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January 2022

Two different kinds of ''identification with the aggressor'' - Following Ferenczi and Anna Freud

Journal/Book: Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsyc. 1996; 45: Theaterstrasse 13, Postfach 77, W-37070 Gottingen, Germany. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 198-205.

Abstract: Severe traumatic aggression in the intrafamilial development, as in political persecution, torture and concentration camp terror, can be psychically coped with the identificatory acception of and submission to the overwhelming power. FERENCZI first described this mechanism as a result of sexual abuse, physical mistreatment and the terrorism of chronicly ill parents against their children. The victim introjects the terror, identifies himself with it and so remains victim throughout his life by repetition compulsion. ANNA FREUD has used the term,identification with the aggressor' in the case of children showing more ego-strength, which are able to defend aggresively a feared attack by identification with it. FERENCZIS discoveries signify an important extension of psychoanalytic theory especially for the understanding of severe personality disorders and the internalization process of traumatic power.

Note: Review M Hirsch, Simrockstr 22, D-40235 Dusseldorf, Germany

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