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McLaughlin, F. (1964). Comment on Dr Winter's Paper. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:342-343.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:342-343

Comment on Dr Winter's Paper

Francis McLaughlin

I am sure that we are all familiar to some degree with the patients Dr Winter describes, and unquestionably they are among the most difficult with whom we have to deal. Their need to exclude any element of aggression from their character structure in itself renders their analysis very difficult, if not impossible. The same thing may be said of their lives, which tend to be frustrating, disappointing, and on the whole not very productive or creative. After all, charm and seductiveness are not realistic substitutes for accomplishment.

This immediately creates problems for the analyst. As Winter points out, evidences of tolerance, patience, and understanding are apt to be felt by the patient as gratification and justification for the passive-receptive attitude. Yet obviously, an opposite attitude is not therapeutic.

It is stressed that in childhood the boy has ignored or depreciated the father—a not uncommon attempt to deal with oedipal strivings—but, as always, this has the unfortunate effect of depreciating himself and destroying an essential identification. In too many instances, the mother was an active partner in this denigration or may even have been its instigator. She appears as the powerful person; it is more important to be like her or to win her favour. If she and the father have difficulties, as is almost inevitable, there is no question whose side to take.

As Winter so correctly states, there is no likelihood that the young boy will really confront her or enter into an object relationship with her. He is much more apt to incorporate her, her ideas and attitudes, in an uncritical way.


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