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Mitrani, J.L. (1995). On Adhesive Pseudo-object Relations Part Ii: Illustration. Contemp. Psychoanal., 31:140.
(1995). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 31:140
On Adhesive Pseudo-object Relations Part Ii: Illustration
Judith L. Mitrani, Ph.D.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
NOT UNLIKE OTHER DISCOVERIES rooted in the observation of infants and children, the seminal work of Esther Bick(1968), (1986) on adhesive identification and her explication of the concept of the psychic skin" along with its functions have impacted our psychoanalytic understanding of the development of normal/narcissistic object relations and has led to some important technical considerations in the treatment of adult patients. The evolution and refinement of Bick's ideas, especially as they have been developed in the work of Donald Meltzer and his colleagues (1975a, 1975b) and Frances Tustin(1969), (1972), (1981), (1983), (1984a), (1984b), (1986), (1990), has led to the notion, presently under discussion, that there may be a mode of pseudo-object relating; it is markedly characterized by adhesive identity or adhesive equation rather than projective identification and may be considered as both prehistoric and pathogenetic to the normal/narcissistic object relations that have been so well defined and documented by Melanie Klein and her exponents. I have termed this phenomenon adhesive pseudo-object relations in the first of this pair of articles (Mitrani, 1994).
Having already compared and contrasted normal/narcissistic object relations with adhesive pseudo-object relations in the previous article, I will devote the present article to the illustration of this primitive way of being, an illustration derived not from clinical data, but from a literary work of art. The practice of using literary characters to illustrate and