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Steinberg, J. (1978). Revista De La Sociedad Colombiana De Psicoanálisis. II, 1977: The Eye of the Mother as Part Object. Guillermo Ballesteros Rotter. Pp. 27-52.. Psychoanal Q., 47:653.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revista De La Sociedad Colombiana De Psicoanálisis. II, 1977: The Eye of the Mother as Part Object. Guillermo Ballesteros Rotter. Pp. 27-52.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 47:653

Revista De La Sociedad Colombiana De Psicoanálisis. II, 1977: The Eye of the Mother as Part Object. Guillermo Ballesteros Rotter. Pp. 27-52.

Jorge Steinberg

A fantasy of one of his patients, in which a breast was transformed into an observing eye, awoke Rotter's interest in the meaning of the visual function, the origin of its pathological vicissitudes, and the role that visual representations play in psychic functioning. He quotes different writers on this subject, particularly Fenichel who stated clearly that the eye is unconsciously equated with the mouth. The eye may also represent the penis, with its penetrating characteristic, and the vagina in the sense of being penetrated. In looking, both the libidinal and destructive impulses of an oral nature may be expressed.

Rebeca Grinburg has indicated other meanings of the act of looking, such as to dominate, control, criticize, tease, separate, defecate, and urinate. Spitz, Ribble, and Gough described the constant visual relationship between the baby and the mother which is related to the breast-feeding process. From the perspective of this theoretical background and his clinical data, Rotter hypothesizes that at some point during the development of the child, the eyes of the mother acquire the meaning of part object in the Kleinian sense, being invested with oral drives displaced from the mouth-nipple equation. Her eyes become a sort of intermediate object of the displacement from the primitive part object breast to, ultimately, the penis. The author also follows Melanie Klein's formulations in his understanding of the role of vision in ego and superego development.

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Article Citation

Steinberg, J. (1978). Revista De La Sociedad Colombiana De Psicoanálisis. II, 1977. Psychoanal. Q., 47:653

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