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Get Your Defenses Right! (Projection, Rationalization, Splitting)

Uploaded 3/3/2024, approx. 54 minute read

Wachnin's dick is at an all-time high.

Get your mind out of the gutter right now.

Dick is not what you are thinking.

Dick is D-I-Q.

Disinformation quotient.

The measure of the magnitude and the extent of nonsense spewed online by self-styled experts, throngs and hordes of them, solo and in cahoots with or without academic degrees.

And there's a new gimmick in town for these self-styled experts.

They borrow clinical terms and phrases from psychology.

And because they are not educated at all in the field or educated in the wrong parts of psychology, they misuse these terms and phrases.

They abuse them, mutilate them, molest them, trample on them in order to self-abgrandize and to project false authority.

This is not nice.

They mislead millions of people.

They mis-educate.

So I have bad news for you self-styled experts.

Daddy is back.

There is an adult in the room.

Sit down, take out your notepads and scribble your new education.

Use these words and phrases correctly from now on.

Go and sin no more.


Today we are going to focus on three such words, projection, rationalization and splitting.

In a previous video, I noted how virtually no one online uses the phrase "dark triad personality" correctly.

I explained there that dark triad personalities are a combination of traits but not a combination of diagnoses.

In other words, dark triad personalities are not narcissists.

They are not psychopaths.

They are subclinical.

They cannot be diagnosed as narcissists and psychopaths.

The same problem occurs when these online YouTubers, coaches, self-styled experts and so on and so forth use words such as splitting, projection, rationalization and so on and so forth.

And today I will try to set the record straight and educate them and you as to what constitutes the appropriate usage.

Let's start with projection.

First of all, there is a confusion between internalization, introjection, identification and incorporation.

These are not the same psychological processes.

They are all involved in projection.

So it is critical to know the difference between each and every one of them.

There's a video in which I've analyzed the differences between these four processes and there's a link in the description.

As usual, the description is still under the video.

Now, projection is when you attribute to other people parts of you, something in you, your traits, your cognitions, your effects, your emotions, your behaviors, something in you, your qualities, you attribute these to other people.

You ignore them in yourself.

You deny them in yourself and you say, "This is not happening inside me.

This is happening outside me in other people's minds.

I'm not the one with these traits.

They are.

I'm not the one with these cognitions or emotions.

They are.

And I'm not the one misbehaving.

They are." These parts of you that you attribute to other people, these parts of you that you project are parts that you are ashamed of, feel guilty about, reject.

Everything else is not projection.

So, you cannot project positive elements of yourself onto other people, only negative ones.

So, when you see self-styled experts, old and new, suggesting that they have projected their positive qualities onto others, they have no idea what they're talking about.

Next is when you erroneously attribute positive traits, behaviors, positive motivations, talents, emotions, positive cognitions, when you attribute these to other people or when you exaggerate them in other people.

This is not projection.

This is idealization.

So, there's a difference between these two.

Do not confuse projection with idealization.

To summarize, projection is when you attribute to other people that which you are, the negative part of you, the parts you are ashamed of, feel guilty about, reject.

Everything else is not projection.

When you assign attributes, thoughts, emotions, cognitions and traits to other people and they're positive, you're idealizing these other people.

You're not projecting.

What about rationalization?

Rationalization exactly like projection is what is known as an ego defense.

It's when you do something unacceptable, socially unacceptable or when you do something that contradicts your own conscious, something that makes you feel guilty or ashamed and then you rush to justify it using logical reasons.

Usually your behaviors are instinctual.

Some of them may have unconscious motivations.

They are the outcomes of urges and drives.

These kind of behaviors are reckless and impulsive and usually you regret your behavior or misbehavior a minute later but it's too late.

You have already done what you've done and you're liable to bear the consequences of your actions.

In order to avoid this dissonance, in order to avoid this discomfort, this unease of having done something that you shouldn't have, you rationalize.

You justify your behavior.

You analyze it and you assign to it logical reasons and motivations.

You embed the behavior or the misbehavior, the misconduct.

You embed it in circumstances that somehow render your behavior socially acceptable or at the very least unavoidable.

Your instinctual impulses operated correctly because what you've done is logical and anyone else would have done the same thing.

So this is rationalization.

And again in psychoanalytic theory, it's considered to be a defense mechanism.

So when you cheat, you would say, "Doesn't everybody cheat?" Or when you spank your children, which you shouldn't do, it's a no-no, you would say, "You have to spank children in order to toughen them up.

