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Fornari, F. (1968). Comment on Dr Meltzer's Paper. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:400-401.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:400-401

Comment on Dr Meltzer's Paper

Franco Fornari

I should like to congratulate Meltzer on his paper about terror considered as a particular kind of paranoid anxiety which grows inside the relationship with the terrifying object.

The terrifying object, Meltzer shows us, is a fantasy object and in particular a dead object. Neither the flight from nor the attack on this object are possible defences. There is but one efficient defence, namely a good external object which can make the dead object alive again, that is, resuscitate it. A pathological kind of defence, which is shown in the clinical material, could have existed through a relationship of forced submission, that is, a slavish relationship to a tyrannical object with sado-masochistic erotization appearing above all in masturbation fantasies. This object relationship of a tyrannical kind, described as an addictive relation, would have the function of defending the subject against the terrifying object, that is the dead object.

Opposed to the terror, persecution is placed within the relationship with the tyrannical object, whereas dread is mobilized when there is fear of losing the addictive object, which is considered as a defence against terror.

I shall now discuss the therapeutic problem arising from the theory Meltzer proposes. The model of the therapeutic process, as Meltzer suggests it, is based on Kleinian theories and is above all one of true tendencies towards reparation—to be kept separate from pseudo-reparation tendencies of a manic type. If the terrifying object, as well as the dead object, is above all a pathogenic one, the process of treatment consists in making the patient relive the terror.

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