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Tyson, P. (1986). Psychogenesis. The Early Development of Gender Identity: By Elizabeth R. Moberly. London/Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1983. 111 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 55:691-693.

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(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:691-693

Psychogenesis. The Early Development of Gender Identity: By Elizabeth R. Moberly. London/Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1983. 111 pp.

Phyllis Tyson Author Information

Moberly's premise is that pathology is the result of "unmet love needs." She begins with a re-evaluation of the Schreber case, and she postulates that a paranoid's delusion of persecution is not a projection of anger but the reproduction of early social reality. She maintains that Schreber's father persecuted his son, and so the later delusions were an "accurate, if symbolized reproduction of the experiences of Schreber's early years" (p. 6). "Actual persecutory behavior accounts both for the emotion of hate and for the need for love which—blocked by the hateful behaviour of the love source—has been left unmet, and thus has persisted into adult life as a need yet to be met" (p. 9). Restating her position, as she tends to do repeatedly, she comments, "The paranoid does not actually project his own anger, but is accurate in ascribing hurtful behaviour to a love source in early years. The paranoid's own anger is a response to this, and an entirely logical response when the facts are known" (p. 12). She suggests that the "unmet love need" leads to a defensive detachment from and distrust or hatred of the object. This provides an additional barrier to the receiving of love. After reviewing several theories of paranoia, she concludes that these are inadequate and do not do justice to historical reality.

Still maintaining an interpersonal rather than intrapsychic position (although she does allow that interpersonal conflict may have intrapsychic repercussions), Moberly then turns her attention to disturbances of gender identity. Over and over, with a slight variation in her words and huge generalizations, she explains pathology as resulting from the infantile trauma of unmet love needs caused by hostile or neglectful behavior by the caretaking parent. She compares the paranoiac with the homosexual and states that when the persecutory love source is the same sex as the paranoid, the phenomenon is labeled homosexual. The homosexual condition thus is due to an unmet need for love from the parent of the same sex (p. 14), resulting in a disidentification from the same-sexed love source. She concludes that transsexualism is due to an even more radical defensive disidentification. She contends that male homosexuality does not stem primarily from an identification with

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