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De Levita, D.J. (1974). A Discussion of the Paper by Shelley Orgel on 'Fusion with the Victim'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:539-541.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:539-541

A Discussion of the Paper by Shelley Orgel on 'Fusion with the Victim' Related Papers

D. J. De Levita

The significance of Dr Orgel's rich and challenging paper (this issue) seems to me to lie in the double task he has undertaken: firstly, he has elaborated the concept of 'identification with the aggressor', changing its status as a defence mechanism into a model of psychic development which may also be used for other mechanisms and has thus greatly advanced our thinking about theory-building; secondly, he is the first to use his own model, applying it to a mechanism which he calls 'fusion with the victim' and introducing it as a kind of counterpart to identification with the aggressor.

If we try to summarize what Dr Orgel has told us about this model, quoting several authors and adding his own blend to the mixture, we can say that developmental processes are viewed as the outcome of motherchild interactions in which there is a constant reciprocal feedback. Primary aggression in the child is projected on to the object, which is not yet an object, and the child is in this way making a connexion with real features of the object. This totality develops to the extent that the child is at the time capable of perceiving it and is subsequently reinternalized. After reinternalization, these representations become cathected narcissistically; they move, so to speak, to the 'self-pole' of the emerging self–object polarization and connect themselves with ideas, fantasies and logical concepts of the maturing ego. After this the whole procedure is repeated at a higher level in an unending circular process and gives rise to an ever-increasing structuralization of the psyche, the first stages of which are of course the most spectacular—e.

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