Characteristics - In our own words
Some of our central issues are expressed here at deeper level. The added quotes and explanations are to help to clarify the underlying connections.
A friend in recovery rang me a few days ago, I’ve known him 10 years or so, neither of us have had a relationship in that time, until now. I have been so internally over-run by obsession, my fantasy life which would be focused on whichever relationship - real or imagined was current, feeling more compelling, vivid and intensely urgent than my real life. My friend knowing me well, would ask with ironic humour: “How’s the magnificent obsession?”
Recently he just finished the first relationship he had had since I knew him. “Wrecked with paralysis, fear and anxiety” he said. “I was taking days off work, I was using viagra. I cant understand it, its so unfair, she didn’t have any of this, she was fine.”
I said “burning in hell?”
“Exactly, burning in hell” was his response.
The 'Exile Dilemma':
" burning in hell" describes the intensity of desire for the relationship in anguished conflict with the experience of losing ones real self, being consumed or overwhelmed.
The Sequestered Self:
".....But we are children of the night.
And here you rest sweet wounded child,
Safely cradled in my breast,
A love beyond all loves
One day will certainly be ours"
(Cassandra: from 'To this Adult Child')
"I'm more than sure my essence is intact, since it's well closed under many stratas inside me, rolling on itself as tiny ancient sun of shadowy light. It is hidden and untouchable. Not so the rest of me."
"...a schizoid man who at a very young age had buried deep within himself in an impenatrable shell, all that was good and true, sensitive and feeling. The self that he presented to the world was an empty shell, whilst his real self remained safely buried, protected from assault, appropriation, or annihilation, awaiting a time when it could be reborn into the actual world, rather than be kept hidden, secret and safe from harm."
.Klein. 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.
- We preserve part of us, the part that is good and authentic, we want to protect it from being misused, misrepresented, commercialised, distorted, appropriated, polluted, tainted, exploited, consumed - in the hope that one day we will find the time, person or circumstances where we can bring it safely forth. We protect our souls. ( from characteristics 2)
" ...........predominantly fear of being attacked....but is also fear of harming or offendending the other and causing them to withdraw. Both fears exist simultaneously." adapted from Manfield:' Split Self Split Object' p.221
Conversation between two exiles:
Cassandra: "Hey, I dont mean to put pressure on you about things, like the book, - you respond as if sometimes you feel under pressure from me.........would that be true?
Boda: "I did feel bad, like you thought I just pushed the book aside and wasnt giong to get back to it or finish it even! So I did kind of feel pressured by you about not getting back to it already!"
- fear of hurting the other and fear of 'pressure', ie being attacked or rejected: 'Twin fears'.
The Broom Cupboard Analogy - Dehumanisation
After his daughters wedding for which he had paid -
“ I thought it was torture myself,………………but everyone else seemed to enjoy it, that’s the main thing really …. I feel like I was used as a cash machine, like I get taken out of the chest of drawers and put back in”.
“…………that one can be called on to perform particular functions at particular times with no particular rhyme or reason. Acknowledgement comes about through the persons availability to perform whatever he or she is called on to do. One patient described this as being a ‘human dustbuster’ for her family. She hung in the closet quietly. “I was neither seen nor heard. But when I was needed to do something- different things at different times - I was called out, taken out of the closet and then returned” It was, in her words, ‘ a back shelf existence'.
“……a dehumanised, depersonified function called on to serve any purpose, and then consigned again to the backshelf." R. Klein 'New Therapuetic Horizons'
- "We were called on to play random roles, inbetween which we were treated as disposable."
Dr Frankl Rehumanises:
In the midst of probably the most profound acting out of dehumanisation in history – the concentration camp – Victor Frankl rehumanises:
“......a conversation with two camp inmates disclosed that both of them were haunted by the feeling that they ‘no longer had anything to expect from life’........to bring about that change of attitude which eliminates once and for all the futile questioning about the meaning of life and substitutes for it a concern for the concrete problems life poses, the need to be responsive and responsible to life. And in fact it soon turned out that-beyond what the two prisoners had anticipated in life-each of them had a life with quite concrete tasks waiting him in the outside world. One of them had published a series of books on geography, but the series was still incomplete. The other had a daughter abroad who loved him devotedly. That is, a task was waiting for one, a human being for the other. Accordingly, both were reassured of the singularity and irreplaceability which impart meaning to life in spite of suffering. The one was indispensable to his work; no-one could take the other’s place in his daughters affections.”
