Background

YOU=Your Relationships+Self-states (Turnu Severin Intl. Conference on Psychology)

Uploaded 5/24/2022, approx. 1 hour 1 minute read

I see a police officer outside, so I think they come to get me. And I want you all to know I didn't do it, it wasn't me, and I had an alibi.

So now that we cleared this out, we can go to the topic of today's lecture.


First, I would like to thank Laodia for initiating my arrival here. And I would like to thank Radun for organizing this series of events because it's only one, it's one of three.

I travelled 11 hours to get here, by plane and by car. And it was worth every minute.

You have a lovely place, lovely city. Thank you for coming. Thank you for attending.

I will introduce myself very briefly.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm a professor of psychology and a professor of finance in the outreach program of the SI consortium of universities. And I'm also a professor of psychology in south and federal university in Rostov-on-Don in Russia.

But you can only relax. I'm not Russian. I'm an Israeli. So right now I'm not going to bomb you. That was me to present my work a bit. I'm going to use maybe three minutes and then we get to the topics.

I make it a point to be involved in all the controversies of modern psychology. And right now I think there are three major controversies, at least in the West.

CS is a consortium of American university and one Israeli university. So I think there are three major controversies right now.

Number one, is psychology a science? Or a pseudoscience? Is it for example a form of literature? The best psychologist ever was Dostoevsky probably.

So there is this debate. And the second major debate nowadays is the attempt to redefine mental illness as a reaction to trauma.

For example, borderline personality disorder. We're probably going to be redefined as a form of reaction to complex trauma.

I am pushing an agenda where I suggest that narcissistic personality disorder is a post-traumatic condition, not a personality disorder.

Judith Herman, professor at Harvard, she came up with the concept of CPTSD, complex post-traumatic stress disorder. And she is suggesting that most personality disorders are actually forms of CPTSD.

So there is a growing movement to redefine big parts of psychology as trauma studies. And I am heavily involved in it.

As you will see in today's lecture, we are going to discuss trauma a lot.

I hope this lecture doesn't traumatize you too much. I do my best.

But we are going to discuss trauma.

I am going to be three lectures in this sitting.

The first one is today about the concept of self. The second one tomorrow about cluster B personality disorders in adolescence.

How can we diagnose borderline personality disorder, for example, in teenagers? Or narcissistic personality disorder? Can we diagnose psychopathy at age 6?

I will give you a hint. How to do that?

And early interventions.

This is the second topic tomorrow.

And the third topic is who is normal? What is normal?

What is normal?

I am convinced that all of you are convinced that nobody is normal. Everyone is a little crazy.

Where is the line? Where is the thin line separating normal and healthy from disorder and healing?

So this is the third lecture.

Today is a much more theoretical lecture.

The next two lectures are much more practical, much more hands-on.

This lecture is highly theoretical.

How do you know that I exist? Not physically. I exist physically, I assure you.

But how do you know that there is somebody inside? How do you know that I have a mind? How do you know that I feel that I am? How do you know that I feel that I am Sam and not Magina? How do you know that?

The answer is simple, no?

Because I tell you so.

It is self-reporting.

Self-reporting. I am telling you.

The concept of self, the concept of self, relies 100% on self-reporting.

Theoretically, I could be a robot from the future. I could be a Chinese robot from the future and I could be programmed to tell you that I have a mind or a self.

You have no way to make sure whether this is true or false. We have no access to other people's minds. We make assumptions. We say they look like us, they tell us that they have a self, so they must have a self.

If I asked you for a loan of $100,000, those of you who have this kind of money, if I asked you for this loan and you had the money, would you give it to me?

I will report to you that I will give you the money back. I will give you a self-report that I will give you the money back.

I am telling you. Not one will give me the money, right?

You are not nice. I really need the money, okay.

You don't want to give me no problem. But the only case we accept what people tell us 100% without thinking, without doubt, without questioning, the only case is when people tell us I exist.

If I tell you anything else, you will have doubts. You will question. You will go on the Internet. You will do something.

But when I tell you I exist, I have a mind, I have a self, you accept it immediately.


There are three concepts in psychology which are, and I am trying to be very gentle, questionable.

Self, individual and personality. These are three concepts that are invented out of thin air. They are not validated by any research or study.

On the very contrary, they are invalidated by almost all the studies we have in psychology.

The concepts of self dates back to the 1920s and 1930s, and continues well into the 1970s.

The concept of individual is much older, and the concept of personality is a bit newer.

And all three are complete concepts. Anyone who has experience with other people, anyone who works with other people who has therapies, anyone who works with clients, anyone who has a family, anyone who tells you that people are not fixed entities over the life span.

The self is stable across the life span.

In the theory.

But there is not a single human being who is stable across the life span.

Self means divided from hollow.

But there is not one human being who is divided from other people.

And the personality is a statement pattern of traits, behaviors, cognitions and emotions over the life span.

There is no such thing. There is absolutely no such thing. There is no human being whose emotions, cognitions, traits are stable from baby to the grave.

So it must have the individual personality and nonsense, which they are.

Counterfactual nonsense. Nonsense because that's not reality.

What can we have instead?

And this is the topic of today's lecture.

