Told You So!

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions. She is a figure both of the epic tradition and of tragedy, where her combination of deep understanding and powerlessness exemplify the ironic condition of humankind. 

1. Christine Robertson -- In late October 1991 I lodged a harassment complaint against my direct supervisor, Chris Robertson. I alleged that Chris Robertson showed anti-Semitic animus. My employment was terminated a few days later on the grounds my complaint was the product of a psychiatric disorder.

In April 1992, six months later, Chris Robertson apparently colluded with the firm's Personnel Administrator in the discriminatory termination of a black employee. In 1993 it was revealed that Chris Robertson had showed racial bias on several occasions.  I was unaware of this fact in October 1991.

2. Margie Utley (Director, D.C. Department of Human Rights) -- In May 1994 I sent a letter to the FBI Washington Field Office about Margie Utley's apparent violation of the Hatch Act.

Margie Utley was later found to have in fact violated the Hatch Act, demonstrating her willingness to violate the law to help her political friends. In 1997 Margie Utley was disbarred by the State of Georgia for her action in misappropriating estate funds.

3. President Clinton -- In January 1996 I sent a letter to my then treating psychiatrist alleging that President Clinton had engaged in a boundary breach in that he had received confidential mental health information about me from Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. I stated that President Clinton's actions, at least in a technical sense, could result in his impeachment.

Two years later Bill Clinton was in fact impeached by the House of Representatives on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice, on December 19, 1998.  The charges arose from the Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones lawsuit. It was disclosed that President Clinton had engaged in a boundary breach by having sexual relations with a White House intern.

4. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. -- In the fall of 2009 I began to raise questions in this blog My Daily Struggles about the possibility that Eric H. Holder, Jr. had probably been apprised of facts about my unlawful job termination by Akin Gump by his friend, Senior Akin Gump Counsel Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Several of my blog posts were entitled "What Did Eric Holder Know and When Did He Know It?" In effect, I accused Eric Holder of engaging in a cover-up of the unlawful conduct of senior attorney managers at Akin Gump.

Be that as it may

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley sent Holder a letter in May 2011 asking for details about Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF operation that sent thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels. Tax money may have been used to purchase the guns Grassley and Issa "have urged Holder to cooperate and turn over subpoenaed records that would reveal the scope of the government coverup. In October 2011, documents were released that indicated Holder was sent memos in regards to Operation Fast and Furious in 2010, contradicting Holder's sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in which he said he was unaware of Operation Fast and Furious until April 2011. In April 2012, Issa announced that his committee was drafting a Contempt of Congress resolution against Holder in response to the committee being "stonewalled by the Justice Department." On June 20, 2012, the Oversight Committee voted 23-17 along party lines to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for not releasing documents the committee had requested.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Office Politics: Did Earl Segal Participate in the Decision to Terminate My Employment?

I worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from 1988 to 1991.  I worked in the paralegal program supervised by firm partner Earl L. Segal, Esq. from March 1988 to March 1990, when I was transferred to the Litigation Support Group.

My employment was terminated effective Tuesday October 29, 1991 a few days after I lodged a harassment complaint against my supervisor and other firm personnel.  In an interrogatory response filed by the firm with the D.C. Department of Human Rights dated May 22, 1992 the firm alleged that it had consulted with a psychiatrist who offered the opinion that my harassment complaint was the product of a psychiatric disorder called "ideas of reference" and that I might become violent.

The firm's decision to terminate was made apparently on Monday October 28, 1991.  The severance check was dated October 28, 1991.

I had earlier spoken with Earl L. Segal about instances of job harassment on October 23, 1991, and Mr. Segal memorialized our discussion in a memo.  But there is no direct evidence that Earl Segal participated in the termination decision or even agreed with it, though I assume he did.

An event occurred on the afternoon of Monday October 28, 1991 (the day the firm's termination decision was made) that I considered odd and of which I made a mental note.

Earl Segal, standing outside my temporary office on the firm's fourth floor, made a statement in a loud tone of voice.  He said: "Build it and he will come."  I took the statement as a reference to me.  I also believed that the statement, an apparent reference to the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, was a sexual double entendre -- a mocking reference to my belief that firm personnel used sexual double entendres to harass me.

Did Earl Segal show a hostility to me early in my employment at the firm?

  • I was hired by Akin Gump effective June 13, 1988.  Shortly thereafter, I was assigned to a private office on the firm's 5th floor.  In late June I worked late many evenings digesting deposition transcripts.  One evening I got on an elevator with a middle-aged gentleman I had never seen before.  (I did not learn the identity of Earl Segal until early December 1988).  As we were alone together on the elevator, traveling from the 5th floor to the lobby level, he accosted me in an intimidating way, in the manner of a buffoon.  With exaggerated inflection he said, "Isn't this fun?"  I said (confused): "Isn't what fun?"  He said: "This!"  I said, "What is "this?"  He said: "This!  Isn't this fun?"  I had no idea what he was talking about, who he was (he never introduced himself), or what motivated his behavior.  I experienced the interaction as hostile, intimidating and offensive. 
Did Earl Segal have a history of a use of puns and double meanings?  Yes he did.
  • I recall the farewell party for legal assistant Lilliam Machado in late June 1988 held in the small conference room on the firm's 5th floor.  Earl Segal was present.  Perhaps ice cream was served at the party.  In any event, I remember Earl Segal used the word "udderly" in place of the word "utterly" a simultaneous reference to cows and to the concept of completely and without qualification.
Did Earl Segal have a history of making snide remarks outside my office door?  Perhaps.
  • Some time after I sent out copies of my autobiographical sketch, I noticed a hubbub at Akin Gump, where I worked. I didn't make anything of it. But I noted it. One afternoon, I heard Earl L. Segal, Esq. -- the partner in charge of Akin Gump's paralegal program -- say in a loud tone of voice outside my office door to the tax attorney David Hardee, Esq., who occupied an office near me: "He's mentally unbalanced." At about the same time I happened to see firm partner David Callett, Esq. on New Hampshire Avenue, near Akin Gump's office; he looked at me with marked disdain. David Callett was a Penn State graduate (like Earl Segal and I) and was one of the senior partners for the client Eastern Airlines. I worked on a document production task for Eastern Airlines at that time, and I had introduced myself to David Callett in June 1988 when I was hired as an Akin Gump temporary employee.
Did Earl Segal have a history of acting out when he saw me?  Perhaps.
  • At 5:30 that afternoon, I was leaving the office for the weekend. I worked on the fifth floor at that time. I walked out into the elevator area, and I saw two people: Earl L. Segal, Esq. and the young associate, Amy Cohen, Esq. Earl Segal looked at me in the strangest way. It was a look of strong negative emotion. I believed the look was directed at me, but didn't know what the look meant.

