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THE EMPTY SELF AND THE “AS-IF PERSONALITY”

A long time ago there existed another diagnosis crudely named the “As-If Personality.” The “As-if” Personality, now folded into the diagnosis of “Borderline Personality Disorder” (BPD), was described by psychoanalyst Helene Deutsch in 1942. She was led to create the diagnosis after seeing people who, lacking a sense of their interior “self,” compensated by forms of mimicry, becoming chameleons who acted “as if” they are something else. According to psychoanalytic theory, early trauma and/or neglect could teach an individual that people are unreliable, leading them to have within themselves a sense of being empty. In the wake of this developmental trauma a person experiences “Object Hunger,

 

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