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Schmidt-Hellerau, C. (2006). Fighting with Spoons: On Caretaking Rivalry Between Mothers and Daughters. Psychoanal. Inq., 26(1):32-55.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 26(1):32-55

Fighting with Spoons: On Caretaking Rivalry Between Mothers and Daughters

Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, Ph.D.

I present an aspect of my version of modern drive theory with a preservative and a sexual drive as basic motivating factors in mental life. To consider self-preservation and object preservation as primal drive activities allows me to focus on the many issues of caretaking as they play a major role between mother and daughter. I discuss three different ways that mothers deal with object-preservative concerns in the interaction with the child with regard to competition and rivalry. An extended psychoanalytic example demonstrates how I use these concepts in my clinical work. The article ends with some reflections on specific countertransference difficulties in the context of self-preservative and object-preservative urges and needs.

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