People are not lakes. People are not lakes. People are rivers. People are like human beings are like rivers. Human beings are dynamic. They flow. The landscape changes like the Danube.

You cannot step inside the same river twice. Because it's not the same river. The water has changed, moved on.

So human beings are rivers, not lakes.

And using this simile, using this metaphor, we can begin to discuss an alternative to the concept of self.

First of all, I recommend that you somehow get access to this goal, that it's not just the I would like to ask you three scholars that I recommend that you start your journey with these people.

Do you feel it proper? Not that you can't do it. Sometimes I think that people become psychologists because they are traumatized by their own names.

I want to just say that if you don't understand the fact that the religion of God is not appropriate.

Now imagine, you are a child and you are called Dante. Of course you become a psychologist.

So Dante, Chiketi and Michael Robert.

Before we go, before we come to the alternative, we must know what are we throwing to the garbage? What is it that we are discarding and replacing?

When we are talking about the alternative, we are talking about the religion of God.

I want to reach out and just say that you might not be able to get rid of it.

The self is formed according to old theories.

Now I'm talking about the old theories of the self.

The theories of the self that we are still teaching in universities, in some places, not everywhere.

So the set of forms is created via a process called integration. Jung called it constellation.

So the self either constellates or integrates, depending which school of psychology you are.

Remember, this is not my work and it's not the modern view. This is, I'm just giving historical paper.

There are two pathways, two ways to constellate and to integrate, two ways to develop a self.

One is called introversion and involves narcissism, healthy narcissism, primary narcissism, not the kind of narcissism that is pathological later in life, not Donald Trump, for example.

So introversion and narcissism is one pathway and we'll come to it in a minute.

And the second one is separation individually.

Let's start with introversion and narcissism.

According to Jung and Jungians in general, the child creates a picture of himself and of the world. He creates a theory of mind about how other people work, how the minds of other people work.

The clinical term is mentalization. And he creates a theory of the world, how the world works. And then he sees himself in the world because he is the observer. And he begins to pay attention to himself. Suddenly he realizes, I exist. He didn't know it before. He thought maybe that he's part of mother or mother is part of him. Suddenly he realizes, oh, I exist. And then he says, oh, I exist. And he falls in love with himself basically.

So he falls in love with himself and he starts to study himself.

So he has a new toy, me. And he forgets everything. He's inside himself. Introversion.

And this is done via narcissism. It's a narcissistic reaction. Self-referential. This is one thing.

Even much more important is separation individuation.

Separation individuation is a concept in object relations theories.

There are two phases of separation individuation in life. Eighteen months to twenty-four months.

And when you are an adolescent. In both cases you separate from the parental figures and you become an individual.

But for the self, for the formation of the self, only the first separation individuation is important.

You will see in a minute that separation individuation is the mirror image of introversion narcissism.

When the child is eighteen months old, those of you who are mothers can confirm about eighteen months old. Between eighteen months and twenty-four months.

The child begins to explore the world. The mother is a safe base. It's called a safe base in clinical theory.

So the child is holding mommy's leg and then he lets go of mommy's leg and he walks three steps. And then he looks back. His mommy is still there.

The child has object constancy. Object constancy.

And then the child turns around, runs back to mommy and hugs her.

If you are eighteen months old, then you need to leave mommy behind and go and explore the world. You need to be very, very brave, very courageous.

Imagine, eighteen months old, the only safety in the world is your mommy and you let go of it. And you run away from mommy and you explore the huge world.

To do that, you need to be grandiose.

For a baby to do that, the baby needs to be grandiose. He needs to feel that he is godlike. For a baby to separate from mommy and to explore the world, the baby needs to become a narcissist.

And some of it becomes politicians.

So these are the two processes that create the self.

Because when you walk away from mommy, you create a boundary.

Separation. You begin to realize that you are not one with mommy, but you are two objects.

You create a boundary.

If the mother is selfish, immature, narcissistic, absent, depressed, selfish, immature, narcissistic, etc.

This is called, in clinical terms, dead mother.

Andrei Green invented the phrase dead mother.

So if the mother is dead, emotionally dead, the child cannot separate.

The mother is blackmailing the child not to separate.

And this sabotages the formation of the self.

The child has one very big need.

The safety to become.

You think food is important?

It's not.

We have experiments where children were not given food, but they were given a lot of love and tactile, skin to skin contact. And they were perfectly happy. Children don't need food.

Well, they need food.

But that's not the main issue. The main issue is for the mother to allow them to become.

If the mother doesn't allow them to become, they never have life as adults. And so they remain stuck with infantile regression.

If you are not allowed as a baby to separate, then you remain part of mommy. And there is infantile regression. You remain baby, you remain infantile.

With infantile defenses?

Like splitting. When you see everything bad, good, right, wrong, dichotomous thinking. Always you divide everything into two categories. Never gray, never in the middle, never nuanced, no nuances.

It's not splitting. Why?

This is very interesting. Why?

Why babies who are not allowed to separate from money develop splitting?

The situation is dissociation. No, splitting is something. Splitting is like dividing. We call it dichotomous thinking. Thinking in dichotomy.

Yes, much better. Why?

