The processes of alienation, of nonacceptance of one’s own body lead to its robotization, reaching immeasurable and frightening dimensions. The other day, reading, I was astonished by the knowledge of Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID). The BIID is rare, little studied, and of hidden and secret condition. It consists in the desire to mutilate one’s own body by amputating healthy limbs (legs, arms) or, for example, by deliberately going blind or breaking the own spine. There is fundamentally a mismatch in this condition, a discrepancy, a nonacceptance between the body that is desired and the body that is seen. In this sense, the BIID is embedded in the whole problem of desire, goal, nonacceptance, in fears and difficulties, or even in the Krafft-Ebing’s classic definition of paraphilias, expressed in his 1886 book Psychopathia Sexualis.
The characteristic of this nonacceptance, of this non-integration is the transformation of the body into an obstacle. The body is perceived as residue, as an obstacle, it is alien, something unrelated to oneself. It is emphatic the speech of someone with this disorder: “To lose a leg is to find myself”.
The displacements of not accepting oneself, that is, of the possibilities of being - being is the possibility of relationship - is configured by the other, through family and social relations. Depending on the degree of impotence and relational limitations, this is restricted to the body itself, the alienated, strange, non-integrated body. From liposuction to rejuvenating plastic surgeries, from penile ablations and insertions to breast removal, people submit to what they believe to be liberating and transforming. The malleability of beliefs and the possibilities of displacement vary depending on the demands and solutions offered, as well as on medical and social guarantees. Mandibular modification, for example, as well as beauty plastic surgeries, are not seen as mutilating, they account for the repair, the transformation that embellishes.
To deliberately damage one’s spine, remove healthy limbs, or even blind oneself to guarantee incapacity is a justification for one’s own nonacceptance, helplessness, and incapacity in face of the world. In front of the mirror, one perceives what is seen as disappointing and horrible, or as what is accepted. Changing, cutting, adding, withdrawing is imposed against the perceived horror. Not having a leg or having a half arm brings justification, offers displacements and possibilities of new images, of perceiving oneself otherwise, of becoming sexually desirable for some groups already existing and sexually motivated by mutilated. It is a shift from nonacceptance to purpose. Not seeing - being blind - is going to change everything, it will enable care, affection, tenderness, or will even explain the nothing to do, nothing to achieve.
The BIID - Body Integrity Identity Disorder - makes it perfectly clear to us the infinity of displacements that are reached when one does not accept one’s own body, one’s own difficulties and frustrations.
Finding situations that are experienced as unbearable and frustrating requires that they be faced. This process brings new dimensions to the perceptions of what hinders, what obstructs, what is not accepted. This is how situations change and transform: one can perceive impossibilities without accepting them as much as one can establish actions that transform or neutralize them. In some cases, the limit is sovereign in the sense of irreversibility, and this finding is broadening. Perceived in another context, it is only an impediment, a stone that can be removed. Where lies the experienced? In the present, in the past, or in the future. Temporality is enlightening. Only when the experienced occurs in the present while present, it allows change, acceptance. When structured according to goals and desires, the limit is denied, used as a pretext. If experienced in the past context, it becomes anathema, which needs to be hidden, discarded.
Despite being a displacement of nonacceptance and being totally fit within its generating structure, the human being wanting to break the spine, amputate legs, or go blind still shocks and amazes. It is also eloquent how the restriction of the space of life, of the social space, becomes the propeller of these displacements of nonacceptance. The difficulty of survival, the spaces occupied by billions of people and the scarcity of natural economic resources, the societies that seek welfare through profit, success, and access to technology, all this is overwhelming. More and more squeezed and pushed, all that’s left for the human being is falling into the abyss of despair, evil, and self-destruction.
The BIID is an alert! It shows the infinite capacity of the human being to destroy himself when he does not find an exit, when he does not dialogue with his nonacceptances.