Sunday, March 13, 2011

Self within Self

Just finished reading the case study of Sybil Dorsett. An exceptionally interesting book about the integration of a girl with 16 different personalities into one person. Each of her personalities was an outcome of hidden emotions, buried deep in her unconscious.

In her case, her emotions and fears took the shape of 16 separate personalities who controlled the real Sybil from time to time and dictated her life based on their assumptions and liking. The separation and integration of these personalities, though quite complicated still presented a clear picture when the real self realized and accepted the existence of others.

If we carefully look, Sybil might be just an explicit case, but we all have these multiple personalities. The only difference if that we are aware of them while Sybil was not. Our different emotions leading us to react differently, depending on the kind of feelings governing us at that moment are the representation of those hidden ‘individuals’ (if I can say so) in us.

There is one more difference, because of our awareness, we try to keep a check on these personalities within us and coordinate with them. For instance, sometimes, we let our carefree side take over and indulge into pampering. But then the serious, so called ‘practical’ side comes back and take everything in control gearing us up for the work after a relaxed weekend. What I feel is that each of our personalities keeps a check as well as helps the other whenever needed. That’s the reason we survive, we live and we strike back every time after a setback.

But what constitutes these personalities? Is this just the emotion or the experience we go through at different stages of life? Is it the amalgamation of all these or is it just a single component forming the base of an inner personality? I don’t have answer to any of these questions. Sometimes, one emotion dictates our actions while at other times it might be just a past experience dictating our entire course of behaviour.

With the help of Dr. Wilbur, Sybil had solved the puzzles of her life. But for us it is still a mystery. We still need to uncover those hidden, small selves within us.


  1. The 'self' is ever intriguing. very apt questions raised by u i.e. ur'self'. The confusion in the 'self' is perhaps because of the fragmentation in it, constantly maintained by perceived awareness, not solved though. The projections of the mind seems to be emerging from a vehement epicenter. the understanding of the 'self', as i feel, involves more of dexterity than erudition!

  2. @psychepower: well said...the fragmentation of the self creates the confusion. Awareness of the same can be solution to some extent but here again the question on very concept of being "aware" reliable and true is the awarness is a big question in itself. The confusion increases as we go deeper into it, creating a never ending search about one'self'.

  3. I dnt know about the book..but i have seen the movie about was a brilliant movie...Initially only Double personality disorder was known..but when Dr.Wilbur started daignosing Sybill she realized that there can be multiple personality situation too...after treating Sybill completely she presented a research paper on Multiple Personality Disorder. and about ur questions.......well i think we are a bundle of threads..and these personalities are these threads....the3se are express as per the frequency of the situation of the mind...Sybill had a horrible childhood....that made these threads get tangled in each other..all mixed up...this made her loose controll on her threads(emotions/personalities)....frankly speaking....we all have split personalities...which we realize only when we conciously analize our own situations

  4. @vallabh: good comparison between bundle of threads and personalities:) have rightly said as Sybil we too have different personalities striving towards some or other thing, the moment we realise this we become aware of our inner personalities.

    And let me suugest- Try the book Sybil too. It makes for an exceptionally interesting reading :)

  5. @Richa..i will...suggestion accepted.. ;)