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Smolensky De Dellarossa, G. (1978). The Professional of Immigrant Descent. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:37-44.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:37-44

The Professional of Immigrant Descent

Giuliana Smolensky De Dellarossa


The purpose of this paper is to indicate the consequences of migration for the descendants of immigrants who stand out from the nuclear family. My opinion is that the mourning for migration must be worked through like any other significant mourning in people's lives. This mourning can run a normal or pathological course. If its evolution is normal, the members of the family or of the successive generations who are successful and stand out will do it for real vocations with reparatory aims at the depressive level. When the evolution is pathological, someone must be the depository of the working through of that mourning.

That is how this mourning can become dissociated in time and its working through fall upon the succeeding generations. In the case I have presented, the grandparents made a pseudo-adaptation owing to the adequate utilization—in their time—of defence mechanisms, especially idealization. The father bore the brunt of the persecutory aspects of this idealization. Using a melancholic nucleus, he tried to work through pathologically the mourning that his own parents had evaded, while the mother, for her part, had taken on the hypochondriacal characteristics of her own family. As far as my patient was concerned, the only avenue left to him was to inherit various partial aspects which resulted in confusion in the last instance.

The analysis gave him the opportunity to understand some of these mechanisms, although without achieving a deep transformation of the most pathological parts of his personality.

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