Victor Frankl: ‘The Doctor and the Soul’ p.102
The search for Identity:
Dorothy:“I remember when I was quite little, I was sharing my sweets. My older sister (who was generally looked up to, had status in the family), said I was ‘generous’. I latched onto that. I remember feeling, ‘oh, that’s something I can be’,- ‘generous’. After that I gave out my sweets in an exaggerated way, I ‘acted out ‘generous’. I was needing to be registered and reflected in others eyes as something, - I had a mini false self for a while there."
Invasion and Installation:
With a history of intrusion, or invasion, the exile has weakened psychic boundaries and is susceptible to and sensitive to unspoken, implied messages.
........“… unexpressed emotions leak unhealthily into the atmosphere” Pia Melody.
Further to the concept of ‘the broom cupboard analogy’, we tend to unwittingly absorb the unwanted and disowned emotions of the significant others. For example, if they are narcissistic, they are 'shameless' or 'overentitled'. We are likely to absorb their disowned shame and be 'shamed filled'. This is one of the reasons that it may first appear that some have a mix of various disorders. Exiles can frequently be misdiagnosed.
Sam Vaknin describes this dynamic:
“Projective Identification – forcing the child to behave in a way which vindicates the parents fears regarding himself or herself, his or her self- image and his or her self worth. This is a particularly powerful and pernicious mechanism. If the parent fears his own deficiencies (‘defects’), vulnerability, perceived weaknesses, susceptibility, gullibility, or emotions – he is likely to force the child to ‘feel’, in ways strongly abhorred by the parent, to exhibit character traits the parent strongly rejects in himself.
Projection – The child, in a way becomes the ‘trash bin’ of the parents inhibitions, fears, self-loathing, self-contempt, perceived lack of worth, sense of inadequacy, rejected traits, repressed emotions, failures and emotional reticence”
adapted from Malignant Self Love –Narcissism Revisited’ p.293
The 'Relational Bargain' (-Masterson)
Whether the person, caught in the family dynamic, steps into these roles, unwittingly absorbing them from the atmosphere, or steps into these roles out of the need for identity and recognition, - to find some significant role, even a negative one, - or whether the child is ‘forced’, the relational principles, the dynamic, involved are the same.
- We found ourselves in the disowned or unwanted roles in the family, and then in later life we filled in the missing roles. Some were used as scapegoat, we absorbed shame for others who were shameless, we took responsibility where others disowned it, we saw what no-one else saw, and cared where others did not. We were called on to play random roles, inbetween which we were treated as dispensable. ( characteristics2)
Dehumanisation - 'Into the Machine'
Dorothy had been in recovery from addictive relationships for many years before learning about Self Disorder.
"I grew up in a household where the false self of my mother held sway with a deadening grip.
My sister described this memory:
“The sounds from bed were deeply memorable, the church bells on Sunday morning, trains at night, cats fighting. I sometimes got up, forbidden, to watch cat fights. They were oblivious of the human world, a piece of jungle let loose. I shivered on the radiators, mesmerised. They circled each other prowling, sinuous like snakes, then leaped with no signal into mad spatting scratching and screeching fights then broke away to growl and miawl with crouches, creepings and arched back and lashing tails, and again without warning some mad desperate chases along walls, in and out of black bushes, then a slow build up again. When they fought they screamed, in-between made deep exotic jungle growls, snake-like hisses of savagery, sometimes spat. I couldn’t leave although the night grew older and I grew colder, and I knew I was doing something wrong. I was part of the wild dance-like savagery, trapped in it.”
...and I have this memory:
We lived in a big house. In the basement there was a boiler, - it was huge – down in a pit, surrounded by protective metal bars to stop children falling in. It thrummed and it hummed like a big monster, - it was terrifying and I was fascinated in a way that felt abnormal,- the monster had its links inside me. The fascination and horror combined and my body responded – it was as if a neural pathway that would normally connect to pleasure had wrongly connected pleasure with this eerie mechanical power. There was a pull from inside me that pulled me into the machine and into its dehumanising process.
