Two Co-ordinates of Dependence
The degree to which the human child is incapable of bringing about gratification of needs by his own actions pertains to dependence “on the object.” In those processes, relative independence from the object obtains in reality when the internalization and “taking into the ego” of the psychic representation of that object is achieved with sufficient stability. The in-essence nonlibidinal dependence emerges in relation to those activities of the ego having to do with the development of skills for adaptation. The child is dependent for learning to do for himself things which were earlier done for him—to feed himself, tie his shoes, handle tools, make decisions, and the like. The child’s earliest efforts then are heavily dependent on the object for success; indeed, under satisfactory conditions the object optimally encourages such attempts and insures success. Dependence on substitutes for the object is a permutation of dependence on the libidinal object.