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Singer, M.B. (1960). Fantasies of a Borderline Patient. Psychoanal. St. Child, 15:310-356.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 15:310-356

Fantasies of a Borderline Patient

Marie B. Singer

Systematic investigation of any patient's fantasies should ideally reveal not only the etiology of his own disturbances but also the nature of repressed instinctual activity in the normal person.

Such an investigation should be particularly rewarding with children of latency years, since here the normal child uses much ego and superego energy to establish fortifications against instinctual drives. His fantasies are often of a high social order, involving glorification of socially accepted heroes, but the break-through of occasional instinctual drives is no more prevalent or abnormal than the overzealous behavior of many adults; indeed it is this fact which establishes his fantasy life and activities as normal, and a preparation for community life. We seldom, however, come in close contact with the normal child's fantasy life, except to observe his exaggeration of the hero's importance, his almost overidentification with the hero.

With neurotic latency children, however, the cracks in the foundation of these similar fortifications are more evident, coming to light in the form of symptoms such as bed wetting, temper tantrums, stealing, etc., which represent a compromise between the ego and the defended instinctual impulses. Long and hard work is needed before the neurotic latency patient will admit glimpses into the fantasies that overlay the instinctual activity.


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