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(1970). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXII, 1968: Contribution clinique à la compréhension de l'imaginaire des parents. A propos de l'adoption ou le roman de Polybe et Mérobe(Clinical Contribution to the Understanding of the Fantasies of Parents. A Work on Adoption or the Story of Polybus and Merope). Michel Soulé. Pp. 419-464.. Psychoanal Q., 39:512.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXII, 1968: Contribution clinique à la compréhension de l'imaginaire des parents. A propos de l'adoption ou le roman de Polybe et Mérobe(Clinical Contribution to the Understanding of the Fantasies of Parents. A Work on Adoption or the Story of Polybus and Merope). Michel Soulé. Pp. 419-464.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 39:512

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXII, 1968: Contribution clinique à la compréhension de l'imaginaire des parents. A propos de l'adoption ou le roman de Polybe et Mérobe(Clinical Contribution to the Understanding of the Fantasies of Parents. A Work on Adoption or the Story of Polybus and Merope). Michel Soulé. Pp. 419-464.

Soulé's paper is based on his psychoanalytic experiences with adopted children and parents and clinical experience with adoption cases. The focus is on the problems of the adoptive parents rather than on the children; the latter often behave as natural children while the parents are confronted with a re-elaboration of their Oedipal fantasies more intense than if the children were their own. In all families there are interactions between the fantasies of parents and children. This is also true in adoptive families.

Sterility implies a final renunciation of the realization of the ego ideal. The wish to adopt is often an attempt to prevent the anxiety and depression resulting from this final renunciation. Sterility also has implications concerning castration fantasies, the manifestations of which are more varied and subtle in the female than in the male. By making a decision to adopt, the sterile couple defies the Oedipal prohibition in a way natural parents do not have to do. The adoption constitutes a mode of dramatizing Oedipal conflict and castration anxiety. The fantasies which the adoptive parents elaborate are those of all parents confronted with the Oedipal conflict when it becomes conscious, as in analysis.

The adoptive parents' anxiety about revealing the adoption to the child is related to Polybus and Merope keeping the secret from Oedipus. Among other reasons for their anxiety are the narcissistic injury of sterility, the denial of the primal scene, and unconscious fantasies about castration. The author concludes by proposing two different versions of the story of Polybus and Merope as adoptive parents.

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Article Citation

(1970). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXII, 1968. Psychoanal. Q., 39:512

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