Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To suggest new content…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Help us improve PEP Web. If you would like to suggest new content, click here and fill in the form with your ideas!

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Roiphe, A. (1975). A Writer Looks At the Void. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(1):55-61.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(1):55-61

A Writer Looks At the Void

Anne Roiphe

We are all familiar with a frightening sense of aloneness, emptiness, loss of connection to people and events. We know it personally, we know it psychologically and philosophically. As with some other stubborn demons, insight and knowledge do not forever banish or control these plaguing states of mind or mood, moments in which a crack has been made in our daily structures and the universe with all its distance slips in, overwhelms us, reminds us of our death, robs us of our single significance, and leaves us paralyzed under a sense of vacancy that merely echoes the vacancy of the skies.

In small children, infants and toddlers, we speak of separation anxiety, of the struggle to be an individual, to be apart from the mothering figure, and there are moments in that developmental struggle when it seems natural and normal for the child in our society to experience a sense of loss so deep he feels himself empty, disconnected, purposeless, and helpless. Most little children, just like the rest of us, learn that these unpleasant feelings come and go. But of course for many the mother is either depressed or unavailable or the environment is so chaotic and disturbing that seemingly irreparable psychic damage occurs, and the child is unable to connect to the loved object and is forever orbiting within the confines of his or her own mind. These kinds of disturbances, which the psychiatric profession sees with increasing frequency, are of course personal and private tragedies spreading patterns of failure from generation to generation.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.