This is tough love." Things are used to defend against feelings of shame and guilt, to maintain your self-perception and self-image as a good person, to allow you to continue to respect yourself and to protect yourself from criticism, external but mainly internal, known as the harsh inner critic or sadistic super ego.

There's a voice inside you or a constellation of voices that keep informing you that you have misbehaved, that you're a bad boy.

And so you defend against this by saying, "I've acted appropriately.

There was no other way." This is rationalization.

And of course, as usual, it's confused with another defense mechanism known as intellectualization.

Intellectualization and intellectualization are not the same.

Intellectualization is when you distance yourself from your own psychological processes by over-investing emotionally, affecting, over-investing emotionally in your own intellect, by over-valuing your intellect, by superimposing your intellect on all other forms of internal process, including your emotions.

So you would tend to suppress emotions, especially negative emotions, such as shame and guilt and so on and so forth.

And you would tend to say, "I'm an intellectual person. I adhere only to the intellect, only to logic." It's a rigid defense mechanism that excludes 90% of mental life in favor of intelligence and intellect.

So it has nothing to do or little to do with rationalization.


And these two should not be confused.

Intellectualization in psychoanalysis is a defense mechanism in which conflicts, dissonances, or emotional problems are dealt with abstractly or concealed by excessive intellectual activity.

So rationalization does find support in systems of thought, representations, and beliefs.

But these beliefs that underlie rationalization, these thoughts that give rise to rationalization, these values and representations that collude with rationalization and make it possible, make it happen, they're all socially acceptable.

So in rationalization, what we do is we convert socially unacceptable behavior into socially acceptable behavior in our mind.

We lie to ourselves that our behavior is socially acceptable because it's rational, because it's logical.

This is rationalization.

And the last one in this trio is splitting.

Splitting, including self-splitting.

Now, there's a huge confusion between splitting and cognitive dissonance.

First of all, to make clear, when you receive conflicting messages or mixed signals from authority figures, from role models, even if you are a defenseless child, even if you are a very young child, and you receive conflicting messages or mixed signals, this does not result in splitting.

Splitting is not about conflicting messages.

Splitting is not about mixed signals.

Conflicting messages, conflicting information, mutually exclusive signals, they produce dissonance, not splitting.

Do not confuse dissonance with splitting.

Dissonance is conscious.

Splitting is unconscious.

Dissonance is lifelong.

Splitting is essentially an infantile defense mechanism.

We'll come to it a bit later in this video.

So as you can see, there's a lot of mayhem and chaos and confusion online.

And unfortunately, the overwhelming vast majority of information, maybe 95%, is completely wrong, completely erroneous.

And this creates a major problem because it corrupts the very language that we use in order to communicate.

Literally nothing online is true or accurate, clinically speaking.

And this applies also to people with academic degrees because having an academic degree in psychology doesn't make you an expert on any specific field of psychology.

And pretending otherwise is charlatanism.

So there is a huge need for an educational campaign to simply reintroduce the proper language and teach people who is who and what is what.


Okay, let's delve a bit deeper into these three defense mechanisms.

Projection, splitting, and rationalization.

Not necessarily in this order, but we start with projection.

In psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theories, projection is simply the process by which one attributes one's own individual positive or negative characteristics, effects, and impulses to another person.

Now you notice that I use the word positive.

Well earlier I said that projection is only of negative parts, not positive parts.

Indeed today in the wake of work in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic theories and so on and so forth, we have narrowed the definition of projection.

And the accepted definition today is projection is a defense mechanism.

And I'm quoting from the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association dictionary.

Projection is a defense mechanism in which unpleasant or unacceptable impulses, stressors, ideas, effects, or responsibilities are attributed to other people.

So only negative things.

For example, continues the dictionary, the defense mechanism of projection enables a person conflicted over expressing anger to change "I hate them" to "they hate me." That's projection.

The hate is attributed to others.

And such defensive patterns are often used to justify prejudice or avoid responsibility.

In more severe cases, says the dictionary, they may develop into paranoid delusions in which for example an individual who blames others for their problems may come to believe that those others are plotting against them.

In classical psychoanalytic theory concludes the dictionary.

Projection permits the individual to avoid seeing their own faults.

But modern usage has largely abandoned the requirement that the projected trait remain unknown to the self.

