DENIAL OF AGGRESSION
The therapist offered the observation, “Your brother-in-law took away your sister.”
This is a variation on the therapist’s simplistic depiction of attachment theory which sees relationships in terms of the formula, “Mother is good and desirable. when mother is absent the child is distressed.”
In this case, the therapist is saying, “Your sister was good and desirable. when sister got married, you were distressed.”
But what about all the other important psychological and relational issues associated with my sister’s relationship with her husband? The complex psychological and relational issues got lost in the therapist’s projection: her view that the only pertinent issue in relationships is that the individual needs an attachment figure, and the absence of an attachment figure leads to distress.
–What about the abusive aspects of my brother-in-law, specifically the fact that the relationship between my sister, brother-in-law and me constituted triangulation? Murray Bowen recognized that all two-party relationships have an element of instability, and that they tend to draw in a third party to moderate the anxieties of the two-party relationship. How did my sister and brother-in-law use me exploitively to moderate anxieties in their own relationship. What distress did this triangulation arouse in me?
Triangulation is a complex phenomenon usually centering on a narcissistically-disturbed party who triangulates a third party in his two-party relationship.
Some narcissists have a tendency to view or judge themselves in terms of how they see themselves in competition with others. This competitive or “win-lose” attitude occasionally turns malevolent and will lead the person who suffers from the personality disorder (brother-in-law) to seek ways to sabotage, manipulate or otherwise undermine the position of others whom they see as a potential threat. One of the ways to do that is to devalue or bully people who are seen as a threat. When successful, the personality disordered individual gets a feeling of superiority or gratification from lowering the social status of a rival by attacking them or having others (such as sister) attack them. This also has the effect of making the rival (myself) more vulnerable to a more direct attack from the perpetrator (brother-in-law).
Victims of triangulation respond with fears of what other people might think of him. They may feel humiliated, concerned and self-protective. They might feel the urge to “clear their name” or “set the record straight”. Triangulation is fundamentally a form of emotional abuse that results in all the recognized consequences of emotional abuse. If triangulation experiences such as constant criticism, contempt, disapproval, rejection, put downs, and being ignored get internalized as a global and negative beliefs about oneself, their negative impact will be enduring in adulthood. Experience of emotional maltreatment as through triangulation can become a traumatic event that impairs the individual’s sense of integration and unconscious interpersonal schemas. Farazmand, S. “Mediating Role of Maladaptive Schemas between Childhood Emotional Maltreatment and Psychological Distress among College Students.”
And, of course, emotional abuse can contribute to narcissistic pathology in the victim. See paragraph 2(a), below.
–The therapist ignored the significant relational issue of how my sister’s marriage (her moving away from home) affected the dynamics of the relationship between me and my parents? How did the marriage change the family dynamics? What happens in a family where one child is scapegoated and the omnipotent child leaves? How do the parents relate to the remaining scapegoat child?
— The therapist ignored the important attachment theory issue of how my parents’ failure to protect me from the emotional abuse of my brother-in-law affected my internal working model. Attachment theorists emphasize the importance of attachment figures (primarily the parents) in responding to a child’s needs for protection from danger and for comfort when the child is feeling distressed by third-parties. The child also depends on the response that the expression of these needs elicits in the child’s caregivers. See Purnell, C. “Childhood trauma and adult attachment” (discussing childhood trauma and the development of a dismissive avoidant attachment style in adulthood).
–The therapist failed to inquire into my own aggressive feelings toward my sister as a rival for my parents’ love. How was my response to my sister’s marriage — her leaving him — mediated by my pre-existing sibling rivalry with my sister? What about the gratification I experienced when my sister left the parental home; did I not thereafter enjoy the exclusive attention of my parents? What about the anger I had toward my sister for colluding in my brother-in-law’s triangulation of me since age 11?
–Note that the therapist is applying an Oedipal model in the guise of attachment theory. In emphasizing the fact that my brother-in-law denied my emotional access to my sister, she has reduced my brother-in-law to his role as my sister’s husband — a mere interloper denuded of aggression — the way analytic theory reduces the Oedipal father to his role designation (father/husband) while being totally oblivious to the actual relationship between the son and father. Doesn’t the therapist’s use of an Oedipal model to describe the relational issues between my sister, my brother-in-law and me not suggest that the therapist might be struggling with warded off (unconscious) Oedipal issues — (a desire for incestuous relations with her own father)?
