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Sybil Essay

2559 words - 10 pages

Sybil Isabel Dorsett is perhaps the most famous case of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Dissociative Identity Disorder is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states. Each identities has its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self (Smith, 1999). This case appears in a book by Flora R. Schreiber and was later made into a film (Sybil). Sybil seems to have experienced 16 separate personalities, two of whom were male. These personalities were created because of the horrific child abuse her psychotic mother inflicted upon her, along with the failure of her father to rescue her from it. Each personality embodied feelings and emotions that the real Sybil could not cope with. The waking Sybil was deprived of all these emotions, and was therefore a rather drab figure. She was unaware of her other personas and while they were in control of her body, she suffered blackouts and did not remember the episodes. The intervention of Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, a psychoanalyst, helped her to become aware of these personalities. As stated above, Sybil developed a Dissociative Identity Disorder. However, many of her personalities were created during therapy. After watching the movie and analyzing her developmental history, I can say that she was able to face her fears and better her life because of therapy. In this paper, I will talk about Sybil's developmental history, her different personalities, and how Carl Jung's theory (the personal unconscious) fit into her situation.In her situation, the young Sybil suffered physical and psychological distress from the abuse of her beloved mother. From birth, Sybil did not experience the bonds that exist between a mother and a child. Her mother made her believe that she was the most horrible child. This misconception was well coded with the abuse and rejection that she experienced. Sybil was the only child born to her biological mother and father, and was able to acquire a loving relationship with her grandmother, who also lived in their middle class one family house in Wisconsin. Due to the authoritative manners of Sybil's mother, her grandmother did not associate with her own daughter.While growing up as a child (around the age of 3 - 5), Sybil experienced many distress. Her abusive mother treated her like a lower class citizen. By her own interpretations, she used the worst forms of punishment on Sybil. In other families, a child running through their home or asking polite questions is quite acceptable. Sybil's mother believed that such behavior was rude and unacceptable. The physical cruelties that Sybil suffered were crucial. The types of abuse Sybil endured included: being hung up (both hands tied to a chain) to the roof of an old barn, being stuffed in an old chest, and being laid on the kitchen table (with a piece of wood tied to her legs and hung up from the kitchen light). Her mother also gave her a black eye, which was never...

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