    I got on the elevator to leave the building. Amy Cohen got on the elevator with me. The elevator door closed. Amy Cohen said to me: "I forgot my umbrella." (That tells me it was a rainy day.) Then she spurted out: "Are you stupid?" I replied: "I'm not the one who forgot his umbrella."

    I reasoned that Daniel Cutler had telephoned Maggie Sinnott or Earl Segal at Akin Gump about my job proposition. Earl Segal thought that I had acted stupidly. 
Was Earl Segal in some way hostile to me; did he see me as some kind of political pawn?  Perhaps.
  • In March 1990 I was employed as a paralegal at the D.C. law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.  I had started psychotherapy with the psychiatrist Stanley R. Palombo, M.D. in January 1990, about a month-and-a-half earlier.  In March the firm held a paralegal Happy Hour in one of the firm's conference rooms.  I attended the Happy Hour, which was held at the end of the work day.  When I entered the conference room, which was full of people, an odd thing happened.  Malcolm Lassman was standing at the back of the room.  Malcolm Lassman was a member of the firm's management committee who reported to the committee on issues concerning paralegals.  When he saw me enter the room, he started to beam at me.  It was the way my father would have looked at me at my bar mitzvah -- if I had had a bar mitzvah.  Then another odd thing happened.  Earl Segal, the partner in charge of the paralegal program at the firm, saw me and he looked blankly, then turned away.  Earl Segal reported to Lassman concerning issues about paralegals.  It was as if Segal and Lassman were at the racetrack and they had placed bets on different horses.  Lassman had the look of someone whose horse had won.  Segal looked like he had lost a bet.
Did Earl Segal have an unexplained enduring hostility to me? 

  • I recall that early on the afternoon of Friday August 7, 1998 I happened to see Earl Segal walking on P Street near Dupont Circle.  I was traveling from my first consult with Albert H. Taub, M.D., a psychiatrist, at the District's P Street Clinic.  Earl Segal sneered at me when he saw me.  What would provoke such a hostile response almost seven years after I had left Akin Gump? 

email Message to Christopher E. Hassell, Esq. re: David Hardee

Christopher E. Hassell, Esq.
Bonner, Kiernan, Trebach, Crociata
1233 20th Street NW, 8th Floor

Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel:  (202) 712-7000

Dear Mr. Hassell:

There is circumstantial evidence that I am engaged in the commission of a felony against the government of the United States.  There is circumstantial evidence that I have used The George Washington University to help me defraud the government of the United States of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Social Security Disability benefits.

I was employed as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from 1988 to October 29, 1991, on which date my employment was terminated.  To avoid the legal consequences of an unlawful termination, several management partners of the firm conspired to defame me in sworn declarations filed with a state human rights agency, enabling me to defraud the U.S. Social Security Administration of hundreds of thousands of dollars in disability benefits on the grounds that I suffered from disabling mental illness that might be associated with a risk of violence.

I believe you are married to Lisa Hassell.  During my tenure Lisa Hassell was employed as a secretary to Akin Gump tax partner David Hardee, Esq. (and associate Steven Wrappe).  From mid-June 1988 to mid-March 1989 I worked in an office adjacent to your wife's work station and the office of David Hardee.

The D.C. Department of Human Rights found that I formed a belief that David Hardee subjected me to an act of job harassment in mid-June 1988 (Finding of Fact 4(c)):

(c) In mid-June 1988, at about the time Complainant was hired by the Respondent, Complainant was assigned a private office on the fifth floor. On the first morning in that office space, as Complainant was getting a cup of coffee in an adjacent kitchen area, an attorney, whom Complainant later learned was a partner named David Hardee, said to Complainant, “I smell something sweet in here. Do you smell something sweet in here?” Complainant said, “No.” Mr. Hardee repeated, “I smell something sweet in here.”  Complainant stated that he ascribed a homosexual meaning to Mr. Hardees’s comments. Mr. Race asked Complainant why Complainant ascribed a homosexual meaning to Mr. Hardees’s comments."

David Hardee had close professional ties to Akin Gump Senior Counsel Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Esq. 
Mr. Hardee represented the client RJR Nabisco; Mr. Jordan served on RJR's Board of Directors.
I request that you counsel your wife Lisa Hassell to disclose to the Washington Field Office of the FBI any information about my employment at Akin Gump that may be pertinent to the concerns of federal law enforcement relating to my filing a fraudulent claim for Social Security Disability benefits, a felony.  Lisa Hassell may possess information pertinent to the commission of a felony.

The FBI Washington Field office contact number is (202) 278-2000.

Thank you very much.

