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Prelinger, E. (2004). Thoughts on Hate and Aggression. Psychoanal. St. Child, 59:30-42.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 59:30-42

Thoughts on Hate and Aggression

Ernst Prelinger, Ph.D.

The phenomenon of hate is explored from two perspectives: in terms of intensive bodily arousal and mobilization, and as a form of active but paralyzed aggression. Aggression, in this context, is viewed not in terms of discharges of drive energies but rather as reinforced effort aimed at the removal or destruction of barriers that impede the organism's movement, in real or symbolic space. Winnicott (1950) already had emphasized how the basic fact of the child's motility, its activity, lies at the source of what becomes aggression. Encounter with ‘reality’ brings interference with ‘free’, unrestricted movement at first in actual, physical space, then gradually within the representational world. Inasmuch as such additional mobilization finds intrapsychic representation which, in turn, comes to be coupled with an ‘injured’ response from a loved or valued object, an intrapsychic representation of what the person experiences as his own aggressiveness emerges. Aggression thus derives from accumulating ‘inevitable’ collisions between adaptive motility and objects (real and symbolic barriers, obstacles) in the way. Aggression plays its part in the development of object relations. If aggressive mobilizations are sufficiently interfered with to block any further movement but continue to be stimulated in pursuing valued actual or symbolic goals, hate emerges as a form of active but paralyzed aggression. Selections from two patients' material illustrate these issues clinically.

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