The therapist employed a telling projection or displacement at the session on September 11, 2017:
THERAPIST: Your aunt wanted you to take your mother to Miami. Where was your father in all of this? Your aunt seems to treat your father as if he didn’t exist. What was the relationship like between your aunt and your father?
“Your aunt seems to treat your father as if he didn’t exist.” Isn’t the therapist describing herself and her therapeutic appraoch toward me? She treats my father as if he had no psychological significance. The therapist’s entire therapeutic approach is grounded in a theory (or view) of attachments that treats the father as if he didn’t exist.
This raises an intriguing question: Is the therapist unconsciously masking her own Oedipal concerns — that is, her desire for incestuous relations with her father — with “relational theory?” I.e., is the therapist’s interest in relational work a defense against her possible Oedipal concerns?
Keep in mind once again that the therapist majored in gender and women’s studies in college and wrote a master’s thesis on child sex predators — a topic that emphasizes the role of men as sexual predators. Does the topic of that master’s thesis represent an attempt by the therapist to work through her own warded off desire for sexual relations with a sexually potent father? See Chodorow, N. “Mothering, Object-Relations, and the Female Oedipal Configuration.” See also, Stiver, I.P. “Beyond the Oedipus Complex: Mothers and Daughters.”
I have some tentative thoughts about how the therapist’s therapeutic approach to her patients masks her warded off Oedipal conflicts. The therapist’s dominant personality trait is agreeableness. It’s as if there were a total absence of anything aggressive in her interactions with me — as if she were a mother cradling an infant and cooing to the infant. She creates an “atmosphere of benign friendliness.” The Kleinian analyst Betty Joseph wrote about a patient who was obsessively agreeable. ” [A]s the treatment goes on it is increasingly apparent that the agreeableness is a kind of drug that the patient uses to placate and sedate her object and to protect herself from violent intrusion by the object. She sedates her own mind and so does not have to take seriously her own [Oedipal] fears, anxieties or deep concern about going ‘up the wall’, about madness — essentially linked with her ideas about her self, her mind [or body] being taken over [or sexually seduced] by her object [her father].” Joseph, B. “Agreeableness as Obstacle.”
Does the therapist’s use an insistent and defensive agreeableness as a “drug” on her patients to placate and sedate them and thereby provide therapeutic relief to them — all the while unconsciously working through her own unconscious desire to be violently penetrated by her father (the way child sex molesters violently penetrate their victims)? Again, why did the therapist need to use an Oedipal model to deny my brother-in-law’s psychological aggression against me? Why did the therapist need to depict my narcissistically-disturbed and interpersonally exploitive brother-in-law as an Oedipal father who benignly denied my emotional access to my sister, thereby reducing him to his role designation, depicting him as a mere interloper without drives or identity?
THE IMPUTATION OF FEAR
During the session, the therapist said, “I see your core issue to be your intense fear of relationships.”
I have two problems with the statement. First, the statement seems to focus exclusively on my attachment insecurity, obscuring the importance of my psychic reality (the inner world) and the operation of a particular defensive structure that mediates that psychic reality. I have an inner world of unconscious wishes, conflicts and prohibitions: as well as impulses, drive derivatives and structures consequent to object loss and environmental failure. This inner world is mediated by defenses that result in a particular social adjustment or maladjustment. Relational therapy, that is, therapy that focuses exclusively on social relations or attachments, fails to address my need in therapy to look at the subtle and elaborate camouflage that obscures the hidden structure and processes of my personality that result in a particular social adjustment.
I have a pathologically introjective personality that promotes a high level of psychological distress relating to issues of autonomy and feelings of failure and guilt centered on self-worth: distress that is not related to social relations. I struggle with issues of identity, self-definition, self-worth, and self-control; again, issues that are not related to social relations. In the pathologically-introjective, development of satisfying interpersonal relationships is neglected as these individuals are inordinately preoccupied with establishing an acceptable identity, and not specifically or directly because of attachment insecurity. Sidney Blatt wrote: “The focus . . . is not on sharing affection—of loving and being loved—but rather on defining the self as an entity separate from and different than another, with a sense of autonomy and control of one’s mind and body, and with feelings of self-worth and integrity . . . The basic wish is to be acknowledged, respected, and admired.”
My second problem with the therapist’s statement is that it is an overgeneralization that obscures the important etiologic role of abuse and scapegoating in my developmental environment in promoting the difficulties of social adjustment I experience. Psychological testing (MMPI) disclosed eight scales pertinent to social functioning that were elevated.
