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Additional info for Encounters with Melanie Klein: Selected Papers of Elizabeth Spillius (New Library of Psychoanalysis)

Example text

At times, like Freud, Klein links the development of the superego to the Oedipus complex but by 1932 and 1933 she was thinking of superego development and the development of the Oedipus complex as separate though related processes. Sadism and psychotic anxiety In her very first papers Klein emphasized libidinal drives and their expression in unconscious phantasy in every activity (see especially Petot’s discussion, 1990). Klein here means ‘libidinal’ not in the general sense of ‘loving’ or ‘life-giving’, but in the sense of sexuality, involving a somewhat ruthless pursuit in phantasy of sexual aims.

She thinks that hate is innate; later she would stress that love too is innate. Throughout this early period it is implicit that Klein believes that the infant also has innate unconscious knowledge, however hazy, of objects – breast, mother, penis, womb, intercourse, birth, babies – although she does not state this unequivocally until much later (but see 1927b: 175–6). Internal objects and the inner world Klein vastly develops the concept of the ‘inner’ world of internal objects, once again, in this early period, without much conceptual emphasis.

It consists of a mixture of concern for the object, fear of its being damaged beyond repair, guilt and a sense of responsibility for the damage one has done. The individual is afraid of losing his object and has a strong urge to repair the damage. The actual state of the external object is extremely important; if the mother appears to be damaged, the child’s guilt and despair are increased. If she appears well, or at least able to empathize with her child’s problems about her state, the child’s fear of his destructiveness is decreased and trust in his reparative wishes is increased.

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