From where I stand now, this picture emerges: Two little girls growing up in a large, tastefully furnished house in post war Britain. One looks out of the bedroom window, gripped by the life force of nature outside. The other is drawn downwards, gripped by the anti-life force in the basement of the house.
The issue about dehumanisation was with me from an early age.
And my life was to become a story of trying to fight, fix, heal or externalise what had become lodged inside me. My search for resolution drove and influenced my life and my relationships.
I was powerless over the compulsion to seek resolution. There were times when in a trance of surreal, addictive intensity, I acted out in emotionally destructive relationships, though I sensed I was losing my life.
- We have issues around dehumanisation of self or others. This may be acted out in addictive behaviour, whether with substances or relationship, or fantasy. (Characterisitcs 2)
I see my recovery as to emerge whole and free from this influence. The search to reunite with my own true vitality.
But I have needed to to go there at this depth, to 'go to meet'.
As I have come to understand 'the false self', and the disorders, I get a possibility of real access to recovery. Before, I might as well have been running with one foot tied to the ground. And run I did, I worked for my recovery in every way I could find. Though I learnt a lot of wisdom, without proper understanding, I couldnt access and outroot this internal structure.
I’ve still got way to go. On a daily basis I still have times when I feel the grip of the internal saboteur, ‘into the machine’. My will turns against me, I am overtaken by a powerful induction to act out. I am sabotaged from within. I disentangle from its grip moment by moment. I think my disorder has been a heavy one, I have so desperately needed support at the right level against this destructive force, and people haven't understood. I guess they couldn't."
And from a scientific perspective.....
"Schore (1994), combining the findings of attachment theory with this neurobiological brain research makes the point that if the mother's attachment style is pathological, the neuronal wiring essential to the development of a secure self will not develop and the result will be ........a defect which is expressed clinically as a Disorder of the Self."
.........................................................Adapted from The Therapists Guide to the Personality Disorders p.10, Masterson + Leiberman.
Although Schore talks about 'insecure' attachment, what Dorothy describes is more a 'motivational corruption' at the heart of attachment. Corruption of attachment, that leaves a hidden seed, - an inbuilt implicit deal. The inlaid implication that can result in self-destructive behaviour, inability or illness, as the expression of this seed.
This 'corruption' does not arise from within the child.
Whilst as children, we are not responsible for what happened, in recovery we take responsibility for our own healing, a .....'responsibility that amounts to a sacred trust'.
Adapted from: 'The Language of the Heart' AA, p.82)
See also: 'Invasion and Installation', characteristics3
'The Inlaid Motivation', Quotes and Anecdotes
The Final Severing
“A kind of final severing of attachment is often reported by these patients as occurring at about the age of eight of nine when they finally gave up hope of relying on parents to provide emotional nurturance; they realized that any fundamental network of attachment as a source of nurturance and support was never going to happen.”
Barbera Short: 'Disorders of the Self New Therapuetic Horizons' p.172
Andrea, looking back on her childhood shares:
“I always knew what was happening to me and around me was wrong. I always had a feeling of horror and terror. I tried many times to tell my mom that something was wrong, to speak to it and was shut down. I began to fabricate a 'story world ' about myself to escape. And interestingly, when I was 6 or 7ish (I was reading age) I got in my head that I was adopted. I insisted to everyone I met that I was adopted. I told my parents that nothing they did to me mattered because I was adopted and they weren't my real parents afterall. At that young age I was sure I wasn't from them and wasn't a product of that horror. My mother eventually made me read my own birth certificate which was devastating.”
The Real Self has an innate sense of right and wrong, as a small child Andrea attempts to protect and preserve this.
As an adult she says:
“ … integrity is do or die for me.”
As with many exiles, having experienced what is essentially a betrayal at their origins, living in ‘integrity’, not betraying self or others becomes a part of healing.
... having disinvested emotionally, disconnected from the original situation, we re-invest…..
Emotional Investment Finds a New Home....