Because if I'm a baby and money doesn't let me separate, I become very angry. I want to separate, but money doesn't let me.

I become very aggressive, but I cannot say that money is there.

Because I need money. I need money for food, for shelter. I need money.

I cannot say that she's better. I'm very frightened to say that she's better.

So I say, as a baby, I say, I'm bad. It's my fault. And this is called bad object internalization.

I internalize bad object.

But if I'm bad, money is good. Splitting. Money, all good, baby, all bad.

And for the entire life, that person believes himself or herself to be bad.

This is the classical theory. This is historical theory.

Now we come to the latest developments in psychology.

It is the idea of dissociation.

The new thinking is that when the child is frustrated, when the needs of the child are not met, they are not fulfilled, the child is so traumatized that he will try to forget, cut off and forget the frustration and the hurt and the pain.

No.

These are the three leading thinkers in this new school.

But it's not so new. Everyone in psychology likes to think that they are big revolutionaries.

Because many psychologists and narcissists don't tell anyone.

But revolutions are rare. Evolution is much more common.

Actually, long before this new school, this is the school of dissociation. Long before this school, already there were scholars who were thinking in terms of dissociation. And they were known as rich object religions.

So long before the dissociative school, there were already scholars who said that baby, when he is frustrated, breaks apart. Breaks apart, literally.

So for example, Donald Winnicott, who was a pediatrician, came up with the concept of false self.

When the baby is confronted with a withholding mother, a dead mother, when the baby is traumatized, abused, instrumentalized, used, are rentified, forced to act as a parent, not a child.

When all this happens, the baby breaks up.

And Winnicott said that the baby invents another self. And that other self is the false self.

And in narcissists, in adult narcissists, the false self is the only self.

So adult narcissists don't exist. Adult narcissism is not about presence, it's about absence. That is not about me, that is Heinz.

He suggested that borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder are forms of absence. He called it emptiness.

He said these people are empty, there's nobody home, there's nobody there.

Instead, there is a false self, a piece of fiction, a theater play, a movie, but there's nobody there except the movie, except the theater.

When the baby is confronted with such massive frustration, when the baby is not allowed to become individual, the baby dissociates. But the baby dissociates in a highly specific way, not in every way, but in a highly specific way.


Before I go to the baby, to the dissociating baby, I will give you the modern definition of dissociation.

Dissociation is a disruption in all internal processes. Discontinuity, disruption in all internal processes.

Emotions, cognitions, self-perception, everything is disrupted. And it is experienced in three ways.

Amnesia is a form of dissociation. Depersonalization, the feeling that you are not there, you are not you, that you are an observer. And derealization, the feeling that reality is not real, that you are in the nightmare of some surrealistic landscape.

This is classic dissociation.

There is a fourth way. And the fourth way is the baby's way.

Babies forget, they dissociate, they forget, they have amnesia. We don't know if babies depersonalize and derealize because we cannot talk to them. But we know that they forget.

However, there is a fourth mechanism. And this fourth mechanism is unique to infancy and adult narcissists.

A strong proof that adult narcissists are actually babies. Anyone who has a narcissistic partner knows that it is absolutely true. They are babies.

So this fourth mechanism is what Freud called at the time fantasy defense mechanism. Fantasy is a form of dissociation.

Why? Because we escape reality, right by reality, we escape reality. And we create an alternative reality, a virtual reality, a metaverse, another reality.

The clinical term is paracosm.

So the child creates a very powerful fantasy.

And because mother does not allow the child to become an individual in reality, the child becomes an individual in the fantasy.

We call this compensatory fantasy. Everything the child is not in reality, he is in fantasy.

The fourth self of the narcissist is a fantasy defense. It's a fantasy, it's para cosm.

In reality, the baby is helpless. The fourth self is omnipotent. In reality, the baby cannot guess, cannot predict how the adults will behave. The fourth self is omniscient or knowing. Fantasy is the major form, possibly the exclusive form of dissociation in children who have dead mothers.

So the fourth self is a special case of an imaginary friend.

You know that children have imaginary friends. You have it in horror movies like which Stephen King, the child has an imaginary friend which is actually a demon.

But most imaginary friends are more benign, so children have imaginary friends.

As long as the mother allows the child to separate, the imaginary friend is what we call a transitional object.

Do you know the babies who call the teddy bear or favorite pillow or favorite blanket? These are transitional objects.

It's transition from murder, fusion with mommy to separation from mommy and the world.

So the imaginary friend is a transitional object. It makes the child feel safe to take on the world.

If the mother does not allow the child to separate, the imaginary friend becomes permanent.

If the mother does not allow the child to separate, the imaginary friend becomes fixated.

Everyone is frustrated by mommy. There is no such thing as being frustrated by mommy.

When you are 12 months old, mommy, you cry and mommy doesn't give you to eat, you are frustrated. You are crying and mommy leaves the room. You are frustrated. Mommy has a life and this life is dynamic and not under the control of the baby.

So frustration is inevitable. All babies are frustrated. Those who become healthy and normal and those who become mentally ill, they are all frustrated at the beginning.

You remember that I said that frustration, hurt, pain, trauma, they cause dissociation.

Here is what happens.


