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Jelliffe, S.E. (1934). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(1):103-106.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psycho-Analysis

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(1):103-106

International Journal of Psycho-Analysis

Smith Ely Jelliffe, M.D.

(Vol. 10, Part 4)

1.   Jones, Ernest. Fear, Guilt and Hate. 383-397.

2.   French, Thomas M. Psychogenic Material Related to the Function of the Semicircular Canals. 398-410.

3.   Laforgue, Rene. Active Psycho-Analytical Technique and the Will to Recovery. 411-422.

4.   Searl, N. Danger Situations of the Immature Ego. 423-435.

5.   Shorter Communications.

1.   Jones, E. Fear, Guilt and Hate. (Abstracted in PSYCHOANALYTIC REVIEW, Vol. XVII, page 477.)

2.   French, T. M. Semicircular Canals and Dizziness.

3.   Laforgue, Rene. Active Psychoanalytical Technique and the Will to Recovery. (Abstracted in PSYCHOANALYTIC REVIEW, Vol. XVII, page 480.)

4.   Searl, N. Danger Situations of the Immature Ego.—The question of immaturity of the ego is a double one; its immaturity with regard to the external world, which in childhood is undoubted; and its immaturity with the inner, or psychic world, which is not to be taken so readily for granted. An incident occurring with a two and a half to three year old patient is used as an example. Walking into the room he saw some spots, stopped and made some casual remarks about them. In a fraction of a second he thus had seen some wet spots left by another child from across the room and did not wish to see them and had instantly selected some spots nearer much like the wet spots. It was all carried out with speed and directness which would rival the tact of a grown up. Why was such an ego ability not available for all situations? The patient had severe

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phobias with alternating moods of aggression. What are the danger situations of the immature ego which lead to such crippling? How, with analysis, can the ego of even a little child become capable of taking over from the super-ego the task of dealing with the id wishes? The author groups the danger situations under three headings: (1) The danger is actual and purely external. These leave no after effects where the ego is not damaged or weakened. (2) Those in which the danger is internal, depending upon a heaping up of the urgencies of the id through deprivation or stimulation or both. (3) Those in which the external situation contains some menacing elements felt to be more dangerous than they really are. These are usually later situations. As to the two first danger centers around (1) the ego, and (2) the id. The ego is that part of the id which has been differentiated for contact with reality. Its main functions are the satisfying of the id and the avoidance of danger. The ego is alive to danger, i.e., death. The id knows no danger, it only knows frustrations and thus the heaping up of inner tension. Hence the ego survival values. It must hold the balance or anxiety arises when the ego cannot bring about situations to gratify the id. Thus a baby cries for its mother. Fear arises in the presence of external danger, anxiety in that of internal danger. The child's ego is weak, its libido allied to omnipotence. How is the ego to get omnipotent to meet with the situation. The magic cry. Just what proportion of satisfaction and what of necessary frustration in child training is here involved is of much significance for the ego is strengthened by a certain amount of frustration and also it may be weakened by too much. The human baby differs from all other animals in the (1) longer period of helplessness, (2) the double life of the mother with child and mate. In lower forms the rearing of the child is the exclusive task of female parent. Hence in humans the clash with the father is inevitable.

The author would accent the importance of the relation of the ego and the id, in which the ego for safety must dominate. The id must not be weakened, but the ego must be strengthened. Thus the mother does not suckle the child for the sake of the baby's libidinal pleasure nor that of her own but for nourishment only. The ego-attitude must dominate. This assured ego attitude alone makes safe all the directly libidinal positions, contacts, caresses, etc. Thus a series of relations from (a) the “ego” parent who supplies a full complement to the immature ego is satisfying or restraining in accordance with outer and inner realities, not stimulating beyond possibilities of satisfaction. An ideal parent. Then through various grades (b), (c), to (g) a parent who satisfies, stimulates and restrains the child with strong admixture of non-ego, of id and super-ego attitudes, from dictates unregulated by reality—then to (s) in which the infant is left alone with strong wish tensions, unable either to satisfy or summon help, leaving the ego weakened by physical exhaustion, with a memory trace as “if.” It may be dangerous to want something

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you cannot have and finally to the (1), (2) positions in which parents stimulate the libido without satisfying or restraining, disregarding the children, their mutual loves and angers; “libido parents,” with whom anything might happen. Here the balance in favor of reality is at its lowest ebb. The primary scene—parental intercourse—is of great significance, the details of what happens being in need of understudy.

The super-ego evolution is then touched upon. When the child cannot satisfy its libidinal hungers in the outer world it has to feed on itself. In effect it says “I must not be left in this intolerable situation; I will eat up my parents because I love them and would make them my own and always have them therefore with me. I hate the parents who deceive me. I will eat them up because I hate them and want to destroy them. Now the omnipotent ego has in it both sorts of parents, it has embodied them within itself; it has made a super-ego out of its own needs and its omnipotent wishes. A super-ego to be like the parents and yet made out of itself and the id wishes. Super-ego threats are id wishes. If the id is aggressive the super-ego is equally aggressive to keep the id in order. The intensest super-ego has been made by means of the sadistic ego and libidinal wishes—biting and eating, and at a time of hatred of the false parents, thus the sadism of the super-ego has a greater reality than its love, and the sadism of the very earliest super-ego layers cannot be exaggerated. Just as the ego tries to flee from the id wishes when it feels them dangerous, so when the super-ego is too aggressively dangerous does the ego try to flee from the super-ego. Very naughty children, like criminals, have no lack of super-ego. They have one that is too strong and sadistic in proportion to an immature ego, and they must flee from it, or project it in order to live. There are many combinations, one of which the phantasy of “tali on forgiveness” is given in detail. It is no less important than talion punishment (“Eye for an eye”). Searl has found that every instance of a sexual advance made to her has followed some act of special aggression with the primal scene and the child's (Edipus wishes. The intricate regrouping of all of the internal forces can take place without analysis but the great advantage of analysis is to strengthen the immature ego; so far as the external world is concerned it may remain immature but it becomes thereby more mature with reference to the inner psychic forces. The strengthened ego can now deal better with the id and sublimation is more possible. The analyst becomes the (a) ego parent, previously mentioned. It is always ready with full interpretation and can relieve anxiety without being a (s) parent, coddling and libidinously stimulating the id. The analyst can run on unperturbed by the most sadistic wishes of the child, often expressed in action, can restrain the child if necessary in accordance with reality standards only, can correct these sadistic wishes with the child's most secret phantasies, it is no longer possible to retain even in the innermost recesses of the psyche a conviction that retaliation is inevitable, that the external world

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may only or largely be its own id wishes writ large and reversed in directions; this is only true of the super-ego. The child can now compare the super-ego world with the real world and as a result of actual experience, estimate the extent of its departure from reality. Guilt becomes unreal; reality is preferred, guilt goes. And this is equally true of the analysis of adults.

5.   Shorter Communications: Melanie Klein offers one of her very capable analyses of an infantile anxiety experience and also details some of the development of a painter, Ruth Kjar. N. J. Symons relates two dreams relative to the meaning of silver and the female castration complex.

Interesting and full reviews of Hartmann's “Grundlagen der Psychoanalyse “; Jung's “Two Essays on Analytical Psychology”; Mary Chadwick's “Difficulties in Child Development”; Susan Isaacs’ “The Nursery Years,” and Briffault's “The Mothers,” together with a full report of the activities of the Society, complete this valuable volume.

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Article Citation

Jelliffe, S.E. (1934). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(1):103-106

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