chapter  VIII
The Nature of Primary Failure in Ego-Development
ByHarry Guntrip
Pages 29

The ultimate unconscious infantile weak ego is very clearly experienced consciously as a fear of dying, when its threat to the stability of the personality is being felt. Primary ego-unrelatedness is the substance of ego-weakness, and any degree of ego-development maintained over the top of it is only precariously held. For the fuller understanding of this we will turn to the work of Winnicott on the nature of the mother-infant relation. The schizoid condition is basically that of ego-weakness due to a fundamental state of ego-unrelatedness. The weak schizoid ego is in urgent need of a relationship, a therapeutic relationship capable of filling the gap left by inadequate mothering. Only that can rescue the patient from succumbing to the tenors of ultimate isolation. The term 'ego' in a more fundamental sense than that in which psychoanalysis has traditionally used it, as representing the evolution and realization of the intrinsic nature of the self, and ego and self are the same thing.