The name starts off as a unity with mommy, mommy.

A unitary entity, baby mommy, mommy baby. It's one thing. That is well established with experiments. That's not a psychoanalytic group.

So he starts his mommy baby, then he wants to separate. He is frustrated. He cannot control mommy for you. Object constancy is threatened all the time.

So he dissociates.

If the frustration is minor, the dissociation will be healthy. That's healthy dissociation.

And it will disappear when the baby grows up and becomes a dog. The dissociation will disappear.

However, if the mother is what Andrei Green calls dead mother, that's assisting, selfish, insecure, selfish, insecure, demanding, left-wailing. If she is this kind of mother, then the dissociation will become rigid. And you will have this kind of human being. Totally broken inside, a thousand times, with a thousand dissociations.

This is what the inside of a narcissist looks like. This is what the inside of a borderline looks like.

And so we will have severe dissociation.

This leads to the next innovation in psychology, which is now, what I'm telling you right now, is being made useful, that is emerging in the West.

So this is the latest. You're getting breaking news from CNN. It's the latest.

Well, Mr. Chairman, my great statement in psychology is actually my national language, and it's been developed.

Each one, each segment, each one of these, let's make it a little more.

Let's assume that there are four master dissociations.

So there are four master dissociations.

Each of these dissociations, each of these dissociations, each of these dissociations, I'm sorry, each of these dissociations, comes with emotions, effects, the emotions, comes with cognition, comes with memory, comes with beliefs about the world, etc.

So each of these parts is a scheme.

So these are schemas.

Those of you who know or heard of schema therapy, schema therapy is based on schema theory, the belief that people have organized units of emotions, conditions, memories, beliefs, values.

So a broken dissociated person will have multiple schemas.

But these are not schemas like in schema theory. These are seven states.

In schema theory, each of these has emotions, beliefs, values, theories, memories.

The third state has also aggression.

Why?

Because the baby is angry.

You remember? The baby is frustrated. He's very angry, and so the aggression remains there, attached to the schema, the scheme.

So each scheme has aggression and a way to cope, some strategy, some attempt to cope.

Adaptive scheme, a scheme that is built for adaptation, is called a self-state.

The first function of the self-state is to protect the child.

I want to emphasize again, we are talking about pathological development.

In healthy development, the child will have self-states, but of a different nature.

I'm right now dealing with pathological development.

The first job is to protect the child.

The child is under attack. The child is not allowed to become an individual. He is not allowed to put boundaries. If he puts boundaries, he is punished. If he refuses to play the role that the mother gives or the father gives him, he is punished. And he doesn't receive unconditional love. He receives conditional love. This kind of child receives the message, I will love you only if you perform in a certain way. If you do not perform this way, I will not love you. You are lovable only when you perform. Your performance is lovable, not you.

So the child needs to protect himself.

And we see this in pathologies like narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder. We see the protective function of the self-state.

So the narcissist is afraid of narcissistic injury or narcissistic mortification. I will explain. Narcissistic injury is when you challenge the narcissist. Narcissist thinks he is God. He thinks he knows everything. He thinks he is all powerful. He never makes mistakes. He is perfect. You cannot teach him anything.

So if you disagree with the narcissist, if you criticize the narcissist, if you correct the narcissist, if you offer him for the narcissist, if you give the narcissist advice, that is narcissistic injury. Mortification, narcissistic mortification is even more severe. It is when you shame the narcissist in public, in front of people that are important to the narcissist.

The self-states of the narcissist protect him from injury and mortification.

We will see how a bit later.

Similarly, borderline. The borderline is afraid of two things. She has anxiety. She has two types of anxiety.

Abandonment anxiety. She is afraid to be abandoned and rejected. And engulfment anxiety. She is afraid to disappear. She is afraid the department will take over her and she will vanish. And engulfment and mortification.

So this is why borderline is typical borderline.

Until recently we thought that most borderlines are women. Which was very convenient for male psychologists.

That is not true. About half a month.

But for convenience sake, and because of a man, I will use a woman as an example.

Yes, okay.


So that's why a borderline approaches you. She wants intimacy. She wants love. She wants affection. She wants regulation of her moods and emotions through the partner. She approaches the partner.

And then she is terrified of abandonment. Oh, sorry. I think...

And then she approaches. And then she is terrified. Because she feels that her partner is too important. If she goes away, she will fall apart.

So she rejects him. She approaches. And avoids.

This is called approach avoidance repetition compulsion. Whenever the borderline is threatened with abandonment or rejection or engulfment. She uses her self-states in self-defense, in protection.

Let me come to you.

By the way, the clinical term is not abandonment equality. Everywhere you will see abandonment equality. Online, books. That is not the clinical term.

So abandonment anxiety, separation anxiety, these are popular terms. They are not clinical terms. We have many such situations.

For example, the word co-dependent is not a clinical term. It is not a clinical term, it is a media term.

The clinical term is dependent personality.

So let me summarize in two sentences and we continue.

Baby, mother, frustration. Mother refuses to allow the baby to separate and become individual. Baby has aggression. Baby cannot externalize the aggression, cannot attack money. Attacks himself. Internalizes the aggression.