In other words, sometimes we project parts of ourselves that we are fully aware of, but we are ashamed of, or resent, or we feel guilty about.

So we are fully aware of these parts.

And then we would attribute them to others.

We would say, "Maybe I'm unpleasant, but they are much more unpleasant." "Maybe I'm angry at them, but they hate me." So that's a form of projection where there is awareness of the part of you that you wish to bury, that you wish to deny and ignore, but you still attribute it to others.

In any case, today's usage of projection is limited 100% to negative dimensions and aspects and elements and components and ingredients of who you are.

Your personality, your traits, your thoughts, your emotions, your needs, your fears, your vulnerabilities, your weaknesses, everything you reject in yourself, everything you're ashamed of, everything you feel guilty about, you tend to project.

And only these things.

You cannot project positive aspects of yourself.

A little history of projection.

Freud defined projection as a part of paranoia, actually.

The first time Freud described projection was when he dealt with the issue of paranoia.

He wrote and I'm quoting, "The purpose of paranoia is thus to fend off an idea that is incompatible with the ego by projecting its substance onto the external world."

Freud distinguished two mechanisms.

He said there is normal projection and there is pathological projection.

He defined normal projection this way in the famous essay, "Totem and Tabu."

Under conditions whose nature has not yet been sufficiently established, internal perceptions of emotional and thought processes can be projected outwards, in the same way as sense perceptions.

They are thus employed for building up the external world, although they should by rights remain part of the internal world.

So normal projection is a kind of outwardly directed perception.

Constructing yourself, constructing a self-image or a self-perception, realizing who you are, getting closer to your essence by attributing things to the outside environment, to your ecosystem, to your eco niche, to your circumstances, to other people in your life.

It is by mapping these external elements, by attributing to them traits and qualities and so on and so forth, that you get to realize what you are not.

This is called negative identity formation.

And this is healthy projection.

We need to project.

In order to make a difference between ourselves and others, ourselves and the environment, so that we are able to form gradually a sense of self, a sense of unitary, core identity, a process known in Jungian psychology as constellation.

And in other schools of psychology, it's known as integration.

Constellation of the self, integration of the self, the emergence of the self require a projection.

It's a critical process, psychological process and mechanism.

But like everything else in psychology, projection which is healthy can become pathological.

Just when the process gets carried away as a result of the construction of a self that is so distorted that mental functioning becomes pathologized.

For example, in phobias, yes, we see it in phobia.

In phobia, we attribute to the outside world hostility and malevolent intent catastrophize the outside world.

So there is projection here, but it is pathological.

It leads to phobia.

And I refer you to Freud's essay in his Annus Mirabilis 1915, an essay titled Instincts and their Victories.

The most famous case, Freud's most famous case of paranoia or paranoid ideation was known as the Schreber case, the name of a guy, Schreber.

Schreber was a latent homosexual.

He denied his own homosexuality.

And he, because he denied this part in himself, he projected it onto others.

And this projection led him to paranoia because he said, "I don't love men."

Schreber, who was latent homosexual and very ashamed of it, felt very guilty about it.

Converted the sentence, "I love men," into the sentence, "Men love me."

So he projected his own homosexuality onto other men.

And then he said, "Men love me, but I don't love men.

I'm not homosexual.

They are.

So I hate them.

I hate them for being homosexual because I'm not.

My very hate for them proves that I'm not homosexual.

This process is known as reaction formation."

And then he proceeded further and he said, "I hate them because they persecute me.

I hate them because they conspire against me.

I hate them because they impose on me.

They're malevolent.

They want to abuse me sexually also."

So this is a progression from projection to reaction formation and to paranoia.

That's why projection is very dangerous.

And that's why projection is an integral part, a very critical part of pathological narcissism.

Paranoia, as I keep telling you, is a form of pathological narcissism.

The paranoid person is a dissenter of a conspiracy.

He is the life of the party, so to speak.

Everyone revolves around the paranoid.

Everyone conspire against him.

Everyone is thinking of him.

This is known as referential ideation.

The paranoid places himself at the center of the world, the world's attention, malign attention, but still attention.

Paranoia, therefore, is a form of self-supply.

And it involves, as we've just seen, it starts with projection.

So projection is a critical element in most forms of narcissism, especially the paranoid manifestations.

And so this is a distinction that Freud made.

We no longer make this distinction today, nowadays, in clinical psychology.

We think that projection is always pathological.

