The Shattered Identity - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

We, therefore, have to modify our previous conclusions:

Having a memory is not a necessary nor a sufficient condition for possessing a self-identity.

We are back to square one. The poor souls in Oliver Sacks' tome, "The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat" are unable to create and retain memories. They occupy an eternal present, with no past. They are thus unable to access (or invoke) their self-identity by remembering it. Their self-identity is unavailable to them (though it is available to those who observe them over many years) - but it exists for sure. Therapy often succeeds in restoring pre-amnesiac memories and self-identity.

V. The Incorrigible Self

Self-identity is not only always-on and all-pervasive - but also incorrigible. In other words, no one - neither an observer, norrepparttar person himself - can "disprove"repparttar 126202 existence of his self-identity. No one can prove that a report aboutrepparttar 126203 existence of his (or another's) self-identity is mistaken.

Is it equally safe to say that no one - neither an observer, norrepparttar 126204 person himself - can prove (or disprove)repparttar 126205 non-existence of his self-identity? Would it be correct to say that no one can prove that a report aboutrepparttar 126206 non-existence of his (or another's) self-identity is true or false?

Dan's criminal responsibility crucially depends onrepparttar 126207 answers to these questions. Dan cannot be held responsible for Jack's murder if he can prove that he is ignorant ofrepparttar 126208 facts of his action (i.e., if he can proverepparttar 126209 non-existence of his self-identity). If he has no access to his (former) self-identity - he can hardly be expected to be aware and cognizant of these facts.

What is in question is not Dan's mens rea, norrepparttar 126210 application ofrepparttar 126211 McNaghten tests (did Dan knowrepparttar 126212 nature and quality of his act or could he tell right from wrong) to determine whether Dan was insane when he committedrepparttar 126213 crime. A much broader issue is at stake: is itrepparttar 126214 same person? Isrepparttar 126215 murderous Danrepparttar 126216 same person asrepparttar 126217 current Dan? Even though Dan seems to ownrepparttar 126218 same body and brain and is manifestly sane - he patently has no access to his (former) self-identity. He has changed so drastically that it is arguable whether he is stillrepparttar 126219 same person - he has been "replaced".

Finally, we can try to unite allrepparttar 126220 strands of our discourse into this double definition:

It would seem that we accept that someone has a self-identity if: (a) He hasrepparttar 126221 same hardware as we do (notably, a brain) and, by implication,repparttar 126222 same software as we do (an all-pervasive, omnipresent self-identity) and (b) He communicates his humanly recognizable and comprehensible inner world to us and manipulates his environment. We accept that he has a specific (i.e.,repparttar 126223 same continuous) self-identity if (c) He shows consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in doing (b) for a long period of time.

It seems that we accept that we have a specific self-identity (i.e., we are self-conscious of a specific identity) if (a) We discern (usually through memory and introspection) long term consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in our manipulation ("relating to") of our environment and (b) Others accept that we have a specific self-identity.

In conclusion: Dan undoubtedly has a self-identity (being human and, thus, endowed with a brain). Equally undoubtedly, this self-identity is not Dan's (but a new, unfamiliar, one).

Such isrepparttar 126224 stuff of our nightmares - body snatching, demonic possession, waking up in a strange place, not knowing who we are. Without a continuous personal history - we are not. It is what binds our various bodies, states of mind, memories, skills, emotions, and cognitions - into a coherent bundle of identity. Dan speaks, drinks, dances, talks, and makes love - but throughout that time, he is not present because he does not remember Dan and how it is to be Dan. He may have murdered Jake - but, by all philosophical and ethical criteria, it was most definitely not his fault.



Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




Narcissism - Treatment Modalities and Therapies - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

Sometimes, these therapies are divided to expressive versus supportive, but I regard this division as misleading.

Expressive means uncovering (making conscious)repparttar patient's conflicts and studying his or her defences and resistances. The analyst interpretsrepparttar 126201 conflict in view ofrepparttar 126202 new knowledge gained and guidesrepparttar 126203 therapy towards a resolution ofrepparttar 126204 conflict. The conflict, in other words, is "interpreted away" through insight andrepparttar 126205 change inrepparttar 126206 patient motivated by his/her insights.

The supportive therapies seek to strengthenrepparttar 126207 Ego. Their premise is that a strong Ego can cope better (and later on, alone) with external (situational) or internal (instinctual, related to drives) pressures. Supportive therapies seek to increaserepparttar 126208 patient's ability to REPRESS conflicts (rather than bring them torepparttar 126209 surface of consciousness).

Whenrepparttar 126210 patient's painful conflicts are suppressed,repparttar 126211 attendant dysphorias and symptoms vanish or are ameliorated. This is somewhat reminiscent of behaviourism (the main aim is to change behaviour and to relieve symptoms). It usually makes no use of insight or interpretation (though there are exceptions).

Group Therapies

Narcissists are notoriously unsuitable for collaborative efforts of any kind, let alone group therapy. They immediately size up others as potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply or as potential competitors. They idealiserepparttar 126212 first (suppliers) and devaluerepparttar 126213 latter (competitors). This, obviously, is not very conducive to group therapy.

Moreover,repparttar 126214 dynamic ofrepparttar 126215 group is bound to reflectrepparttar 126216 interactions of its members. Narcissists are individualists. They regard coalitions with disdain and contempt. The need to resort to team work, to adhere to group rules, to succumb to a moderator, and to honour and respectrepparttar 126217 other members as equals is perceived by them to be humiliating and degrading (a contemptible weakness). Thus, a group containing one or more narcissists is likely to fluctuate between short-term, very small size, coalitions (based on "superiority" and contempt) and narcissistic outbreaks (acting outs) of rage and coercion.

Can Narcissism be Cured?

Adult narcissists can rarely be "cured", though some scholars think otherwise. Still,repparttar 126218 earlierrepparttar 126219 therapeutic intervention,repparttar 126220 betterrepparttar 126221 prognosis. A correct diagnosis and a proper mix of treatment modalities in early adolescence guarantees success without relapse in anywhere between one third and one halfrepparttar 126222 cases. Additionally, ageing moderates or even vanquishes some antisocial behaviours.

In their seminal tome, "Personality Disorders in Modern Life" (New York, John Wiley & Sons, 2000), Theodore Millon and Roger Davis write (p. 308):

"Most narcissists strongly resist psychotherapy. For those who choose to remain in therapy, there are several pitfalls that are difficult to avoid ... Interpretation and even general assessment are often difficult to accomplish..."

The third edition ofrepparttar 126223 "Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry" (Oxford, Oxford University Press, reprinted 2000), cautions (p. 128):

"... (P)eople cannot change their natures, but can only change their situations. There has been some progress in finding ways of effecting small changes in disorders of personality, but management still consists largely of helpingrepparttar 126224 person to find a way of life that conflicts less with his character ... Whatever treatment is used, aims should be modest and considerable time should be allowed to achieve them."

(continued)

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




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