Many ensuing circumstances led to Conrad constantly feeling an uneasiness that enhanced his guilt and self-imposed pessimism. First off, during the actual traumatic event, Conrad was asked by Buck to let go of his hand, ensuring that everything would be alright, something he reluctantly did but ended up saving himself where as his brother drowned. This incorporated within him a sense of overpowering guilt rendering him responsible for Buck’s death, something he had immense trouble coping with.
Moreover, he had a serious array of flashbacks even after 5.5 months of the tragedy, but none whatsoever of his suicidal attempts, which shows that he had gone past it without quite overcoming the guilt factor. Moreover, his mom never appropriately showed that she cared for him much to his dismay, and constantly reminded him of the days when his brother used to be alive and how he was her favorite. What caused Conrad most distress was the fact that everyone had to feel responsible for him, engulfing him in a sense of weakness that he wanted to control (as he mentioned in the first meeting with Dr. Berger). As he progressed, the affection from his mom never grew, but in fact, worsened, adding to his discomfort, as a result of which, the psychological trauma of witnessing the death of Buck was thus never allowed to overcome. This was demonstrated by Conrad’s growing instances of mishandling personal affairs, such as losing interest in the swimming team, getting needlessly annoyed at his friend asking about it right after, and later on being involved in a fight with another childhood friend who Conrad knew to be provocative.
The final nail in the coffin was Karen’s suicide, which was sudden and unexpected and threw Conrad’s recovery off the track. However, he did confide in Dr. Berger afterwards and was treated well by him, thereby relaying Conrad’s inner desire to come to terms with his guilt just by having someone to share his grief with him, someone who was not blood related. Thus, the real psychological factors that plagued him were first hand views of his brother’s death and the ensuing flashbacks, two things that instilled an omnipresent guilt inside of him.
3. Personality disorders are described by the American Psychiatric Association as a prolonged pattern of human behaviour of an individual starkly different from the culturally accepted standards of the person exhibiting it. Due in part to the personal and social experiences of a person, such disorders are marked by considerable changes in their behavioral dispositions which perpetuate themselves as rigid and inflexible since they are associated with the ego integrity of the individual, so that they themselves view their behavior as appropriate. The ensuing afflictions resulting from such disorders include social and personal distresses, and a consistent enduring pattern of feeling and thinking that exists
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