The Analysis of Autistic Character Structure in a Borderline Patient: A Clinical Case Presentation
THE FOLLOWING CASE study is an attempt to illustrate a way of dealing with a problem that certain borderline patients present. These patients demonstrate a hypersensitivity to affect. Affect is so overwhelming that it produces fragmentation of the self accompanied by cognitive disorganization. They have difficulty containing affect sufficiently to think about their experience. Affects and the needs that produce them are experienced as assaults from within and engender feelings of being molested from without. These patients resort to drastic measures to protect themselves from the irruption of affect: (1) They resort to autistic objects to numb their mind to the pain of separateness; the sensual bridge to present objects is abandoned in favor of a pathological autistic sensuality in which sensations generated by the self on the body totally replace awareness of the "not-me." (2) They disavow major aspects of their personality. An autistic character structure evolves.