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Glass, L.L. (1980). The Record. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 8(2):251-262.

(1980). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 8(2):251-262

The Record

Leonard L. Glass, M.D.*

Even in normal people some archaic precursors of the ego ideal or of the prohibiting superego are retained through all these developments. But this statement certainly does not deny that pathology may result in cases where these archaic elements become dominant … or, on the other hand, that the dominance of these elements can be a sign of pathology.

Hartmann and Loewenstein, 1962

This communication is intended to identify and comment upon a psychological phenomenon: the sense that there is a “record” being kept of one's activities and/or thoughts and feelings. The record is available to others, especially authority figures, but not the subject himself. The course of future events, particularly feared or desired outcomes, hinges on this record. The subject manifests an implicit belief in such a record and its power, and acts to influence it or to submit to its dictums.

Case material illustrating this phenomenon will be presented first, followed by an attempt to understand it from a psychodynamic and developmental viewpoint.

Case Material

Case I. A forty-six-year-old man had his third psychiatric hospitalization because my brother said I was getting out of hand.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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