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Khan, M.R. (1971). Infantile Neurosis as a False-Self Organization. Psychoanal Q., 40:245-263.

(1971). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 40:245-263

Infantile Neurosis as a False-Self Organization

M. Masud R. Khan


Three types of infantile neurosis are proposed as the possible variants of early childhood development. The argument is that Freud's concept of infantile neurosis connotes an intrapsychic structure that is the achievement of a satisfactory early development in the child. This argument implies by definition that the achievement is dependent upon and preconditioned by a complexity of factors that belong to developmental and maturational processes and their facilitation as well as realization by environmental provisions in the early stages of an infant's and child's growth. The classical analytic technique has largely concerned itself with the cases where infantile neurosis is given intrapsychic achievement. Today research into early mother-child relationship

and a deeper understanding of the role of the analytic situation enable us to treat cases where early disturbances have interfered with the intrapsychic crystallization of infantile neurosis and have led to a false-self organization.

In this paper clinical material from a male patient explains how maladaptive environmental care in his early childhood had engendered a specific anxiety situation. This anxiety, a threat to his emergent individuation and personalization, was that he would be annihilated; and it resulted in a compliant false-self organization. The paper further discusses the role of precocious mental functioning as a specific type of manic defense, leading to a schizoid-obsessional type of character formation.

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