$0.00 0 items

No products in the basket.

Fragmentation fragmented personality

Fragmentation: Split-Off Consciousness, Complexes and Neuroses

By Richard J. Oldale,
January 5, 2024

Fragmentation is another way of saying that the conscious personality is fractured. The psyche becomes fragmented when part of your True Nature is split off and repressed, suppressed, ignored or forgotten by the conscious mind.

Consciousness is split off when you experience a “trauma”. [1] A “trauma” does not necessarily have to be a dramatic or devastating event. It can simply be an experience that has a negative effect on your emotions. 

For example, emotional traumas are a common occurrence in children who experience emotional neglect or when they’re reprimanded for expressing part of their True Nature that is not considered “acceptable” by society.

A well-established conclusion in today’s psychology communities is that conscious aspects of an individual’s nature are easily dismembered because culture tries to  “civilise” children into how society deems human beings should behave, but in doing so we cut off aspects of our animal nature instead of learning how to bring natural instincts under control.

fragmented personality split off consciousness

When consciousness is cut off, the ego disassociates with the part of your personality that is deemed unworthy or unacceptable [2]. However, the split-off aspect of your personality still has autonomy by way of a complex or neurosis.

Thought-Provoking Quote

“Every split-off portion of libido, every complex, has or is a (fragmentary) personality. At any rate, that is how it looks from the purely observational standpoint. But when we go into the matter more deeply, we find that they are really archetypal formations. There are no conclusive arguments against the hypothesis that these archetypal figures are endowed with personality at the outset and are not just secondary personalizations. In so far as the archetypes do not represent mere functional relationships, they manifest themselves as personal agencies. In this form they are felt as actual experiences and are not “figments of the imagination,” as rationalism would have us believe. Consequently, man derives his human personality.” 

~ Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation [3]

To avoid confusion, it should be noted that some therapists use the term “dissociation” in a broad sense rather than referencing the fragmentation of the personality. This can cause confusion because “symptoms of dissociation” are typically classed as dysfunctional disorders which include madness, feeling disconnected from the world, severe memory loss, uncertainty about who you are and multiple personalities.

Fragmentation does not mean that you are crazy or schizophrenic. In general, however, it does indicate that you are likely to develop a complex or a neurosis. In severe cases, a fragmented psyche becomes psychosis.

How Is Fragmentation Caused?

In most instances, fragmentation is initially caused in childhood. When you were reprimanded as a child, simply for being a child, it caused consciousness to become split off. At the same time, an emotional wound opens. 

However, the psyche can continue to become more fragmented as life goes on. Unless the wound is healed by means of a compensatory factor, a fragmented aspect of your personality can become increasingly toxic and cause further fractures in other parts of your psyche. 

For example, you may lack self-esteem which makes you insecure in relationships, but at the same time, you have an adequate degree of self-confidence to successfully function in social settings. 


However, your lack of self-esteem is a toxic energy that surfaces as jealousy and prompts you to create a conflict with your partners. Eventually, the relationship ends because your partner can’t cope with your histrionics and accusations. 

Over time, the self-confidence you once had erodes and you lose the part of your personality that enabled you to function well in social settings. 

Losing part of the personality means it sinks into the unconscious where it is either suppressed, forgotten or ignored. 

Two of the leading thinkers in the field of depth psychology, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung noted that unresolved aspects of the personality initially show up as a complex [4], and then a neurosis [5].

Thought-Provoking Quote

“This factor has to be reckoned with in very many cases, perhaps in all severe cases of neurosis. In fact, it may be precisely this element in the situation, the attitude of the ego-ideal, that determines the severity of the neurotic illness… the sense of guilt expresses itself under different conditions.” 

~ Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id [6]

Dismemberment causes the conscious personality to become fragmented. Psychologically speaking, the ego deems the side of your nature that is not accepted by people in the external world to be worthless and discarded. 

However, that is not the case. Oftentimes, the aspect of your personality that is pushed into the unconscious has key qualities you need to function to the height of human capacity. 

Thought-Provoking Quote 

“It is also astonishing to find that some very good characteristics turn up in the shadow. Generally, the ordinary, mundane characteristics are the norm. Anything less than this goes into the shadow. But anything better also goes into the shadow! Some of the pure gold of our personality is relegated to a shadow because it can find no place in that great levelling process that is culture. 

~ Robert Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow [7]

When the psyche is in a fragmented state, an internal conflict exists between the ego and the Self which is subsequently projected into the outside world. It shows up in your moods, attitudes, behaviours, idiosyncrasies and emotions.

A fragmented personality causes chaos and destruction in your life. And the more you refuse to deal with these inner conflicts the more you suffer. We could argue that our fragmented societies are a reflection of the fragmented personalities of individuals. 

