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Balint, E. (1972). Fair Shares and Mutual Concern. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 53:61-65.

(1972). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 53:61-65

Fair Shares and Mutual Concern

Enid Balint


When studying the possibilities of human ease and contentment on the one hand, and dis-ease and discontent on the other, in recent years more and more attention has been given—in addition to the favourable balance between gratification and frustration of instinctual drives and the healthy development of ego functions—to the importance of satisfactory object-relationship between the individual and his fellow human beings.

Our these is that the two factors in the structure of human relationships which we have been examining have their origins in primitive conditions, which means also that they contain a fair amount of unconscious elements and fantasies. In this paper I have not examined the development of these fantasies. This would have to be based on clinical material which I have no time now to present. Usually, only the secondary aspects of these two factors are studied, i.e. those developed as a reaction formation to primitive and aggressive tendencies. Over and above these, fair shares and mutual concern in children, adolescents and adults can be better understood, also, as direct derivatives of primitive emotional attitudes which, although observable from the earliest stages of human existence, often seem to disappear, and when they emerge later are seen as reaction formations which, if they lack spontaneity, do indeed demonstrate their defensive structure.

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