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Price, M. (1994). Incest and the Idealized Self: Adaptations to Childhood Sexual Abuse. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(1):21-36.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(1):21-36

Incest and the Idealized Self: Adaptations to Childhood Sexual Abuse

Michelle Price, C.S.W.

Identity and Self-Development

Identity and a sense of self originate from an identification with early self and object representations and related defensive and adaptive mechanisms. Additionally significant is the affective and narrative meaning that is ascribed to experiences and interactions. Basically, who one is or more accurately who one perceives himself or herself to be is in part related to the meaning given to life experiences and their actual content. This very broad definition encompasses not only early object relationships but the various defensive, cognitive, and affective mechanisms and solutions that have been utilized. The psychological organization and comprehension of these experiences provides an individual with a sense of self-knowledge, as well as a defined way of relating to others. Ingram (1992a) cites Bonime's (1989) definition of a sense of self:

It is a complex affective-sensate-cognitive phenomenon experienced in the course of functioning. Sense of self is ineffable and private. It is a subliminal feeling of being a particular person in an experience, a vague sense of a me involved actively or passively, alive and somehow being in relation to others. The sense of the self functioning effectively maintains the familiar, thereby relatively comfortable, constant subjective sense of the me.

This definition spans both intrapsychic and interpersonal worlds.

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