“Maternal Conflicts Activated by the Child’s Separation-Individuation: A Maturational Opportunity,” Annals of Modern Psychoanalysis. 2(2), 2004.
The mother’s emotional availability during the crucial developmental phase of separation-individuation is limited by her own unresolved separation problems. The biological and psychological upheavals of pregnancy and birth result in regression and a loosening of her defenses. As a result, her early conflicts and memories are powerfully reactivated, and are more readily accessible to a “second chance” at working through. Further, her conflicts related to repressed aggression are exposed, because of the integral relationship between developmental fixation and internalized rage. Case vignettes illustrate how the mothers' growth in treatment were enhanced by the surfacing of early traumatic memories and feelings, particularly that of aggression, the result both of projection onto, and identification with, the child.