1. Avoidant disorder rooted in an impinging or rejecting mother:
People with a dismissive style of avoidant attachment tend to agree with these statements: “I am comfortable without close emotional relationships”, “It is important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient”, and “I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.” People with this attachment style desire a high level of independence. The desire for independence often appears as an attempt to avoid attachment altogether. They view themselves as self-sufficient and invulnerable to feelings associated with being closely attached to others. They often deny needing close relationships. Some may even view close relationships as relatively unimportant. Not surprisingly, they seek less intimacy with attachments, whom they often view less positively than they view themselves. Investigators commonly note the defensive character of this attachment style. People with a dismissive–avoidant attachment style tend to suppress and hide their feelings, and they tend to deal with rejection by distancing themselves from the sources of rejection (e.g. their attachments).
— parenting style that promotes the dismissive avoidant personality:
There is some evidence that mothers of avoidant children are intrusive in
addition to being rebuffing. One study reported that although mothers of avoidant infants left them alone when the infants were in a poor mood or a low interest state, the mothers initiated numerous play activities when their infants were already playing with high interest. These interferences usually resulted in cessation of the play activity and expression of uncertainty by the infant. Another study likewise found that these mothers were rejecting and impinging; the mothers tended not to hold their babies when they were crying but might have grabbed their babies when they were engrossed with playing. Connors, M.E. “The Renunciation of Love: Dismissive
Attachment and its Treatment.” Psychoanalytic Psychology, 14(4), 475-493 (1997).
— child abuse is etiologic for avoidant pathology:
Empirical findings suggest an environmental contribution to Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD). Researchers have highlighted early negative experiences with parents (e.g., maltreatment, separation) or peers (e.g., rejection) as a potential root of AvPD (see Sperry, 2003). For example, self-reported parental neglect has been associated with increased risk of AvPD in adult outpatients with depression (Joyce et al., 2003). Battle et al. (2004) examined retrospective self-reports from treatment-seeking adults with personality disorder(s) (PD; e.g., AvPD, borderline PD). The majority of participants indicated being the victim of some form of childhood abuse (73%; e.g., emotional, verbal, physical, sexual) or childhood neglect (82%). Moreover, Nakash-Eisikovits, Dutra, and Westen (2002) found that secure attachment negatively, and disorganized/unresolved attachment positively, related to AvPD in a 14- to 18-year-old clinical sample, whereas avoidant and anxious/ambivalent attachments were not significantly related to AvPD. Although these findings could partly reflect evocative genetic characteristics of the child, they suggest that environmental factors also play a role.
2. Narcissistic pathology (idealization and strong twinship needs) possibly related to a defense against intense object need and lack of maternal empathy; intense feelings of alienation
Kohut and Wolf (1978) argue that early deficits in mirroring, idealizing, and twinship lead to disorders of the self. Failure to have one’s selfobject needs met adequately may activate either hunger or avoidance of those needs in adulthood. A child with absent, neglectful, or inconsistent caregivers who do not adequately mirror the child may foster the development of an adult who is mirror hungry and seeks out others to facilitate a feeling of being special. Marmarosh, C.L. and Mann, S. Patients’ Selfobject Needs in Psychodynami9c Psychotehrapy: How They Relate to Client Attachement, Symptoms, and the Therapy Alliance. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 31(3): 297-313 (2014).
I have a strong need for twinship, idealization and mirroring. I show no social interest in persons who cannot satisfy these needs.
Intense twinship needs can be a defense against the intense merger hunger associated with schizoid disorder. In the schizoid, fear of engulfment exists alongside profound merger hunger. All twin fantasies subserve multiple functions, particularly gratification and defense against the dangers of intense object need. In this formulation, the twinlike representation of the object provides the illusion of influence or control over the object by the pretense of being able to impersonate or transform oneself into the object and the object into the self. Intense object need, or merger hunger persists together with a partial narcissistic defense against full acknowledgment of the object by representing the sought-after object as combining aspects of self and other. In analysis, attention needs to be directed to the specific representation of the needed object in certain primitive transference paradigms instead of exclusive emphasis on the functions required of the object. Intense early needs of an object are best understood analytically within a conflict model in which they are modified by multiple wishes, drives, fears, dangers, and needs for defense. Coen, S.J. and Bradlow, P.A. “Twin transference as a compromise formation.”
