Unrestored Mutual Recognition, Stranded Objects, The Inability To Mourn, and When Survival Becomes Precarious


When mutual recognition is not restored, when shared reality does not survive destruction, then complimentary structures and “relating” to the inner object predominate. Because this occurs commonly enough, the intrapsychic, subject-object concept of the mind actually conforms to the dominant mode of internal experience. This is why – notwithstanding our intersubjective potential – the reversible complementarity of subject and object that is conceptualized by intrapsychic theory illuminates so much of the internal world. . . . .

“In Freudian psychology . . . The reversal of opposites like active and passive, the exchangeability or displacement of objects – thus remain indispensable guides to the inner world of objects [and object relations.]”

But even when the capacity for recognition is well developed, when the subject can use shared reality and receive the nourishment of “other-than-me-substance,” the intrapsychic capacities remain. “The minds ability to manipulate, to displace, to revere, to turn one thing into another, is not a mere negation of reality but the source of mental creativity.” Furthermore, when things go well, complementarity is a step on the road to mutuality. “The toddlers’ insistence reciprocity – his efforts to reverse the relationship with the mother, to play at feeding, grooming, and leaving her – is one step in the process of identification that ultimately leads to understanding. Only when this process is disrupted, when the complementary form of the relationship is not balanced by mutual activity, does reversal become entrenched and the relations becomes a struggle for power.”

A symbolic space within the infant-mother relationship fosters the dimension of intersubjectivity, a concomitant of mutual understanding. This space, as Winnicott emphasized, is a function not only of the child’s play alone in the presence of the mother but also of play between mother and child, beginning with the earliest play of mutual gaze. As we see in Elsa First’s analysis of play using identification with the leaving mother, the transitional space also evolves within the interaction between mother and child.

“Within this play, the mother is “related to” in fantasy but as the same time “used” to establish mutual understanding, a pattern that parallels transference play in the analytic situation. In the elaboration of this play the mother can appear as the child’s fantasy object and another subject without threatening the child’s subjectivity.”

When this analytic situation is not achieved, when the child becomes stuck in the symbolic space and regulated as a “subject” to the ’maternal object’ as was seen in postwar Germany, although it was the German ‘subjects’ that were relegated to the lower status of second rate to the ’paternal object’ needs and wishes,  we have here what has become termed “stranded objects.” Because “What cannot be worked through and dissolved with the ‘outside other’ is transposed into a drama of internal objects, shifting from the domain of the intersubjective into the domain of the intrapsychic. In real life, even when the other’s response dissipates aggression, there is no perfect process of destruction and survival; there is always also internalization. All experience is elaborated intrapsychically, we might venture to say, but when the other does not survive and aggression is not dissipated, experience becomes almost exclusively intrapsychic. It therefore seems fallacious to regard internalization processes only as breakdown products or as defenses; rather, we could see them as kind of underlying substratum of mental activity – a constant symbolic digestion process that constitutes an important part of the cycle of exchange between the individual and the outside. It is a state of lost balance between the intrapsychic and the intersubjective, between fantasy and reality, that is the problem. An example of this type of dialect is the  statement: “I’ll give you $6.00 or even $10.00 for alcohol because alcohol acts like an opiate that drugs the masses into submission. You‘ll never move out and rise above me, because I have become your Lord and Bondsman.”

“When mutual recognition is not restored, what it creates is a ‘Stranded Object’ with the inability to mourn the lost object and survival can become precarious.”

I propose that the inflicting of pain and suffering through the use of electro-magnetic frequency means,  is nothing more than a ‘narcassistic ego’ trying to relegate a ‘subject’ into a regressional phase by reducing the intellectual state, inducing a “doped-up” like state trying to force into regressional dependency, creating this drone like state, helps in keeping separate and apart someone as ‘otherness.’ For example, “You are not like me. You are ‘otherness.’” Because we known when a feeling of survival is not achieved after a feeling of destruction (for example, an act of castrating the ego) what follows is the constant symbolic digestion of that very destruction. We see this when the conscience turns inward towards the self; Alcohol, Drugs, Food, Pills, Heroine, Sex, or Masturbation. Over-consumption as a form of destruction. This is the loss of balance between fantasy and reality. The subject’s statement: “Okay. If you don’t love me than I’ll either just sedate or destroy myself.” This is the achieved state of a person’s inability to mourn a parent or care giver who wouldn’t or couldn’t love them back because they themselves lacked the capacity to love and to love truly. This unresolved symbolic space renders the patient a ‘stranded object.’ Stranded Objects are stuck in this purgatory, this suspended space without any clue as to how to mourn their loss. It’s hard to mourn someone as dead, who is still part of the living world. Thus, they never transcend the transitional space between mutual recognition and infantile narcissism because they never have survived the destructive effect of the omnipotent parent. The destruction is carried out on the landscape of ‘self’ rather than the landscape of ‘other.’ 



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