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She seems to have experienced 16 separate personalities, two of whom were male. It was the horrific child abuse Sybil's psychotic mother inflicted on her, along with the failure of her father to rescue her from it, that caused these personalities. Each one embodied feelings and emotions the 'real' Sybil could not cope with. The waking Sybil was deprived of all these emotions, and was therefore a rather drab figure. She was unaware of her other personas; while they were in 'control' of the body, Sybil suffered blackouts and did not remember the episodes. It was only the intervention of Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, a psychoanalyst, that alerted Sybil to them. The sequence of "splitting" which by which these alter egos appear to have emerged as separate identities is outlined in the 'family tree' above. You can explore these personalities - who they were, and why they existed - by clicking on their names, below.
Sybil, the original core personality split, early on, with the emergence of:
Victoria Antoinette Scharleau (1926) Represents: poise, confidence; the 'know-all' 'Vicky' represented Sybil's poise and confidence. She came into being when Sybil felt abandoned by a hospital doctor at the age of 3. Sybil's weak father ignored the abuse his wife was inflicting on their child, so Sybil pinned her hopes for 'rescue' on this doctor while she was in hospital for tonsillitis. When he would not take her away from her parents, Sybil suffered such stress that Vicky had to take over. In some ways, Vicky was the most important personality. She was the only one who was aware continuously of Sybil's life, and that had access to all of Sybil's memories. She was also able to communicate with all the other personalities. Ironically therefore, she was not a 'member' of Sybil's family, but a visitor from Paris. There she had many brothers and sisters and loving parents - simple wish fulfillment on Sybil's part. The attributes given to Vicky were salient before Vicky developed into a separate fixed personality, when Sybil needed to cope with abandonment, especially from her father, and his lack of rescue. Through the common salience of this self concept Vicky became fixed and was given her name. There was inconsistency between Vicky and Sybil, due to the fact that Sybil felt unable to cope with both the feeling of abandonment and lacked confidence. As Vicky was able to cope with these situations and contexts, Sybil became unaware of both Vicky and the self concepts and emotions that represented Vicky.
which Sybil shys away from. The Blonde (1946) Represents: Sybil's sexuality This personality only came into existence very late in Sybil's recovery. and quick to laugh. Helen Dorsett (1929) Helen is similar to Sybil Ann. She however represented all of Sybil's rage and anger at her mother. She helped Sybil through her love affair with Ramon. . She represented Sybil's awakening sexuality. She is also a bit of a tease. Marjorie Dorsett (1928) Marjorie is serene and vivacious. Marcia and Vanessa were both positive and creative. Peggy Louisiana Baldwin (1926) Represents.seeing her parents having sex for the first time. hostility. She was 'born' in adolescence. aggression and religion Along with Vicky. and determined to achieve fulfillment. As Sybil was unaware of the self concepts of Vicky. confidence etc. and so is intensely fearful. was more worried by Hattie Dorsett's catatonia. Ruthie Dorsett (date undetermined) Ruthie is a baby. two positive and two negative. As Sybil was extremely young at the time. she survived Sybil's childhood unscathed. being depressed and listless. Hattie and Willard Dorsett. The self concepts of the four new selves had to draw or come from Vicky as she possessed the necessary concepts.From Vicky four more selves developed. She was created by Sybil's rejection of the 'primal scene' . She is friends most with Marjorie. however. By some miracle. To reduce inconsistency between the love(?) of Sybil's parents and the shame of the primal scene Ruthie became fixed. however. but is never angry. where as Mary and SybilAnn were negative and carried the emotional costs of Vicky. She does not hesitate to show annoyance or impatience. She. for example the confidence of Vanessa to perform as a musician came from Vicky not Sybil. so suffered none of Sybil's childhood traumas. forced her to watch it night after night for years. She enjoys intellectual competitions. She is also ambitious. by placing her cot in their bedroom. and was actively hostile. the constellation of self concepts is underdeveloped. and was the woman Sybil wanted to be. assertiveness. The constellation of self concepts that are Ruthie are the emotions in reaction to the primal scene. Peggy Louisiana was one of the original alter egos.
who disliked 'Sybil' and preferred 'Peggy Louisiana'. Appearance: Marcia first appeared in 1927 at the Anderson home in Elderville. depressed as result of never having had love from her mother. According to Vicky Marcia feels what Sybil feels. she comes to the fore when Sybil feels hidden anger and rejection simultaneously. sombre and brooding. She soon split into Peggy Ann and Peggy Lou. She is a writer and a painter. Clara is eager to learn. This personality later split into Peggy Ann and Peggy Lou. Marcia is highly creative. Marcia would like to turn her talents to cash but becomes frustrated when prevented by the others. only more intensely. where she was created. theatre going. it is believed that she first appeared at Sybil's Grandmothers funeral when control was removed from Sybil. with the exception of Vanessa and Vicky. visiting places of historical interest and buying choice books. her paintings show a great variety of colours compared to other alteregos and she is confident that her writing and painting are superior to that of the other alter-egos. Thus Peggy Louisiana becomes salient at time of lack of control. She also dislikes Sybil. Although she is mischievous and can be light-hearted she is basically a pessimist. who she sees as hopeless. concerts. . Marcia Lynn Dorsett (1927) (sometimes last name Baldwin) Description: Shield-shaped face. She was stuck in Omaha.She took her name from her mother. Although it is not clear when Peggy Louisiana first appeared. Clara Dorsett (date undetermined) Clara is very religous. Marcia has an English accent and alto voice. and feels held back by her 'host'. namely Sybil. grey eyes. Marcia is desperate to be loved but is stuck in the past. brown hair parted to one side. Inconsistency between Sybil's religious upbringing and the anger she felt caused Peggy Louisiana to become fixed and unconscious. Character: Marcia and Vanessa share similar interests such as travelling. Marcia is very close friends with Vanessa and they occupy Sybils body simultaneously during the sessions with Doctor Wilbur.