Melissa shares an experience she had on a discussion forum:
"A bit of my background, I grew up in a small town in California, youngest from a family of 7. Mother didn't have time or care to nurture the last of so many...... My older sister has told me of her having to hold me as she, at 11 years old, became my surrogate mother. I never bonded to my actual mother and the sister next to me in age was my tormentor and my mother's princess. She got away with bullying me for years and years, even had me afraid of corners as she would jump out from behind things daily just to see me startle. She got the dentist appointments, the dance lessons, the friends over for the night.......... mother didn't do those things for me......... I felt invisible...... like a nothing. So, I grow up and after years, I come to this nice place where people really listen to me... they feel my sorrow and care. I feel visible for one of the first times in my life! but.... one day the creator of this place decides to give some members "shields" and "ribbons" right below their names, for all to see-- for being such and such a way...................... well, there I was....... no shield, no ribbons.......... like a time machine-- I was transported back to my childhood home with no dentist visits, no dance classes--- I was nothing once again. It hurt and I felt betrayed. I truly thought I was safe there, safe from the pressure to do, to be..... thought I could just be me with no "strings attached"....... but I was fooled...... the strings came and I was nothing once again... I had to leave ... it hurt and still does so much...............
......... I think others think it's silly of me-- but -- to me-- because I was nothing and no one cared of adult status cared about me as a child--that bad things happened to me-- traumas.......... it still doesn't feel safe to be nothing.
so hate those shield and ribbon things below people's names.... but at least with my name NOT there, no one will know I'm a nothing.... it's not public knowledge.”
Safety and Integrity:
The schizoid’s need for ’safety’ in a relationship has been well documented. Less well documented is the importance of integrity. We seek the opposite of the principles which orignally betrayed us.
“Where the mother’s libidinal investment is insufficient, that is, where there is neglect abuse, trauma, chronic misattunement, or persistent emotional pressure on a child to submit to a relational bargain primarily designed to serve the mother’s psychological needs as opposed to the child’s, a Disorder of the self will result that will manifest itself as a s stable diagnostic entity with its own structural characteristics."
J. Pearson p.37 'The Therapist's Guide to the Disorders of the Self'' Masterson and Lieberman.
……It is in this ‘backwards connection’, that is fundamentally a form of betrayal which weakens our foundations, ….. a motivation that is felt but often not expressed, which can then become embedded. And …
“….the self becomes inconsolable”
The Internal Saboteur:
Existing below the level of conscious awareness, the embedded fault line becomes the ‘internal saboteur’. Just when we most need to rely on the strength of our real self, we experience a force which works against our ability, undermining self-activation:
The power of intent:
“..a tiny acorn withy no apparent power to think or make plans for its future contains intention from the invisible field,. If you cut the acorn open, you wont see a giant oak tree, but you know it’s there. An apple blossom in the springtime appears to be a pretty little flower, yet it has intent built into it and will manifest in the summer as an apple, Intention doesn’t err. The acorn never turns into a pumpkin, or the apple blossom into an orange. Every aspect of nature, without exception, has intention built into it, and as far as we can tell, nothing in nature questions its path of intent. Nature simply progresses in harmony from the field of intention. We, too, are intended from the energy of this field.
Wayne Dyer p.6 ‘The Power of Intention’.
Dwyer is describing the positive power of intent in nature, like a pre-conditioned code.
The power of intent can also work in reverse, a hidden intent transferring from one human to another. Even in adulthood…
Tristan, a recovering addict tells this story:
Hidden Intent - The power of projection.
At work he had been in charge of supervising and training a youth. Eventually, the trainee made a serious mistake such that it meant that all the other work he’d done was rendered useless.
Tristan shared with honesty, that he’d realised afterwards that he had wanted the young man to screw up all along.
“I had investment in him getting it wrong because it makes me feel superior. It’s a validation of my sickness, of my disorder, that I not take care of myself, and that I measure myself in my effect on other people”
One person's defense, absorbed, becomes the internal attack of the other:
Leon, a recovering addict faces the internal saboteur:
Leon tells this incident:
"I was in my car, I just got a text that I owed some money.
I wasnt really disturbed by this. I used to be absolutely crippled with anxiety around a lot of things, including bills and taking responsibility for me financial existence. Part of my recovery has been this, and it has been hugely successful. It still presents a slight discomfort, but I can handle it now. So, it wasnt like - there was a bill, and that I was thinking I cant cope with this, and must act out to kill the pain or destract myself. No, on the contrary, I was able to identify the feeling, and have the inner dialogue, and think how to manage. So, I get that 'I CAN cope' message. I've got two years of recovery and have been in the habit daily of coping with these things.
