Sunday, November 27, 2011

psychoanalytic basics- repetition II regression

Regarding the earlier post it is important to keep in mind that when the child encounters frustration that it will regress to earlier fears. As Klein writes:

The boy fears punishment for his destruction of his mother's body, but, besides this, his fear is of a more general nature, and here we have an analogy to the anxiety associated with the castration-wishes of the girl. He fears that his body will be mutilated and dismembered, and amongst other things castrated. Here we have a direct contribution to the castration-complex. In this early period of development the mother who takes away the child's fæces signifies also a mother who dismembers and castrates him. Not only by means of the anal frustrations which she inflicts does she pave the way for the castration complex: in terms of psychic reality she is also already the castrator. 171 Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict

The vagina dentata is a symbol of such a regression to oral annihilation in regards to sex with the mother.

However, there are many possible points once can have a fixation to and regress to later.Dismemberment is one, death is one, annihilation is one, introjection (understood as actually changing to look like the feared object), degeneration of the frustration causing part of the body, etc.

In addition these points that are regressed to can be externalized onto the object of that stage. So for example, the child's disappointment in love for the mother can cause a regression to feeling like he is dead and that can be externalized onto the mother and be a cause of necrophilia. Similarly, fetishism would be a regression to an anal stage in which possession of 'the beautiful object' is combined with the sexual.

It's a bit awkward to refer to the anal stage since it is as quaint as the Oedipus complex. Even when Klein and others talk about early and late versions of the stage I believe that it is important to use myth and extract the salient interactions and differentiate the stages based upon the epistemological object the child takes and the forms the aggression and sexual take in the body and in externalizations.

For example, the so called earlier anal stage is really the child learning to walk and on its own, as an act of focus, concentration, and power it has its own qualities that deserve our attention.

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