Excerpt About Fragmentation

The Sense of Fragmentation Often Feels Literal

An example will concretely illustrate the difficulty in differentiating the self from its self-concept. In dealing with narcissistic issues, or with issues on the level of deep ego structures, one sometimes encounters the experience of fragmentation. As a result of either an already existing weakness in the structure of the self, or deep work that has dissolved ego structures, the individual experiences fragmentation, or disintegration. The sense of fragmentation often feels literal; the person experiences his body in fragments. This terrifies him and brings fears of death......... The person’s experience of his body being broken into disconnected fragments does not reflect the actual situation. It is an inner experience; the body is still in one piece. How can we explain the graphic and vivid experience of one’s self in fragments when in actuality one’s body remains in one piece? The usual understanding is that the fragments are not of the body itself, but of its image in the psyche. However, the individual’s feeling is that he himself, not an image in his mind, is fragmenting, and thus, he will likely experience physical terror. This is because the image of the body forms a central component in the self-representation. (

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