Melanie Klein calls it the depressive schizoid state. Depression. Schizoid state.

Why?

Because when you internalize aggression, it is a good definition of depression. Depression is a form of internalized aggression.

Internalized aggression, the baby breaks up. Dissociation. It creates self states. Every baby creates self states.

In the new theory. Every baby creates self states. We don't have a self. There is no such thing as a self. We have a collection of self states. Like a library. We have a collection of self states like a library and then whenever we need we go to the shelf and we take the relevant book.

This is the new model. In autology.

The self states have a special character. They are protected.

In healthy people, the self states are adaptive.

You need, there is a new environment, you need a self state, you go to the shelf, you take the self state.

But in autologies, the self states are protected. In autologies, the self states are complete. In a healthy individual, the self states never complete.

And so there are differences between healthy self states and autologies.

In autologies, the self states are dysregulated. They are not regulated from inside. It's in house. That's why we call this low organization or disorganized personality.

Yes, we say, we say autologies have no organization or no organization.

Protective, competitive, dysregulated.

In a healthy person, the self states function well because of psychological defense mechanism.

This is a very new theory.

But the beauty of this theory is that it has all the elements of Freud, of Jung, of you know, all previous knowledge is included in this theory completely.

My contribution is that I took this theory to another level.

I will explain at the end in a few words, but let's first understand the theory.

So, in a healthy person, healthy person looks like this.

We don't have a single self. That's nonsense.

We change dramatically in reaction to environment.

We surprise ourselves.

How many times did you say it's not like me?

I don't recognize myself. I can't believe I did this.

You didn't do it. Another self state did it.

Remember that the self states were created via dissociation.

So, they are dissociating.

Because they are dissociating, they do not share all the memories. They do not share all the experiences.

Even in healthy people, in one environment, you use self state number one.

You remember the self state? Emotions, commissions, memories, aggression, hoping self state.

So, it's like almost total personality.

It takes over. You are in some environment. This is best. This is optimal solution.

So, number one takes over.

Self state number one has the experience. Not self state two. Not self state three. Not self state four.

Only one has the experience.

And because the dissociation is partial, it's not full. There is some sharing of memories and experiences. Some. Some common database.

But never 100%. Never even 60%.

We know this when we study memory.

Starting with Elizabeth Loftusand others. We know that we don't remember.

Within 24 hours, you forget 50% of all data. Within one year, you forget 90% of all data.

When you are asked to remember, you congratulate. You create stories.

In nine out of ten cases, these stories are not true. They are wrong. Nine out of ten memories you think you have. Are wrong. They are not true.

You say why people disagree on that. About what happened.

Now we know the number. We know that it's nine out of ten.

Mainly because of experiments by Loftus and others.

Starting with Loftus.

Loftus was a pioneer. And others.

Where we followed, she and others followed people over periods of one year up to five years.

And administer the question is.

There is a famous experiment which demonstrates the connection between trauma, dissociation, search states and memory.

9-11.

When the terrorists attack the Twin Towers in New York, what the terrorists are?

Teams of psychologists interviewed people on the street. And they asked them, where were you? When the towers collapsed, what were you doing? Who were you with? Where were you going?

A year later, the same people were given the same question.

Less than ten percent of the memories a year later were the same in the event. Less than ten percent of the memories were the same a year later.

This is 9-11.

Even such a mega massive trauma is not enough to overcome dissociation.

You must accept that you are not one person. There is no such thing as you. There is no self. It's nonsensical. It's against all the studies we have.

You must accept that you are much more like a network. More like the Internet. With copies of copies of copies, redundancies.

So, this is another vision.

And in between, there is partial, permeable dissociation.

And defense mechanisms.

Why do you need defense mechanisms?

Because if you allow reality without reframing, without reframing, the self-states will not be able to function.

So, the self-states are organizing, organizational principle and hermeneutic principle.

The self-states organize the world for you. And they make sense of the world.

We call this hermeneutic principle. It's a principle of explanation.

So, they are not only organizational, but they are hermeneutic. They make sense. They give you meaning.

But here is some unpleasant news for you.

The world is totally meaningless. And you are totally meaningless.

Meaningless. It's not exactly not important. Meaningless. There's no meaning. And it hurts me to admit that I'm meaningless. There's no such thing as meaning. No such thing as sense. No such thing as goals or directions. These are all narratives. We are stories. We are storytelling species. We are made of dreams.

If a reality is allowed to penetrate, we will lose our essence. Our essence is inventing meaning. Inventing meaning. We need to invent meaning.

But to invent meaning, we need to falsify reality. And we falsify reality through defense mechanisms.

We refrain. We rewrite it.

So, defense mechanisms are dissociative because they take us out of reality, away from reality. All defense mechanisms are dissociative because they suppress reality. And they are the glue that holds the such things together in a meaningful way. In a way that gives us a narrative, a story.

What's the difference between healthiness and sickness? This is the healthiness.

Now, another one.

In a healthy system, in a healthy system of substance, we are able to falsify reality because we recognize it. We get a correct signal, a correct reading of reality, and then we process it.

In a biological system, we get a wrong signal. We get the wrong reading of reality.

This process is called cognitive distortion. Cognitive distortion. We are getting reality in.

