The Sins of the Father Essay

1954 Words8 Pages
The Sins of the Father

What happens to children severely traumatized or neglected during the first years of life? This is an infinite topic, so the focus of this exploration will be limited to three personality disorders. The symptoms of these personality disorders are diagnosed in adulthood, but their roots lie in the first 4 years of life. Erikson's growth stages of trust vs. mistrust and autonomy vs. self-doubt will form the foundation for understanding. When a child is exposed to abusive, pathological parenting during these development stages the result is often a personality disorder. Personality disorders are enduring patterns of perception, which are maladaptive and cause significant functional impairment and/or subjective
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Both of these responses produce a hysterical infant in physical pain and extreme psychological distress. If the caregiver is unable to respond to the infant, the feelings of helplessness become a predominant part of the infant’s experience. The infant cries and cries, or withdraws, forming the experiential belief that it cannot survive or find stability. This is the very core of mistrust. The infant learns to mistrust the caregiver and internalizes the experience so as to mistrust itself. Remember the infant is unable to differentiate between the caregiver and itself. This is the foundation of significant distress and an inability to achieve a secure bond that in turn will be transferred to every relationship it has throughout life. The conflict of desperately needing to depend on another but being unable to trust another has begun formation. The conflict is then acted out throughout life in an attempt to resolve it. This inability to form a confident reliance in a primary relationship produces the basic underlying pathology for borderline, narcissistic and paranoid personality disorders. Significant characteristics of the borderline personality disorder include patterns of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, characterized by alternating between extremes of devaluation and over-idealization. A similar characteristic of the narcissistic personality disorder is continuous exploitation throughout the life of interpersonal
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