chapter  8
6 Pages

The "Vertical Split" as Seen in Projective Drawings

In the discussion of the human figure drawings of T. Y., the concept of the "vertical split" was introduced.

Kohut first elaborated on this concept in The Analysis of the Self (1971). He explained that the narcissistic energies, (exhibitionism and grandiosity), which flow upward in the child toward expression may be "co-opted," in effect, by the parental selfobject who makes the price of connection the substitution of his own narcissistic needs as opposed to the recognition of the child's independent strivings . In such cases, the child forms a separate self-organization derived from the selfobject's strivings which exists side-by-side with his own. The effort to disavow this "other" self leaves the self-organization connected to the reality ego, which does not receive mirroring or the opportunity for idealization or twinship, depleted and subject to the experience of low self-esteem, isolation, lack of initiative, and depression. Kohut states that we are dealing with the side-byside existence of cohesive personality attitudes with different goal structures, different pleasure aims, and different moral and aesthetic values.