Multiple Personalities in Sybil
Do you ever feel as though you are acting as a different person in different situations? Do you ever feel as though acting "fake"? You are definitely not alone in your thoughts and feelings, but do note that there is always something or someone more extreme than you are.
One such person is the character of Sybil Dorsett, in Flora Rheta Schreiber's novel, Sybil. The novel, Sybil, takes a look at multiple personalities within a person. It is based on the research of Dr. Cornelia Wilbur. Dr. Wilbur was a psychoanalyst who had been treating Sybil for about three months. One day, Sybil, who was a schoolteacher, burst into the room in a hysterical speech. Her fists were clinched with rage as she shouted loudly, "Men are all alike. You just can't trust 'em. You can't." At this point, Dr. Wilbur realized that there was definitely something wrong with this picture, for she had never seen Sybil in this sort of state. At this, Dr. Wilbur turned to Sybil and simply asked, "Who are you?" She was quite surprised at the answer that she received. Sybil said "Can't you tell the difference? I'm Peggy." It was during this first encounter with "Peggy" that Dr. Wilbur realized that she was dealing with a case of multiple personality. Multiple personality was not unheard of though. The three personalities of Chris Seizmore had already been well documented at that time and used for the subject of a movie, The Three Faces of Eve. However, nothing that had ever been documented or witnessed in the history of medicine was going to prepare Dr. Wilbur for what she was about to discover. She learned through therapy and many patient months that she was not dealing with just two personalities, Peggy and Sybil, but rather sixteen different personalities.
In the following sessions of therapy that were to follow, Dr. Wilbur began to learn more and more about each different personality. She figured that this was the only answer or way to treat Sybil. She was going to have to treat each of Sybil's separate selves. The way that she was going to have to eventually treat Sybil though was by going into the past and bringing up some of the repressed memories that Sybil had from childhood. She would then have to make Sybil bring together all of the different selves and come to terms with the past and the reality of the present and future. Some of the more flamboyant personalities were Sybil, of course, who was generally shy and withdrawn, Peggy, who was quite aggressive, Vicky, who is quite sophisticated, Mary, who was quite obese, but yet motherly, Vanessa, who had the aura of an actress, baby-Ruthie, who was very childlike, and two energetic, high-spirited young males, Mike and Sid. The treatment of these different selves was going to be an enormous task any way that Dr. Wilbur looked at it. Another odd that was stacked against her was that Sybil was in the guise of the other personalities at least one-third of...