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Fast, I. (1975). Aspects of Work Style and Work Difficulty in Borderline Personalities. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:397-403.

(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:397-403

Aspects of Work Style and Work Difficulty in Borderline Personalities

Irene Fast


Some work difficulties of borderline patients appear to have important points of origin in the developmental period dominated by the transition from narcissism to a commitment to objective reality. Two patterns of work-related activity appear to originate during that transition, creative activity specific to the transition itself and goal-orientated action indicating a more complete commitment to the objectively real. In normal development both are learned and available for use. Borderline patients are observed to be intensely identified with creative activity and alienated from goal-orientated action. In creative activity they tend to become

intensely involved, enthusiastic and productive whereas they find goal-orientated action meaningless and unrelated to the self. A developmental disturbance in the transitional period appears to have occurred. Rather than an integration of pleasure and unpleasure in their experience they appear to have retained the primitive pleasure–unpleasure categorization of experience. Creative activity is identified with the narcissistic pleasure world and purposeful action with unpleasure. Although such persons' identification is with the creative mode, functioning in both activity modes is found to be disturbed. Skills involved in goal-orientated action and the communicative or expressive aspects of creative activity tend to be poorly learned. In addition there appears regularly to be an inadequate modulation of narcissistic experience which plays a major role in the image-making of creative activity and contributes to the normal sense of self-involvement of efficacy and of optimism in goal-orientated action.

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