Thought-Provoking Quote 

“Fragmentation is now very widespread, not only throughout society, but also in each individual; and this is leading to a kind of general confusion of the mind, which creates an endless series of problems and interferes with our clarity of perception so seriously as to prevent us from being able to solve most of them.” 

~ David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order [8]

This was always bound to happen voting psychopaths into power. 

Civilisation and culture may have a lot to answer for in the complexes, neuroses and psychosis of the human race. 

Fragmentation leads to a wide range of negative and destructive behaviours that have been shaped into coping mechanisms developed for the ego to keep your emotional survival intact.

The more fragmented you are, the more complexes, and thus destructive behaviours you have. This is what the church means when they say someone is possessed by the devil.

Thought-Provoking Quote

“The more “complexes” a man has, the more he is possessed; and when we try to form a picture of the personality which expresses itself through his complexes we must admit that it resembles nothing so much as an hysterical woman—i.e., the anima! But if such a man makes himself conscious of his unconscious contents, as they appear firstly in the factual contents of his personal unconscious, and then in the fantasies of the collective unconscious, he will get to the roots of his complexes, and in this way rid himself of his possession. With that the anima phenomenon comes to a stop.” 

Carl Jung, CW 7, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology [9]

However, a fragmented psyche does not necessarily mean you have to continue to live with destructive complexes. You can use them to identify which archetypes are causing conflict in your life and why.

Once you understand the motivation behind a conflict (self-awareness), you are in a better position to integrate it into your conscious personality (self-mastery). 

What is a Complex?

A complex is an autonomous personality that displays a set of patterns of emotions, memories, perceptions, and wishes that surface in response to your environment. 

Everyone likely has some form of complex, but it doesn’t always stand to reason that your complex is triggered by the same experience as somebody else.

However, complexes do share a common, or archetypal, emotional pattern. For example, an inferiority complex is synonymous with a lack of self-esteem and the perception that you are inadequate, unlovable or incompetent. [10]

Jung viewed complexes as “autonomous personalities” that take possession of the ego and influence your life as if they had a life of their own. [11] The Swiss proposed that complexes are “archetypal formations” which invade the conscious personality.

The Swiss noted that an autonomous complex is only partially conscious because the ego only associates with it under certain conditions — a trigger in the external world that is fuelled by an underlying motivation belonging to an underdeveloped archetype. 

Another way of looking at a complex is to say it’s a state of conscious awareness that you know you are experiencing and even decided you were going to perform a specific action; i.e. I am going to smoke a cigarette.

However, you may not be consciously aware of the underlying drive that makes you do the thing you do. You may think you are aware, but you’re actually only aware of the action you’re performing and not the reason. 

A complex is basically a coping mechanism that serves as a function when you’re in survival mode. But what is the underlying cause that makes you want to smoke a cigarette?

Observing your thoughts, actions and behaviours to recognise your archetypal patterns guides you to the underlying motivation. The archetypes also provide you with the solution to heal the wound and dissolve the complex. 

Complexes can just as easily prompt you to act out of character. Expressions like “I don’t know what came over me” and “I was out of my mind” are examples that an archetype was at play.

manic shame fragmented

Archetypal energies emerge to take the place of a dismembered part of your personality that has not been integrated into conscious awareness. 

Jung linked complexes with the personal unconscious (subconscious programs) but indicated that archetypal energies project from the Superconscious onto the conscious mind whenever there is a corresponding energy in the outside world.

Thought-Provoking Quote

“We can hardly get round the hypothesis that an emotionally charged content is lying ready in the unconscious and springs into projection at a certain moment.” 

~ Carl Jung, CW9 Part 1, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious [12]

So that begs the question, how does a fragment of your personality become split off? 

The Splintered Psyche

The 19th Century French psychologist and physician Pierre Janet is credited with being the first Western philosopher to make the connection between “disassociation” and traumatic memory. [13]

In the preceding quarter of a century, the effects of fragmentation caused by repression were advanced by Freud and Jung. 

Repression occurs when parents, teachers, siblings and peers deem certain aspects of your nature unacceptable. For example, anger, moodiness, disobedience etc, are criticised by parents, teachers and peers despite them being innate aspects of human nature.

fragmentation dismemberment

Because you want to be liked, appreciated, accepted and loved, you learn from an early age to repress the aspects of your nature that are deemed unacceptable. 

The parts of your nature that are deemed unacceptable are then forced out of the conscious mind — they are expelled from paradise. However, repression also causes the personality to become split in two and can become even more fragmented as time goes by. 

As a result, unconscious content creates conflicts so that its presence is drawn to the attention of the ego. When the ego associates with a certain archetypal quality it is given space in the light of the conscious mind. 