Gary Freedman

3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 136
Washington, DC  20008
Telephone: 202 362 7064

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Psychiatrist Making Matters Worse: On the Absence of a Sense of Shame

On more than one occasion I have said to my psychiatrist: "I feel I am screwing the system.  The system screwed me, so now I am screwing the system."  I am referring to the fact that I believe was a victim of job harassment at my last place of employment, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld:  harassment that was never investigated adequately and also that I was a victim of retaliation in the form of defamation by the firm's senior attorney managers.  I feel no shame about aggressing on anyone or any institution that has aggressed on me or has wrongly subjected me to overwhelming shaming behaviors.  Perhaps that is an aspect of my psychopathology: that I feel no shame about blatantly aggressing on the government of the United States -- which refuses to investigate the wrongs to which I have been subjected -- by way of filing for and receiving disability benefits for the past twenty years for a dubious disability.  But that's the way I am.  I feel no shame about screwing people who have screwed me.

At my last session with my psychiatrist he repeated my statement: "You have said you want to screw the system."  I had the sense he was trying to shame me.  He seemed to assume that I would recognize the shameful aspect of my behavior if he reinforced my past statements and that, in response, I would modify my behavior.  He seemed to think that he could use shaming as a way to influence or control me.  Little did he recognize that I have absolutely no sense of shame about screwing the people who have screwed me.  Little did he appreciate, from a clinical perspective, that the proper posture of a psychotherapist is not to heap more shame onto such an individual, but to investigate why it is that the individual came to be this way: how I came to lose any sense of shame about aggressing on those who have aggressed on me by their use of overwhelming shaming behaviors.

The psychoanalyst Erik Erikson has some pertinent comments about the absence of a sense of shame in some individuals who have been subjected to overwhelming shaming behaviors by others.  In Identity and the Life Cycle Erikson writes:

  • Shame is an infantile emotion insufficiently studied. Shame supposes that one is completely exposed and conscious of being looked at -- in a word, self-conscious. One is visible and not ready to be visible; that is why we dream of shame as a situation in which we are stared at in a condition of incomplete dress, in night attire, "with one's pants down."  Shame is early expressed in an impulse to bury one's face, or to sink, right then and there, into the ground.  This potentiality is abundantly utilized in the educational method of "shaming" used so exclusively by some primitive peoples, where it supplants the often more destructive sense of guilt to be discussed later. The destructiveness of shaming is balanced in some civilizations by devices for "saving face." Shaming exploits an increasing sense of being small, which paradoxically develops as the child stands up and as his awareness permits him to note the relative measures of size and power. Too much shaming does not result in a sense of propriety but in a secret determination to try to get away with things when unseen, if, indeed, it does not result in deliberate shamelessness. There is an impressive American ballad in which a murderer to be hanged on the gallows before the eyes of the community, instead of feeling appropriately afraid or ashamed, begins to berate the onlookers, ending every salvo of defiance with the words, "God damn your eyes." Many a small child, when shamed beyond endurance, may be in a mood (although not in possession of either the courage or the words) to express defiance in similar terms. What I mean by this sinister reference is that there is a limit to a child's and an adult's individual endurance in the face of demands which force him to consider himself, his body, his needs, and his wishes as evil and dirty, and to believe in the infallibility of those who pass such judgment. Occasionally he may be apt to tum things around, to become secretly oblivious to the opinion of others, and to consider as evil only the fact that they exist: his chance will come when they are gone, or when he can leave them. Many a defiant child, many a young criminal, is of such make-up, and deserves at least an investigation into the conditions which caused him to become that way (emphasis added).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Relational Aggression: The Medium as the Message

Relational aggression, also known as covert aggression, or covert bullying is a type of aggression in which harm is caused through damage to one’s relationships or social status. Although it can be used in many contexts and among different age groups, relational aggression among adolescents, in particular, has received a lot of attention with the help of popular media including movies like ‘’Mean girls’’ and books like ‘’Odd Girl Out’’ by R. Simmons (2003) and ‘’Queen Bees and Wannabes’’ by R. Wiseman (2003). Relational aggression can have various life-long consequences. This type of aggression has been primarily observed and studied among girls. However, research shows that it is quite commonly used by boys as well.

Shame may be used by those people who commit relational aggression and may occur in the workplace as a form of overt social control or aggression. Shaming is also a central feature of punishment, shunning, or ostracism.

I believe I was a victim of relational aggression, or mobbing behaviors, during my employment at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.  I was subjected to sexual rumors and innuendo.  I believe also that I was shunned and ostracized -- that I was kept physically isolated from other employees and was somewhat of a social pariah.

I find it ironic that a form of aggression that relied on spreading rumors that I was a homosexual, namely, relational aggression, is actually a form of aggression used primarily by females.   This perhaps is circumstantial evidence that the harassment ringleader at Akin Gump, if he was a male, had a strong latent homosexual trend in his personality.

It may be said that at Akin Gump there was a symmetry between the behavior of spreading rumors about someone (a commonly female activity) and the content of the rumors (imputing homosexuality to the victim).   In effect, the medium (the behavior of spreading rumors) was the message (the victim is a homosexual -- a projection of the statement I fear that I am a homosexual).

Psychotherapy or Something Else?

I had a testy session with my psychiatrist on Monday June 18, 2012.  I complained to him that he seemed to ignore the fact that I suffered from a severe mental illness, Schizoid Personality Disorder.  He suggested that perhaps I used my disorder as an excuse not to move on in life and cited the fact that I had been in therapy for the past 20 years.  Implicit in my psychiatrist's comments and questions was the view that perhaps psychotherapy was not the answer to my problems and that I should look into volunteer work or employment.

I responded that I did not believe that my work with my psychiatrist constituted psychotherapy.  Indeed, I asserted that I had not in fact not been in psychotherapy for the past 20 years.  I said that I considered the last twenty years to be nothing more than weekly conversations with psychiatry residents.  I pointed out that psychotherapy involved insight, interpretation, analysis, synthesis and a relationship between patient and therapist.  I said that all those factors were missing in my work with all the psychiatry residents I had seen in the last 20 years.

I believe that the treatment of schizoid disorder involves specialized knowledge about the dynamics of the disorder and specialized knowledge about the handling or treatment of schizoid patients.  All of the therapists I have seen in the last two decades seem to lack any specialized knowledge that is essential for the treatment of schizoid disorder.

