Running Head: BPD in Girl Interrupted Borderline Personality Disorder in Girl Interrupted Girl Interrupted is a movie based on Susanna Kaysen’s novel, which was inspired by her stay in a mental institution in the 1960s. Incidentally the main character, played by Winona Ryder, is named Susanna. She is eighteen years old and begins the movie by reflecting back on the events leading up to her visit to the psychologist. She has just graduated from high school and other than being an aspiring writer, has no plans for her life.
In addition she has flashbacks of her attempted suicide, though she denies taking a bottle of aspirin with vodka. When she was brought to the hospital they found bruises on her wrist, but she claimed she had no bones in her wrist. The psychologist concluded that Susanna needed some rest and sent her to Claymore, which is a private mental institution. In the institution, the psychiatrist diagnosis’s Susanna with borderline personality disorder. While in the institution Susanna meets various other women with disorders ranging from eating disorders to psychopaths.
After two years she is released from the institution and deemed clear. There are many theories behind why people develop such personality disorders. The theories take psychoanalytic, contemporary, and/or developmental approaches to discover the various reasons why people develop with given personalities. According to Otto Kernberg, there are two developmental tasks an individual must accomplish. Failing to accomplish a certain developmental task often corresponds with an increased risk in developing certain personality disorders.
The first developmental task is psychic clarification of self and other. Failing to complete this task causes one to not be able to differentiate one’s own experience from those of others. Not accomplishing the second task, overcoming splitting, results in an increased risk to develop a borderline personality. Kernberg theorized that borderline personality disorder is formulated by the failure to develop in childhood. In addition, Kernberg takes some of Freud’s view points and further theorizes that people who suffer from this disorder have an impaired ego.
Freud defines one’s ego as a part of the mind which constrains the id to reality, and is the “referee” between the superego and id. People with borderline personality disorder externally scatter and internally contradict their concept of themselves. Kernberg states, “borderlines can describe themselves for five hours without your getting a realistic picture of what they’re like. ” Furthermore, borderline personality disorder is clinically defined as ones instability which is evident in their relationships, emotions, behavior and image of themselves.
Persons with such disorder may have feelings of abandonment. Often in efforts to manipulate people back into relationships, they take part in self-manipulating behavior or suicidal attempts. Suicide is sometimes attempted impulsively by persons in periods of extreme depression. In addition people often experience strong emotions and strong desires for intimacy. Susanna suffers greatly from these along with other symptoms of borderline personality disorder. One can see from the opening scene in her attempted suicide, that that was one of the leading symptoms.
In her out reach for attention she overdosed with a bottle of aspirin along with a bottle of vodka. She also claimed that she had no bones in her hand, which could have been further self-mutilation or another delusional disorder. In addition she has a flashback of her intimate relations with the father of a girl from her high school, along with another man she meets at a club. When she is not around the type of intimacy she utterly wants, she develops a very close relationship with Lisa, who is a patient of the mental institution.
This strong desire to always be in a relationship is another prime symptom of this particular personality disorder. The reason for her development of her disorder was caused in early childhood. Both of Susanna’s parents were more focused on leading the perfect suburban life, and paid little attention to her. Thus from such neglect, they never realized that she was being sexual abused by their neighbor, who occasionally babysat her when her parents were out.
Susanna began her troubles because she began to become unable to differentiate what was correct and what was not, further leading her to have the inability to distinguish right from wrong. She had no one to turn to and helping her develop is a crucial stage, according to Kernberg. In conclusion, Otto Kernberg’s theory of the two crucial developmental factors in childhood and the consequences of failing such tasks, appear to be appropriate theories behind the onset of Susanna’s borderline personality disorder.
Although this theory has its limitations because it is not always necessary that this particular disorder is developed in early childhood. There are various theories looking into the biological factors that could predetermine whether someone will develop this disorder. In addition, there is always the question as to why Susanna was able to overcome this disorder, and why others cannot, thus further brining into play genetics/biology. All in all, the mind is endless and everyday people are coming up with new theories and reasons behind why people are who they are and do what they do.