The Schizoid character structure
(Also known as the unwanted child or the sensitive analytic)
In my last blog, I spoke about the armour we develop that protects us against emotional and physical pain.
This armour can develop from conception onwards, but there are specific ages in which certain armours will manifest.
Today we are looking at the very earliest armour defence.
This emotional wounding and physical armour happens at the age of conception to 3 months.
The impact as an adult will show up in varying degrees, subtle or obvious. As a way we our in our behaviour most of the times, or in periods of stress.
It is an Attachment/bonding wound that is likely to develop from the following situations.
The parent does not want the child, or hates the child consciously or unconsciously.
They may have wanted a boy and had a girl, or the mother may have experienced deep grief during pregnancy.
They may become frustrated at the demands of the baby and feel inadequate in looking after them.
All these potentials, can give the child the belief that they aren’t wanted, and have no right to exist.
The life mantra of this wound becomes;
Others are a source of pain, not comfort.
I have no right to exist
I am not welcome
Ways the schizoid individual protects themselves from pain:
Dissociation, withdrawal, polarity presence/absence
How Schizoid armouring then shows up in the world in their character.
You can find hard to contain emotions such as aggression, anxiety, grief, loss, love or intimacy, difficult to tolerate, and so split yourself off from reality and the current experience to another state.
This Type of splitting usually creates and extreme way of viewing yourself or others.
You may idealise or devalue people, see themselves as worthless or omnipotent
Ways of thinking such as; I’m stupid, he’s ugly, she’s perfect, I’m no good in relationship, I’ll never succeed, I’m only worthy of love if I have money etc.
The issue here is one of safety in the social world
Babies can identify when a parent is cold, frustrated, untuned to them. Babies are attuned to the social interaction they receive but have very little defence from harsh interaction.
They can only turn away or tune out energetically.
Depending on how sensitive the baby is, this could be an abusive parent, or cold or distant.
As an adult, they may find themselves socially withdrawing, gravitating towards harsh environments or relationships, that play out this early pattern, or they are very harsh with themselves, as they have internalised the parents behaviour as an attitude towards themselves.
It may also manifest as social anxiety, intellectualising and or spiritualising life.
With all levels of the Schizoid character, they show an automatic tendency to dissociate , be unaware of their feelings, and out of touch with their thoughts, Significant parts of themselves and their experience.
The behaviour in the adult will depend on several basic dimensions.
They will function to the capacity they can hold or control the unresolved pain around the belief that they weren’t wanted or accepted.
This may have detrimental effects such a psychosomatic illness, or diminished capacity for intimate relationship, but they will be able to function in the world.
They may be extremely sensitive to any harshness in the environment, unable to sustain any work commitment or relationship and will flee from one thing to another.
If their defences are more robust, they may become an expert in a specific area of work but have a history of broken or damaged relationships.
They may display starkly different ability at home compared to work. Competitive and dominant in the office, meek and shy at home.
The key to understanding them is by the disconnect of the individual to life, food, the body, feeling, community, others, except in those areas where they have attained exceptional achievement.
There’s a tendency to twist away, not look head on.
Perfectionist and procrastination.
Remember; people feel like a source of pain. Life feels like a threatening place.
There is a defensive attempt to earn approval and self acceptance through achievement. This is their only contact with the world, to build a sense of who they are and where they belong. Failure here can result in depression or worse.
Most schizoids are very understanding and accepting, they cannot handle the hostility towards themselves or others, as they experience it as threatening and they will either dissociate or numb.
It reminds them on a subconscious level of not being wanted by their parents..
Some may be controlling in relationship, as they are avoiding any spontaneous feelings of rage or terror by keeping close watch on any situations that could trigger these emotions. They carefully evaluate actions that involve others, regulate the amount of depth to maintain safety. This leaves the other feeling controlled.
Control battles will ensure with partners and the schizoid will feel like they are fighting for their life, as they would have felt as that very small defenceless baby.
There is often a conscious need to feel special. As a way of denying the reality of not being loved, there is the compensatory ideal of specialness, which is often realised. Either through achievement or delusional achieving.
There typically can be outbursts of rage, followed by exhaustion.
How this shows up in the body;
Opposite to typical breathings patterns, belly pulls in on the inhale instead of exhale.
Chronic tension in the neck, upper shoulders, around the rib cage and diaphragm and often the spine.
Muscle tone is generally tight, creating some rigidity in the body, as if the muscles are pulling into the bones.
Sometimes shoulders pull forward and create a hunched upper back.
Body can seem or looked undernourished.
Distant or glazed eyes, lack of eye contact.
There is a spectrum here of how this shows up in us as adults.
Perhaps you resonate with some of the examples above. Maybe this is you to a tee.
Next blog I’ll be discussing the next character structure, perhaps this is more like you?