It is important to point out that these essays are about character types; it is not to suggest that all borderlines, narcissists or manic depressives are the same. Everyone is an individual and are who they are for many different reasons. What they have in common is a typical relation between their subjectivity and the world they inhabit. In other words, Christopher Bollas has identified the axioms that these individuals share. Following a discussion of the features of each type, the axioms are delivered in the character’s own voice. By placing ourselves within their own logic, we can begin to identify and empathise with them. At the root of all character disorders there is mental pain and each disorder is an intelligent attempt to solve an existential problem. If the clinician can grasp their specific intelligence and help the analysand to understand this, then a natural process of healing can begin.
Three Characters is a masterclass based on decades of lectures presented to psychoanalysts, analytical psychologists, and psychotherapists, and is a must-read for all psychoanalytic enthusiasts.