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Williams, P. (2004). Incorporation of an invasive object. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(6):1333-1348.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(6):1333-1348

Incorporation of an invasive object Language Translation

Paul Williams

The author discusses the experience of ‘being invaded’ that is sometimes communicated by certain severely disturbed patients. The complaint can sometimes be couched in terms of bodily suffering and such patients may state that they have the experience of a ‘foreign body’ inside. It is suggested that these patients have suffered severe early failure of containment of their projections, while at the same time they have incorporated primitive characteristics of the object that have been powerfully projected into them. An object that invades in this way, it is suggested, experiences a compulsive need to expel unbearable states of mind using others as a repository. The infant incorporates these violent projections as part of his own mental representational system, and normal identification processes are disrupted. There follows impairment of the development of the sense of self. Clinical examples of how the invasive experience manifests itself in the analytic setting and in the transference and countertransference are presented. It is argued that this highly complex form of early subjectobject interaction (prior to the differentiation of psyche-soma) is more likely to be found in severely narcissistically disturbed individuals. Some reflections on the origins of invasive phenomena are given.

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