• 17 • Basic faults as the cause of splits
In this chapter we are interested in ways in which the integrity of the personality can be disrupted by splits which come about after a period of what had seemed to be normal integration. Psychic structures which were at one time organized together may lose their interconnections and fall apart. This return to simpler structures is variously called ‘dissociation’, ‘de-differentiation’, ‘disintegration’, ‘regression’ to a simpler state of mind. It is how we feel – to a mild extent – when we feel not very well, as in a bad bout of flu. Everything is simplified, we do not have the energy to maintain a highly differentiated set of responses. We feel surprisingly fretful and in need of indulgence. We revert to childish comforts which we thought we had outgrown – sweet, mouthfilling, warm, relaxing things. Ego-functioning is slack; we are more child-like, more easily distracted, more vulnerable to slights and hurts we can usually take in our stride. The controls are weaker.