But something else happened. Partly it manifested itself in a physical feeling........... .........(the compulsion to act out sexually - words added).......... I realised that this was deeper than than all the conscious thoughts. It was like a reaction that I really didnt create, it was a lot more powerful than me, I wasnt expecting it. After a few seconds of getting lost in it, I had like a ureka moment.
It was like I was programmed to act out, to go to my default setting, - it still had a go.
What made it so dark was that there was nothing to trigger me. It was a dark, rainy night, I hadn't seen anything or anyone to trigger me.
It was a feeling like there was this really dumb robot, which normally does a chore that it's programmed to do, and even tho you cancel the action, it still goes and does it. even though, over time I have disconnected, and re-disconnected the wires."
In many psychological approaches, the desire to act out is unquestioningly considered to be a defense against discomfort or pain.
Much less acknowledged is the concept of 'introjection'. That is to say, that the disowned faults or disowned emotional vulnerabilities of others, have become installed in the psyche of an other. These disowned 'splinters' have, a living force, an...
'....irresponsible life of their own'. p.108 'Psychic Self Defence'. Melita Denning + Osborne Phillips
This is not to say that exiles dont have defences against pain or discomfort.
But, whereas it is common for other disorders to experience the urge to act out as a defense against pain or discomfort, an expereince such as Leon describes which is common amongs exiles, arises from a different place.
The experience is of being undermined, as Leon described it: 'from left field', - an internal saboteur when we most need to support ourselves. Put another way, rather than coming from a place of avoiding, or 'defending' agianst pain by acting out, we experience internal attack when we most need to experience internal support.
'The Self Under Seige', ~ Masterson, from 'The Search for the Real Self'.
Leon, looking back, shares:
"..the unspoken - or spoken - message of how my my mum an dad took pride in how my brothers and sisters had careers in spiritual teaching roles, my brother is a spiritual coach and a counsellor in a big blue chip company."
Leon's family would not be described as 'abusive', or unloving. Dynamics are often a more subtle affair. Where any given kind of outward achievement is over valued, the focus on real self, vulnerability and needs are correspondingly undervalued.
Dynamics have impetus, a life force. They leave something , inside, the 'splinter'. Leon's impulse to act out could better be described as 'internal attack', than 'defence'.
It is important to make this distinction between 'defence' and the expereince of internal attack. This is in order, not to blame, but to enable us to take responsibity at the appropriate depth. We need to know accurately that from which it is that we have to disentangle ourselves.
'I alone can do it, but I cannot do it alone'
Recovery takes place both in relationship and within oursevles.
A growing child needs a motivational dynamic which supports the real self.
From ‘The Real Self’:
“ ………..it is important to keep in mind that I do not mean physical caretaking such as feeding, clothing etc, but rather the capacity of the parent to perceive the unique characteristics of the child’s emerging self and to respond to these in a positive supportive manner. To encourage and treat with respect his unique temperament, to encourage the unique style or manner in which the child’s individuation is expressed in his exploring, experimenting, self assertive adventures with reality.”
by J. Masterson P.29
On Thomas Wolfe:
“… he was the chronicler of human aspirations for individuation and a real self as well as for the extraordinary power and depth of feelings of loss involved (the abandonment depression) when the real self’s emergence is not acknowledged by the maternal object”
p.136 'The Real Self'
A strong morality, a sensitive, intuitive compassion, a sense of responsibility:
“….where if something bad happens and I'm nearby then I'm to blame..... like if a crane is doing work outside a building and I'm in the building-- and then the crane crashes a part of the wall of the building-- I feel it was my fault-- I feel guilty-- like if I wasn't there it wouldn't have happened.”
“ I don’t think I’m emotionally detached. I think I’m too emotionally attached – to animals, to plants, to trees, …… like my experience in Nepal. It was really agonising because of the way I saw people treat animals, I was in tears, it was too painful to see. And also when I went to Morocco, how much stuff they were putting on donkeys, it was absolutely so painful I just couldn’t see it any more………. And sometimes that’s how I get my loss of hope and …….. ‘what is the point of living in this world if this worlds such a harsh place?’. Like I don’t want to engage in it.
