Neurotic Disorders. Protective Mechanisms in Compulsive Neurosis
Published on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 3:02 pm and is filed under Mental Health
Typical at the changing nature of compulsive neurosis is not always directly caused by regression. It is also determined, followed by regression, jet formations, isolation and cancellation. Using these mechanisms, however, depends on the pathognomonic regression, as reaction formation, isolation and cancellation are directed more against pregenital strivings, while the actual regression has more to do with genital.
Jet formation penetrated deeply neurotic per-compulsive personality. Struggling with the unconscious hostility, compulsive neurotic is gallant in all his manifestations. This could bring him a huge narcissistic satisfaction, complicating psychotherapy.
However, even stable jet formation is rarely successful: in the psyche of a compulsive neurotic does not end the struggle between them and still effective initial motives.
As for the isolation and cancellation, their manifestation in compulsive symptoms has been described in psychoanalysis. Consider a few examples.
Patients with obsessive doubts hardly agree with the psychoanalytic procedure, he strongly protested against the rule of free association. It turned out that the patient is well behaved in an effort to conceal the presence of his girlfriend. The point was not in the lack of desire to even talk about a certain person. Just in psychoanalysis, the patient was talking about masturbation and wanted to isolate the image of her friend of all that is associated with masturbation. He felt that he could speak with the analyst about the girl only in the absence of confidence in his own thoughts about masturbation. Later in the process of psychoanalysis, it became clear how this isolation was unsuccessful. Compulsive symptom, which the patient treated more cautiously, and has made the greatest efforts to conceal it, put it that every time he saw his girlfriend or heard her name, he was having obsessive thoughts about the “little whore“. Symptom symbolized an incestous need, from which the ego defended itself. The appearance of symptoms is an example of an unsuccessful attempt to isolate the tenderness from sensibility.
It was interesting to observe how the patient, who had a certain tendency to paranoid reactions, combined in his defense against the instinct the mechanisms of isolation and projection. Once to demonstrate the absurdity of psychoanalysis, he said that the method of free association is meaningless, because people have only the ideas that they want. He was told that he was not right, because the idea of “little whore” arose from him against his will. A few days later, he accused the analyst for vulgar and sensitively calling his girlfriend “little whore” and of abusing his confessions, allegedly in order to attribute to him vile behavior.
Sometimes compulsive patients produce remarkable isolation through marriage. They decide that married life should have no connection with the infantile sexuality: “Now I’m married, so I do not worry anymore about sexuality.” Marriage that is on this basis is not successful. Where infantile-sexual desires, in spite of isolation, were able to penetrate into married life, patients were having severe obsessions and compulsions. We have mentioned that the most significant event of isolation is to separate the ideological content and its emotional cathexis. Typical compulsive neurotics seem cold, detached and unemotional. In fact, their emotions can manifest in the most inappropriate way.
How far goes the isolation of such emotional displays, shows the patient, who made his memo: “Do not forget that I was angry.”
Shortness of compulsive neurotics in the free association is due to isolationist tendencies. They are not able to associate freely, as always wary initially implicated shield things from repeated contact. Compulsive neurotics do not allow themselves to have surprised feelings or ideas that do not fit into the established categories. Thinking in terms of compulsive is a caricature of logical thinking, also, based on exclusion. But logical thinking is the objective, and compulsive insulation means protection. Insulation, as already mentioned, is associated with the ancient taboo of touch. Numerous compulsive symptoms govern the ways in which to be and should not touch the objects. The objects represent the genitals and dirt. ”Pure” things do not come into contact with “dirty” things. In the rites of passage through the threshold of a taboo to touch the magic takes the form of fear of changing the status quo and the emergence of a new situation.
Isolation is often a shared component, which is normally subject only to realize a whole, with compulsive neurosis understood components of the whole. Compulsive neurotics often perceive the totality rather than unity, and many compulsive traits are optimal for the “inhibition in the experience of a gestalt.”
The “repeat” as a form of “cancellation” has already been mentioned. The idea is that in order to cancel the action it should be repeated with any other intention. What once was done with the intention of the instinctive needs to be repeated with the installation of the superego. Rejected by instinct, however, often gets in the re-action. Typically, the number of repetitions required increases rapidly. The choice of “favorite numbers” that determine the number of repetitions can be independent unconscious meaning. Repetition time is replaced by the score.