However, as mentioned above, ego association doesn’t necessarily mean that you are consciously aware of why a particular aspect of your nature is prompting you to behave in a certain way.

Thought-Provoking Quote 

“We have more than one personality inside us. Once we can understand this and accept it, it will give us much more control over our own lives and our own destiny.”

~ John Rowan, Discover Your Subpersonalities [14]

Repressed aspects of the personality ultimately mean that your conscious personality is not whole. All the qualities that belong to humankind are not wholly (holy) available to your ego—conscious awareness.

So it is interesting to note that the word whole and the word health have the same root word; hal. To be whole is to be healthy. To be fragmented is to be unhealthy. 

Integration-Debilitation Graphic

When you repress or suppress emotions they are not given life. And when they are not given life, they rebel. When they rebel you experience inner conflicts and emotional pain and suffering. 

Moreover, you do not give yourself the opportunity to develop a personality that is constructive, balanced and emotionally stable. 

Consciousness has to be experienced before you can develop archetypal energy. It is through the development of archetypal energies that you cultivate balance.

Thought-Provoking Quote

“The animus or anima may take possession of us, driving us to creative work, or they balance our natures, leading us into participation in and integration of other-than-ego qualities, thereby creating new configurations of ego identity and otherness.” 

~ Gareth Hill Ph.D, Patterns of Immaturity and the Archetypal Patterns of Masculine and Feminine [15]

Question: So how do you recognise when part of your personality is fragmented and unbalanced?

Answer: By observing the complex associated with a specific archetypal energy.

Remember, the Superconscious wants to thrive. It needs to be given expression. When consciousness is repressed and ignored it tries to make itself known as an autonomous complex (depression, anxiety, OCD etc).

Consequently, your worldview also becomes fragmentary — you think and act in ways that are convenient, known and safe. It keeps you in your bubble of comfort where you know you can survive.

Dismembered split off

The ego cherishes predictable outcomes that measure up to your worldview regardless of the fact that coping mechanisms have potentially harmful effects on your health and relationships.

But the ego responds to subconscious programs. And fragmentation is caused subconsciously.

Thought-Provoking Quote

“Man thus obtains an apparent proof of the correctness of his fragmentary self-world view though, of course, he overlooks the fact that it is he himself, acting according to his mode of thought, who has brought about the fragmentation that now seems to have an autonomous existence, independent of his will and of his desire.” 

~ David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order [16]

It, therefore, makes sense for you to upgrade subconscious programs that allow more aspects of your fragmented personality to be brought into the light of the conscious mind and integrated into the conscious personality.

The goal of the Essential Self-Development Program is to recover the split-off aspects of consciousness and integrate healthy qualities that develop constructive aspects of your personality. This involves either deflating the inflated ego or developing the underdeveloped ego.

To learn more about how archetypes inflate the ego and how fragmentation weakens the ego, read the article: What is Ego-Inflation and How Does It Happen?

The Master Mind Content Self-Development Program is designed to help you identify how you are causing problems in your life and how to find solutions. Boasting 18 powerful but easy-to-use tools, you will be able to identify patterns of behaviour, determine what is causing it and make informed choices to address the issue. Sign up today.

Front cover Essential Self-Development Program Surviving to Thriving


[1] Janet P, Psychological Automatism: Essay on the Experimental Psychology of the Inferior Forms of Human Activity (1889)

[2] Pierre Janet & the Breakdown of Adaptation in Psychological Trauma, van der Kolk & van der Hart, Boston, AJP 146 (1989)

[3] Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation

[4] Carl Jung, CW7 Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, para 438, (1928)

[5] Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id, p.8 Kindle Loc 104 (1923)

[6] Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id, p. 45, Kindle Loc 655 (1923)

[7] Robert Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow, p. 7 Kindle Loc 71 (1991)

[8] David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, p.1 (1980)

[9] Carl Jung, CW 7, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, para 387 (1928)

[10] Low self-esteem: a refined cognitive behavioural model, K.A. Rimes et al, CUP (2023)

[11] Carl Jung, CW7, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, para 312 (1928)

[12] Carl Jung, CW9 Part 1, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 2nd ed, para 134 (1968)

[13] Pierre Janet, Britannica

[14] John Rowan, Discover Your Subpersonalities, p.4 (1993)

[15] Gareth Hill Ph.D, Patterns of Immaturity and the Archetypal Patterns of Masculine and Feminine, p.35 (1978)

[16] David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, p.3, (1980)

Richard Oldale
Master Mind Content is a leading authority in decoding ancient symbolism . Our research unveils the secrets to understanding and taking control of the the subconscious mind, channeling energy to self-heal and effectively using universal laws to fulfil your potential.

Similar Posts

Copyright © 2022 Master Mind Content. All Rights Reserved.