Portrait of a Borderline

“The false self can dominate even extremely talented people who are likely to be drawn to careers where life can be lived vicariously, where within safe, protective limits they can deal with emotions and activities that they avoid in their personal lives because of the fears such emotions and activities would evoke. Any career such as reporter, photographer, psychiatrist, or minister which requires professional detachment places one in a position to project oneself into others’ lives and identify with life dramas being played out there without full committing oneself to the same emotions and activities in one’s own life. For example, a reporter on the scene may fee as if he or she were really a participant. A minister or therapist with a deflated false self can experience in fantasy the joys and problems of a close relationship without the fear of self-activation and self-expression or of rejection that the real commitment or intimacy would necessitate. Her readiness for projective identification, poor ego boundaries, and inability to perceive reality adequately all help allow her to experience vicarious gratification by interjecting herself into the lives of others.”

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