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Masterson, J.F. Rinsley, D.B. (1975). The Borderline Syndrome: The Role of the Mother in the Genesis and Psychic Structure of the Borderline Personality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:163-177.

(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:163-177

The Borderline Syndrome: The Role of the Mother in the Genesis and Psychic Structure of the Borderline Personality

James F. Masterson and Donald B. Rinsley

SUMMARY

This paper describes the contribution of maternal libidinal availability and withdrawal to the aetiology of the borderline syndrome. It underscores Mahler's emphasis upon the mother's vital contribution to normal ego development and relates the effects of deficiency in that contribution to the development of the intrapsychic structure of the borderline: the split ego and the split object relations unit. The latter, which develops from internalization of the two major themes of interaction with the mother, produced the leitmotif of the borderline's intrapsychic structure: the rewarding and withdrawing object relations part-units. The rewarding part-unit becomes allied, as it were, with the pathological (pleasure) ego to defend against the withdrawing part-unit, but at the cost of failure to cope with reality.

The relationship of these borderline intrapsychic structures to each other and to the therapist's intrapsychic structures, as developed in the therapeutic transference and resistance, is described and illustrated by means of clinical case examples.

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