I would be hard pressed to come up with a single example where projection is actually healthy.

But I'm giving you the history of the concept.


Another thing with Freud, when he came up with the idea of projection, as he did with dozens of other ideas, another thing is projection by implication says that there is something internal, something that does the projecting, and that is an internal agent.

And there is the external world.

We project onto other people.

So there is us and other people.

We are an internal, we experience ourselves internally, and we experience other people as external objects.

They are external.

So projection automatically divides the psychological universe, the mental universe, into internal, so known as intrapsychic, and external, the outside world.

This is a major contribution of Freud's that is often overlooked and that informs even the most modern theories of psychology, for example, social learning theory, and even neuroscience.

Even in modern neuroscience, we make this distinction between internal and external in terms of psychological effects.

And this is Freud's contribution.

He was the first to suggest this difference, this boundary between inside and outside.

So because he made this distinction between internal and external, he said, when we project the parts in ourselves that we are uncomfortable with, when we project our traits and our emotions and our instincts and our behaviors that we are ashamed of, that we reject, that we feel guilty about, when we project these parts, someone out there must accept these parts, must absorb them.

We project and the person we project on must introject.

He must absorb this stream of information.

Now, introjection doesn't mean compliance or agreement.

We often introject voices which are critical of us, voices which hate us, voices which act against us, voices which are enemies.

We often introject such voices, actually.

And when we introject these voices, it leads to mental illness of one kind or another.

Similarly, when someone projects something onto you, you automatically introject the projection.

It doesn't mean that you agree with the projection, but you introject it.

So when you're with someone and that person projects onto you shameful traits, characteristics and behaviors which are unacceptable socially or individually, morally, when you're flooded with this negative messaging, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, shortcomings, failures and so on, when you are subject to this negative entraining or negative brainwashing, you tend to absorb it.

You internalize it, then you introject it.

And if you're vulnerable, either constitutionally or because you have just gone through a crisis in your life and you're vulnerable, then you proceed to identify yourself with a projected information which is always negative.

Remember, projection is always negative.

So if you're weak, if you're vulnerable, you will identify yourself with this negative information.

And finally, you will incorporate it. It will become part of you.

That is the huge danger of projection introjection.

The complete process is known as projection introjection, precisely because the victims of projection, the targets of projection, the people who are at the receiving end of projection sometimes come to agree with the projection.

They say, "I am bad. I am unworthy. Iunworthy.

I ought to be ashamed of myself.

I misbehave it." This self appraisal is not real.

It is the outcome of having been exposed to projection by someone else.

But people are weak sometimes.

People don't have defenses sometimes.

And so they are susceptible to adopt the projection and make it their own identity, incorporated in their own identity, which is really, really bad.

Freud said, and I'm quoting, "Insofar as the objects which are presented to the ego are sources of pleasure, it takes them into itself.

It introjects them.

And on the other hand, it attempts to expel whatever within itself becomes a cause of unpleasure."

And that's the mechanism of projection.

But the opposite happens with the recipient of projection.

So there's a big risk here.

There's a very big risk.

And that is the secret source of the narcissist.

This is the power of the narcissist.

The narcissist projects all the time, 100% of the time, because the narcissist has a very powerful bad object.

The narcissist has a set of voices inside himself that keep telling him that he is unworthy, he's bad, he's ugly, he's stupid, he's a loser, he's inadequate.

In order to overcome these voices, the narcissist projects them.

He gives the-- he hands these voices over to you.

He makes you the guardian of these voices.

But he doesn't tell you, listen.

I have voices inside me that are very uncomfortable.

Can you please hold these voices for me?

That's not what the narcissist says.

What the narcissist says is, these voices are not my voices at all.

They are your voices.

These voices are not talking about me.

They're talking about you.

These voices are right.

Because you, you are really bad, you are unworthy, you are a failure, you are stupid, you are ugly.

So the narcissist hands over the bad object to you and forces you to identify with the bad object, to incorporate it, to take it away from him.

He makes you the new container and receptacle and repository of the bad object, or to put it less fancifully, he poisons you.

It's a process of poisoning.

This is the narcissist's toxicity.

That's why he's a toxic person.

And projection is the main tool, and training actually goes hand in hand with projection.

It's when the narcissist uses mantras, repeated words for a form of verbal abuse, in order to convey to you the projected content and make you incorporate it in your mind, pollute you.

