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Lasky, R. (1984). Dynamics and Problems in the Treatment of the “Oedipal Winner”. Psychoanal. Rev., 71(3):351-374.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Review, 71(3):351-374

Dynamics and Problems in the Treatment of the “Oedipal Winner”

Richard Lasky

This paper will examine a special form of sexual acting-out between parent and child; specifically, an oedipal relationship that leads up to, but stops just short of, explicit and consummated sexual relations. The insistent libidinization of the relationship on the part of the parents creates an environment which is, for the child, traumatically intense and utterly absorbing; it chronically contaminates the conditions of the child's existence, interfering in a variety of ways with the happiness and welfare of the child and impeding the child's capacities for progressive development. The cost to the child goes beyond a fixation in object choice and extends to a constant hindrance in appropriate stage-specific attempts to develop ego-autonomy and superego structuralization and maturity. Conflict resolution can be close to impossible in such circumstances, leading to inevitable disruptions in the child's struggle for psychic equilibrium.

As a shorthand term I am using the designation oedipal winner to mean an individual who, throughout childhood, was grossly overstimulated by the parent of the opposite sex in a setting where the same-sex parent competed inadequately or not at all.

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