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Weissman, P. (1959). Characteristic Superego Identifications of Obsessional Neurosis. Psychoanal Q., 28:21-28.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:21-28

Characteristic Superego Identifications of Obsessional Neurosis

Philip Weissman, M.D.


A comparative study of obsessional neurosis and melancholia leads to more specific descriptions of the identifications of the obsessional neurosis. Similar studies by Abraham aided in extending Freud's formulation that the instinctual fixation of obsessional neurosis at the anal-erotic and sadistic stages could be more closely approximated as belonging to the anal-retentive phase. This clarified not only the specific phase of instinctual level for obsessional neurosis, but also the specific phase of object relationships. Utilizing recent formulations correlating object relationships, introjections, and identifications, the specific phase of superego identifications of obsessional neurosis is evaluated. Earlier formulations by the author suggested that the obsessional neurosis operated under the influence of an archaic superego. The present study leads to the belief that the archaic superego has earlier and later forms. The later form of ambivalent, fused identifications is part of the specific content of the obsessional symptom. The earlier, preambivalent type of identification is the basic threatening identification of the obsessional neurosis but it is not in the specific content of the symptom. The earlier form has specific representation in the symptom of melancholia.

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