One of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder is, “Efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, such as rapidly initiating intimate (physical or emotional) relationships or cutting off communication with someone in anticipation of being abandoned.” In essence, it is not just being unloved but believing to be unlovable which causes emotional security problems. Which can result into intrusive thoughts, debilitating anxiety and chronic feelings of insecurity. In terms of the id, ego and superego. The id wants to be loved and accepted, while the superego is the moral compass and the ego has to ideally please both the superego and the id. Holden experiences abandonment distress through loneliness.
Holden states that he is “lonesome” multiple times. He explicitly displays his longing for company. When faced with his loneliness, Holden utilises many coping strategies (which are conscious processes) like social contact and sad passivity, they are not all good, but at his age,”..
. adolescents lack definite copying skills and adolescent period is the time of life when being accepted and loved is of such major importance to the formation of one’s identity.” As Holden experiences such strong feelings of loneliness and starts to isolate himself. His anxiety rises. When anxious, Holden’s ego gets overwhelmed, which leads to the use of defense mechanisms which are a unconscious processes, “in 1894 that, unconscious “defense mechanisms” protect, the individual from painful emotions, ideas, and realities.
” So as anxiety overwhelms the ego, the ego then relies on defense mechanisms for protection against being vulnerable to painful emotions. (talk about reaction formation)Therefore he searches to cure his loneliness through social contact and sad passivity, as these are the fastest and simplest way to attain said goal. Holden’s many attempts demonstrates him tirelessly trying anything to temporarily fill the need for a deep meaningful relationship. As Holden gets off the train in New york, he gets into a phone booth, planning on making a call but, “as soon as I was inside, I couldn’t think of anybody to call up.
My brother D.B. was in Hollywood. My kid sister Phoebe goes to bed around nine o’clock— so I couldn’t call her up. … My parents would be the ones to pick up the phone. Then I thought of giving Jane Gallagher’s mother a buzz, and find out when Jane’s vacation started, but I didn’t feel like it. Besides, it was pretty late to call up.
Then I thought of calling this girl I used to go around with quite frequently, Sally Hayes, because I knew her Christmas vacation had started already—she’d written me this long, phony letter, inviting me over to help her trim the Christmas tree Christmas Eve and all— but I was afraid her mother’d answer the phone. … Then I thought of calling up this guy that went to the Whooton School when I was there, Carl Luce, but I didn’t like him much. So I ended up not calling anybody. I came out of the booth, after about twenty minutes or so.”, he just leaves without making any calls. The reason for this is owing to the fact that he did not want to speak to someone he does not like, hence adults.
Holden does not like adults. He strongly thinks the adult world is “phony” as in being hypocritical, fraudulent, shallow and overall superficial. Which further explores his lack of trust towards adults. On the other hand, holden does not believe that kids are phony but are therefore trustworthy.Although Holden craves to make connections with others, the possibility of pain and betrayal overshadows closeness and intimacy and as to avoid any type of abandonment he is not always able to let himself reach out. As exemplified by Ackley, Holden invite Ackley to join him at the movies but when holden needed him the most, he did not return the favor as he would not let him sleep on his roommates bed. Then again, he offers to dance with the three “moronic” girls in Lavender Room at his hotel and gets stuck paying the tab.
Additionally he pays sunny, a prostitute, even though he just wanted to talk, and he then gets cheated out of another five dollars. Time and time again holden has encounters with people who take advantage of him, on the surface he seems to be unaware, but his behavior show wariness as his difficulty trusting people becomes more apparent.