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Glauber, I.P. (1955). On the Meaning of Agoraphilia. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 3:701-709.

(1955). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 3:701-709

On the Meaning of Agoraphilia

I. Peter Glauber, M.D.

In the course of delving into the etiologic roots of the stuttering syndrome, and other oral-narcissistic syndromes to which it always led, I was impressed by the central importance of the psychological symbiosis between mother and child and especially by the many consequences of its incomplete dissolution. The point of fixation to which regression occurs later on is an early stage of ego organization. It is approximately that which has been variously designated: "pleasure ego" by Freud (4), "mouth ego" by Hoffer (10), "part-ego" by Lewin (13). Glover (8) states that it is the period when the development of speech leads to the organization of the preconscious layers of the mind. The functioning of this early evolving ego state of the child, with its boundaries indistinct and still confluent with the mother, is by means of a sense of identity with her omnipotent total self or with parts of her body, especially breast or fantasied phallus. This functioning is archaic and preoedipal and has to be distinguished from the later true identifications emerging after resolution of the oedipus complex and even from their precursors which Freud called "primary identification" (5). The distinction between the primitive and genuine identification is that the former strives to retain an archaic identity while the latter signifies a wish to assume, in the future, a new role—that of a love object; also, that in the former we are often dealing with an identity with a part-object while in the latter with an assumption of roles of a total object; finally, that the former state is beset with ambivalent cathexes while the latter strives to be unambivalent.

These remarks are germane because this paper is about one aspect of the incomplete dissolution of the primitive identification.

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