Reality is coming in through the system, but it is filtered. It's filtered, there's a membrane, and it comes in wrong, wrong data.

So what? What's the problem?

There are two problems.

Because the reality comes in in a wrong way, you are not self-efficacious. You can't act well in reality.

Self-efficacy is the ability to act in reality and to act on reality in order to obtain beneficial outcomes, good outcomes for you. Self-efficacy is the ability to act in reality and on reality in order to obtain good results, good outcomes.

But if your input is wrong, you cannot secure good outcomes.

You learn gradually to not trust yourself.

As a mentally ill person, you learn to not trust yourself.

And the second problem, you have impaired reality testing.

Your perception of reality is wrong.

So the system looks the same, which explains why narcissists can deceive you.

Many victims of narcissists say it looks totally normal. It was so good, so nice, so kind, so caring.

Because from the outside, the system looks identical.

Search dates, defense mechanisms, everything looks identical.

But the input is wrong. You take two televisions. If you put too much electricity, one of them will explode.

So the input is wrong.

And so, through the cognitive distortion, there is a situation where someone like the narcissist, for example, is operating in reality in wrong ways.

Many mentally ill people make a decision. They say, I cannot trust myself. I don't understand reality properly. I don't act in reality self-efficacy.

So I will ask other people to do it for me.

The borderline wants her intimate partner to perform all these functions for her.

The narcissist wants people to give him input about himself in order to regulate his sense of self-worth.

This mentally ill people, they outsource their ego functions. They use other people as their ego.

They actually don't have a functioning ego. They use other people as ego.

And this leads us to the understanding that such things are not self-contained. They are relational.

The self-states interact with other people and with the self-states of other people.

In healthy people, your self-states and my self-states will interact to generate good outcomes, mutually beneficial outcomes.

But if I am a narcissist, my self-states will become parasitic on your self-states.

Because narcissists are stuck in infancy. They are symbiotic. They need you to regulate their internal environment.

And because they take over you, they cannot accept you as external.

I want you to understand this. This is totally science fiction or a movie.

In healthy people, two healthy people, the self-states of the healthy people resonate, resonate, collaborate, interact, and then they go.

Narcissists are not like this. They take your self-states. They extrapolate, they steal your self-states.

Because they are parasitic. They have no existence without other people. And then they use your self-states as their self-states.

So they cannot accept you as separate.

Because if I took your self-states and they are mine now, you don't exist, you don't have a self-state anymore. They are mine.

They cannot accept you as separate because they were not allowed to separate as babies.

Narcissists and borderlines have no experience of separateness. They don't know how it is to be separate. They don't know what it is to be separate.

So the minute they see you, they want to merge with you, to become one, to fuse.

Now we know, we know for sure that self-states don't exist and don't operate without other people. And we know this because we study pathology.

It's like Freud. Freud studied only sick people.

But he created a theory of healthy people.

So we study the pathologies of self-state, hoping that the opposite is healthy.

You remember what I told you?

You remember what I told you? That the narcissists and the borderlines, they come to you and they steal your essence, they steal your self-state.

There is a clinical name for this.

Everything I'm describing sounds like Hollywood, but it's clinical psychology, so it's a clinical name for this.

Internalization, introjection.

A narcissist internalizes you and then he converts you, he changes you into an internal object.

So he interjects you. This is seriously creepy.

So the borderlines create an internal object of you, like a photo, snapshot, avatar.

Like a photo view.

And then they say, this is the real, you're not real, your photo is real.

So there is confusion between external and internal objects.

The narcissist, let's assume that the narcissist is interested in you as an intimate partner. Nothing worse can happen to you.

He's interested in you as an intimate partner.

So the first thing he does, he takes a photo of you.

I call it snapshot. He takes a photo, then he puts it in his mind, he makes it an internal object.

And then he gets confused. He thinks the internal object is real and you are not real.

And then he continues to interact exclusively with the internal object, not with you.

This is internalization, introjection.


Give me an example of confusion between external and internal objects, not in narcissism.

Not in narcissism. Don't be afraid.

Can you think of a situation where someone, a patient, confuses internal object with external object?

Remember, the narcissist thinks that external is internal.

He makes mistakes. He thinks external is internal.

Can you think of a similar confusion between external and internal, but it's not narcissism?

You're all in a state of shock. Psychosis.

Yes. Psychotic disorder.

The clinical term today is psychotic disorder.

Psychotic disorder. In psychotic disorder, there is the reverse process.

The narcissist confuses external object. He thinks it's internal.

The psychotic is exactly the opposite. He confuses internal object with external.

He thinks his internal objects are external.

How is all this connected to self-states?

Self-states are objects, internal objects.

Self-states are internal objects.

In pathologies, we see that internal objects are intimately linked with external objects.

In pathologies, we see that external objects are interconnected with external objects.

This is the mind. This is the mind.

These self-states are internal objects.

And we see in narcissism, in borderline, in psychosis, we see that internal objects somehow are connected to external objects to the point that they are confused.

The pathologies are showing us. The pathologies are teaching us.

That self-states are connected to external objects. They are relational.

Take away everyone around you. You will not feel that you exist.