I recently came across a useful article that talks about the essential features of schizoid disorder and discusses the specific steps that need to be undertaken in the treatment of the disorder.

Schizoid Processes: Working with the Defenses of the Withdrawn Child Ego State

Ray Little

    This article examines the defenses of the withdrawn Child ego state as described by both transactional analysis and British object relations theory. The process of withdrawal is considered, and the principles of therapy from a relational perspective are explored.

Theoretical Views on Schizoid Processes

    I will start by examining several theoretical descriptions of schizoid processes that have influenced my thinking in my work with the withdrawn Child Ego State.
    The term “schizoid” has been used in the psychotherapy literature to describe both a personality structure and psychological processes.
    Melanie Klein (1946/1986), from the British object relations school, employed the term both to refer to the splitting mechanism used by the infant to organize his or her experience and to describe a developmental position. In discussing what she saw as “the violent splitting of the self,” she highlighted the “excessive projection” (p. 187) that resulted in the other being experienced as a persecutor. She thus described the terror that some clients experience when they feel the whole world is about to attack them.
    Fairbairn’s (1940/1952c) paper “Schizoid Factors in the Personality” described three prominent characteristics of schizoid personalities: (1) an attitude of omnipotence, (2) an attitude of detachment, and (3) a preoccupation with fantasy  and  inner  reality.  In  a  later  paper, “Endopsychic Structure Considered in Terms of Object-Relationships” (1944/1952a), he went on to describe an intrapsychic structure that consisted of the splitting of the ego and repression as a defense. He also pointed out that schizoid personalities may appear to fulfill a social role with others with what seems to be appropriate emotion and contact while in actuality remaining detached.
    Guntrip (1968/1992) developed Fairbairn’s endopsychic ideas further and listed characteristics of the schizoid personality. He also elaborated on Fairbairn’s concept of the schizoid’s dilemma and spoke of the compromise that people engage in to manage that dilemma. He described a further split in the ego that he called “the passive regressed ego” (p. 144), which he saw as a retreat to an objectless world.
    Ralph Klein (1995) built on the work of Fairbairn and Guntrip, and from the perspective of the Masterson (1988) approach, he used the term “schizoid” to describe another disorder of the self (in addition to borderline and narcissistic personality disorders). In taking an object relations view, Klein saw the schizoid as either in a self-object relations unit as a slave attached to a master or as a self-in-exile fearful of a sadistic object.
    Horney (1945) described three “neurotic trends” (p. 42): moving toward people, moving against people, or moving away from people in a way that involves withdrawal from contact. She saw people who manifested these trends as estranged from themselves and others.
    In Principles of Group Treatment Eric Berne (1966) used the term “schizoid” to describe one of the four life positions, which he called a “futile and schizoid” position (p. 270). A game typical of that position would be “Look What They Did To Me.” In describing clients who occupy this position and who are at the limit of their endurance, Berne wrote that the schizoid position “leads ultimately to the choice of aesthetic or spiteful suicide” (p. 271).
    Paul Ware (1983) developed a classification of personality types or adaptations that described psychopathology and maladjustment and listed various driver behaviors and injunctions that were typical of each type. He described the schizoid adaptation as characterized by withdrawn passivity, daydreaming, avoidance, and detachment and people who exhibit these characteristics as shy, overly sensitive, and eccentric. Their driver behavior is “Be strong,” “Try hard,” or “Please others.” Vann Joines (1985), further developing Ware’s work, viewed individuals with the schizoid adaptation as creative daydreamers, referring to their highly developed capacity to think internally.
    In talking about three styles of the Adapted Child—compliance, rebellion, and withdrawal—Vallejo (1986) described withdrawal as “the adaptive behavior that accompanies despair and resignation after loss, deprivation, destruction, abandonment, or the failure of something, whether it be a person, thing, or situation” (p. 116).
    The schizoid character is a defensive position that results in a detached interpersonal style. Johnson (1994) viewed character structure as existing on a continuum. At one end is the personality disorder and at the other is a higher level of functioning that he calls a “character style” (p. 11). He saw schizoid personality at the disorder end and avoidant personality at the style end (p. 11) of this continuum.

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) lists the diagnostic criteria for the schizoid personality disorder:

A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
  1. neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family
  2. almost always chooses solitary activities
  3. has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
  4. takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
  5. lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
  6. appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others
  7. shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity. (p. 641)
    The DSM-IV focuses on behavioral manifestations, whereas Fairbairn and the British object relations theorists focus more on intrapsychic dynamics. In my view, the various behavioral and descriptive elements of the DSM-IV need to be supported by a developmental and intrapsychic perspective.

