A few years ago, I had the opportunity to have (formal but repeated) relationships with a young woman (by the way, of an amazing and unnatural beauty, never seen before) that been created in me an incomprehensible but persistent feeling to cope an inextricable enigma, an mystery carefully prepared, an unconfessable secret ("secret" that, I do not know why, but I had tended to put in relation with the history of his family or with an his intimate and precocious pain): unsettling feeling that I immediately perceived as totally independent of its undoubtedly dazzling aesthetics.
She appeared to me, always, inexplicably engaged in a his self-contained universe (so, involuntarily, proclaiming this to all), and, always, inexplicably committed to conceal this its self-sufficient universe (or, at the worse, committed to not allow access to this his private universe, when its existence it was eventually unveiled). A universe of which she was jealous but of which she had also ashamed. An operation so unintentionally theatrical, as theatrically hidden. A striking paradox.
Seemed that only she possessed the magic formula for changing any filth in solid gold 24 kt and that everyone wanted to steal at she this philosophal stone, unwisely deprive she of his privilege. His strength was also his weakness. And the more she tried to hide or to misrepresent this secret, the more she revealed this its mood.
Its attitudes seemed to me with a double meaning:
- formally, very mature, (but, substantially, childish),
- formally, very fascinating (but, substantially, clumsy),
- formally, very uninhibited (but, substantially, rarely spontaneus),
- formally, very self-confident (but, substantially, often uncomfortable).
- formally, very indifferent (but, substantially, irritated by the interaction with others),
- formally, very independent (but, substantially, continuously aimed at research of the other's intention, for preventively evading it),
- formally, very self-controlled (but, substantially, prone to impulsive reactive acts).
His proxemics, his kinesics, her logical processes, revealed me, quickly and accurately (even in response to precise my stresses), its conducts as:
- stereotyped, not spontaneous;
- dichotomous, extremes, devoid of modulation;
- with a strong internal contradiction (the purpose formal and sometimes pompously exhibited, contradicts diametrically the substantial and clumsily hidden motive, in a logic at times self-defeating and counterproductive);
- inappropriate, logically strident, unsolicited from the objective needs of the context.
Indeed, as all others disorders of personality, even the schizoid disorder is egosyntonic (the subject recognizes the own symptoms and you feel in tune with they and, therefore, does not prove uncomfortable, feeling the above symptoms as physiologically consistent with the rest of own personality); so, only a minority of subjects carriers of a personality disorder warns the unsustainability of own personality and, therefore, feels the need to consult a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist to try to solve the own problem. But, unlike all other subjects with so-called personality disorders, the schizoid has a further difficulty on referral to a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist: a rigid difficulty (often insurmountable) on to talk about himself with others (including Psychologists and Psychiatrists) and on to describe to the others its own emotions. In additions, compared to all others disorders of personality, the schizoid personality disorder has a very low percentage of frequency in the world population (a percentage even lower than the paranoid disorder) and that I consider to estimate around the 1%. All this means that Psychologists and Psychiatrists have an opportunity to examine, in corpore vivo, a very limited number of cases of schizoid personality and, therefore, to produce a scientific literature, in the field of schizoid personality, extremely reduced!
Therefore, my intention is to describe the S.P.D., using, above all, the results of my practical experience and of my analysis (and not using, as much as possible, the findings of the poor scientific literature): this to avoid at the schizoid (and, above all, at to their aspiring interlocutors, in particular, to those more emotionally needy!) bitter misunderstandings and painful frustrations.
- marked intolerance at the eye contact, active and passive. Very rarely his glance is addressed to the others. When looks the others, his glance is shifty or impersonal and directed to the face: if directed at the eyes (rarely), is a oblique glance, tense and disenchanted, that lingers for no more than 1-2 consecutive seconds.
- very marked intolerance to the physical contact, active and passive (especially, when the physical contact is very light and slight!), with manifestations of immediate retraction or fear when she is touched. Very rare (and totally unexpected!) episodes of active physical contacts strongly uninhibited (as in a sort of blackout of awareness of own body).