The emergence of you depends on object relations, depends on other people.

If we isolate a baby, which is a bit unethical lately, if we isolate a baby completely, there will be no baby. There will be no one there.

The interaction with other people is what makes you.

You are not this. You are not this.

You, me, not a stranger. That is not true.

You are this. This is you.

This is the Venn diagram. This is called the Venn diagram.

So this is you. The relationship makes you. Other people make you.

Take away all the other people in the world. There will be no you if you are a baby. There will be no you.

We have cases, of course, of children who grew up in forests. They are called feral children. Children who grew up with wolves and tigers. And we know they never didn't have anything resembling a son. Remotely. Not even remotely.

It is what we are talking about.

So we know that other people are critical for formation of such things.


I am shortly coming to the end of the lecture.

In pathologies, you remember that in pathologies, the self-states are receiving the right food. They are not receiving correct data, correct information about reality.

So the defense mechanisms cannot operate properly. Or they give crazy results.

So these are the self-states in pathology. These are the self-states.

There is a distortion issue here. These are the defense mechanisms.

In reality, it is coming here, but there is a filter.

For example, grandiosity. Grandiosity of the most is a filter.

Because there is a filter here. Grandiosity.

And this filter distorts reality, changes it.

So the defense mechanisms are not working properly.

At some point, the defense mechanism receives so much garbage that they stop functioning. They don't work.

Because the defense mechanisms are receiving garbage, wrong information from reality. This is called confirmation bias.

Because of that, they stop working. And we call this decompensation.

At some point, the mechanisms stop working. Because the mechanisms are not working, reality is not filtered. It is not changed. There is no processing of reality.

And the self-states get in direct touch with reality.

This is how borderlines describe their feeling.

The borderline says, I don't have a skin. I am skinless. I feel everything immediately on me.

Yes, the defense mechanisms are shut down.

And so she experiences reality directly.

The self-states are not built to cope with reality without defense mechanisms. They don't have to do that.

So the borderline or the narcissist or the pathologist people, they act out. There is a process called acting out. Acting out is simply switching from one self-state to another self-state. And then rewriting an imaginary reality for the other self-state.

So I'll give you an example.

That's the borderline with four lines.

No, no, no. That's the borderline with four self-states.

That's the borderline with the pathologist people.

She has freedom. Yes? She is not receiving correct information. She is not receiving correct information from reality.

For example, she thinks the partner is about to abandon them. She thinks the partner is about to abandon them.

But it's not going to abandon them. It's wrong.

But she receives wrong information from reality. Her defenses are so overloaded with junk.

Wrong information is junk. The defenses are so overloaded, they stop working. Decompensation.

At that point, the self-states get exhausted with reality. And the borderline has no defenses. She is defenseless.

11% of borderlines in this condition commit suicide. This is how badly we need defense mechanisms. 11% commit suicide. It's a huge number.

The others create a new reality. They create a fantasy.

Remember dissociation? Fantasy defense is dissociation. They dissociate. They come to tolerate reality, so they cut off reality. They dissociate.

Actually, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, dissociation is a criterion, diagnostic criterion, for borderlines.

They dissociate reality. They immediately create a fantasy. They select another substrate. They switch to another substrate.

Why?

Because this self-state is better adapted for the fantasy.


Now, in 90% vast majority of cases, a borderline would switch to another state that is clinically not a borderline, but a secondary cycleline.

If you look at the comparison of the borderline, you can see that the characteristic of the anti-dependence of the borderlines is different.

So they become a cycleline?

One second.

A cycleline?

A cycleline.

A cycleline.

A cycleline could compensate, would create a compensatory fantasy, and would choose a psychopathic self-state.

If you look at the borderline, you can see that the characteristic of the anti-dependence of the borderline is different.

Not a typical psychopath, but a secondary psychopath. It's another type. It's called facto two psychopaths.

But it's a psychopath.

No, it's a psychopathic psychopath. It's a psychopathic psychopath. It becomes psychopathic.

And this is what we call acting alpha.

What's the definition of acting alpha?

In acting alpha, the borderline would become violent, aggressive, promiscuous, reckless. Take risks. She would become totally different. A second self-state would have nothing to do with a person.

It's an example of the self-state system in action.

I will mention in five minutes my contribution to this emerging theory.

Then those of you who survived, if you feel like asking questions, I'm here.

There is support like every theory in this apology.

The self-state theory has problems, of course. Every theory has problems.

I mentioned that the self-states don't share everything. They don't share all the memories. They don't share all these things.

So how come you feel that you are the same? How come you feel continuous? You don't get up in the morning and say, today I'm not me.

Some of you may wish.

It rarely happens. And it does happen. It's definitely a problem.

So there's a problem of identity disturbance. That's a clinical term.

If the self-state theory was 100% correct, everyone would have identity disturbance.

You would not feel fully integrated. You would not feel one. You would feel many.

And the second problem is what we call trait constancy.

Some traits, not many by the way, are a lot fewer than you think. But some traits persist in all the self-states' life. Very few.

People think that they have traits, and these traits are in every situation for life. That's completely untrue. Most of your traits are unstable, and very few of them, if any, survive life on.

But some do.

