chapter  3
3 Pages

Response to Fosshage: Marian Tolpin

The contents of the strengthened sector-the intense longings for her idealized father to recognize and affirm (mirror) her, and her intense devotion to his work (the substitute for him)-were established as part of herself, starting at age 12 and continuing on. That is, after the traumatic deception she blamed on her mother, the last straw for the unmirrored childhood self, she turned to "Papa" as an alternative source of the mirroring confirmation (a new relational context, as Fosshage puts it) that she failed to find from either her mother or her siblings. However, the affective coloring of these earlier established contents (her immersion in psychoanalysis) and their suffusion with a subjective glow of worthwhileness did not accompany the idealization of her father-he and his colleagues remained "way up" while her self-esteem remained way down. The infusion of these contents with the subjective glow of worthwhileness, dependent on the partnership established between the two women, made these contents usable, made them into a functional path for self-realization. Lacking the glow of worthwhileness, Anna Freud's analytic endeavors left her unfulfilled and unwanted for herself, of use to others and of no use to herself. (Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham lived out a shared commitment to psychoanalysis in many different aspects of their original work, together and in their respective contributions. It could be said that their contributions to the field were suffused with the increased self-investment that each of them experienced in connection with their bond.)

The main point I am making in connection with the twinship I used as an example is this: an alternative or compensatory pathway is established, in some instances at least, when aspects of earlier self-organizations are drawn on, while at the same time some of the most problematic features of these earlier organizations (in Anna Freud's case, extreme shame propensity, depression, and defensive use of fantasy and sexuality) are buffered and bypassed. Whether the self is reestablished via primary or secondary structures cannot be decisively established apart from the clinical evidence provided by individual analyses and the specific transferences that are established.