Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see papers related to the one you are viewing…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are articles or videos related to the one you are viewing, you will see a related papers icon next to the title, like this: RelatedPapers32Final3For example:

2015-11-06_09h28_31

Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are related (including the current one). Related papers may be papers which are commentaries, responses to commentaries, erratum, and videos discussing the paper. Since they are not part of the original source material, they are added by PEP editorial staff, and may not be marked as such in every possible case.

 

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Rappaport, D. (1998). Destruction and Gratitude: Some Thoughts on “the Use of an Object”. Contemp. Psychoanal., 34(3):369-378.

(1998). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 34(3):369-378

Destruction and Gratitude: Some Thoughts on “the Use of an Object”

David Rappaport, C.S.W.

Throughout his career as a psychoanalyst, Winnicott maintained a pediatric practice in London. In his four decades of work, he saw thousands of children, parents, and grandparents (Newman, 1995). This provided him with two distinct advantages over his analytic colleagues. First, it spared him economic dependence on referrals to his psychoanalytic practice, perhaps emboldening him to take revolutionary positions vis à vis his theoretical predecessors. Second, his medical practice afforded him the opportunity to observe the critical role the actual environment plays in the emotional life of young children. Running through all of his accounts of development there are descriptions of psychic resources the mother must supply for her baby to become a spontaneous, creative person with the capacity for uninhibited and authentic engagements with others.

In “The Use of an Object” (1969), Winnicott focuses on the provision of maternal survival. He argues that as the baby develops a dawning awareness of the mother's independent existence, he confronts his dependence on her. Troubled by this turn of events, the baby attacks an internal image of the mother and expects to destroy her. If the actual mother stands her ground lovingly by continuing to offer nurturing and soothing, however, the baby is forced to notice that external and internal affairs do not necessarily correspond. Here, survival is an offering through which the actual mother introduces the child into the world of separate objects that may reliably withstand his fantasized destruction of them. According to Winnicott, the mother's endurance determines the boundaries of the child's destructiveness. Eigen (1993) explains that survival relieves the child of the burden of omnipotence and pulls him out of the aloneness and narcissism of the early psychic landscape in which projective-introjective cycles obscure the definitions of self and other.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.