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Jaffe, D.S. (1968). The Mechanism of Projection: Its Dual Role in Object Relations. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:662-677.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:662-677

The Mechanism of Projection: Its Dual Role in Object Relations

Daniel S. Jaffe

Projection, in its most archaic form, seeks to externalize and to set up a stimulus barrier to unpleasurable inner excitation (Freud, 1920), and to create distance from painful stimuli or from an object world which in the first instance is differentiated from the self when frustration invades the narcissistic or purified pleasure ego (Freud, 1915b). This "primordial projection" (Ferenczi, 1909) attributes malevolence to the outer world, aims at the destruction of objects, and antedates object love (Freud, 1915a). The archaic nature of such a defence accounts for the fact that it is used extensively only where boundaries between ego and non-ego are blurred by narcissistic regression with impairment of reality-testing (Fenichel, 1945p. 147). Though Abraham (1924) relates the earliest projections to anal and urinary eliminative processes (see also Ophuijsen (1920) and Stärcke (1920) on faeces as persecutor), Spitz (1961p. 640) traces the prototype of projection or oral ejection.

As object love evolves, following incorporation of objects into the ego, there is a change in the nature and even in the aim of projection. A certain ego quality is retained even when the object is projected; and the body or body parts are frequently represented in the projected object (Tausk, 1933). Further, the projection of the superego, which is in a sense half ego and half outer world, is particularly notable in paranoia (e.g. in ideas of reference and to being influenced) (Fenichel 1945p.

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