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Searles, H.F. (1969). A Case of Borderline Thought Disorder. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:655-664.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:655-664

A Case of Borderline Thought Disorder

Harold F. Searles

Mr Bennett, a mathematician in his early 30s, who was working as a computer-programmer for IBM, stated in his initial interview that he had come for analysis in dissatisfaction with himself for 'not wanting to face the reality of things—wanting to pospone things, not face up to them. I keep myself busy so as not to face up to them'. This rather small, slight, erect and precise person seemed confident and outgoing—seemed a comfortable man of action. But I felt him to be, behind this appearance, a markedly passive-dependent person, who sat silent much of the time waiting for me to initiate conversation.

His wife, who unlike him had already had some years of analysis and who suffered from a variety of psychosomatic ailments, had called me some several weeks previously, wanting analysis and tearfully indicating that she despaired of being able to endure her husband much longer. I referred her to a colleague. This added to an early impression of mine that Mr Bennett had felt coerced by her into seeking analysis, an impression which he soon confirmed. I privately noted the broad, sadistic smile with which he spoke of his wife's ulcer symptoms, and of the fact that while they had been living in Chicago he had made 31 business trips away totalling 19 weeks, in one year—after his having made clear to me that such trips always caused her much distress. At the end of the initial interview, one of the notes I made said: 'Inquiry as to what he was experiencing during the silences suggests that he may have considerable difficulty with his thinking processes.

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