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Meregnani, A. Ferro, A. (1995). Rivista di Psicoanalisi. XXXIX, 1993: Rigidness of Expectations and Fear of Disintegration. Giulio Cesare Soavi. Pp. 99-110.. Psychoanal Q., 64:631-632.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Rivista di Psicoanalisi. XXXIX, 1993: Rigidness of Expectations and Fear of Disintegration. Giulio Cesare Soavi. Pp. 99-110.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 64:631-632

Rivista di Psicoanalisi. XXXIX, 1993: Rigidness of Expectations and Fear of Disintegration. Giulio Cesare Soavi. Pp. 99-110.

Anna Meregnani and Antonino Ferro

Soavi notes that psychoanalytic research is devoting increasing attention to how the self is structured, in particular to its deficiencies and how they may be repaired through analysis. He makes the theme of rigid expectations the principal object of scrutiny and considers that some patients have a very limited capacity for extracting gratifying elements from the situations in which they find themselves. If reality does not correspond exactly to their expectations, fits of rage and feelings of bitter disillusionment ensue, with involvement of body organs and the sensation of falling apart or going underground.

The author gives some clinical examples and observes that all the cases described were victims of early deprivation to a varying degree. All the patients came from united, functioning families, were comfortably well-off, and had had a good education. The deprivation can be seen as resulting from a fantasy organization present in one or both parents. The author notes that the patients all had partners; it is as if this type of expectation can find full expression only in the presence of the fantasy that one's partner, or the world, has clear obligations toward us.

According to Soavi's clinical experience, the crisis is triggered by an apparently trivial event, but what is reactivated is the experience of being used to satisfy needs

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which are not one's own, of not being loved, or not being seen, and finally, of not existing. Encounters with reality are seen as a kind of challenge; an expectation, based upon past experiences of absence rather than presence, anxiously waits to be denied. When the negative experience is confirmed, the subject has a feeling of annihilation, of going to pieces, and the ensuing rage is to be seen as an attempt to compensate. Subsequent to disillusionment, besides the immediate responses to the sensation of falling apart, there is a long period of loss of vitality and interest, and psychosomatic disorders may appear, linked to the threat to the self and to the internal organs. The author briefly discusses the links between this type of mental mechanism and masochism, and concludes with a description of the problems in managing the analysis of patients with these characteristics.

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Article Citation

Meregnani, A. and Ferro, A. (1995). Rivista di Psicoanalisi. XXXIX, 1993. Psychoanal. Q., 64:631-632

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