Defenses and Processes

    In my reading of the aforementioned authors, it became clear that certain defensive processes are common in relation to schizoid phenomena. One of these is splitting, a “process by which a mental structure loses its integrity and becomes replaced by two or more part-structures” (Rycroft, 1968, p. 156). Several writers also speak of repression or the process of rendering something unconscious. A further defense, projection, is highlighted by a number of authors; it consists of “viewing a mental image as objective REALITY” (Rycroft, 1968, p. 125). Withdrawal and detachment from the world, coupled with self-reliance, may create an impression of aloofness. This may be seen as a defense against the perceived dangers and anxieties that inevitably accompany reliance on others and is supported by a lack of affect and coldness (noted by several writers). Regression, a further defensive process, is characterized by a flight inward and backward, even to the point of contemplating suicide. Schizoid personalities are often introverted and live primarily in an internal world. They may experience themselves as lonely, which may be felt as a longing for contact and love. In contrast to this longing, a common feature is terror of destroying others and of being destroyed by others. Often these people may appear outwardly contactful but are, in fact, emotionally withdrawn. Overall, there is a sense of futility and emptiness and a lack of integration (J. Klein, 1987, pp. 171-172).
    Case Example: Some of these processes are demonstrated by Sebastian, who usually starts the session by feeding me something that we can talk about or “chew” on but that does not reveal his vulnerability. In so doing he is checking to see whether he recognizes and can trust me this hour. Sessions seem to be isolated experiences for him, without continuity. He often seems to have forgotten the previous session and to have wiped out his experience of connecting with me.
    During sessions, Sebastian often withdraws and seems to be watching me. It is as if he is on the inside of his head looking out of his eyes watching my every move. He has described having retreated into a castle, in the dungeon where he feels safe. He leaves a guard on duty. The drawbridge is down but can be raised at any time. If I see an expression of emotion on his face and respond, he is moved at having been seen but feels he cannot call out. He feels it would be dangerous and frightening to do so.
    Sebastian has retreated from the world and is detached from interpersonal relations. He has numbed his emotional responses to people and events. Initially, when we explored his feelings about our breaks, they did not mean anything to him. Now he seems to have some feeling about our endings, and more recently when we spoke of my going away, he acknowledged that he will miss me. This indicates that he is beginning to emerge from hiding into a contactful relationship with me.

The Process of Withdrawal

    Attachment: Various authors have described our need for others (Bowlby, 1969; Erskine, 1989; Fairbairn, 1952b; Guntrip, 1968/1992) and suggested that we are relationship- and attachment-seeking from birth. Berne (1966) referred to this need for others as “recognition hunger” (p. 230) (for a detailed overview, see Erskine, 1989).
    The helpless infant needs a holding, containing environment to make sense of his or her experience as well as an attuned response to his or her feelings and relational needs. An attuned holding environment enables the infant to emotionally attach to the other (Bowlby, 1969; Fairbairn, 1952b). A bond forms between the unitary ego of the infant and the attachment figure, and these fulfilling experiences of contact become memories.
    Johnson (1994) described research that shows that the infant is “ ‘hardwired’ at birth for social interaction” (p. 21) and is attuned to the social responses he or she will encounter. He suggested that the infant “will be able to track the affective tone with which he is handled and the attunements, or lack of it [sic], to his needs, emotional states, etc.” (p. 22). Chamberlain (1987, p. 58) cited experiments in which the mothers of infants were asked to be silent and “still faced” for just three minutes. The infants tried to influence the mother within 15 seconds, as if to elicit a normal response. If they were unsuccessful, they withdrew. D. Stern (1985, p. 73) also found that when a parent does not respond appropriately, a baby can become disturbed or withdrawn.
    Disruption and Withdrawal: A contactful attachment to another is the basis of the development of the self for the growing infant (Kohut, 1977; D. Stern, 1985). When the infant experiences neglect, impingement, or lack of attunement accompanied by a lack of reparation, the child may go into hiding with his or her feelings and relational needs. This painful disruption in the relationship may halt or slow the process of integration (J. Klein, 1987, p. 171) and the ego may fragment. Fairbairn described the infant’s response to this disruption as taking the relationship inside where she or he divides the experience into tolerable and intolerable elements (Fairbairn as cited in Gomez, 1997, p. 61). The tolerable self-object experiences are projected out onto the world and the intolerable are kept inside. This is the first phase of withdrawal and splitting. A coping/everyday self is left to maintain a relationship with the world while the withdrawn, vulnerable self goes into hiding (Figure 1).
Text Box: Figure 1

Initial Splitting of the Ego
To provide a sense of well-being and safety, the infant’s coping/everyday self attempts to maintain a tolerable relationship with the external object. To achieve this the infant must abolish negative experiences, which it does by splitting and later repressing the bad experiences so that he or she can control them. Tolerable experiences of the everyday self are repeated and internalized; this reinforces the repression of the vulnerable self. The infant thus upholds his or her sense of security by maintaining a relationship with the external object. However, this relationship is now impoverished. The vulnerable infant part of the ego is now split off and will be repressed and hidden from that part of the ego that maintains contact with the world. This coping/everyday self is similar to Winnicott’s (1965) false self as well as to the adapted Child described by Berne (1961, p. 69).
    The withdrawn self splits further to create the internal saboteur (Fairbairn, 1952b), which turns against the vulnerable self. The internal saboteur serves to keep the vulnerable self hidden and repressed. It is the anti-wanting self that is contemptuous and despising of neediness and ensures we neither seek nor get what we want (J. Klein, 1987). The vulnerable self is repressed further and splits off from the coping/everyday self that maintains a relationship with the external world (Figure 2). As a defense against an attack from the external world or an attacking and rejecting object, the internal saboteur may launch a preemptive strike against the vulnerable self to forestall such an attack. This has the effect of shutting down the vulnerable self to prevent an attack.
    This process of withdrawal describes a defensive retreat from the world of rejecting objects and painful experiences, with a subsequent withdrawal from contact and taking inside the important and precious parts of the self to protect them from the unresponsive world.

    Fairbairn (1944/1952a) described a psychic structure that he saw evolving out of this disruption to the early relationship with the primary caretaker (Figure 3); he called it the “endopsychic structure” (p. 82). In this structure, each aspect of the self is attached to an object by affect. Thus we have three basic self-object representations. First, the coping/everyday self was described by Fairbairn as the central ego, which is attached to the idealized object. I prefer to call this the “preserved object” to distinguish it from Kohut’s (1977) idealized selfobject and because it is more descriptive of the everyday self’s attempt to maintain and preserve the nature of the relationship. Often the countertransferential response to this representation is feeling controlled and limited by the attempt to preserve the relationship. Second, the vulnerable self/libidinal ego is attached to the exciting object, which is inevitably disappointing; therefore, I call it the “exciting/disappointing object.” J. Klein (1987, p. 161) described  it as the  frustrating  exciting  object for similar reasons.
Text Box: Figure 2

Further Splitting of the Ego
Text Box: Figure 3

Endopsychic Structure (after Fairbairn, 1944/1952a, p. 105)
Third, the internal saboteur, which Fairbairn later called the antilibidinal ego, is attached to the rejecting object, which may also be experienced as an attacking object.  The coping/everyday self uses aggression to keep the rest of the structure out of conscious awareness, and further aggression from the rejecting/attacking object and the internal saboteur maintains the repression of the vulnerable self. Although the structure is repressed, it is there all the time, overhearing the process of therapy even if it is not active or manifest in the therapeutic relationship.

