26 | CR Book IX, Chapter 3

mental conflict about objective reality, and to a flight from the matter-
of-fact world, and from reality, into a more congenial, childish and
private object-world. A mental conflict blocks the way to reality.
Experiences carried over from past conflicts interfere*, because unac-
cepted, and so do personal predelictions, associations and meanings,
fortified by the illusion of individual unity. Fighting with our past, we
cannot deal with a new situation on its own merit. We stand in our
own way. All we can see is our own unsettled self.

This threefold isolation creates a deceptive self which is half-
heartedly bent on its own destruction. All its activities aim at self-
annihilation through self-maintenance, or self-assertion
. This self aims at
a lost nothingness, while trying to maintain the illusion of a self-
existence, thus contradicting itself. All adaptation is an attempt to
remove a stimulus (or object), thereby while maintaining the self, at the
same time furthering its annihilation. For the subject is a subject for an
object, and when the object ceases, the self-existence of the subject is
correspondingly diminished. Reactions like aggressiveness and fear
(actively) reduce the external object to nothing. In shock and anxiety
the self is (more or less passively) deprived, suddenly, either of a part of
itself, or of external objects which it could hold on to. The factor of self-
annihilation is usually overshadowed by the obvious concern for self-
preservation in such reactions, and because we realise insufficiently that
object and subject are one in the empirical self, and that the difference
between "active" and "passive" in untenable.

The isolated self tends to fall to pieces. One self makes two, and two
make one. In all mental disorders a split, or division is discernible. We
fall to pieces as a direct consequence of our attempt to be a separate one,
when we try to achieve too narrow a unity, wholeness, and oneness.

The process of repression, or of integration (unification) by
inhibition, is usually carried through at the cost of some disintegration,
through dissociating repressed contents. We are more or less unaware
of the dissociated parts of out mental life. They are blotted out. Self-
deception becomes our second nature. The dissociated parts are not
owned by the self, have been chucked out, although they still are its
essential parts. I repress because I measure my unity by some phantastic
"ideal self" (or some infantile idea of what I should, or ought to, be),
and do not acknowledge in myself the existence of something foreign
to that "ideal" self.

The disowned parts were not genuinely disowned. They often
reappear in phobias, or force themselves on the attention of the self by
"alienation" of parts of the self, "invasions" of the self by an
apparently external force, "possessions", amnesias, compulsions,
obsessions, etc. The hysteric detaches, or isolates, a "subsidiary" self,
which takes over from the conscious self the control of a part of the
personality. He splits himself, under the stress of terror and anxiety,
as a solution of a mental conflict, as a means of escape from a disastrous
situation, or as a means of defence against instinctual desires which
threaten to break through. The person, split, is at loggerheads with
himself, plays a trick on himself, and prevents himself from doing what
he wants to do. Similarly, the unity of the self can be narrowed don to

*Book VIII, Chapter 2 - Book VII, Chapter 2 - Book X
Book II, Chapter 1 - Book VII, Chapter 2