I remember once, it was after....... (a traumatic event, - words replaced)........., I went into depression, and I would not leave the house because I really believed that me walking on the pavement was destroying the environment. I wouldn’t leave the house. Just locked up in my room, no-one could come in, even by me living I’m destroying something.”
"She beat my brothers too for a while when we were young, but I had to stop her, so I kept taking the blame for their beatings for them! (my little brothers) they were too young to understand that what they had done was wrong! But my mum didnt care, so I took on their beatings for them!"
I am however convinced that both parties are addicted to each other. The weak side of Narcissism craves NS.* ........ I am finding myself going back and forth between the two options.
She has been trying to please me lately, which suprises me.
Frankly, I know that it is just a set up for the next round of punishment of course. So, I say no, but by refusing to be 'nice', I find myself imitating the same N.* behavior, which I have always despised.
I am going against my nature. I am falling into my own trap, and she is also perpetuating her own problem."..........
*NS=Narcissistic Supply. N.=narciissist
And the Converse:
'Morality' is one of our central issues. In the other polarity, we also fly in the face of it, as if to demonstrate/ act out lack of it. Some do this in a stylised way, such as 'Gothic', or acting out in a way that is dehumanising to self or other.
The Exile in Relationship with the Narcissist.
This deserves special attention. This position represents the opposite side of the coin of being in exile. We go 'into service' of the other, (the 'slave-master' position). There can be a powerful magnetism between the exile and the N. This part of the disorder is usually not recognised as having anything to do with the schizoid because of the way it is mainly associated with the avoidance and distancing side of the split.
These relationships can feel intensely alive for us, like the only 'real' relationship, they reflect what is inside us.
We throw ourselves into the survival attempt of the N., we are drawn to their need. At the heart of this is a longing to be registered within the other.
'Acting Out Integrity':
In the relationship with his narcissistic partner, Pete O struggles for his integrity against difficult odds.
For some of us betrayal is in our foundations, as a reality or as an implied theat. It is a fault line running through which can undermine and divert our lives.
Integrity is the antidote to betrayal. So, we seek to be the one to bring our empathy, and our integrity into the heart of a situation where it is missing.
'Thefight for integrity in the place with no integrity'. Is one of the ways we try to create a resolution for our past.
Real integrity is a vital foundation within the recovery relationship, however, in these situations we seek to create it amongst impossible odds.
We reemerge the principle that defeated us and damaged our foundations, (betrayal and absence of integrity). We try to heal the principle by healing a situation, or relationship, often a love relationship.
It is in relationship that we sustain damage, so it is in relationship that we seek to heal.
This has also been described in other ways:
“The struggle to prevail over what defeated us in the past becomes an obsession. As long as this motive is still active, relationship addiction is still present, whether or not there is a current partner!” Robin Norwood
Separation and differentiation is a developmental stage. In our need to complete this stage we resurface these principles in our lives. We build our identity on being 'not the other'. Although this is an attempt to individuate ourselves, its still not our identity. It is not autonomous because it is still 'in reaction'. From this place, even if our desire is to be helpful, it is innefective in the real world. We are acting from the place of our own unfulfilled developmental needs. We are living ' in reaction to the other ', rather than being 'in action for ourselves', or for the highest good.
"............... must first attend and respond to the pervasive, ubiquitous impingements ...... of the other, not the self.........." R.Klien (from Quotes + Anecdotes -The False Self, ).
we bring love and empathy, or we pit ourselves into conflict. In an attempt to find our identity, we try to counter the bad behaviour, by being the opposite:
we meet betrayal.... with loyalty,
distortion............... with honesty,
hostile taking .......... by giving
- and we long to have our generosity acknowledged.
We try to establish generosity, give more, and the stakes get higher.
In our longing and striving to put these things right in the relationship and to be recognised, we are in a 'betrayal bond'. We haemorrhage self, we are weakened and we become more dependent on the other to give us what we long for. This is 'magical shortage' - where small amounts seem like heaven.
The problem of 'nothing is enough' is solved where there is shared intent, such as the reocovery relationship.
