Oedipus, narcissism and depersonalization

Edipo, narcisismo e depersonalizzazione

S. Fasullo

Professore Associato di Psichiatria, Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Neuroscienze cliniche, Università di Palermo

We present the case of a 17-year-old male high school student (M.). The conscious contents were expressed with anonymous characteristics that aroused a feeling of not-belonging to the Ego. These manifested themselves in various ways, sometimes with the fear of going mad, and sometimes with emotional acts (desperate and powerless anger).
Although the patient claims that nothing significant had happened in his life that could be related to his current psychological difficulties, he had known about his parents’ decision to get divorced. This was an upsetting experience that resulted in emotional and relational flattening. An unresolved childish dependence on the mother was evident.
Hysteria (histrionic personality) became his solution to an unsolvable conflict, an alteration of the communication instruments, a defensive balance between the conscious and the unconscious, as a psychic phenomenon that refers to the impossibility of resolving the Oedipal triangle.
It is also a narcissistic pathology: the subjective experience of M. is a sense of internal emptiness, a lack of meaning, and the need to have recurring confirmation from outside about his importance and value. The very frail self-esteem, characteristic of M., shatters after a situation that he perceives as one that cannot be overcome and to which he reacts with manifestations of depersonalization.
Analysis in the “place” where the therapist’s presence “gives a helping hand” introduces a new emotional code that permits other connections and representations to emerge. It also allows the isolated part of the Self to be integrated with the Self and the adult organization of personality. The integration of this childish part can bring about strengthening of personality, or a capacity to tolerate and elaborate upon painful affections such as depression and traumatic anguish.

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