Excerpt About Autonomy
The findings of object relations theory, however, show that these phenomena which are taken by society to indicate autonomy may only be skin deep. These findings identified a more basic level of autonomy, that of emotional independence, as the core of actual autonomy. Thus some individuals who may appear autonomous, because they are successful, productive people, may lack the intrapsychic achievement of independence and therefore lack a true inner core of autonomy. In these cases, it is well known, the individual lives a life of emptiness and emotional desolation. This situation of apparent autonomy without its real emotional support is regarded as characteristic of certain character pathologies, especially those of the narcissistic personality and the borderline conditions, and sometimes even the schizoid character. These personalities have not accomplished the tasks of the separation-individuation process, and thus the sense of self is not formed cohesively. It is fragile and vulnerable, very dependent on external achievements and praise, and largely defensive.