    Ego States: In Blackstone’s (1993) excellent article, “The Dynamic Child: Integration of Second-Order Structure, Object Relations, and Self Psychology,” she suggested that the introjected object of Fairbairn’s theory is analogous to the Parent ego state. She quoted Berne (1972) as stating that “Fairbairn is one of the best heuristic bridges between transactional analysis and psychoanalysis” (p. 134). One of the points Fairbairn made is how the self is bonded to the object/Parent ego state by affect, and it is the affect that keeps the two glued together to form a self-object representational unit.
Text Box: Figure 4

The Retreating Self
Therefore, the three self-object units of Fairbairn’s psychic structure represent three introjected units in the second order of the Child ego state. These units are archaic states of the Child ego state resulting from “developmental arrest which occurred when critical early childhood needs for contact were not met” (Erskine, 1988, p. 17). When the contact is need fulfilling, the experience becomes integrated and assimilated as memory (R. Erskine, personal communication, August 1999). These self-object representational units may simply be relics of a relationship that once existed. However, if, for example, the infant projected onto the other his or her rage at not being met, then the other is imbued with that rage in addition to whatever anger the person was expressing toward the infant. The self will then be depleted and impoverished, and it is this relationship that will be introjected in the Child ego state.
    In Exile: In developing Fairbairn’s theory, Guntrip (1968/1992) suggested that the infant may feel so persecuted by internal objects that there is a further split in the ego that results in the infant making a second retreat deeper into his or her mind to avoid the internalized world of self-object representations (Figure 4). The repressed vulnerable infant self is thus further split as it once again leaves part of itself to deal with the internal bad objects while the rest retreats into its “citadel.” This is a fantasy of a retreat to an antenatal existence in a symbolic womb. Security is, therefore, established through fantasies of enclosure in a womb-like state. “Womb fantasies cancel postnatal object relations” (p. 53) and represent a flight from life. As mentioned earlier, Guntrip described this aspect of the ego as the “passive regressed ego” (p. 144), which I describe as the “hidden vulnerable self.” At each stage of the withdrawal, defenses are employed to protect the self from further humiliation, attack, or injury. The regression may also be the self’s flight from its own murderous rage and hatred of the object; therefore, the self is retreating not only from the aggression of the internal objects, but also from its own aggression. Repression and withdrawal prevent further normal development of the self.
    R. Klein (1995) described this position as being in exile—a retreat from being in prison with others to being in an objectless world. While being with others entails a loss of self, being in exile entails a loss of others. Therefore, the retreat may represent safety, but it also encompasses the fear of objectlessness. The womb-like state may be described by clients as a citadel, a castle, a fortress, or even a freezer. The state of being in exile has been described as being adrift in a boat without a rudder or a sail on an ocean a long way from land with no wind. However, as several theorists have observed (Scharff & Fairbairn-Birtles, 1994; Seinfeld, 1996), describing this womb-like state as objectless may be confusing. The retreat is not to an objectless state but to an antenatal state where there are no demands or attacks and there is no need to adapt. “An objectless state remains something the individual dreads” (Seinfeld, 1996, p. 14).
    In addition to a client presenting as having gone into hiding, Seinfeld (1993) also described a retreat and regression in therapy as the client relaxes his or her defenses. This retreat is in response to a holding relationship and the seeking of a psychological rebirth. As the client relinquishes his or her defenses, he or she may allow regression to an earlier self-object relationship.
    Schizoid Dilemma: Retreating from contact leaves the individual isolated, lonely, and in pain. In some cases the longing for contact will reemerge and the person may move toward others; however, such movement also brings with it the anxiety of being close. Guntrip (1968/1992) described this as the “in and out program” (p. 36), an expression of the hunger for and terror of contact and closeness. Some individuals manage this dilemma by establishing what Guntrip called the “schizoid compromise” (p. 58), which is a way of keeping others around but preventing them from getting too close or becoming endangered. This may be achieved by keeping contact at an intellectual level, by being present physically but absent emotionally, or by looking away when expressing emotions.