For example, I like to talk, and I like to talk since I was 9. So probably it's a constant trait.

How do you explain this? If you have such things and they don't share everything, how do you explain trait constancy?

I think about it as you and use the original idea. And I'm now making the rounds in all the important universities in the world promoting this idea.

So you can watch, for example, my symposium, my colloquium at McGill University, which is one of the leading universities in the west for psychology. You can watch my colloquium there, it's available on my YouTube channel.

So I give a colloquium there, about to go to Cambridge to give a series of two colloquiums. So I'm promoting this idea.

And this idea is next stage of search space. This idea is pseudo-identity.

Again, nothing is totally new. Nothing is totally new.

We have theories in psychology, for example, family systems theory, where they have sub-personalities, for example.

But pseudo-identity is new in some areas.

To get to the idea, to get to a new theory of pseudo-identities, which is probably the latest theory, I think.

Again, like all my predecessors, I studied pathology.

When you study pathology, hopefully you get some insight into health care.

So I studied people with dissociative identity disorder. Dissociative identity disorder is a new name for what used to be called multiple personality disorder.

So don't ask me why every two years we come up with a new term or new word for something that existed six years.

It's a hobby. A hobby of psychologists. They like to rename it all the time.

So I studied the idea, dissociative identities.

In multiple personality disorder, there is a central entity. The central core is called the host personality.

And you have many, many pseudo-personalities. They look like personalities.

So some authors can be small children, some authors can be big, some authors can be different gender.

You could have a man who has multiple personality, and one of the authors of two or three would be women.

The host, the host personality, decides which author will be used in which circumstances.

So the host has a co-ordinative function. Of course it is also protected, like in all portfolios.

But in D.I.D., in multiple personality disorder, there is a co-ordination center. And there is no such thing with helping people. There is even no such thing with narcissists. And there is no such thing with both of them.

Only in the most extreme dissociation, multiple personality, we have a co-ordination center.


How do healthy people decide which self-state will function?

You are healthy. You have four self-states. Who decides which self-state will go out and take over?

I have never received more criticism than this.

I suggest, in my work, I suggest that the self-states are organized in 10 places.

Not my idea, I'm afraid. Jung suggested that in early childhood there is what he called the self-care template.

So I borrowed the idea of a template from Jung. I didn't ask his permission. But I borrowed it from Jung. And I organized all the self-states in a template.

What is the template? Meaning, narrative. The template is a narrative. Story.

So, the narrative decides which self-state will become dominant.

In multiple personality disorder, it's not the outside that decides. It's the inside.

In multiple personality disorder, there is an internal structure that decides which self-state will be used.

In all other people, healthy and not healthy. It's a cue. It's an environmental cue. It's a signal from the environment. Information comes from outside, organized in a narrative, in a story, and then a self-state naturally reacts to a specific narrative.

So, my contribution is to say that self-states alone are not enough.

We need self-states with context. Narrative context. So, this together is called pseudo-identity.

It includes the self-states, ego-functions, and probes, stimulation, extracting information from the environment and framing it inside another.

How do you feel about this?

All the schools, all the schools ever, which deal with personality, I'm sorry, and with the self...

Think perfectly here. Everything you can imagine. From Freud, to defense mechanism, to Jungian shadow, to complexes, to cold self-psychology, to dissociation school, to self-state, everything is translated into this. This is like theory of everything, in a way, when it comes to personality.

So, it also provides us with some therapeutic tools.

I was very close, actually. Victor, my good friend. He was very good.

What Victor Franklin said, essentially, was that we need a narrative. A narrative that endows us with meaning.

So, he was very close, but he was not a structuralist. He was more descriptive about it.


Tomorrow, for those of you who are not too frightened by today's lecture, tomorrow I'm going to discuss the ten or twelve aspects of mental illness in children and adolescents, especially personalities.

There is a common misconception that adults are mentally ill, children and adolescents are not, or if they are, it can be easily reversed.

Regrettably, that is exactly the opposite of the truth.

Most mental illness is diagnosable already in earlier lessons.

Some of it, even in childhood.

And our ability to reverse, to intervene, is already strongly impaired, strongly handled.

At age, I would say, 13, 14.

There is nothing we can do with psychopathy by age 9, actually.

There is a disorder called contact disorder. And contact disorder is psychopathy for children.

There is very little we can do with borderline personality disorder after age 12.

And actually, it is diagnosable at age 11 at home.

But tomorrow I will try to go through the warning signs, the red alerts. Many of them counterintuitive, many of them would sound strange.

Because early intervention is still critical.

But we need to catch these problems extremely early on.

Freud was a warrior, and after Freud, and after the tomb, they understood that therapists stand in for parents, their parental figures.

And if we catch the patient in adolescence, we are faced with a very serious problem.

Because adolescence is the second phase of separation and individuation.

There is negative identity formation. I am not going to be like my mother, I am not going to be like my father.

Negative identity formation.

And there is what we call reactors or defiance, so a challenge to authority.

If we catch the patient too late in adolescence, too late is already 13-14.

Our ability to intervene is very good.

So the early warning signs are critical.

And again, many of them would surprise you, I think.

I have tortured you enough. Thank you for listening.

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