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Flescher, J. (1951). Contribution to a Psychoanalytical Study on Projection and Introjection. Psychoanal. Rev., 38(4):353-360.

(1951). Psychoanalytic Review, 38(4):353-360

Contribution to a Psychoanalytical Study on Projection and Introjection

Joachim Flescher, M.D.

In psychoanalytic research the fact is usually overlooked that what we call impulse, trend, emotion or affect, has its specific organic substrate, even if under the impact of the objection that we are neglecting the bodily premises of mental manifestations, we are reiterating our theoretical acknowledgement that what is psychic is ultimately referable to specific bodily changes. To hasten the time when psychoanalytical and biological research will meet, we can, in my opinion, go a great deal farther towards the meeting point.

In analyzing the problem of anxiety, I have had several occasions to accumulate and make public evidence that, what we conceive as anxiety emotion is a direct substitute of mobilized (by external or internal danger or else by frustration) and not yet discharged aggression. I even ventured the opinion, based on consideration of the metabolic processes underlying our instinctual life, that the neurasthenic anxiety (the only type of anxiety to which the older Freudian concept of libido change in anxiety, can still be applied) is ascribable to the production of intermediate metabolic toxins, which may be the same on which undischarged aggression is based (5). The mismanagement in the sexual metabolism causing neurasthenia would result in the production of intermediate chemical products, to which both aggression and anxiety have to be referred. I have more than once insisted that in erotic frustration, anxiety is not to be conceived as an Ego reaction against undischarged erotic impulses, but as the equivalent of the aggressive reaction to frustration. The difference between the frustration aggression in neurasthenia and in other neuroses would lie only in the shorter—because it is almost entirely physiological—arc which leads from frustration to aggression. This aggression, when undischarged, becomes identical with anxiety.

My contention is, briefly, that, on a certain metabolic level, aggression and anxiety are the same. Under this aspect the fact gains importance that both anger and fear, as pointed out by Brun(1), are accompanied by the discharge into the bloodstream of a considerable amount of adrenalin.

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