“........ only yields to the slow, patient working of the program in the context of others who are doing the same.” adapted from SA.White book p.157
So, for those of us who are drawn towards such relationships, it may be that at the heart of our quest a need to touch base with an incomplete part in our foundations, or to put right something rooted backwards within us.
Yet there is a shortfall in our make up, we haven't yet created a real alternative, we dont have one inside us. Yet healing has to come about in relationship, so we try to establish with our other the integrity that is missing. We want to create 'integrity in the place of no integrity'. This, then, could be called 'acting out integrity', it has yet to be elevated to true integrity.
Pitching good will and good values against a tide of devouring character defects, finds us once agian in the position of the exile who 'takes responsibility where others have disowned it', our voice is unheard.
Unless we grasp and take responsibility for in what we participate, we are still in collusion with the problem, no matter how much we may verbally protest.
Once under the spell, we dont have the power to fight this single handed, we are in a devaluation slide, the price of recognition gets more extortionate:
Pete O describes allegorically the devouring relationship with the N.:
Yes, it feels like making the impossible possible all the time. I push myself to the outer limits of human endurance.
Success thrills me. It works for a while, but you can never rest, you must focus on providing the next NS, at all costs.
I am the modern Sisyphus, pushing a rock up on the mountain.
The struggle never ends, and you cannot rest, because stopping would double the weight of the huge rock, in front of you.
The Narc sees me, and she is impressed. The strength and power is an impressive sight. She is turned on, wanting an immemorable performance. I am running and pushing the rock in front of me.
Then, superman's head starts aching. He asks for a glass of water - well deserved.
What???? says the Narc. I thought that you were Superman?
" I am not your servant. GET IT YOURSELF!
Superman asks with a bit of disillusion: "Would you mind holding the rock for a second?
Narc replies: "I have no time. I must rush to the next performance of Spiderman. He is really amazing!!! I want to marry him! You should go and see him too!!! If you stop asking silly favors from me, I might let you to hold the doors at my Wedding
This relationship, followed through to its ultimate conclusion: - 'only in service to her' does he have a role in the relationship. Narcissists see others not as separate individuals, but as extensions of thier own needs.
This is the paradigm of annihilation of the self. There is no recognition of human individuality, (integrity), or value. With this paradigm in mind, the phrase 'slave master relationship' is no exaggeration.
One can see the dynamic underlying the self in exile who seeks recognition, emotional engagement by supplying the unmet need. And in the absence of an emotional investment in whole human relationships, the reaction to this is the psychic and emotional retreat into exile.
“Confounding the dignity of man with mere usefulness” Victor Frankl
From Usable to Disposable
The paradigm, in society and history described by Victor Frankl:
“If one ………… holds that an individual value stems only from his present usefulness, then believe me, one owes it only to personal inconsistency not to plead for euthanasia along the lines of Hitler’s program, that is to say, ‘mercy killing of all those who have lost their social usefulness, be it because of old age, incurable illness, mental deterioration, or whatever handicap they may suffer.”
p.152 ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. Victor Frankl (adapted)
"............but- home was a worse place for me. I wanted to go to school and LOVED the food there-- I ate a full balanced meal-- every day! Almost all my siblings struggle with disorders and or addictions-- one though has passed away, due in the end, to self-neglect." .
- Annihilation of self or other. The issue of annihilation can come up in reality or fantasy, by self attack, destructive addiction, or self neglect, or attraction to another who will annihilate. It is a lurking threat. For some, it becomes a reality, lives are lost. (from characteristics 2)
Annihilation and Survival in History:
The paradigm of anihilation of the individual on a psychic level
has a resonance with events in history. Anne Frank's experience expresses this as she reaches for survival of her soul and holds onto goodness:
"I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder which will destroy us too, I can feel the suffering of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals,
for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out"
Anne Frank, 15th July 1944
In the closing pages of Anne Frank's story, it tells of how Anne's mother, faced with actual annihilation in the concentration camp, gives her rations to Annes father. The mother dies, but the father lives on to find Anne's diaries and tell the story. Anne's diaries are still read today, her spirit lives on.
Many exiles are traumatised, it is their soul, or sense of self which faces the threat of annihilation.
Less than 5 years after the end of the second world war, Fulton Sheen wrote:
"for nothing happens in the external world that has not first happened within a soul."
'Peace of Soul', p.7