J. Am. Psychoanal. Assoc. 30(3):599-620 (1982).
a. child abuse is etiologic for narcissistic pathology
Emotional deprivation interferes with the individual’s ability to experience intimacy love, and acceptance; Emotional deprivation usually results from a lack of nurturance, empathy, or protection form parents. The underlying feelings are loneliness and emptiness and a sense that something is missing. Patients with emotional deprivation often hold exaggerated beliefs that they are not being cared for and understood, that they are not receiving sufficient attention, that other s will not be there for them emotionally, and that people are unable or unwilling to meet their needs of emotional support. They often simultaneously yearn for close connection yet feel uncomfortable and back away if they begin to receive it. Young, J. and Flanagan, C. “Schema-Focused Therapy for Narcissistic Patients.”
Defectiveness involves a feeling of shame and humiliation because the patient believes that he or she is flawed or inferior and therefore unlovable to significant others; This usually results form severe criticism or rejection by parents in childhood. Note the connection to introjective pathology: severe introjective pathology may be rooted in a past in which important others controlling, overly-critical, punitive, judgmental, and intrusive—thus creating an environment in which independence and separation was made difficult. Young, J. and Flanagan, C. “Schema-Focused Therapy for Narcissistic Patients.”
3. Schizoid pathology centering on a fear of engulfment combined with a need for merger hunger (intense object need):
Schizoid pathology is characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, detachment, apathy and a sense of meaning;essness. Affected individuals may be unable to form intimate attachments to others and simultaneously demonstrate a rich, elaborate, and exclusively internal fantasy world.
For schizoids, the process of separating with underlying connectedness and connecting while maintaining autonomy is foreign. Their lives are marked by the profoundly frightening and disturbing fact of separating without maintaining a sense of emotional connectedness and without a developed ability to connect again. They do not connect to others with much hope of being met and lovingly received. Schizoids do not believe they can be loved, and they fear that even if a relationship is established, the intimate connection means losing autonomy of self and other. Even feeling the need to connect would, in either case, be painful and/or frightening. It is dangerous to move into intimate connection if you cannot separate when needed.
Given what we know about the importance of flexible movement between connecting and separating for the growth and well-being of the individual, it is easy to understand how the typical childhood experiences of the schizoid leave him or her with deep-seated, often unconscious feelings of merger-hunger, on the one hand, and simultaneous fear of entrapment and suffocation on the other. These lead to universal twin fears that are fundamental to the schizoid process: the panic or terror of contact engulfment/entrapment and the panic or terror of isolation. These are particularly intense and compelling for the schizoid, who experiences them at the existential level of survival or death. Because the schizoid splits connecting and disconnecting, thus losing easy movement between them, he or she is faced with the threat of becoming stuck at one pole or the other.
Of course, the danger of entrapment comes in large part from their own hunger for oneness and fear of abandonment, and the connection between their own merger-hunger and the fear of entrapment is mostly not in their conscious awareness. Many schizoid patients start treatment with the expectation that they will be devoured or abandoned in therapy. Although they may be conscious of this fear early in the process, the extent of the dual fears and the connection to their merger-hunger is usually not in awareness until much later. Until then the denial of both attachment and the need for intimacy predominates. Their own merger-hunger is projected onto others as a way of avoiding the awareness by attributing it to someone else. Sometimes these anticipations or perceptions are a projection, although they can also be accurate.
The schizoid is impelled into relationship by need and driven out by fear. When faced with someone with whom they might be intimate, they find it both exciting and frightening. They are afraid that they will devour their lovers with their need or that the lover will be devouring, deserting, or intrusive. They might lose their individuality by overdependence and merger-hunger or lose the relationship by being too much, too toxic, or too needy. The solution to these dilemmas is Guntrip’s schizoid compromise—-to remain half in and half out of the relationship, whether in the form of marriage without intimacy, serial monogamy, or two lovers at the same time. Needs and fears will often be either denied or acknowledged in an intellectualized manner. Frequently such individuals will oscillate between longing for the intimate other and rejecting him or her, or they may stay in a stable halfway position not able to commit to being fully in the relationship or discontinuing it.
