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Antitheses and the obsessive-compulsive


, : Antitheses and the obsessive-compulsive. Psychoanalytic Review 67(4): 465-477

The characteristic "style" of the obsessive-compulsive is examined and is seen to be marked by an antithetical quality. The major defense mechanisms used--undoing, isolation, and reaction formation--al involve opposites: contradictory acts following each other, the keeping apart of ambivalent feeling states, and the turning of wishes into their opposites. The cognitive modes of the obsessive-compulsive are marked by dichotomies: sharply focused attention which misses essential points and a non-inclusive all-inclusiveness. The obsessive's regression to the anal phase produces ambivalent emotions, contradictory attitudes to feces and defecation and related future sublimations, and doubt over sexual identity. A harsh superego creates an alternation between obedience to it and defiance, and feelings of both perfection and imperfection. The ambivalent and contradictory early family environment is seen as an influencing factor in the creation of the antithetical style of the future obsessive-compulsive: the natural ambivalence of the anal stage is confronted by ambivalent mothering, and antitheses then predominate.

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PMID: 6785772


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