Therapeutic Principles: Reaching the
Withdrawn Child Ego State

    Working relationally with these processes entails working in the here and now with the client, working with the transference (both the needed and repeated relationship [S. Stern, 1994]), and working with the various defenses used to protect the vulnerable self from further pain. It entails the therapist being involved, being available to be impacted and affected by the client (Erskine, Moursund, & Trautmann, 1999), and offering a reparative experience.
    Creating a Safety Zone: Therapeutic goals include creating a safe, holding environment that is both not wounding and unobtrusive and that will enable the hidden vulnerable self to reemerge. The therapist needs to understand why the client went into hiding and what his or her terror is about. In addition, it is important to comprehend how attempts at contact may be experienced by the client as intrusive. The schizoid compromise is the individual’s attempt to create safety and to manage the tension between isolation and being trapped or enslaved. The therapist needs to demonstrate an understanding of the schizoid dilemma and compromise (R. Klein, 1995) and offer an attuned interpretation. Ware (1983) adjured us to go slowly: “It must be remembered that the cure of Schizoids is a slow, painstaking process, taking only small steps at a time” (p. 15).
    The therapist must track the relationship, noticing and responding to the vulnerable self as it reveals itself as well as monitoring the defensive interruptions to contact. The therapist needs to listen to and notice when the client withdraws or dissociates and to explore what behavior in the therapist prompted the client’s retreat from contact. In supporting the relaxation of defenses and the reemergence of the self, the therapist will enable the self to come out of hiding and to leave its fortress or castle. The therapist thus takes on the function of the defense. For example, with someone who uses intellectualization as a defense, the therapist might offer, “May I do the thinking, while you feel?”
    As therapists working with these clients, we need to be available for connection by responding to the withdrawn Child ego state (R. Klein, 1995) and by offering an attuned empathic relationship (Erskine & Trautmann, 1996). We must also be available as an object, creating a space in which the client can use us until he or she feels safe enough to let us into the “citadel.” Then we can help the client out of hiding. This entails the client emerging into a relationship with the therapist through forming an attachment with him or her. The therapist then eventually supports the client’s separation by pointing out the client’s anger and thus disillusioning him or her. At times, we need to be as still as possible, to sit quietly and be willing to not know what is happening. We need to allow ourselves to wonder silently about them and about our countertransference responses. We need to shift between centering on the client and noticing our own feelings, thoughts, and fantasies. We need to be curious and offer reverie (Bion, 1962), and as we begin to understand, show them what they feel or want and create a space in which they can experience love and hate. Speaking of the schizoid personality, Joines (1985) wrote of the need to go “in after them and bring them out” (p. 48). Rather than “going in,” perhaps it might be more appropriate to wait to be invited so as to avoid a reenactment as the intrusive object.
    Defenses: In working with the schizoid’s defenses, the goal is for the client and therapist to discover the function of the defensive process and to move through the defenses to the repressed and hidden elements of the vulnerable self. Fixated defenses are an attempt to take care of the self in the absence of a reparative relationship but at the expense of some capacities, which results in the self being impoverished in some way. Manfield (1992) described defenses as follows: “Defenses are patterns of behavior or thoughts that people use to protect themselves from emotional pain or discomfort arising from present life situations usually linked to painful childhood memories” (p. 32). In his article on defense mechanisms, Erskine (1988) wrote, “It is because of the fixation of defense mechanisms that the archaic (Child) or introjected (Parent) aspects of the ego remain separate states and do not become integrated into the neopsychic (Adult) awareness” (p. 18). These defenses, therefore, keep the vulnerable self with its feelings and relational needs repressed. In addition to repression, splitting, and regression, other early defenses include avoidance, freezing, fighting, the transformation of affect, and reversal of aggression (Fraiberg, 1987). When talking about the defense of avoidance, Fraiberg cited Kaufman’s description of how an infant, when faced with danger, will feel helpless and “employ(s) a ‘flight-fight’ response(s), followed by conservation-withdrawal” (p. 191) to defend and sustain himself or herself.
    The appropriate therapeutic response to such processes is to acknowledge, name, validate, and normalize the defenses and to understand their function, pacing movement through the defenses to the vulnerable self in such a way that the client can accommodate the change. The role of the therapist is to take on the function of the defense, thus leaving the client free to express vulnerability. Since defenses serve to offer the individual stability, consistency, identity, and predictability (Erskine, Moursund, & Trautmann, 1999), all these functions need to be taken over by the therapist. However, care must be taken in working with defenses so that the client and therapist can handle the underlying affect. Offering a contactful relationship in which the therapist is inquiring and attuned may trigger memories for the client of not being met in the past and may be a challenge to his or her script. The client may therefore defend against the current contact to avoid emotional memories.
    When working in an attuned manner with clients, they may begin to relax their defenses and cathect a part of their mind in which they feel terrified; they may then experience what M. Klein (1986/1946) described as “persecutory anxiety” (p. 182). The whole world becomes a dangerous place, and even the therapist becomes an attacking object. When this happens the client has cathected an early defensive split in the ego, and rather than the therapist being a helpful person, he or she becomes unhelpful and even dangerous or attacking. The client may feel he or she is in a torture chamber, and the therapist may be seen as the sadistic torturer or jailer.
    Working within the Transference: Working therapeutically within the transference relationship with the withdrawn Child ego state involves creating an opportunity for the client to relive, in the present with the therapist, the emotions, conflicts, and relational longings of the past. The feelings must be reexperienced and expressed in the present toward the therapist, who becomes the focus for the old feelings. He or she must be willing to respond nondefensively (Gill, 1982) by offering a validating, attuned empathic response. Working within the transference allows the intrapsychic conflict to be expressed within the therapeutic relationship (Erskine, 1993). For the withdrawn Child ego state this means possibly experiencing both the fear of and the hunger for contact as well as the fear of isolation.
    As the work develops, the focus may shift to decisive archaic scenes. The therapist then functions as the “secondarily longed-for, receptive, and understanding” (Stolorow, 1994, p. 51) other, who, through attuned responsiveness, offers a reparative relationship. For example, in the case of inhibited aggression, the therapist might support the undoing of the inhibition and the expression of fighting back.
    The Needed and Repeated Relationship: In the transference relationship clients will invite the therapist to repeat old experiences, but they are also longing to be exposed to new experiences. For therapy to be effective, the therapist needs to be experienced as both someone new as well as someone from the past (Cooper & Levit, 1998). If the therapist tends to focus exclusively on repetitions of the past in the form of games (Berne, 1966), he or she may overlook how new capacities for relating are emerging out of the old. On the other hand, the therapist using a relational model may too quickly offer a new relationship, therefore defensively welcoming aspects of the new while seeking relief from the old, repetitive, problematic relationship with its games. We need to balance staying with the old while offering the new so that the new may emerge out of the old. Therapy is the search for the transformational experience (Bollas, 1987) that enables the repeated relationship to be understood and the needed relationship to be experienced.
    Negative Therapeutic Reaction: As the therapist attunes to the client’s withdrawn vulnerable self, the latter will probably relax his or her defenses, and in doing so, the endopsychic structure will be disrupted. Attunement mobilizes the withdrawn self’s relational needs, particularly if the therapist takes on some of the functions of the defenses, thus leaving the client to experience the vulnerable self. In other words, this process disturbs the equilibrium of the psychic structure, and elements of that structure will probably react against the disturbance. The “gang” of the rejecting object, the coping/everyday self, and the internal saboteur will attack the previously repressed self. This is the essence of the negative therapeutic reaction.
    This defensive process was described by Freud (1923) as the most serious obstacle to psychotherapy. It comprises the client’s lack of “receptivity to an alien, unfamiliar positive experience” (Seinfeld, 1990, p. 13) with a therapist, reinforced by the client’s active rejection of the need for the experience “in identification with the original external rejecting object” (p. 13). The negative therapeutic reaction describes the mechanics of juxtaposition as identified by Erskine and Trautmann (1996), and the internal saboteur is similar to Erskine’s (1988, p. 17) self-generated ego state.
    Activation of the internal saboteur and the rejecting object serves to protect against the emergence in the relationship of the vulnerable self’s relational needs. Attacks from members of the “gang” may result in the client shutting down, annihilating self or other, and forgetting. More serious attacks may lead to drug abuse and self-harm. I think this is similar to Bion’s (1967) observation that psychotic clients attack the link between self and object. The “gang” may attack the link the therapist forms with the repressed self and its relational needs. The therapist must work with the attacks on the link between self and other, exploring the aggressive denial of need. The client must also experience the therapist as the exciting object in order to separate and individuate. The client’s inevitable frustrations and disappointments with the therapeutic relationship require a nondefensive response from the therapist. In fact, therapeutic efforts by either the client or the therapist to avoid regression and dependence in the transference may be an avoidance of the exciting object transference.
    The hidden vulnerable self may be experienced as deadened, and an attuned, understanding attitude from the therapist may lead the client to feel like the deadened self is being brought back to life. It is as if the therapist is giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the client, who may fear an attack if he or she does come back to life. These individuals may also be frightened of their own aggression and hatred of the other, which in the past may have been projected onto the attacking object so that the other became a terrifying monster. At one time, survival may have depended on being dead to the world, so the therapist’s attempts at resuscitation may be resisted because the client fears what might happen if he or she came alive. A lively infant may have not been welcome in the client’s family of origin, and the infant’s angry reaction to the unwelcoming response may also be experienced as a danger to existence.
    If the rejecting object and internal saboteur are activated in the transference, the therapist has the option of interpreting the attack (Seinfeld, 1993), thus differentiating these two parts from the vulnerable self. For example, the therapist may say, “What we’re seeing right now is how, as we form a bond, the attacking part of you becomes critical.” Therapist and client can then work to understand the reason that an aspect of the person would reject efforts to activate the self and to invite the rejecting object/Parent ego state (Erskine & Moursund, 1988) to express itself directly to the therapist. The therapist can also interpose himself or herself between the rejecting object and the vulnerable self (p. 191). Therapy with the internal saboteur, however, may consist of echoing its statements in order to mobilize the energy of the vulnerable self so that it can emerge and fight back.
    Therapy needs to combine an attuned, empathic, involved relationship; a holding, containing environment; and interpretation and transformation of the bad objects. Attuned interpretations that breach the closed system allow clients to incorporate a good object relationship with the therapist (Seinfeld, 1993).


