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Klein, M. (1946). Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 27:99-110.

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(1946). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 27:99-110

Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms

Melanie Klein


To-night I am going to touch on a vast and relatively obscure topic, and the present paper is necessarily in the nature of preliminary notes. I had given much thought to this subject for many years, even before I came to clarify my views on the depressive processes in infancy. In the course of working out my concept of the infantile depressive position, however, the problems of the phase preceding it again forced themselves on my attention. I now wish to formulate some hypo-theses at which I have arrived regarding the earlier anxieties and mechanisms.

The hypotheses I shall put forward, which relate to very early stages of development, are derived by inference from material gained in the analyses of adults and children, and some of these hypo-theses seem to tally with observations familiar in psychiatric work. To substantiate my contentions would require an accumulation of detailed case material for which there is no room in the frame of this paper, and I hope in further contributions to fill this gap.

At the outset it will be useful to summarize briefly the conclusions regarding the earliest phases of development which I have already put forward (see particularly Klein, 1932) and (1935).

In early infancy anxieties characteristic of psychosis arise which drive the ego to develop specific defence mechanisms. In this period the fixation points for all psychotic disorders are to be found. This hypothesis led some people to believe that I regarded all

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