Self in Exile Disorder


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About this Website
  We hope to make available a more accurate, deeper, richer, and more compassionate understanding of the Schizoid, or 'Self in Exile' Disorder.
As well as this, to provide a means of contact.

The writing has been put together from years of self-searching, listening, reading and making connections. The views expressed, however, are strictly those of the person who gave them. Find what has meaning for you, there is a basis here for ever deepening awareness.

This website has no affiliation to any organisation. The understanding available here, however, owes much to the work done by professionals as well as recovering individuals. The professional work done on distinguishing and differentiating between the internal structures of the different disorders is what has made this depth of understanding possible.


Who is this Website For?

NOTE OF WARNING:  About ‘having a disorder’.   Some people find it a relief to diagnose themselves and have an answer and a name for things they have been experiencing in their lives.    But some may feel pathologised, blamed, and boxed into a corner. If you have experienced situations where you have been treated as 'mad', 'the problem', or scapegoated, this concept of having a 'disorder' seem to reinforce this issue. This is not the meaning that this website is trying to convey.    I want to make clear that the perspective of this website is about the ‘disorders of humanity', that most human beings  have disorders, but this is an attmept to clarify the underlying dynamics in operation between people.   If you are even looking at this website and reflecting on yourself there is a good chance you are ahead of many others in terms of your ability for honest self-reflection.  The disorders may show themselves as positions we find ourselves in in relation to others, and they can be within us ('intrapsychic structure').  The chances are that there is some of each. 

You may have been diagnosed as schizoid, or you may have worked it out for yourself. You may have found yourself repeatedly drawn into abusive relationships, relationships where you experience abandonment, or felt compelled to abandon, or relationships with narcissists. You may experience loneliness in your life, alienation, or feel an aversion to closeness with others.
You may be a professional seeking a deeper understanding, you are welcome. Schizoid is the least well understood of all the disorders.

We hope this website will be of help. Please pass on the link.


Who is responsible for this Website?
My name is Rachel, I have the Self in Exile disorder. I am the person who put this website together. 
The people who have shared here all express parts of my own truth.

In the words of Alice Miller:  

“It hurts to see how with more information many things could have turned out better.  And that much cannot be made good again.  My stories arose from the wish to spare other people from what I have suffered myself.” 

I am grateful to those who have helped along the way,  freely contributing their time and sharing their experiences in order to help others.  

Where individuals are quoted, names and identities have been disguised.



Why the name ‘Self in Exile’?

The name ‘Self in Exile’ describes more closely our experience than does the clinical term 'schizoid'. The term was used as the title for the section on the Schizoid disorder by Dr Klein in the book: ‘Disorders of the Self - New Therapeutic Horizons’
( Klien + Masterson),
The term 'self in exile' is used here collectively to cover the spectrum including various names such as avoidant.
In places the word 'exile' is used as abrieviation for 'someone with the 'self in exile disorder'.

Terms and Meanings:
Professionals differ as to how they name things, but for these purposes we come together on the basis of shared experience.




"We couldnt see the path ahead except that others had gone that way before”:                    S.A.. white book

We know that the alcoholics who pioneered AA founded a path by which many have since found recovery. These principles have been adapted by others to address thier own specific issues.

“……..You can help where no-one else can………” AA big book.

AA’s Pledge:
“When anyone anywhere reaches out for help I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that I am responsible."

The above quotes express some fundamental principles of recovery in fellowship, they show us what is possible.

Many people find recovery, some of these in 12 step fellowships. Others find partial recovery yet still feel there is more they need to understand and address.
And there are those who don't make it.
We hope that what is available here can make the needed difference.
You may be already in a 12 step program, if you identify with what is described here, the information can provide a more accurate focus for your issues, enabling you to go deeper in your recovery work.



Whats with 'Diagnosis', -  Isnt this Labelling?
There is more behind a self disorder than a collection of tendencies, although there is that too.  It’s a sense that there is a specific structure, an ‘emotional anatomy’.