This is kind of pollution, ambient pollution, make you become the bad elements.

And the narcissist then feels cleansed, purged.

It's a process of catharsis.

So this is in a nutshell Freud's view of projection.

It's a lot more complex.

He made distinctions between elaborately function and other functions.

I will not go into all this.

This is not a lesson in psychoanalysis.

But that's in a nutshell.

Now, there were of course other scholars who have dealt with projection and have made major contributions to the concept of projection.

I would mention in this case, Melanie Klein, for example.

I would mention Beon, Wilfred Beon.

He, Beon for example, distinguished between excessive projection and regular projection, excessive identification, and so on and so forth.

Those of you who are interested can delve deeper into the literature.

Most of it is available freely online.

And it makes for a fascinating read.


On to rationalization.

To remind you, rationalization is a logical or moral justification for an action or for an attitude that are considered widely unacceptable, frowned upon, condemned mainly by society.

So an individual may have conscious or unconscious motivations, instincts, urges, drives and impulses and then wish to act on them.

And it is the role of the ego and the part of the ego known as a superego to inform the individual that these are socially unacceptable ways of behaving and they might have adverse consequences.

That's the, that's Freud's three-part type model.

Of course, it's all a metaphor.

No one has ever captured a superego.

No one had a conversation, has had a conversation with an ego.

These are all kind of imaginary abstract entities that describe dynamic processes, dynamic psychological processes.

So rationalization is when the individual tries to fit into the expectations of society as communicated in the process of socialization.

Individuals are aware of the rules and the norms and the mores of society, how you should and should not behave, what is permissible and what is not, what is acceptable and what is not, what is appropriate and what is definitely

beyond the pale. And they try to adapt to this.

They try to adapt to this either by modifying behaviors, impulse control, delaying gratification, empathy, taking into account the existence of others and their needs and wishes, hopes and dreams and so on. That's one way. It's a behavioral choice. And the other option is to act impulsively, recklessly, defiantly, do whatever the hell you want, not control and so forth and then justify it somehow. Rewrite, reframe, falsify, confabulate in order to feel good with yourself and to try to convince others, the representatives and agents of society that you have done nothing wrong, that your actions were fully justified given the circumstances, that you could not have acted differently. And this is rationalization. It's not a symptom. It's a way to deny or to mask a pathological process. It's a cover up for a pathological process. It's not what is known as compromise formation. It is not also strictly speaking, it is not a defense mechanism because rationalization is not intended to somehow generate libidinal satisfaction. Anyhow, it's not a defense mechanism. It's a way to keep from recognizing inner conflicts, inner dissonance, what used to be called neurotic conflicts, a way of avoiding self-blame, guilt, shame, avoiding all these uncomfortable emotions. It is the

conscious secondary thought process of covering symptoms with some kind of facade, some kind of pretension. One could say that rationalization is fake it till you make it. Fake it until at some point you convince others and yourself that you've done nothing wrong. So rationalization is a relatively simple psychological process or mechanism. But it can give rise to much more complex phenomena, one of which is known as grandiosity. Grandiosity is a cognitive distortion. Grandiosity used to be called megalomania in the writings of the early sages of psychology. And rationalization often gives rise to grandiosity. Because if you explain and justify yourself all the time, you can

end up in one of two positions. If you're always right, if you're never wrong, if all your actions are fully justified, if you are incapable in principle of making a mistake, you're infallible.

These are the hallmarks of

rationalization. Then you end

up in one or two of two positions. Either you are godlike because God doesn't make mistakes. Everything God does is a good reason.

So either you become godlike, you're apotheosis, you deify yourself. Or you become the perfect victim because victims do no wrong. Victims commit no mistakes. Other people misbehave. Other people molest them. Other people violate their rights and bridge their boundaries. Victims are passive. Victims are just there. They are self-objectified. So rationalization leads either to narcissism. I can do no wrong. I'm always right. Or to victimhood, I did nothing wrong. I was

always right. I've been always right. And then I've been victimized. These are the two outcomes of rationalization. And of course, rationalization, because it leads to these outcomes, triggers and provokes huge constructs and processes, secondary processes within the mind. Again, I will not go into all this in this video because it's the totality of psychoanalytic theory and so on.

And finally, we come to splitting.

And splitting is by far the most misunderstood concept, defense mechanism online.

I have yet to come across anyone who knew what splitting is, anyone who got it right.

And I mean anyone with or without academic degree.

