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Greenberg, M. (1993). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Society of New England, East. Psychoanal Q., 62:520-522.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 62:520-522

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Society of New England, East

Maida Greenberg

DISCUSSION: Dr. Susan Rosbrow-Reich began her discussion by relating two stories which, she feels, express feminine wish and fantasy. The first, the story of Hercules spinning at the feet of Omphale, illustrates the woman's wish for a man over whom she has complete control, to serve as both lover and mother. In the story of Peter Pan, Peter represents the negative oedipal girl who wants to have it all. She wants to experience the pleasure of bodily phallic excitement, yet she secretly yearns for a mother. Drawing upon the work of Winnicott and Lichtenstein, Dr. Rosbrow-Reich suggested that a sense of primary femininity develops in the preverbal stages of early infancy as gender identity is imprinted upon the child during this period of intimate bodily closeness with her mother. Referring to Freud and to Blos, she reminded us that this early prehistory complicates the task of achieving heterosexuality. Throughout the girl's life, intimacy with another will evoke that earliest relation to her mother. For the girl, the infantile tie remains a lasting source of ambivalence and ambiguity. Citing the work of André Green, Dr. Rosbrow-Reich noted that the girl's move toward the father is made difficult because it implies giving up the erotic cathexis of the mother. Aggressive feelings also emanate from the earliest stages of development. Winnicott stressed that the baby's destructive wishes are a vital part of infant development, and that these destructive wishes are intertwined, unconsciously, with love.

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