    The purpose of the type of therapy described in this article is to create an opportunity for the client to reown his or her repressed, disavowed, hidden capacities and to integrate these into here-and-now functioning. Further, it is an opportunity for the client to reemerge from withdrawal, to integrate the split and fragmented ego, and to resolve the conflicting pulls between a self that seeks predictability, continuity, and safety and a self that seeks spontaneity, authenticity, and contact.
    The capacity for growth and development may be hampered by the prior reinforcement of the closed system, and, like a muscle that is underused, it may have become wasted and will require exercise and support to rebuild it. This involves rebuilding the attachment-seeking behavior that may have atrophied over time as a result of not being sustained in earlier relationship (Sutherland, 1994).
    Therapy needs to combine an attuned, empathic, involved relationship; a holding and containing environment; and interpretation and transformation of the bad objects. Attuned interpretations that breach the closed system allow clients to incorporate a good object relationship with the therapist (Seinfeld, 1993).

    Ray Little is a Certified Transactional Analyst working as a psychotherapist in private practice in London. Please send reprint requests to Enderby Psychotherapy & Counselling Associates, 16 Hatfield Road, London W4 1AF, United Kingdom.


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22 Jun10:47:48 PM

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Communication with Dr. Willem Martens

Dr. Martens,

Thank you so much for responding to my email.  You can easily access my book by clicking on the following link, then under "View the Book" at the left hand corner of the web page, simply click on either "Read Online" or "PDF."

Gary Freedman
Washington, DC -- USA
202 362 7064

-----Original Message-----
From: Wim Martens <>
To: Gary Freedman <>
Sent: Thu, Jun 21, 2012 9:03 pm
Subject: Re: book by a schizoid patient

Dear Gery,
Send me your book in an attachment so that I can read it.
Willem H. J. Martens, MD, PhD - Director of the W. Kahn Institute of Theoretical Psychiatry and Neuroscience (see The World of Learning: The International Guide to the Academic World. Europa Publications: Taylor & Francis, 2003) and advisor Psychiatry of the European Commission (leonardo da Vinci) and member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK. Address: Het Nateland 1, 3911XZ Rhenen (Utrecht), The Netherlands. Phone: 31 (0)317 618708.

From: Gary Freedman <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:18 AM
Subject: book by a schizoid patient

Dr. Martens:

I have read with interest your writings about schizoid disorder.  I suffer from the disorder.  I thought you might be interested in a book I wrote, which constitutes an autobiographical study by a schizoid individual.  Perhaps both the content and unusual structure of the book will provide material of interest to you.

You can access the book at the following webpage:

Gary Freedman
Washington, DC