- rigid demarcation and unyielding defense of the own physical space (a interpersonal space such as to never allow an intimate distance). If can not secure for herself an adequate interpersonal distance, she tends to show own side or turn one's back on, in front at the interlocutor, or tends to sit and curl up.
- standing, with a potential interlocutor that are approaching, tendency to join hands or to retain an any object between both hands or to put your hands on your thighs or in your pocket; in any case, all this in order to have excuse for not having to shake hands with at this potential interlocutor. If she is forced to shake hands at the interlocutor, looks elsewhere or extends much his arm, but keeping the trunk far behind, and, in any case, holding the hand concave.
- discomfort and anxiety in having to frequenting crowded environments.
- recurrent tendency to stay alone, sitting, longly in silence and in a state of ordered quiet (if she is sitting in front of interlocutors, tends to have own arms crossed and/or own legs crossed, and/or the elevation of the two upper epiphysis, with lowering the neck and the head, or tends to sit slantwise, orienting his legs at 45° to the interlocutor).
- tendency to sneak in front at the human relationships and to isolate themselves physically or to abstract themselves from the context, as for focus exclusively on own inner world.
- recurring composure and rigid self-control (absolute absence of facial mimicry - so-called "poker face" - and of manual micro gestures); however, very brief but acute and impulsive behaviors of snobbery, impatience, retreat, fugue.
- very wide movements of arms and of legs (never spontaneous, always mechanical and almost robotic), with stiffness and absence of flexion in the elbows, in the knees and in the torso.
- tendency to walk with head well erect, or with the head much tilted forward (but keeping your back straight).
- walking putting at the ground, above all, the toes of foot (and very little the heel): so-called "toe-walking". From sitting, rests on the ground above all the heels. In any case, poor contact with the ground.
- preconceived and prolonged distrust of others.
- defiant ostentation of autonomy and of self-confidence, with reaction of undisguised and proud impatience before the proffers of cooperation of others.
- ostentatious attitude of snobbish indifference, but, in reality, silently and secretly very watchful and tirelessly brim to the widespread control of the relationships (actual or potential) not objectual.
- reassured and comforted from the relationship with objects.
- emotional coldness and snobbish detachment, with blatant and theatrical flaunting of its own haughty coldness.
- smug cynicism.
- secretly envious (highly dismissive of the success of others; strongly tending to ridicule the failure of others).
- resistance (silent, omissive and obstinate) in not wanting to perform unwanted obligations, or in the not take unforeseen responsibilities or into not answer to direct questions that require an answer clear and source of commitment.
- oscillation between behavior of sudden and very much ostentatious superiority, arrogance, haughtiness and snobbery, and behavior defiladed and a bit disconsolate, which, occasionally, becomes (even!) obsequious deference.
- slight but constant formal inadequacy. If she is kind (rarely), is so with affectation and emotional distance.
- serious difficulties in expressing verbal or gestural delicacy, and at unease when is being treated with verbal or gestural delicacy.
- rapid oscillations between virginal or prudish attitudes, and seductive or uninhibited behaviors.
- behaviour of obstinate reluctance and of capillary subtraction at the more physiological and correct intersexual dialectic (schizoid behaviour that the others that not are schizoid, inesorably misunderstands, wrongly, as strong virginal modesty and extreme sense of sexual decency).
- facing a emotive, affective and sentimental direct manifestations of others, she has very inexorable attitudes of elusion, of rationalization, of intellectualization, of disapproval, of derision, of intolerance, of contempt (...and, even, of panic and of fugue!). Astutely, she always tends to accredit in others the belief that their emotive or affective or sentimental direct manifestations are, objectively and inexorably, illegitimate or unjustified or exaggerated or inappropriate or immoral or mischievous or instrumental or untimely or unclear or childish (etc.); therefore, she always tries any pretext for avoid to evaluate these manifestations on their merit and on their objective substance, in order of not to show its profound disregard for human relationship in general, but above all in order of not having to refuse, directly and in the merit, the emotional, affective and sentimental direct manifestations, and, thus, really get in human contact with each other, albeit temporarily.