And I've seen them all.

And this is a really serious problem.

Splitting is by far the most important defense mechanism in a variety of mental health disorders, not the least of which is pathological narcissism.

The logical narcissism is literally constructed on splitting.

If you get splitting wrong, if you don't know what you're talking about, if you weave a web, an imaginary web of fantasy about splitting, because you can't admit that you're ignorant, then you're misleading yourself and others into territory that is very problematic.

So splitting, as I said, is a defense mechanism.

It's an infantile defense mechanism.

It starts as early as six months old.

It was first described by Melanie Klein.

And it is a key feature of Klein analysis and the theory of the object relations theories, and especially the work by Fairbaran.

Fairbaran, F-A-I-R-B-A-I-R-N, one of the key figures in object relations.

It is a primitive defense mechanism because it's infantile.

And it is used to protect oneself from conflict.

All defense mechanisms, most defense mechanisms, are intended to avoid conflict because internal conflict creates dissonance.

And dissonance leads to anxiety.

And anxiety paralyzes, and paralysis is bad for survival.

So defense mechanisms are the way we avoid internal conflict by lying to ourselves, by lying to the environment, by falsifying the environment, by a variety of ways, denial, repression, you name it, all in order to avoid conflict, to protect ourselves against conflict.

Objects that provoke anxiety or ambivalence inside ourselves, internal objects, representations, even memories, they are tackled immediately by defense mechanisms.

You could say that defense mechanisms are the immunological system of the psyche.

Defense mechanisms are like antibodies.

They attack dissonance and conflict and anxiety-provoking, anxiogenic objects and ambivalent objects.

They attack them the way antibodies and bacteriophages attack bacteria in the body.

So it's an immunological system.

Now splitting is one such antibody.

What splitting does, it decotomizes, it breaks down, it splits.

That's why it's called splitting, of course.

It creates what is known as part objects.

Part objects are extreme representations of the same object, two extreme representations of the same object.

So we have one object.

For example, mother.

Mother is an object.

Mother is an external object.

And mother is also an internal object.

There is an introject, there is a voice in our hands that corresponds to mother's real voice in the outside world.

There is an internal object that represents mother in our mind.

So splitting creates two representations of mother.

One representation is all good and one representation is all bad.

These are extreme, radical, uncompromising representations.

All good.

All good does not hint to bad.

All bad does not trace or shred of good.

And then what happens is, mother is a unitary object, obviously.

Externally, there's only one mother.

Internally, there's only one mother.

But then when you split mother, there is one mother externally and two mothers internally.

There is mother outside, the mother that feeds you, the mother that changes your diapers, the mother that smiles at you, the mother that leaves the room and makes you very angry or terrified.

There is this mother when you are a baby and she's one.

But inside your mind, having engaged in splitting, having split mother, you have two mothers.

You have an all-bad mother and an all-good mother.

These are known as part objects.

So it's a polarized way of apprehending mother.

And there is a problem now.

Now that you have two mothers, you have to make a decision.

Is mother all good or is mother all bad?

And then if mother is all good, what does it make you?

It makes you all bad because mother frustrates you.

Mother ignores you.

Mother leaves the room.

If mother is all good, it must mean that you are all bad.

You deserve this mistreatment.

You deserve this frustration.

You had it coming.

You made it happen.

It's known as magical thinking.

And similarly, if mother is all bad, that means that you are all good.

So the minute the baby, the minute the child splits mother in his mind into all good and all bad, that minute the child splits itself into all bad and all good.

And now we have two dyads.

We have an all-good mother with an all-bad baby.

And we have an all-bad mother with an all-good baby.

There's a multiplication of entities.

So all splitting, all splitting, involves self-splitting.

It's very important to understand.

You can never split anyone.

You can never regard someone as all bad or all good without automatically splitting yourself.

Indeed, self-splitting is a crucial mechanism in narcissism.

We'll come to it in a few minutes.

So splitting involves dissociation.

When you're focused on all-good mother, you dissociate all-bad mother.

When you consider mother as all good, you forget that she could be also bad.

When you consider mother as all bad, you forget her good side.

So splitting involves dissociation.

Dissociation is very important because it's also a key factor in narcissism and in borderline, borderline personality organization.

So this ability to divide oneself is very crucial, not only when it comes to external objects, but also when it comes to internal objects.

Indeed, we could even say that the split between consciousness and the unconscious is a result of splitting.

