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de Mijolla-Mellor, S. (2017). Maternal intrusion: Its roots and consequences. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(1):59-63.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(1):59-63

Maternal intrusion: Its roots and consequences

Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor

Behind an intrusive mother’s view of her actual child lies a disproportionate, hidden desire to revive an ideal relationship with a perfect mother. The resulting image of an idealized child then becomes a strategic aspect of the mother’s own identity, representing an idealized figure from her own past. As the mother’s idealization is disturbed by the reality of the child, the mother experiences the situation between herself and the baby as “pathological,” that is, disruptive to her. She then attempts to repair the idealization by resisting any change in the status of her relationship to her child, even as the child grows older. Her rigidity in this regard necessarily excludes a paternal presence that could challenge or change the mother–infant idealized dyad. The mother’s orientation is also contradictory to, and acts as a resistance to, psychoanalytic therapeutic interventions, which aim at any “change.”

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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