For children who later become schizoid adults, one way of coping with a world that is too big, menacing, intrusive, unresponsive, and/or abandoning is to deny any need, weakness, and dependency and to promote the illusion of self-sufficiency. They learn to survive by living without feeling dependence, desire, need, or fear. The schizoid is especially trying to avoid burdening and killing parents with his or her needs. Schizoids avoid awareness of attachment in various ways. The most common is splitting off or disassociating from needs and feelings that are overwhelming. Conformity can also be a means of avoiding awareness of need and fear as can obsessive-compulsive self-mastery, addiction to duty, or service to others.
The schizoid experiences loneliness, futility, despair, and depression, although the latter is somewhat different from neurotic, guilt-based depression. Both are comprised of dysphoric affects and an avoidance of primary emotions and full awareness. However, neurotic depression has been described as “love made angry.” That is, the depressed person feels angry at a loss followed by sadness and broods darkly against the “hateful denier.” This aggressive emotional energy then gets turned against the self. In contrast, schizoid despair has been described as “love made hungry.” The person experiences a painful craving along with fear that his or her own love is so destructive that his or her need will devour the other.
An important part of how the child copes with this situation is by splitting the self. Survival is achieved by relating to the world with a partial self or “false self,” one that is devoid of most significant affect and relates on the basis of conforming to others’ requirements rather than on the basis of organismic experience. Guntrip (1969) used the phrase “the living heart fled” (p. 90) to describe the situation in which the vital energies, emotions, and vitality affects are held inside, leaving an empty shell to interact with others and to direct human relations. This schizoid pattern creates external relations that are not marked by warm, live, pulsing feelings. Instead, when interpersonal nurturance is available, schizoid individuals fear a loss of self from being smothered, trapped, or devoured. When strong desire or need is aroused, they tend to break off the relationship.
The inner schizoid world is characterized by a constant fear of desertion and feelings of being unwanted and unlovable, all of which may remain out of awareness until they emerge well into the therapy. The fear of abandonment relates to the patient’s attitude toward his or her own intense hunger, and even if the hunger itself is not in awareness, it colors the schizoid patient’s adult functioning. The schizoid patient wants to ensure the therapist’s or lover’s presence, to “possess” the other.
–child abuse is etiologic for schizoid pathology
Poor parenting might have a strong, lasting, negative impact on the social-emotional, cognitive and moral development of the child. Johnson revealed in their sample of 593 families that problematic parental behavior (harsh punishing, poor parental supervision, verbal abuse) in the home during the child-rearing years was associated with elevated risk for offspring PD at mean ages of 22 and 33 years. Low parental affection or nurturing was associated with elevated risk for offspring. In a sample (793 mother and offspring from New York follow-up 18 years from age 5-22) of youths who experienced childhood verbal abuse had elevated SPD symptom levels during adolescence and early adulthood after the covariates were accounted for. The author suggests that physical, social and verbal abuse may provoke in the already vulnerable and shy child strong feelings of being unlovable, inferiority, shame (and linked self-hate) and frustration. This might bring about attachment and associated social interactional problems which, in turn, could contribute to loneliness and SPD etiology.
Emotional abuse/neglect might cause deep feelings of inner emptiness and a
blurred and/or confused identity that can be observed in many patients with SPD. Martens revealed that emotional abuse/neglect is related to trauma, low self-esteem, self-hate, social withdrawal and maladjustment, social-emotional incapacities, avoidance coping, and neurobiological dysfunctions which might be all determinants of SPD. Martens, W.H.J. “Schizoid personality disorder linked to unbearable and inescapable loneliness.” Eur. J. Psychiat. 24(1): 38-45 (2010).
4. Characterological depression possibly related to social anhedonia (lack of pleasure in relationships)
–childhood emotional abuse is etiologic for characterological depression.
Both emotional abuse and emotional neglect were associated with later symptoms of anxiety and depression. Wright M., Crawford E., Del Castillo D. “Childhood emotional maltreatment and later psychological distress among college students: The mediating role of maladaptive schemas.” Child Abuse Negl. 33(1):59-68 (2009).
5. Social discomfort, Shyness, and Self-Consciousness
–childhood abuse is etiologic for social discomfort. Both avoidant disorder and social phobia were associated with negative childhood experiences. Patients with avoidant disorder reported more severe childhood neglect, most pronounced for physical neglect, compared to patients with social phobia without avoidant disorder. The difference between the disorders in neglect remained significant after controlling for temperamental differences and concurrent physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Both social phobia and avoidant disorder were associated with high levels of attachment anxiety and avoidance, and a large majority of patients in both groups had an insecure attachment style. Eikenæs, I. “Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Phobia. Studies of Personality Pathology and Functioning, Childhood Experiences and Adult Attachment.” Ph.D. Thesis.
