Chronically depressed personalities complain of profound feelings of worthlessness and low self esteem since childhood. He has generally led an isolated life because of a fear of making insatiable demands. The relationships that she does establish tend to be relatively superficial, because he fears that if anyone got to know who he really is, she would reject him. She feels hungry to be loved.
If you are sensitive to depression, you may feel when you are with him an unspoken demand to love him or feed him. However, she is too frightened of rejection to let you really know her. He presents himself as the person that he thinks you want him to be, while inwardly fearing making insatiable demands. She is angry that demands to be loved have not been met. His mother withdrew from him when he made demands to be loved as a child. She concluded that her very neediness is destructive. This belief is at the core of his belief that he is unworthy of love. She fears making demands on her adult partners and instead establishes superficial relationships.
The depressed personality generally feels something is missing and his whole life is affected by what he feels as a fundamental lack. She often feels cheated, robbed, and crippled.
The origins of the depression lie in his experience of inadequate mothering. The child does not really recognize that there is a difference between internal or psychic reality and external reality. When she is well cared for, she believes that the satisfaction of her needs came from within herself. He feels self sufficient and that he need not seek anything outside himself. There is an illusion of self-sufficiency and of having created her own nurture.
The depressed personality does not receive adequate loving care in childhood and is not able to develop self confidence based on the illusion of self-sufficiency. Self-esteem will suffer from feelings of inadequacy and feelings of helpless vulnerability. He feels unlovable because he was not loved. She believes she was not loved because of some deficiency in her and not because her mother was deficient in her ability to love her. He fears making insatiable demands that will destroy his current relationship.
Therapy for Depression
The depressed personality is helped during therapy by a focus on her fears of needing the therapist. Therapy with depressed personalities is often best done when the focus remains on the relationship with the therapist in the present. He may get too overwhelmed if the focus is on the spouse or parent.
Acute depression is often precipitated by the loss of a loved one. However, the person succumbing to acute depression is unable to mourn the loss of the relationship. She is unable to go through the process of remembering the good and bad times she had with the beloved and is unable to bear recognizing the pain of the beloved’s absence. Mourning the loss of the beloved is necessary if the attachment to the beloved is to be given up allowing the person to love again.
For example, in normal mourning, John jilts Mary and Mary goes through a process of remembering all the good times that she and John had, experiences the pain of John’s absence, and eventually gives up John and invests her love in someone new.
The person who succumbs to depression is unable to mourn and instead identifies with the beloved. Only positive memories are conscious and all the negative feelings toward the beloved are directed at the personality of the beloved that the person is identified with. Self esteem falls. For example, Mary knows John is gone but all memories of what John represents to her are cognitively absent. Instead, Mary feels a bone crushing cognitively absent depression and can’t get out of bed.
Therapy for Acute Depression
Mary needs help in mourning John. Questions such as, “What do you miss about John?” stimulates the mourning process. Mary can then be helped to see John more clearly and all the aggression currently directed wholly on herself can begin to be directed toward John.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, you can trust Dr. Daniel Paul, a respected Los Angeles psychologist and relationship expert, to help you fight through the fog of depression. Call today for a consultation, at 310-271-1858.