Thursday, June 28, 2012


Rychlak’s (1981) next question for a personality theorist is: How does a personality become sick? The response to this question, along with the complementary question–How does a personality get healed? needs to proceed logically from the theory of personality.

In regard to personality dysfunction, Sanford (1958) believes the subconscious will not peaceably store memories which are contradictory to the nature of God. Attention is constantly drawn back to these unstored memories. If unattended, these memories become problematic. She describes the dysfunctional personality as follows:
The spirit cannot endure to abide therein and cries aloud to be set free. Therefore, the subconscious loses its grip on life, obeying the order of the spirit toward the dissolution of the body, so that the spirit can escape to its own place. Inherent in this cry of the spirit is the unshakable principle of justice, as much a part of God’s nature as is the principle of mercy. The spirit, being made in the holiness of God, demands that wickedness shall be destroyed so that His holiness may remain unsullied. (p. 105)

The Sandfords, continuing Sanford’s theme on the disintegration of personality, emphasized how the teleosponsivity of sin, exacerbates the person’s problem. Sin distorts a particular experience negatively. Each ensuing experience is then viewed through the lens of the original experience so that the effects become cumulative.

Sanford and the Sandfords have described how the decomposition of the personality occurs. The subconscious accepts concretely what both the spirit and the conscious mind commands and then acts upon that. The Sandfords called these orders to ourselves “inner vows.” For example, a hurt child may bow with the conscious mind “I will never love again.” This act is received by the subconscious as a direct order to be carried out. At the same time, the spirit being in direct contact with God, will not accept anything so foreign to God’s nature as the refusal to love. The unity of the personality is disrupted.