- strong reservedness (which, at times, results in rigid and impermeable secretness!) respect to own privacy, even with reference to details clearly marginal or utterly insignificant.
- touchiness (secret, but profound).
- demeanor of seriousness and maturity ostentatious and, at times, comically redundant.
- a very few initiatives of irony (almost always, with a cynical, derisive and sarcastic background, extremely steeped of perfidy). Not collects ever the irony of others. Complete absence of self-irony!
- smile almost completely absent; absolutely rare laughter (entirely unexpected and unpredictable, very tender and delicate, but ridiculously childish, through clenched teeth).
- absolutely rare explosions of enthusiasm and euphoria (entirely unexpected and unpredictable, much short but vibrant, really amazing, very naive and that reminiscent of those typical of the first adolescence, grossly disproportionate and exaggerated compared to the their probable cause, and in inconceivable logical contradiction with the previous behavior of absolute detachment and indifference).
- speech rare, slow, tiring, concise, laconic, pragmatic, always assertive, never interrogative and with late replies, without tonal variations, slightly sing-song, sometime with a cadence vaguely admonitory and professorial, in tone medium-low, with stereotyped, formal and of circumstance phraseology.
- limited vocabulary (alogia), poor of terminological variety.
- poor descriptive ability (especially in describing emotional and artistic experiences).
- difficulty, discouragement and irritation to thinking in metaphor, in use of symbolic models, in understanding of verbal nuances or of puns or of verbal innuendo and allusions or of figurative or surreal or paradoxical language or of idiomatic phrases or of subtle irony, with tendency to interpret literally the phraseology of others.
- ease in carrying out of executive and mechanical activities.
- mnemonic skill higher average.
- dichotomous thinking. Analysis and judgment always rotate between two opposites ("tertium non datur"), and every time they is required a gradation in analysis and in judgement, she believes that these gradations not are important or are useless or misleading or captious (etc.).
- thrift in spending.
- frugality in the feeding.
- slender build.
- cold hands.
- absent sweating.
- clothing, makeup and hairstyle, extremely sophisticated and captivating (feminine, fashionable, coquettish, seductive, flashy), or, on the contrary, distinctly formal, austere and sober.
- ostentation / secrecy,
- bravado / awkwardness,
- arrogance / fear,
- maturity / childishness,
- indifference / vigilance,
- anesthesia / hyperesthesia.
A personality that, when is forced to the sociality, is characterized by an unconscious use of articulated and stubborn techniques of deterrence, intended to discourage and demotivate any potential interlocutor and, therefore, intended to minimize the probability of human relationships (in particular, of non-formal and intimate human relationships) and the related risks of emotional and physical contact.
Much of the life of the schizoid is occupied by these measures, applied progressively:
- the remoteness (1st)
- the surveillance (2nd),
- the delimitation (3rd)
- the deterrence (4th).
- the escape (principally physically moves away; but, even, pretends to not understand the context or, suddenly and radically, change the speech, etc.).
Synthesizing at the extreme the features I listed above, the schizoid personality seems to me, very suggestively, a very bizarre mixture between two factors:
- AUTISM (intolerance at the eye contact, intolerance to the physical contact),
- NARCISSISM (grandiose image of himself, absent empathy, cynism, ostentation of indifference, superiority, arrogance, haughtiness and snobbery).
In more classical and canonical terms, we could say that the Schizoid is not a Shy/Avoidant/Neurotic, but is a Introvert/(potentially) Psychotic.
- The Shy/Avoidant/Neurotic is the one who aspires to relate to others, but that avoids the interpersonal relationship for fear of being rejected or of appear inadequate (typical case is that of the Depressed). Conversely, the Introvert does not aspire to relate to others (a typical case is that of the Schizoid).
- The Neurotic perceives the reality correctly, but struggles to adapt to this. Conversely, the Psychotic has difficulty already in the first stage, that of reading of the reality (a reality that in fact perceives altered).
