“Alienated Man” and Various Associated Personality Disorders

disorganized-schizophrenia
Notice the word “Electro-Convulsive”

The use of the term narcissistic personality or character has been established in the psychoanalytic literature since the 1930s. Historically, it stems from Freud’s original division of clinical conditions into the psychoneuroses, the actual neuroses, and the narcissistic neuroses. Freud’s meaning of narcissistic neurosis subsumed some conditions which were later incorporated into yet an additional category of the character neuroses. In the early 1900s, however, the term “narcissistic neuroses” was used by Freud to include a number of regressive psychotic and conditions which were not amenable to psychotherapeutic techniques in use at that time (see Rosenfeld, 1964). These included some overt schizophrenic conditions as well as latent schizophrenia and what later would be considered schizoid or narcissistic personality. In the past 30 years, the meaning of the term narcissistic neurosis or narcissistic personality began to be more definitive of a borderline state of functioning typified by sever but no psychotic estrangement from both self and social environment.

Freud’s use of the word “narcissistic” carries the implication of narcissism in the sense of a primary, objectless ego state. Kohut and Kernberg have clarified the nature of what they define as pathological narcissism (Kohut, 1971); Kernberg, 1974). Additionally, Kernberg (1972) has depicted a series of stages during early childhood where faulty incorporation of internal objects occurs in certain selected varieties of narcissistic personality.

In common parlance as well as in its mythological derivation, the word “narcissism” is used to suggest a relatively superficial and fatuous self-absorption, which is more suggestive of hysteroid or immature adaptations. In these connections, the word is associated with demands for gratification and cherishment based upon the continuation of a compensatory overvaluation of self. Etymologically, of course, the problem is that the latter connotations of “narcissism” are distinctly different from those which are connected with primary narcissism. In centering on the semantic connected to the process of “splitting,” the Bleulerian term “schizoid” evades some of this confusion. Again, regardless of terminology, there seems to be a genuine consensus concerning the nature of these conditions. There also is agreement concerning the technical difficulties in the psychotherapeutic treatment of such states.

It is necessary to discuss some of the terminologies which have been applied to malignant states of isolation and self-estrangement. The clinical portrait of “Alienated Man,” with regards to psychoanalysis and psychiatry, is to be understood that I use the word “man” in its generic sense, so that references to “Alienated Man” and “his” experience of “himself” are abstractions that stand for individual men and women…..Other terms designating what I here call “Alienated Man” include “schizoid personality, narcissistic personality, Protean Man.(See definitions listed below) (Cf. Fairbairn, 1954; Kohut, 1971; Fromm, 1961; Lifton, 1971: Daly, 1968; Laing, 1960; Riesmann, 1961; Jourard, 1964.)

To clarify, it is my opinion “Alienated Man” refers to the schizoid personality or narcissistic personality disorder. It must be stressed that these individuals are not social isolates or alienates as the term “Alienated Man” suggests, rather these individuals can appear quiet gregarious and social in context. The term “Alienated Man” refers to the alienation the individual experienced in sublimating and incorporating “love objects” into their psychic apparatus. They become alienates because of their self-centered narcissistic states. “Internalized objects are held to be representations of outside experiences that are incorporated by the infant and child in the process of longitudinal development.” Estrangement from “self” and “other love objects” as described by the narcissistic state of development should not be considered “diseased” in and of itself. In proper balance, preservation of the self maintains a person’s ability to differentiate when and where love and care should or should not be given for the best possible outcomes of survival. It is the balance of this incorporated social awareness that creates a healthy narcissism. It is only when these estrangements become perverse and severely distorted that they are considered mentally diseased. These estrangements during “normal” development are necessary for one’s own survival, continuity of life, and balanced cooperation with “other.” During adolescence, or secondary narcissism, the distantiations of separating the internalized self, or self-identity, in the process of segregating those individuals and things we consider separate from ourselves can become quite pronounced.

“Alienated Man” is alienated to the extent that he does not seek cooperation through self-sacrifice, cooperation, and a feeling of unity. Rather, they seek manipulation through self-serving goals, discord, and chaos. Lack of intimacy, as in feelings of disconnected love towards “other” or a lack of feeling of brotherhood among men, because the “Alienated Man” has become disconnected toward loving “other(s)” as normal man is want to do for his continued survival. Delusions and fears may reek havoc on his mind and can drive his warped personality and perceptions toward malignant and malevolent ends. “Alienated Man” does not refer to avoidant personalities as seen in avoidant personality disorder and the tendency to confuse the two should be carefully scrutinized.

In addition, it becomes critical to differential between the schizoid state of the drug user versus the schizoid state of a psychopathic variant. For example the malevolent psychopath who does not use drugs or alcohol, with regard to the lack of difference in their conscious state of awareness and empathy toward others is more severe than the former. In the conscious state of a schizoid drug user or alcoholic, there exists only an transient state of acute lack of conscious awareness and empathy towards other. Once the drug user or alcoholic stops using, his conscious state of awareness may be re-intact. However, with the schizoid psychopathic individual there may exist a perverse lack of conscious state of awareness and empathy towards other. This state, in my opinion, is more chronic and is less easily fixed because they may possess a deep seated delusions about themselves and others that is not as readily corrected by just abstaining from drugs or alcohol. So the levels and the variants need to be carefully examined, analyzed, and addressed as one diagnosed variant may respond better to traditional psychotherapeutic remedies than the other.

In modern times the use of electro-magnetic therapies have been suggested as a curative medicine. Medical personnel have to watch more carefully if using these technologies. They may be doing more harm than good completely stripping an individual of their basic human rights. Historically speaking, the use of electro-magnetic shock therapy was used as a means of controlling diseased behavior and has come to be viewed as inhumane and any further use of these types of technologies should be carefully considered. I often wonder who the sicker party is, the medical practitioner wielding the therapy or the patient?

***Terms Defined

Schizoid Personality is characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, and apathy. Affected individuals may be unable to form intimate attachments to others and simultaneously demonstrate a rich, elaborate, and exclusively internal fantasy world.

Narcissistic Personality is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding others’ feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.

Protean Man as described by Robert Jay Lifton (1971) is an analysis of the psychological patterns emerging in contemporary life. The Protean style is characterized by constant shifts in identification and belief, and results from such broad factors as the velocity of historical change, the revolution in mass media, and the effects of 20th-century holocaust. The self can no longer be considered a fixed concept in psychiatry, and the term self-process is preferable.

 

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