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Post, S.C. (1964). The Re-Evocation of Anxiety by its Absence. Psychoanal Q., 33:526-535.

(1964). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 33:526-535

The Re-Evocation of Anxiety by its Absence

Seymour C. Post, M.D.


A patient complained of becoming increasingly anxious whenever he tended to become free of anxiety. Analysis revealed that anxiety gave him a feeling of closeness to his mother. This identification, by way of the affect of anxiety, which he shared with his mother, protected him against the danger of object loss and the unconscious fear of having castrated his mother by deserting her. Concomitantly, the identification regressively reactivated early wishes for a symbiosis which, in turn, aroused a secondary fear of being devoured by her. The means by which he sought to ward off the danger of object loss brought in its wake another, equally threatening, danger.

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