chapter  10
12 Pages

VARIETIES OF THE SPLIT

It may be possible to organize a certain continuum of types of pathology that manifest the vertical split. At one end are cases such as Fritz and Larry whose symptoms betray a segregated parallel self filled with negative affect, and so are to be avoided and feared. This pathology is often considered to represent a dissociated state. That term is probably less than helpful, however, because it is also applied to the dissociation attributed to multiple personality disorders, where there is said to lurk elaborate displays of several or even many other selves. The controversy over whether the last category represents a bona fide type of psychopathology will not be resolved here, save to note how many persons claim that its existence depends on the prejudices of the investigator (Spanos, 1996). If such a set of disorders does exist, these patients would be placed at the opposite pole from those cases with a more limited eruption of dysphoric states (e.g., Fritz and Larry). This placement would seem to be in keeping with the stories of extreme abuse suffered by persons with multiple personality disorder during childhood, and so they would be expected to manifest the most severe forms of pathology (Bremner and Marmar, 1998). The two extremes of these disorders each shows a self or selves divided.