Monday, November 28, 2011

A healing path (5) no worst: not feeling allowed to exist

The worst part of the Black Hole is the way you represent in your mind the fact that your twin ceased to exist.   This is an extract from an article about the so-called "Pre-oedipal psychopathology." (In other words, being a womb twin survivor, but then these people don't know about us) 
Persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology generally are able to function quite well in their work life and in interpersonal relations which are not too intimate, and yet they are prey to attacks of intense oral rage which is directed against others or themselves. Their object relationships vacillate between superficiality and clinging dependency and manipulative demandingness. They have little tolerance for stress and are hypersensitive to criticism. They exhibit an outward calm, while inwardly feeling chaotic and inferior, especially with respect to persons in authority. They tend to suffer from any combination of two or more neurotic, seemingly psychotic, psychosomatic or socio-pathic symptoms and they tend to complain of diffuse free-floating anxiety, of a pervasive sense of emptiness and of existential despair or of a vague feeling that things are not as they should be with them.
 The idea of "existential despair"  is of interest here.  This is not being dead, or a fear of death, or even a fear of being alive.  This is a feeling of not being allowed to exist.

Here is a quote from someone in a state of existential despair.
All I know is that over the past few weeks, despite doing well on my GMATs and supposedly charting a course for my future (applying to business school), I have felt a more profound sense of dread and a different form of suicidality than I have felt in the past. The acute pain of depression has given way to an emptiness that feels like a fundamental, inescapable truth - unlike the more obvious cognitive distortions of acute depression, I am having a much harder time terming these symptoms of an illness.
Recently, I have had this sense that suicide is inevitable, and that I'm essentially terminally ill at present. It feels as though the decision has been made - by my illness, by the effects of my illness on my life, by the resulting existential despair, and of course by a thinking, feeling, me that just doesn't want to go on, doesn't want to rebuild, sees futility where others see hope and opportunity. These suicidal thoughts don't feel pathological, which is why I think they scare me even more. They aren't front and center, top of mind, more like in the background, the context in which I try to get through each day.
But what if this person is caught up  in a state between life and death, and he absolutely does not care about whether he lives or dies? What if his state of existential despair is no more than not allowing himself to exist?  If he is tangled up with his Beta twin, who does not exist and at the very most only managed a brief existence before being snuffed out,  then to keep the  non- existant Beta twin alive he surely cannot allow himself to exist.

That makes sense. We don't need very long articles filled with polysyllabic psychological terms, or indeed self-indulgent long-winded posts on psychobabble forums to understand this.

Some womb twin survivors cannot allow themselves to exist because their womb twin ceased to exist, (or never came into full existence, like a hydatidiform mole or blighted ovum.)  That's the only way to manage the problem of being the sole survivor of such an eventuality.


  1. interesting! thank you so much for sharing!

    I am exactely described in the pre-oedipal psychopathology part...
    earlier I thought I have a borderline personality but it doesn´t apply completely because in my work life I function very well...but my intimate relationships are a disaster...

    I am so grateful for your work and effort, Althea!
    Thank you!

  2. The borderline personality is a distinct character and also describes the womb twin survivor - I think they are one and the same, but of course no psychiatrist would believe that! Too simple!

  3. I'm suffering from existential despair, too... Not so much as in havnig suicidal thoughts but as in a permament feeling of senselessnes and lack of motivation to do the simplest things...