Excerpts About Splitting

At the beginning, in childhood, there is a relationship between the child and the mother, the parents, the environment. When the relationship is difficult or painful, the child deals with it by splitting the difficult from the easy, the love from the hatred. But to do that, you have to do it with your mind, because it is not real. You have to split your perception. You have to split your mind. You have to believe something that is not there. That is the beginning of mental structure. You have to split the reality into this and that, split mother into good mother and bad mother. Well, your mother is never all good or all bad. She is a mixture. So if you split her into good mother and bad mother, and you have to remember this and that, you are creating something in your mind that is not really there. In time, that becomes the mental relationship that you re-enact in your life relationships. So there is the idealized mother, there is a frustrating mother, and there is the attacking mother. And your relationships with those three parts are what become re-enacted in your life as mental relationships.
Diamond Heart Book IV, p. 207   •  discuss »
The first defensive operations are those of splitting and projection. The negative merging is split off, seen as separate and unrelated to the positive merging, and projected outside; thus it is perceived as part of the environment.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 207   •  discuss »
The defense of splitting entails splitting away one's Power, because it is associated with the all-bad self-representation, and projecting it outside. The result is identification with a self-representation that is all-good but powerless.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 207   •  discuss »
The idealization of “special” others is a specific trait of central narcissism, as is grandiosity. In contrast, in oral narcissism these characteristics tend to be vague and mixed with various borderline defenses, such as splitting and projective identification.
The Point of Existence, p. 207   •  discuss »

The story of the defense of splitting in relation to Being is a long and complex one. Here we will note only that resolving the primary split in the ego, the split between the bad and good representations, involves integrating the essential aspect of Power. The defense of splitting entails splitting away one’s Power, because it is associated with the all-bad self-representation, and projecting it outside. The result is identification with a self-representation that is all-good but powerless. This all-good, innocent, and powerless sense of self is experienced as confronting a world that is all-bad, hateful, and powerful. In this situation of powerlessness one experiences an excruciating vulnerability in one’s contact with the world, vulnerability to powerful and destructive objects. So the individual resorts to the schizoid defense of isolation (no engagement in object relations) and withdrawal (regression to primitive ego identifications). The defense of schizoid isolation is seen then to be related to the defense of splitting. Working through this defense of isolation, or defensive detachment, is involved in the process of personalization of the Human aspect of Essence, which is related to vulnerability.


Pearl Beyond Price, p. 450   •  discuss »

It would be good for everyone here to spend some time observing your relationships. How do you experience your relationships? We have to perceive our tendency to divide into absolutes to be able to work with it. It is not enough to just hear about it. You have to see your minute-to-minute interactions with people. You have to see how at each minute, interaction is either all positive or all negative and rarely a mixture. But when we step back and look at our interactions, we realize that they are usually a mixture. It is extremely rare that when you are with another human being, the relationship itself is all purely wonderful or purely negative. You might feel all-wonderful, but the relationship is always mixed. The person may not be doing exactly what you want them to do, or whatever. So, although you might feel all wonderful, the relationship itself is not all-wonderful. And of course, engaging in the mental relationships involves all the judging and blaming of the other or
oneself, or the idealization of the other, or grandiosity about oneself. This splitting is a protective mechanism that the ego employs to continue existing. The ego cannot exist if there is true relationship. The ego’s continued survival depends on this separation of relationship into black and white.


Diamond Heart Book IV, p. 194   •  discuss »

The beginning of ego is really the splitting between positive and negative, between love and hatred, between pain and pleasure. That is how ego starts. Without the need to protect oneself from the negative, or to protect the positive part from the negative parts, ego would not arise. So ego is based ultimately on splitting. We see it manifest in relationships. These split relationships are the basis of ego. Without split relationships there would be no ego. At the beginning, in childhood, there is a relationship between the child and the mother, the parents, the environment. When the relationship is difficult or painful, the child deals with it by splitting the difficult from the easy, the love from the hatred. But to do that, you have to do it with your mind, because it is not real. You have to split your perception. You have to split your mind. You have to believe something that is not there. That is the beginning of mental structure. You have to split the reality into this and that, split mother into good mother and bad mother. Well, your mother is never all good or all bad. She is a mixture. So if you split her into good mother and bad mother, and you have to remember this and that, you are creating something in your mind that is not really there. In time, that becomes the mental relationship that you reenact in your life relationships. So there is the idealized mother, there is the frustrating mother, and there is the attacking mother. And your relationships with those three parts are what become reenacted in your life as mental relationships.


Diamond Heart Book IV, p. 206   •  discuss »

We refer to this structure as the rejecting object relation because rejection is its primary affect. The self feels that it is rejected, or is going to be, with various degrees of aggression. Furthermore, when someone begins to experience this object relation, it is experienced as actual rejection or the fear of it. Only upon investigation does one recognize the primitive core of this structure. To understand this object relation involves recognizing the defense mechanism of splitting, and therefore coming into contact with one’s split-off hatred and destructiveness. When one finally recognizes that it is one’s projected hatred that one is afraid of, and deals with the fear and the splitting, one then begins to feel the hatred directly. The direct experience of the hatred can take the soul to a clear experience of itself as the animal soul: ruthless, irrational, heartless, hateful, destructive, and very powerful. The natural human tendency is of course to reject this structure; one wants to feel that it is alien to oneself, thus the impulse toward splitting. But with sufficient openness and objectivity one can experience it fully, as a powerful entity, an alien animal form full of brute instinct and ruthless determination to get what it wants regardless of consequences to others. The qualities of selfishness and destructiveness turn out to be incidental and unintentional; this animal entity is simply not going to tolerate anything that stands in its way. The ruthlessness of the animal soul is not personal and not intentional; it will simply wipe out whatever stands in its way without hesitation or qualms.


Inner Journey Home, p. 205   •  discuss »

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