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Sandler, J. (1981). Character Traits and Object Relationships. Psychoanal Q., 50:694-708.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 50:694-708

Character Traits and Object Relationships

Joseph Sandler, Ph.D.


Character traits have in the past been viewed as "discharge" phenomena and compromise formations. Many traits can be better understood, however, as devices for evoking particular types of response in others in order to actualize the wished-for relationships existing in unconscious fantasy. Moreover, some "evocative" character traits create the unconscious illusion of the presence of the love objects. The concept of unconscious illusion can also be used to clarify the notion of "introject," which may be understood as an illusory object perceived outside normal consciousness.

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