chapter  3
22 Pages

Psychopathology and Psychotherapy in the Elderly

A massive or chronic failure during the phases of childhood when the self is unfolding may result in a fragmentation that eventually will be resolved, that is, the self will reconstitute itself (the fragmentation will subside), but the self will not have permanent alterations. The overall experience of the self will be that of a self chronically low in energy-a self depleted of vigor and without evidence of the experience of joy. This self will be quite reactive to criticism and failures by becoming more withdrawn or caught up in the explosion of a narcissistic rage reaction that, as stated previously represents a reaction to the loss of control of the functions of the selfobject and, therefore, is without an object on which to ventilate the rage. Depending on the specific type of selfobject failures, the resulting self-distortion may be that of a self weakened in its poles of assertiveness or ideals or in the areas of its talents and skills. These defects will, of course, lead to the absence of formulated programs of action in life (in educational, athletic, or musical pursuits, for example).