Character Formation: Reich’s diagram of ‘turning against self’ (1995)

Character Formation: Reich’s diagram of ‘turning against self’ (1995)2017-04-07T02:57:40+00:00

Project Description

This is Reich's diagram of an impulse 'turning back against itself'. This diagram is easier to understand if we illustrate it with terms drawn from Transactional Analysis. Turning against the self in character formation implies chronic internal conflict, based on internalisation of an external conflict and - it could be argued - in some ways 'identification with the aggressor'. Johnson emphasizes internalisation and introjection as particular features of the masochistic character structures (where it is indeed most obvious), but because turning against the self leads to internal splitting and unconsciousness, with the turning itself being unconscious, we can recognise internalisation and introjection as present in all processes of character formation, with all character structures.


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