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Meisel, F.L. (1990). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986: Consequences of Paternal Nurturing. Judith Fingert Chused. Pp. 419-438.. Psychoanal Q., 59:339-340.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986: Consequences of Paternal Nurturing. Judith Fingert Chused. Pp. 419-438.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:339-340

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986: Consequences of Paternal Nurturing. Judith Fingert Chused. Pp. 419-438.

Frederick L. Meisel

Chused describes a woman who was nurtured by her father in her early years. She discusses the effects of that nurturing on the woman's later capacity to have a satisfying relationship with a man and to enjoy her self and her life. Traumatized when her father, the primary nurturant figure, withdrew in response to her mother's two debilitating illnesses and pregnancy, the girl was left with a large amount of guilt in her rivalrous feelings toward her mother. Her pleasure in the early relationship with her father, as well as later oedipal feelings for him, was lost, and she was transformed from an outgoing, happy, boisterous girl into a withdrawn and sad child and adolescent. In adulthood she felt inadequate and had a series of unsatisfying relationships with rejecting and unavailable men. That analysis changed her is remarkable, for often this type of patient merely re-experiences her feelings and relations in analysis, in a negative therapeutic response, without being able to change. The beginning of the analysis was difficult, as the patient could only deny the positive aspects of the relationship. She did this in order to avoid re-experiencing the loss of her father and her guilt over damaging her mother. She wanted to be a male in order to repair her damaged sense of herself and to be closer to both father and mother. The exploration of these feelings led the patient to the more usual oedipal rivalry with the analyst and also to the recovered memories and feelings of her early, preoedipal closeness with her father, which was instrumental

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in her eventual return to emotional health. This case illustrates that the father as primary nurturing object can function as a "good enough" parent in the preoedipal years. However, the question of the effect of paternal nurturing on later oedipal development and on the girl's capacity to withstand trauma is left unsettled.

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Article Citation

Meisel, F.L. (1990). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 59:339-340

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