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Reich, A. (1958). A Character Formation Representing the Integration of Unusual Conflict Solutions Into the Ego Structure. Psychoanal. St. Child, 13:309-323.

(1958). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 13:309-323

A Character Formation Representing the Integration of Unusual Conflict Solutions Into the Ego Structure

Annie Reich, M.D.

These notes represent some material from the analysis of an obsessional character which lends itself well, I believe, to illustrate the complex interaction between the many factors that have a bearing upon character development. It points up the interaction between the drives and the ego, environmental influences, peculiarities of the object relationships, and the role of the superego, which finally result in the complicated structure of the human personality. However, my presentation will neglect the constitutional element because I am unable to shed specific light on it, although it may have been present in this case. In general it is likely, for instance, that such factors influence the choice of particular conflict solution, speed of development and particular structure of the ego. A preponderance of particular drives, etc., may to a large extent be constitutionally conditioned; but it also may be the result of identification with important childhood objects characterized by the same instinctual strivings. Thus in my case there was a prevalence of sadomasochistic drives and conflicts in both parents as well as in the patient. It is impossible to determine whether the constitutional element or the impact of the parental influences represent the decisive factor. There may frequently be an interaction of both determinants.

The example I have chosen concerns a man who by himself and his environment was considered "normal"; a rather meaningless concept, reflecting sociocultural value connotations.

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