- The Shy/Avoidant/Neurotic has known the Love, but then lost it (for example, for a mourning or for a surrender). Conversely, the Schizoid has never known the Love.
|Hans Rudolf Giger: "Work n.217, ELP I" (2005)|
- ostentation of autonomy and of self-confidence (which here becomes rigid operational autonomy, with reluctance to delegate the carrying out of activities).
- parsimony excessive and incongruous than the real economic capacity.
- tendency to accumulate the most different objects and goods, also irrespective of their actual practical use and even if objectively no longer usable (obsolete, damaged, malfunctioned, etc...).
- enhancement and mythologizing of labor and of all economically productive activity, with correlated devaluation of abstract thinking, hobbies, sport, religious activities, existential and philosophical reflection and meditation, gossip, ecc....
- perfectionism and sterile attention to details, also if details objectively irrelevant and also at the expense of neglecting the understanding and the care of the globality of the problem.
- stubbornness in pursuit of a method, even if it is clearly not optimal.
- susceptibility (which here becomes rancor, recurrent and persistent).
- attitude secretly vigilant (which here becomes suspiciousness, explicit and obsessive, unbreakable, self-referential and refractory to every contrary objective evidence).
- reservedness tending to the secrecy (which here becomes secrecy, preordained and pervasive, also with regard to informations not related to the own private sphere).
- the schizoid does not aspire to own people, but rather, the objects,
- the schizoid is very unlikely which may to be afraid of remain alone.
|Tamara de Lempicka: "Portrait de Ira P." (1923)|
|Amedeo Modigliani: "Portrait of woman with black tie" (1917)|
Schizoids and Asperger, of course, have in common a very limited range of expressive and emotional features and a certain unconcealed intellectual presumption.
We could say, simplifying, that the Asperger is a Schizoid (which has a equal percentage of narcissism and autism, or sees a slight preponderance of the narcissistic percentage) in which the Narcissism / Autism mix has a preponderance of the autistic component at the expense of the a bit atrophized narcissistic component.
Also the recent Japanese phenomenon (by far preponderantly in males) of the "Hikikomori", albeit filtered through the cultural peculiarities typical of Japan (father physically almost always absent, education system highly competitive and selective, very considerable expectation of parents about the future professional success of their children, pervasive social expectation of finalization of individual behavior for the higher purposes of the community), has too many suspicious similarities with the phenomenology of schizoid personality (even if, in the specific case of the Hikikomori, occurs also, in addition, a bizarre reversal of the circadian rhythm sleep-wake, de facto such as to minimize the possibility of human interaction).
Not lacking famous people who, I believe, can be considered like (plausible) schizoids (not coincidentally, almost exclusively males or persons belonging to the Anglo-Saxon and northern-European culture), very often characterized by misanthropy and/or by asexuality:
Diogenes of Sinope,
Blaise Pascal ("tout le malheur des hommes vient d’une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre" / "all the misfortune of men come from just one thing, which is to not know remain at rest in a room").
Vincent Van Gogh,
Maximilien de Robespierre,
George Bernard Shaw,
Paul Cézanne (suffered from strong Haphephobia, the fear of being touched. He had given instructions to her maid of not approach him never and, if touched from someone, became furious),
Hans Christian Andersen,
Howard Phillips Lovecraft,
Philip K. Dick (self-diagnosed as "schizoid personality". Besides, Dick's mother was cold and distant, had little capacity for empathy and inability to care for the twin sister of Philip, Jane, that died, shortly after birth, due to malnutrition),
Jean-Paul Sartre ("l'enfer, c'est les autres"/"Hell, is other people"),
Emil Cioran ("Love - a meeting of two saliva ... All feelings draw their absolute from misery of glands". "The real contact between beings is established only with the silent presence, with the apparent non-communication, with the mysterious exchange and without words". "I despise the Christian because he is able to love his fellow man closely. To me, for rediscover the man, it would take the Sahara").