6. Social Alienation Schizophrenia: rooted in abuse and scapegoating. Note that abuse and scapegoating can lead to feelings of alienation (a feeling of being different from other people). I experience intense feelings of alienation, a sense of being different from other people.
7. Family Discord: rooted in abuse and scapegoating. Note that abuse and scapegoating can lead to feelings of alienation (a feeling of being different from other people). I experience intense feelings of alienation, a sense of being different from other people.
Countertransference implications therapist’s generalized focusing patient’s fear of social relations or attachment problems.
It is possible that the therapist uses a simplistic view of attachment theory to serve her need to deny her drives. Repeatedly, the therapist focuses on a formula that centers on the notion: Mother is good and desirable and when the mother is absent, the child is distressed. This is a nursery world view of attachment theory in which mother was always comforting when present (she was never unempathic, rejecting, or intrusive), there was no need for mother to defend the child against dangers from the environment or third parties (such as patient’s brother-in-law), and the only distress in life was associated with mother’s absence: a nursery world in which the child had no ability to self-soothe and in which attachments to third-parties played no role in the child’s development. See Purnell, C. “Childhood trauma and adult attachment” (discussing childhood trauma and the development of a dismissive avoidant attachment style in adulthood).
Attachment theory, applied in a simplistic fashion, can serve the defensive needs of anal sadism in which the identity of the patient is denied (the infant does not have a distinct identity or personality, that is, a collection of unconscious wishes, conflicts, prohibitions, fantasies and defenses) and the patient’s personality is reduced to no more than a derivative of the biologic need for attachment. In a simplistic use of attachment theory — in which the patient is reduced to an infant whose only identity centers on attachment to mother — the complexities of the patient’s personality, or psychic reality, are subsumed in the role designation of infant just as in a lab experiment the individual rats are simply fungible lab animals (or in the concentration camp, the inmates are simply numbers). Whereas, a psychodynamic approach is dominated by attempts to penetrate the subtle and elaborate camouflage that obscures the hidden complex structure and processes of individual personality, or individual identity. The statement, “I see your core conflict centering on your intense fear of relationships” can be a defensive one, in effect saying to the patient, “You have no individual identity” (you are like a lab rat) (you have no name, just a number).
I am reminded of one of my previous therapists, William D. Brown, Ph.D., who said to me on one occasion: “Have you ever thought about going to your local watering hole? You could meet people there.” Yes, I would like to go to “a place where everybody knows my name” (The main theme song of the TV sitcom, Cheers, which was set in a Boston bar, lent its refrain “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” as the show’s catchphrase.) But isn’t that what every introjective patient wants: that is, a patient who is preoccupied with autonomy, self-definition, and identity as well as identity-affirming relationships. May we say that I am intensely fearful of relationships with people who “do not know my name?”
THE NEED FOR RELATIONSHIPS
3. tell me about your relationships.
–inability to see things from a relational perspective. need for explicit reports about relationships
–what about “ideas” as transitional objects?
–what about my own transference issues in the therapy relationship?
Relationship between this session (session immediately after Thanksgiving) and earlier session on October 2, 2017 (session immediately after Yom Kippur) in which therapist focused on fear, denial of aggression, and need for relationships.
introjective concerns re: aggression and Oedipal conflict versus anaclitic personality (and concern for nurtance).
instances in which therapist seemed to be denying aggression.
–denied brother-in-law’s aggression
–failed to see relation of fear of social relations to childhood abuse
–possible denial of her own Oedipal Conflicts
–possible denial of therapist’s anal sadism. note that attachment theory, applied in a simplistic fashion, can serve the defensive needs of anal sadism in which the identity of the patient is denied (the infant does not have a distinct identity or personality) and the patient’s personality is reduced to no more than a derivative of the biologic need for attachment. In a simplistic use of attachment theory — in which the patient is reduced to an infant whose only identity centers on attachment to mother — the complexities of the patient’s personality is subsumed in the role designation of infant just as in a lab experiment the individual rats are simply fungible lab animals (or in the concentration camp, the inmates are simply numbers). Whereas, the analytic tradition is dominated by attempts to penetrate the subtle and elaborate camouflage that obscures the complex hidden structure and processes of personality, that is, the complex aspects of individual identity.