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Rosen, V.H. (1955). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953: Defensive Aspects of Orality. Lawrence J. Friedman. Pp. 304-312.. Psychoanal Q., 24:309.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953: Defensive Aspects of Orality. Lawrence J. Friedman. Pp. 304-312.

(1955). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 24:309

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953: Defensive Aspects of Orality. Lawrence J. Friedman. Pp. 304-312.

Victor H. Rosen

The Oedipus complex frequently utilizes distorted manifestations of preoedipal phases for defensive purposes. This paper is particularly concerned with characteristic uses of preoedipal orality for this purpose. Psychoanalysts tend to emphasize that pregenital points of fixation, particularly oral ones, determine Oedipal patterns, but they neglect the reverse phenomenon. Clinical evidence shows that many symptoms apparently of oral origin are regressive attempts to ward off castration anxiety aroused by activities that have the unconscious meaning of competing for the role of the parent of the same sex. The author quotes Niederland to suggest that Schreber developed his delusional system after succumbing to passive feminine fantasies which are to be understood as a reaction to the unbearable assumption, prior to each outbreak, of an active masculine role in life. The author found similar mechanisms in a male 'borderline' schizophrenic, a young woman with predominantly depressive symptoms, and a male homosexual.

When pregenital and genital drives become mingled in this way, the pregenital drive becomes invested with genital meaning; because this genital meaning arouses castration anxiety, the pregenital drive cannot now be sublimated. Failures and inhibitions of sublimation, and other sorts of inhibition too, occur in this way.

The paper is a useful reminder of an important mechanism and adds some interesting material on symptom-formation in terms of this defense. The author points out that the Oedipus complex is not the only problem that we deal with in psychoanalysis. One feels the need, after reading this interesting paper, of an inquiry into the special structural, genetic, and especially economic conditions that facilitate such a regressive defense.

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Article Citation

Rosen, V.H. (1955). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953. Psychoanal. Q., 24:309

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