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Laufer, M.E. (1996). The Role of Passivity in the Relationship to the Body during Adolescence. Psychoanal. St. Child, 51:348-364.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 51:348-364

The Role of Passivity in the Relationship to the Body during Adolescence

M. Eglé Laufer

For some adolescents the bodily changes occurring at puberty and during adolescence are a source of intense anxiety. Rather than integrate the new sexual body within the existing body image, these adolescents respond to the physical changes with behavior that attempts to maintain the omnipotent fantasy that they are in control of their bodies. Unconsciously they experience the changes as if they are able to prevent physical change from taking place and therefore can remain passively dependent on their parents. They feel as if the sexual body has the power to make them helpless by forcing them to submit passively to its demands. The case of an adolescent seen in analysis is presented to illustrate the defensive function of such symptomatic behavior and its repetitive, compulsive quality.

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