Excerpt About Idealizing Transference

Idealizing Transference Seen as a Defense Against Underlying Emptiness

We find, then, that the state of lack of support is the psychological recognition of an existential emptiness, a deficient state experienced phenomenologically as nothingness, or vacuity. Retracing our steps, we can see that the breakdown of the idealizing transference produces a state of deficient emptiness, with a sense of lack of support. It is our experience that fully experiencing this emptiness is necessary to resolve the need for idealized self-objects. Self psychology and object relations theory explain this emptiness as the absence or loss of a psychic structure, or as a consequence of the loss of a certain object relation. We find this explanation only partly accurate. It is true that when a certain object relation (in this case the idealizing transference) or a psychic structure (in this case the structure related to ideals or to the superego) is lost, this emptiness usually arises. However, this does not mean that the emptiness is necessarily the absence of this object relation or of the psychic structure. An alternative explanation would be that the loss of the object relation and/or psychic structure merely reveals an underlying emptiness. Our perception is that the idealizing transference functions to support the sense of self, but does so by veiling this underlying emptiness. Thus, the idealizing transference is a defense against this underlying emptiness.

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