Georges Simenon (Had a mother, daughter of a suicide father, who he define like "insensitive to the emotions of others". Also the Simenon's daughter is died suicide, as his maternal grandfather),
Carl Gustav Jung,
Jack Kerouac (honorably discharged from the US Navy, after only 8 days of service, for "schizoid personality"),
Syd Barrett (traditionally mistaken for an Asperger, him, however, showed the clearest symptoms of schizoid or of schizotypal disorder, symptoms albeit exacerbated by continued use of drugs),
- Sherlock Holmes,
- Wednesday Addams ("the Addams family"),
- Data ("Star Trek"), not by chance an android,
- Gregory House ("House M. D."),
- Mr. James Stevens ("The remains of the day"),
- many "superheroes" loners (Superman, Batman, etc.).
|Edvard Munch: "Inheritance II" (1897 - 1899)|
- very traditional fathers, physically (and emotionally) absent, and mothers very bad caregivers with very little ability to care of their children (therefore, of not-autonomous persons par excellence) and not able to respond coherently to the their emotional demands. Therefore, for belittle the seriousness of this their very serious pedagogical deficiencies (emotional, affective and sentimental), for to conceal their utter inability of solve these their chronic faults, both (father and mother) tend to diminish the importance of emotions, of affectivity, of feelings and of human relationship (and, therefore, of everything that their, parents, do not know provide or do not want provide), and are selfishly interested in promoting, in their children, the more rapid achievement of the maximum emotional self-control and emotional self-sufficiency, maliciously smuggling this two targets for pretense maturity and adult autonomy. A mother, at the same time, heavily obtrusive, with a marked tendency to projecting the own frustrations and the own expectations on her daughter, and to suppressing the personality of own daughter for groped to replace it with own project of personality (also this maternal intrusiveness so overwhelming, it inhibits the daughter and she induces it to repress own personality). Therefore, a mother-daughter relationship always swinging between an excess of absence (rejection) and an excess of presence (intrusiveness).
- families with very poor internal communication and external sociability.
- cultural and ethnic patterns (families with rigid religiosity, families from northern Europe or Sino-Japanese area, or rural areas or areas with a low population density or mountain areas or island areas).
- the schizoid girl, albeit obsessed by the compulsory and constant need to avoid any physical and emotional relationship, you may feel impelled to find a partner by effect of the sexual urges (in adolescence) or by effect of the need to guarantee itself a financial protection or a social respectability (in mature age). In these cases, I think that the schizoid tends to join in couple preferably with men who, for character traits (schizoid, avoidant, obsessive-compulsive, paranoid), or for reasons of psychological subjection (much younger or ugly or of social class lower) or to limitations of physical type (much older) or for reasons of geographical distance (men residing or working away), are assumed to be incapable to take (actively and spontaneously) physical and/or emotional contacts, and, at the same time, they are capable to accept (passively and uncritically) the occasional request of contact physical and/or emotional of schizoid. In addition, the need to avoid direct physical contact, in my opinion can tilt the schizoid towards atypical forms of sexuality, such as voyeurism and fetishism. Likewise, the lack of sense of identity combined with asexuality, I think that can form a logical antecedent of predisposition to bland bisexuality.
