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(1962). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 31:144-145.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:144-145

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society


Dr. Wangh demonstrates a defensive maneuver in which a patient can create in a proxy or alter ego impulses or affects which would be threatening to experience alone. The alter ego is provoked to experience such affects as jealousy or anxiety, problems of impulse control, reality evaluation, and instinctual wishes that the patient would be unwilling or unable to tolerate. The need for a proxy often occurs in response to anxiety aroused by threatened loss of a narcissistically cathected object: by the threat of uncontrolled regression and the loss of impulse control.

In recent years emphasis in psychoanalytic theory has shifted from primary narcissism to the primal symbiotic mother-child relationship characterized by interfunctioning of mutual needs and a fusion of body images, and the ultimate emergence and separation of the infant from the mother-child unit. The invariably paired 'omnipotent self-extensions' and 'submersions of the self in the omnipotent maternal image' are transitory psychological structures in normal growth. But as pathologically persistent features, they pervert the process of individuation out of symbiosis into one of parasitism: the object exists then only for the subject's use.

Case material illustrates that with projection there occurs concomitant behavior aimed at the creation of a proxy who then, in reality, carries the projection affixed to it.

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