Sybil's wicked mother
Type of Spiritual Experience
This observation is not about Sybil's experiences but about the root cause of her multiple personality disorder - her mother.
As is the case with the majority of multiple personality cases, new personalities were ‘created’ as a form of disassociation from the original personality. Sybil was subjected to the most appalling acts of cruelty by her mother - a sadistic schizophrenic. Each time something truly traumatic happened, a new personality emerged or was created, similar to Sybil, but able to take over from Sybil. In a sense, the new personality, being more robust, could take the cruelty whilst the true Sybil hid within her amnesia, until ‘wakened’.................
A description of the experience
Sybil – Professor Flora Rheta Schreiber
The laugh was repeated. It was shrill, rising higher. Sybil began to tremble. She knew that laugh but was afraid to admit that she did. The laugh came when she was made to stand up against the wall. A broom handle struck her back. A woman’s shoe kicked her. A washcloth was stuffed down her throat. She was tied to the leg of a piano while a woman played. Things were put up inside her, things with sharp edges that hurt. And cold water. She was made to hold the water in her. The pain, the cold. Each time was worse than before and always that laugh along with the pain. When she was placed inside a trunk in the attic she heard that laugh. It was with her again when she was buried in the wheat crib and nearly smothered.............
........The analysis unfolded a drama of cruelty, secret rituals, punishments and atrocities inflicted by Hattie [her mother] on Sybil. Dr Wilbur became convinced that the taproot of Sybil’s dissociation into multiple selves was a large, complicated capture-control-imprisonment-torture theme that pervaded the drama. One escape door after another from cruelty had been closed and for Sybil, who was a battered child four decades before the battered child syndrome was medically identified, there had been no way out.
Normal at birth, the doctor speculated, Sybil had fought back until she was about two and a half, by which time the fight had been literally beaten out of her. She had sought rescue from without until, recognising that this rescue would be denied; she resorted to finding rescue from within...........
.......The selves, the doctor was now convinced, were not conflicting parts of the total self, struggling for identity, but rather defences against the intolerable environment that had produced the childhood traumas. Sybil’s mind and body were possessed by these others – not invading spirits, not dybbuks from without, but proliferating parts of the original child. Each self was younger than Sybil, with their ages shifting according to the time of the particular trauma that each had emerged to battle.