- bizarrely, the Schizoid girl will attract, a lot more, the Depressed/Avoidant man and the Histrionic man: therefore (paradoxically), precisely those men who, more than any other, she as Schizoid can not tolerate because of their constant emotional demands! The Depressed/Avoidant and the Histrionic are attracted by the emotive self-control, by the autonomy and by the self-sufficiency of Schizoid, and, that is, precisely by those features that they, Depressed/Avoidant and Histrionic, do not have (the Depressed/Avoidant and the Histrionic they can not hold back their emotions and end up participate at the emotions of others; in particular, the Depressed/Avoidant needs a woman to love and whence be loved; the Histrionic needs a women who him applaud). In addition, particularly the Depressed/Avoidant, being very emotionally needy, unknowingly tends to misunderstand (wrongly!) the asexuality of the schizoid, mistaking it for strong sexual morality and extreme virginal decency and, so, he ends to build an image of Schizoid interlocutor as of a potentially ideal person to meet own deep sentimental and romantic needs. Well: the Histrionic, after being unappreciated by the Schizoid, he does not persists in relational inquiry, feeling the contempt of the schizoid as referring to only one of its many possible spectators (because the histrionic tends always to direct own attention, simultaneously, to more people, to a community of people) and, therefore, he will appeal elsewhere, in search of a new audience. Conversely, the Depressed/Avoidant people feel the contempt that the schizoid reserve to him as a personal injury (because the depressed people will appeal always only to a single individual, and also because the contempt of Schizoid coincides with the vision of person of little value that the depressed has of himself). Therefore, the schizoid reaction induces the Depressed/Avoidant to believe that he not had expressed with adequate power and enough sincerity his sentimental and romantic intent (the depressed person believes always that a deep love ends up making always breach even in the toughest interlocutor) and, therefore, pushes the depressed people to persevere, getting stronger, in own relational request with the Schizoid, to show more and more keenly his intent sentimental and romantic, thus triggering a loop, an escalation, increasingly exacerbated between the propositions of own emotional demands and the schizoid reactions of irritation and contempt. For this reason, I believe that a true Schizoid, a pure and hard Schizoid, give the "worst" of herself in the presence of an Depressed/Avoidant subject of the opposite sex: this, precisely, because she feels that the Depressed/Avoidant people are the subjects potentially more threatening and dangerous for his schizoid emotive quiet. Whereas for the Depressed/Avoidant or for the Dependent affective people, the encounter with a Schizoid turns out as an event undoubtedly very inspiring and instructive under an intellectual profile, but emotionally devastating and traumatic.
- if you think about it well and without intellectual prejudice, the rejection of sociality and the rejection of sex (the two cornerstones of schizoid personality) can explain many many cases of (alleged) "religious vocations", especially those of type monastic or cloistered or ascetic.
- First of all, we must carefully avoid groped to establish eye contact with She: means you must absolutely avoid of looking She in the eyes.
- Then, you have to avoid to get too close to She (a distance greater than 2 meters will be very welcome to She) and, even more, never to touch She (never groped to tighten the hands of She).
- Stoically, endure his endless silences. The silence that you perceive as indifference, it really will be a paradoxal form (albeit very moderate) of respect and acceptance (if She will find you slightly unpleasant, do not doubt that it will begin to snort and to show, with theatrical ostentation, all the his contempt).
- Never ask at She anything about his private life (even trivial details): otherwise, you will be branded from She as a irreducible nosy and She will put you, immediately and permanently, at distance.
- Apply, with She, an infinite dilution of the amount and of intensity of the own relational initiatives and even more of the own affective impulses, according to a logic that reminiscent, much closely, that of homeopathic medicine.
- Not hope too much of receive any one manifestation of affection from part of She. Even if you were to be the subject of some (rare) manifestation of emotional attention on her part (it can happen...), you need know that this manifestation will be followed (as soon as possible) by another manifestation not only diametrically contrary, but also greater than the previous and deliberately blatant and scenographic.
- Every love affair with She is doomed to fail inexorably. The only game that you can hope to play with She is an sorte of infinite match of chess for correspondence: the distance between a move and another will be intolerably enormous. Will a match without winners ... and with two losers (both asleep in front at the chessboard).
Indeed, the DSM, like a geographic map that sets the cardinal points (North, South, West, East), is nothing more than a psychological map that sets the psichic cardinal points (Schizoid, Avoidant, Narcissistic, Borderline, Paranoid, Istrionic, etc.).
Therefore, it is clear that most of the psychic types actually present in the reality will almost never match exactly on the psichic cardinal points outlined by the DSM; but this does not imply the uselessness of these cardinal points, because, if we would eliminated them, we would never know the exact position of the actual and more or less intermediate psychic types.
"Je songe à tous ces imbéciles qui s'embrassent et je me dis que, vraiment, on a autre chose à faire dans l'existence"
["I reflect on all these imbeciles who they embrace and I say at me that, really, there something else to do in the existence"]
[P.S.: Your comments (also anonymous) will be highly appreciated!]