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Klein, M. (1926). Infant Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:31-63.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:31-63

Infant Analysis

Melanie Klein

We constantly find in psycho-analysis that neurotic inhibitions of talents are determined by repression's having overtaken the libidinal ideas associated with these particular activities, and thus at the same time the activities themselves. In the course of infant-analyses and the analyses of children, I came upon material that led to the investigation of certain inhibitions which had only been recognized as such during the analysis. The following characteristics proved in a number of cases and in a typical way to be inhibitions: awkwardness in games and athletics and distaste for them, little or no pleasure in lessons, lack of interest in one particular subject, or, in general, varying degrees of what is called laziness; very often, too, capacities or interests which were feebler than the ordinary turned out to be 'inhibited'. In some instances it had not been recognized that these characteristics were real inhibitions and, since similar inhibitions make up part of the personality of every human being, they could not be termed neurotic. When they had been resolved by analysis we found—as Abraham has shown in the case of neurotics suffering from motor inhibitions—that the basis of these inhibitions, too, was a strong primary pleasure which had been repressed on account of its sexual character. Playing at ball or with hoops, skating, tobogganing, dancing, gymnastics, swimming—in fact, athletic games of every sort—turned out to have a libidinal cathexis, the symbolism of which was always genital in nature. The same applied to the road to school, the relation with men and women teachers, and even to learning and teaching in themselves. Of course a large number of active and passive, heterosexual and homosexual determinants, varying with the individual and proceeding from the separate component instincts, were also found to be of importance.

In analogy to neurotic inhibitions, these which we may call 'normal' were evidently founded on a capacity for pleasure which was constitutionally great, and on their sexual-symbolic significance.

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