Think about it for a minute.

What is the unconscious?

It is a repository of things we don't remember.

It is the outcome of dissociation and it is split from the conscious.

Why?

Why is the unconscious split from consciousness?

Because the unconscious contains all bad things.

Things that we cannot tolerate.

The things that are unbearable.

Things that are unacceptable.

Our shame, our guilt, our trauma.

They are all in the unconscious.

So the unconscious is the seat and receptacle and container and repository of everything that is bad.

That is splitting.

Unconscious all bad.

Consciousness all good.

Unconscious forgotten things.

Consciousness remembered things.

So we see that self-directed splitting leads in collaboration with the mechanism of dissociation.

Self-directed splitting leads to the emergence of consciousness and the unconscious.

When we take into account Lacan's view that the unconscious is the sum total of other people's minds then it becomes very clear that splitting is at play because we tend to split mostly other people.

Now Freud and actually Breuer before Freud.

Freud borrowed a lot and I'm being charitable and gentle.

Freud borrowed a lot from Breuer.

And so Breuer suggested that we split ourselves and we split others.

Not only do we split ourselves but we split others.

He was the first to observe that we can split other people.

And this is known as object splitting.

Object splitting.

There's been a lot of work done on object splitting.

I mentioned Lacan, he has a concept called foreclosure or forclusion.

I will not wait until all this.

It's very complex.

Suffice it to say that when you split, when people split, they split not only external objects like other people but they automatically split themselves.

All external, conscious, unconscious, these are outcomes of splitting.

So while it is true that object splitting, splitting other people, considering other people as all good or all bad, all right or all wrong, this is known as dichotomous thinking.

While it is true that splitting other people is primitive, infantile and pathological, self-splitting is actually a condition for mental health.

Because when you self-split, only then do you become aware of internal, external, inside, outside, conscious, unconscious, the rudiments and pillars of mental health.

Splitting is crucial to mental functioning and mental health.

Splitting others is pathological and unhelpful and an integral part of narcissism.

That is why splitting the object has nothing to do with mixed signals or mixed messaging.

When you get conflicting information from two people, your mother says one thing, your father says another thing, your mother says you are wonderful, your father says you are trash or your mother says you are a bad boy, your father says you are genius, whatever.

This kind of dual messaging, mutually exclusive, contradictory, does not lead to splitting. It leads to dissonance, to cognitive dissonance and we should not confuse the two issues.

Internal splitting is healthy, not unhealthy. It is external splitting, object splitting that is unhealthy and obviously when you split other people, what you have been told as a child about yourself has nothing to do with it. You split other people as a defence.

Usually splitting goes hand in hand with projection because when you project, you devalue. Projection is a form of devaluation. You take all parts of yourself that you dislike, that you reject, that you hate, parts of yourself that you feel ashamed of and guilty about. You take these parts and you attribute them to another person so you are devaluing that other person. You are saying that that other person is all bad and you are all good.

In other words, projection is a sophisticated form of splitting.


This is the linkage between all these phenomena and this is why they are all co-present, co-extant in narcissism.

Klein described the process of how splitting comes about.

There is a famous bad breath, good breath thing, so on.

I would also recommend that you go deep into the work of Anna Freud and Edward Glover.

They both have dealt with this.

I will not go deeper in this video.

I would just like to conclude by describing the work of Fairbairn.

Fairbairn suggested that there is a schizoid core in everyone and this schizoid core is based on splitting.

The schizoid core usually reflects or is mobilized or is created by childhood trauma, abuse, frustration.

When we are abused or traumatized or frustrated as children, we withdraw. We avoid, we withdraw inward. We reject reality. We escape into a fantastic space.

The first thing we do is to project. We project the bad parts. We project our bad object. We cleanse and purge ourselves. We hand over the parts of ourselves that we find unacceptable. We hand them over to someone else. We project and then we disengage. We say goodbye and we develop what is known as a schizoid posture. We become self-contained, self-sufficient, self-isolated.

Fairbairn suggested that when the frustration is seriously bad, when the trauma and abuse are overpowering, the child can't cope with it anymore. The child that is neglected or even parentified, instrumentalized, objectified, pampered, and these are all forms of abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse.

So when the child is exposed to this kind of what is known as adverse childhood experiences, ACEs, what happens is the ego of the child splits into three parts.

That is Fairbairn's work.

