Excerpt About Helplessness
The second defense normally employed against the state of deficiency is negative merging. The individual avoids the feeling of helplessness and impotence by becoming embroiled in all kinds of negative states and interactions; thus he also avoids feeling separate and alone. The negative
merging is a way to feel contact and union with another—unconsciously the mother—and hence supported. This defense has many important functions, although it is emotionally painful. It protects the individual from feeling helpless and alone. It protects him from feeling suspended in midair without anything to hold on to. It gives him a sense of traction, and hence relieves him from the terror of feeling he is going to slip into oblivion.