THE MORE DISTURBED
AS DESCRIBED EARLIER, within a given character style there is variation in the degree to which an individual has a stable self‐ organization. Connie, in the case illustration in the preceding chapter, only rarely regressed to states in which she conceptualized herself as incomplete, empty, or severely damaged. The more disturbed hysterical personality style is one in which such regressions are more likely to occur despite the person's use of all of his or her coping efforts.
This observation—that persons with a hysterical personality style differ in their vulnerability to regression into disorganized or chaotic states of mind—has been made over several decades. In the clinical literature, this phenomenon has been given various labels, some of which we now consider inappropriate, such as the "good" versus "bad" hysterical personality type. Gradations in organizational level of self and object concepts have been thought to arise from developmental fixations. This theory has led to the distinction between a "genital" rather than "oral" hysterical personality as well as to the distinction between an oedipal rather than pre-oedipal character structure (Abraham 1921, 1924; Reich 1949; Marmor 1953). Easser and Lesser (1965) separated hysterical personalities into two