Ego-Fragmentation in Schizophrenia: A severe dissociation of self-experience…

In this chapter, I will propose that schizophrenic syndromes represent a unique type of ‘ego’ or ‘self-pathology’, an ego fragmentation that in extreme forms could be considered an annihilation of the “ego/self”. I consider this fragmentation or splitting of the ego to be a special form of dissociation, striking the ego/self along the five basic dimensions of vitality, activity, coherence/consistency, demarcation and identity. From this perspective, the schizophrenic syndromes can be thought of as lying on a continuum with other disorders, such as dissociative identity disorder (DID) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) all of which can be characterized as “non-cohesive” disorders. However, the perculiar rigidity and fragility of the schizophrenic ego which predisposes it to fragmentation contrasts with the fluid ego-states observed in DID and BPD. This ‘ego-fluidity’ may protect thos with DID or BPD from the extreme fragmentation and deterioration seen in the schizophrenic syndromes….

 

… I assume that a highly unstable and fluctuating ego-self is less disposed to ego-fragmentation — the most severe form of dissociation. It is even possible that is it the very instability or fluctuating nature of the ego-self in dissociative identity disorder that protects it from ego-fragmentation. This would mean that the precondition for a schizophrenic dissociative ego-disorder would be a more rigid ego, predisposed for fragmentation, rather than fluctuation. One can imagine schizophrenic symptoms as glass and dissociative identity disorder as quicksilver: the rigid glass fragments split apart and do not reassemble easily, whereas the quicksilver glides smoothly apart into globes — little wholes — but quickly unites without splitting apart.

 

Source: Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation: Emerging Perspectives on Severe Psychopathology

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