though believed that a better life would follow. . historical monuments and bookshops. She is a housewife personality (and nearly managed to bankrupt Sybil by buying her a house) and quite religious although not in the hysterical way of her family. She has the greatest need of all the alter-egos for a loving mother. Sybil Ann Dorsett (1928) Sybil Ann identifies with the catatonic phase that Sybil's mother went through. Vanessa Gail Dorsett (1935) Vanessa is artistic and particularly enjoys playing the piano. though resents the prohibitions of it. and interested in politics as a fulfillment of biblical prophecies. she saw these as depriving her of the opportunity to grow up freely. concerts. and very dramatic. and was told by her mother that it was a curse. Marcia relieves Sybil of her need for her mother and her hate for her. This led to the creation of Mary. This guilt results in her depression and suicidal tendencies. She is extremely fearful of and angry at her mother. She is very listless and depressed. Nancy Lou Ann Baldwin (date undetermined) Nancy is intensely religious. and was diagnosed as neurasthenic by Dr. This turned out to be from when her mother would throw blocks at her.Marcia is extremely emotional and appears to live in extremes. Marcia felt trapped by talk of the end of the world. She is special friends with Vicky. Mary Lucinda Saunders Dorsett (1933) Mary bears the burden of menstruation. however this is equalled by her guilt at having wished her mother dead. She is particularly close to Marcia. Sybil had a bad experience with her first period. She has 'inherited' her familiy's hatred of Catholics. Marcia is religious.She is a very similar personality to Clara. She loves to travel and visit big cities with their theatres. She is most similar to Helen. Wilbur.She is extremely attractive. and also explosions.
simple denial.3. . When Peggy Lou decides she is going to do something. But they're both fighters. She wished that she was a boy. This is a case of social identification theory. Nancy was the fifth personality to develop from Peggy Louisiana. hostility. too. Nancy split&127. are both very similar. two male personalities developed: Mike and Sid.what Peggy Lou wanted to do but could not. descended from Peggy Louisiana. Therefore she developed two male alter egos. as each of us tend to identify with the people close to us. Peggy Lou's agression and wish to travel caused frustration at not being able to do things that boys could do. The two Peggies. They both act their age ." . Thus from Peggy Lou. The Peggys occurred to deal with loss of control." Neither of them know that Hattie Dorsett was their mother . she goes at it in a pretty bull-headed sort of way. But she's more tactful. This anger was directed towards the core self of Sybil. To reduce the inconsistency Peggy Louisiana split into anger and fear. She also wishes to escape and run away. It could be said that she was the down side of the Peggys.Peggy Ann and Peggy Lou Baldwin (1926) Represents: assertiveness. Peggy Ann shows anger and aggression. She displayed religious anger. where they were created. And what they want to change most of all is Sybil. identifying with the males in Sybil's life and displaying the anger of Peggy Louisiana. You see. as Nancy believed that Sybil was religiously weak. But it can also be explained in terms of constellations of self concept. believing his religion. Peggy Lou was angry and breaks glass as both an expression of anger and entrapment. aggression and religion "What arouses Peggy Lou's anger makes Peggy Ann afraid.Vicky. Peggy Lou had to do something to regain control and reduce inconsistency. to reduce inconsistency. thus regaining control. Thus.&127. Vicky again: "They both want to change things. but is also extremely fearful of the anger. to fulfil her own set of beliefs. Mike identifies with Sybil's Grandfather and his religion. Both were 'stuck' in Willow Corners. This split occurred because the anger and fear displayed by Peggy Louisiana was causing inconsistency and discomfort to her. Peggy Ann goes at things. Sid identifies with Sybil's father. Both are handymen and enjoy manual work . There was inconsistency between what Peggy Lou wished to do and what she was able to do. The two males in Sybil's life were her father and her Grandfather.
Sid was an identification with her dad." Both selves were an extension of Sybil's hatred of her mother to a hatred of all females. The only way to get along with him was to either lick him or join him. like Sybil's father. Sybil needed someone to depend on. aggressive grandfather by becoming like him. Sid. anger and hatred aroused by Grandpa. They are both reactions to the male authority figures in Sybil's life . Both suffered from literal penis envy. How Freud would have loved to meet them! .Sybil Isabel Dorsett. So I joined him.Sid and Mike Dorsett (1928) Sid and Mike are Sybil's 'male' personalities. This allowed her to deal with the fear. Mike allowed Sybil to cope with her fanatical.her father and grandfather. The name comes from her initials . As Mike himself said: "How could Sybil get along with her grandfather? He was always there and always right. was the only male figure available. and although her father was not ideal. was a carpenter and builder.
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