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Valdarsky, I.H. (2015). ‘Void Existence’ as Against ‘Annihilation Existence’: Differentiating Two Qualities in Primitive Mental States. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(5):1213-1233.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(5):1213-1233

‘Void Existence’ as Against ‘Annihilation Existence’: Differentiating Two Qualities in Primitive Mental States Language Translation

Irit Hameiri Valdarsky

This paper attempts to distil out a particular quality of psychic (non) existence, which I call here ‘void existence’, from the quality predominantly explored in the psychoanalytic discourse on primitive mental states, which I call ‘annihilation existence’. Achieving this phenomenological differentiation may make it easier to identify and work through extreme states in the analytic situation, when the patient is under the dominance of ‘void existence’. I suggest that it is, as it were, a one-dimensional existence, in an infinite contour-less void, lacking any substantial internal object, lacking any substantial sense of psychic and/or somatic occurrences, and lacking any live representation of this very state of being. Hence, it lacks distress and anxiety, as well as calmness and peace. One might say that it is the inorganic within the organic; a quality of non-alive-ness within life. ‘Annihilation existence’ is existence in a two- or three-dimensional hollowed world, with flat and) or partial representations of self and object, which attracts acute distress and annihilation anxiety. It is a sort of existence on the brink of non-life, on the brink of the void; where a sense of catastrophic danger is brought on by the never-ending potentiality of the annihilation's realization. Both these psychic qualities can be encapsulated within neurotic and personality disorders, and the dominance of each can serve as defence against the dominance of the other. The theoretical discussion is supported by excerpts from an analysis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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