An analogy might be an octopus:   The octopus has many tentacles. Rather than a series of random tentacles entangling us, to know and to name the octopus that we deal with, to see its full size and measure, to see the connectedness, lends meaning and depth to our struggle. 
 You may have only experienced a whisp of a tentacle, or you may sense that there is a frank disorder disrupting your life.  The degree of problem is less the point than the deeper content to which these experiences are connected. In other words, it is  the whole octopus that they are part of that we are aiming to address. It is this understanding that can create a common basis on which exiles can connect with, and help eachother.
The ‘emotional anatomy’ of the self in exile is specifically different to that of other disorders. As it becomes possible to see how we fall into roles, and how the different disorders interact and tessellate in  relationship with eachother, we gain a clearer vision to guide us:  

The Dynamic:                                     
   Each self disorder takes a different role in the dynamic of a group or family.   For example, in a family, there may be a borderline, a narcissist and an exile. 
Roughly speaking, the borderline is likely to play the role of the one that needs to be taken care of,
".. ..the 'contract for survival': ........negotiate a contract to get these resources - approval, acknowledgement exchange for resonating with the parent's, or caregivers needs for them not to separate or individuate..."  
 (Adapted from Disorders of the Self New Therapuetic Horozons p.163),   Copy right 1995 from Disorders of the Self New Therapeutic Horizons The Masterson Approach by James F Masterson and Ralph Klein. Reproduced by permission of Taylor and Francis Group LLC a division of Informa plc.
The narcissist may play the role of bolstering the parents self esteem by being successful/ beautiful etc. The 'value', having been stored in this person, they then become the holder and dispenser of value. An interpersonal hierarchy is set up. The exile tends to be outside of the clamour. We may be excluded, marginalised, or alternatively, find ways to be of value and engaged by being of service, stepping into the roles neglected by others, whilst keeping our real selves back. We can also be the one to absorb the shame disowned by others in the family, to become the scapegoat, or we may have a 'floating role' filling in for what is necassary, (the 'human dustbuster').                                                    

 Understanding of self disorder in general gives a poignancy and clarity to understanding the human condition.



The Problem:
At this stage, this website attempts mainly to lay out the problem. What is written here is not necassarily a complete or balanced picture, it allows for further completion and develment of the solution.
Your experiences can help others.

Contact: We would like to hear from you. We would welcome your feedback.
(On the contact page there are some of the responses we have recieved.)



Accessing The Internal Structure of the Self in Exile:
Although those of us with the self in exile disorder have a common internal structure, this internal structure can express itself externally in ways which may at first sight appear to be different or opposite. (see 'The Quadrants').

There is much written about abusive and exploitative relationships, how to manage in them, or how to leave. Here we look at the other side of the bargain, - what it is in us that draws us towards these relationships.
We look at the internal structure, including how it can propel us into the opposite polarity, - in exile.
Whatever your approach to healing, this understanding is a vital starting point.

"My firm conviction is that intrapsychic structure ignored can only express itself in alternative routes (most notably acting out), and that new interpersonal learning that is superimposed on such a system of denial can only result in superficial compliant behavioral change............."           Richard Fischer
Copy right 1995 from Disorders of the Self New Therapeutic Horizons The Masterson Approach by James F Masterson and Ralph Klein. Reproduced by permission of Taylor and Francis Group LLC a division of Informa plc.

.....or some feel better, shift quadrants,
become leaders, particularly in the field of healing, and advocate from the other side of the split. Having gained an improvement, they stop short of further questioning thier own behaviour and the dynamics in their relationships.



Who Does 'Self in Exile' Include?
Whilst the 'schizoid' is normally associated with being alone, the alone/ not alone question is one of the spin offs of the internal struggle, rather than the heart of the matter. In the alternating between polarities, for example, we may veer from too open and unguarded, to retreating to a distance. The commonly held view, (as described in the DSM), is of the schizoid as an unemotional person who has no desire for relationships. This conclusion has been mainly derived from outside observation, without understanding of the deeper internal experience. Unlike the standard view of the schizoid, some are empathic, gregarious, and have strong emotions and values. There can be a poignancy to how emotions are expressed, which is often missed.



A Message to Professionals:
We would like to acknowledge here the groundwork done by professionals, most specifically the work of Dr Masterson for clarifying the Real Self and for distinguishing between the disorders which allows a more accurate understanding. We are aware of the depth of significance, and of the insight that this has made available, enabling us to make sense of our experiences.
We hope that, in turn, the work we will be able to do with eachother will ultimately be supportive of your work, as well as widening and deepening the scope and choices for those who seek recovery.





Sam Vaknin
Masterson + Klein
(Some quotes and adaptions from 'The Therapists Guide to the Personality Disorders' by permission of publishers: Zieg Tucker and Thiesen)
Harry Guntrip: 'The Schizoid Phenomena'
Phillip Manfield: 'Split Self Split Object'.

Patrick Carnes: 'The Betrayal Bond'
Patricia Evans
Susan Forward
Robin Norwood
Pia Melody
And recovering individuals and fellowship literature.