Favorite number is usually even. Only even numbers give a guarantee that not outweighs any instincts or superego. Most of the compulsions of “symmetry” have the same meaning.
It would be, however, mistakenly to believe that compulsive account in all cases is motivated in this way. Recount may have other values. Often he is counting seconds, the dimension of time. The need to measure the time has different determinants. Sometimes the conversion is simply a mean to test isolation. The account can block some initiative after the previous action and to guarantee observance of the time interval. The basic relationship between the dimension of time and anal erotism has been discussed. The measurement of time, being initially measuring the interval between the two litter boxes, and then can be used as protection from the temptation of anal masturbation, but sometimes it becomes the replacement of anal masturbation.
Compulsive score can also protect from causing destruction, as the recount confirms the things that they are all in place. But sometimes the defense is permeated by rejected instinct, and the score starts to symbolize the destruction, then he should also be rejected. This is facilitated by the fact that the conversion involves taking of possession, can mean “record of the property.”
The simplest example of a mechanism for cancellation is frequent compulsive washing. Washing becomes necessary as a mean of destruction of the previous “pollution” (real or imagined).
This dirty act, as a rule, is masturbation or later the thought of a distant possibility of masturbation. For the understanding of sexuality as something dirty tricks is responsible regression. Anal masturbation in childhood really was issued by stained and smelling his hands, and the exposure could be avoided by washing. Sometimes patients with compulsive neurosis rid of all doubt, taking a bath or changing clothes. ”Bad feelings” are perceived as dirty, which should be washed off. The ritual of bathing is a mean of deliverance from sin – also a manifestation of the cancellation. Probably, this is reason, for which neurotic ceremony in the latent period is so often refered to washing. Stubborn children, refusing to bathe, in fact, refuse to leave their instinctual drives that bring pleasure. It is true, however, that the rituals surrounding the preparation and undressing for bed prevail for another reason: these preparations lured to masturbation.
Many of the typical symptoms of compulsive focus on cancellation aggressive actions are usually imagined. Sometimes this purpose is expressed explicitly, as in the symptoms of closing the gas valve and removing the stones from the street, sometimes it is disclosed only with the help of psychoanalysis, as in the various symptoms of the unconscious meaning punishment. There is no clear dividing line between punishing and creative sublimation, implemented as counter-infantile sadistic strivings. Using regression, reaction formation, isolation and cancellation makes unnecessary the actual mechanism of repression. In this is the answer to the question why, in compulsive neurosis is possible awareness of unacceptable impulses. For example, the impulse to kill, due to isolation, relegated from the engine so the expression that there is no chance for its implementation, so that awareness in this case is perfectly safe. The realization of ideas then is accompanied by deprivation of their emotional coloring. Due to rupture of the original bonds psychologist can not directly use the spontaneous awareness of the patient’s pathogenic childhood. Since there are no appropriate emotions, the specialist as the patient is not aware which of the childhood memories are important and what is their importance. Even if the psychologist-psychotherapist understood it he could not share it with the patient until he overcomes the resistance of discretion of the true ties.
Lack of proper repression of compulsive neurosis, however, is relative. Compulsions and obsessions themselves may be subjected to repression. Sometimes patients are not able to tell what their compulsions are, as the compulsions are colorless, vague, similar to dreaming. Then it takes a lot of psychoanalytic work to eliminate the displacement, so that the contents of compulsions become legible.
Sometimes compulsive symptoms are displaced again, because the patient feels that they do not fit into his system, that means, they have not only protective force, but also are rejected by instinct, the intruder again.
Trying to fit into his system of compulsions, the patient is faking their original contents. His own compulsions, like the whole world, must be adapted to the system, which is the only guarantee for his safety.
Mixing in compulsive neurosis is often a “mixture into small parts.” Many compulsive neurotics worry much about minor things clearly. In psychoanalysis, these little things are revealed as the substitution of very important phenomena. The most famous example is “the thinking compulsion” in which the patient spends many hours in obsessive thinking about very abstract problems. The basis of this symptom is an attempt to get rid of unwanted emotions by means of escape from the world of emotions in the sphere of abstract concepts and words. This flight failed: intellectual challenges in which the patient tries to find salvation from their emotions, become (thanks to the return of the repressed material) of an exaggerated emotional value.