Excerpt About Separateness

The Sense of Separateness is an Important Aspect of the Sense of Identity

The first body-image contributes to the self-image, especially in its demarcation from the outside. It contributes to the sense of separateness of the self. The second body-image contributes to the self-boundaries more in terms of a feeling of self, and not as much to the sense of separateness. Of course, the sense of demarcation and separateness from the outside contributes, in turn, to this feeling of self. The sense of separateness is, in fact, an important aspect of the sense of identity. Both self-images (or as Mahler calls them above, “intrapsychic structures”) ultimately generate, and in fact form, the sense of identity. So we see here that the sense of self has in it two kinds of self-image (two kinds of self-representations) and two kinds of body-image, forming the nuclei of the self-images. We have seen that this multiplicity is a result of the body having two sets of boundaries, inner and outer. Another factor leading to this multiplicity or layering of self-representations is the process by which this sense of self is developed. We have seen that the ego-identity develops as a result of the separation-individuation process, and also that this process has two distinct lines of development—separation and individuation. The line of development of separation is mainly related to the external body-image and its corresponding self-image. The line of individuation is connected primarily to the internal body-image and its corresponding self-image. Of course there is no clear-cut distinction between the various images, and no clear linear and causal connection. This whole picture of the personality is general and approximate. It is however, sufficient for our understanding of the various grades of emptiness.

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