Fairbairn says there's the central ego. The central ego is the eye. The ego is preoccupied with introspection, self-observation, getting to know oneself, self-awareness, consciousness.

The second part of the ego is the libidinal ego. That's the ego with the force of life. That's the ego that later develops a sex drive and so on.

But not only the sex drive. When the sex drive is sublimated, we become creative.

So this is the part of the ego.

The second part, the libidinal ego is in charge of creativity.

That's the ego that goes forth, explores the world, goes out, public facing ego, so to speak.

It leads us to create life, to create love, to create art, to create everything, science, you name it.

That's the libidinal ego.

But it really, really traumatized, abused children.

Children who have been exposed to the worst that human life has to offer.

There is a third part of the ego.

The third part of the ego is the anti-libidinal ego.

It's an internal terrorist, an internal saboteur.

It's an internal enemy.

It's not the inner critic.

It's not the super ego.

Everyone is a super ego.

Everyone is an inner critic.

Many people have a harsh inner critic, a sadistic super ego.

That's not the same.

This the anti-libidinal ego, the third part of the ego, because the ego breaks down under the blunt force of trauma.

And the third fragment, the third shard, is the internal enemy.

The anti-libidinal ego attacks the libidinal ego.

The anti-libidinal ego is the force of death.

It is the antonym of libidinal.

It is known as destudo or motido in psychoanalysis.

Each of these three parts of the ego, the I, the libidinal and the anti-libidinal, is paired, goes together with internal objects.

Each one of these three parts has its own cult, its own following of internal objects.

These internal objects are like voices.

They encourage this particular part of the ego to fulfill its functions.

So there's a group of voices that tell you that you're bad, you're unworthy, you're unlovable, you're loathsome, you're disgusting, you're ugly, you're stupid.

These voices, collectively known as the bad object, these voices collaborate.

They collude.

These introjects work hand in hand with the anti-libidinal ego to destroy you, to push you to ruin yourself, to defeat yourself, to punish yourself all the time.

And there's another group of voices that say that you're wonderful, you're delightful, you're beautiful, you're creative, you're productive.

These voices collaborate with the libidinal ego.

And there's a group of voices that are self-referential.

These are voices that talk about you.

These voices say, "Listen, you did this because of that.

You should be aware of who you are and what you're doing.

Guess what's your motivation?

Think about it.

This is an ongoing kind of monologue inside you that keeps you on your toes, keeps you aware of yourself, self-conscious, introspective.

They ask questions, "Did you do this because you were sad?

Did you do this because you were mad?" So they talk, these voices talk, and constantly, there's a constant hubba monologue between the internal objects and these internal objects and the ego.

So here are the three camps and the three constellations.

And they have the outcome of splitting, which in itself is the outcome of trauma and abuse.

And again, there is no school in psychology that says that conflicting messages or mixed signals lead to splitting.

That's not the case.

Splitting is a defense against externally unacceptable circumstances, such as trauma and abuse, or internally unacceptable conflicts, things you're ashamed of, things you reject, things you feel guilty about.

Dissonance, especially cognitive dissonance, is very common when we cannot reconcile information or data that is coming from the outside, but it never leads to splitting.

One of the reasons, of course, by the time you have acquired language, by the time you are capable of understanding mixed signals and messaging, your splitting defense is long gone.

In narcissism and borderline, splitting survives as a defense mechanism, but it is exclusively, or shall we put it this way, mostly object splitting.

Narcissism, borderline, split objects.

The self-splitting in narcissism and borderline, which is pathological, has been completed long, long before the narcissist attempts, or the borderline attempt to make contact with other people and to have a semblance of object relations through the shared fantasy.

I hope I've succeeded somehow to throw light on the amazing confusion out there.

It's very disheartening and discouraging because ignorance of this magnitude that is compensated for narcissistically by pretending to know.

These people don't say we don't know, they say we know.

They created such a chaotic landscape that dialogue is no longer possible.

Where communication is rendered impossible by ignorance pretending to be knowledge, then no further breakthroughs or erudition or learning are possible.

That's where we are right now.

That's why the whole field is stuck.

And definitely that's why online you can't get two people to agree because they're using the same words, but they define them as they wish on the fly. They improvise.

There's no substitute to learning, no substitute to hard work, no substitute to deep study.

The laziness of the younger generations, the indolence, the entitlement are leading us to the precipice.

And clinical psychology is not exempt, is no exception.

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