Excerpt About Negative Merging

Failure to Adequately Meet the Infant's Needs
The symbiotic phase does not comprise only gratifying experiences; it includes many painful and frustrating experiences. When the infant's needs are not met adequately or immediately, he cannot but experience frustration, rage and other painful affects. But the infant's experience of this negativity is not experienced as his own or his mother's; it is part of a merged relationship. There is still no clear concept of self and other, and no clear boundaries between the two. Thus the frustration and suffering can only be experienced as what we call "negative merging," in contrast to the positive merging of the experiences of gratification.

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