IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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he called “vínculo”, a complex structure in which subject and object are always mutually interacting in processes of communicating and learning.

VI. Ag. Jorge García Badaracco: Maddening Object García Badaracco, one of Pichon´s followers, refers to Pichon’s thought that in the internal world of psychotic patients there are internal objects (multiple “imagos”) articulated through a progressive process of internalization and that in that internal world it is possible to recognize the dynamics of reconstructions of external reality. Badaracco continued working on these ideas along with his own concept of the “maddening object”. “Maddening Object” , a concept presented first at the IPA Congress in Hamburg in 1985, is an object, which unconsciously induces the person to behave in a sadistic and malignant way. It simultaneously makes the person feel evil and wicked because the parents, due to their deficiencies, instead of acting as a buffer to the primitive drives of the subject, amplify the subject´s anxieties, especially envy and sadism. Such a sadistic parental treatment, which lacks recognition of the child’s helplessness, results in the subject experiencing his own spontaneity as threatening and dangerous. Therefore, in the search of an experience of satisfaction and due to the lack of resources of the ego, the person yields to the needs of the others, or may enact the way how they themselves were mistreated, leading to the cycle of traumatizations and retraumatizations. This formulation highlights the contribution of the structuring object to the psycho- emotional development, as regards the level of pathology in a subject. The concept, thus depicting the internal “presence” of the other, expanded the classical metapsychology and opened a new perspective to understand serious mental illnesses from the psychoanalytical point of view: “... what we call ‘mental illness’ of a person appears as a ‘type of mental functioning’ that is being ‘conditioned’, in large part, by other people (...). These ‘other’ people may be acting from the real world, or they can ‘act’, from a ‘presence’ in internal world, as in what I designated years ago as ‘maddening objects’“ (García Badaracco, 2006a, p.6). Badaracco’s theory and clinical practice are based on the “‘lived feeling experiences’ (‘vivencias’ in Spanish orig.) and presuppose that an emotional disturbance has to do first, with an outer, then, an inner presence of the others in us. In this context, serious mental illness is a result of sickening and maddening presences, which have prevented the development of ego resources and stall psychoemotional growth. Thus, the true self is smothered, taking away the possibility of expressing oneself from a healthy virtuality. The psychotic breakdown, which is usually preceded by an inner change, presents an “opportunity to make a change,” not only from the patient’s point of view, but within the dynamics of the whole family. Referring to Freud´s Structural Theory of Id, Ego and Superego, Badaracco sees the Superego, the intrapsychic representative of society, as depicting the others in us. He expands the psychoanalytic thinking of the drive theory in viewing the mind as taking part in a field of reciprocal interdependencies . Viewed this way, the existence of the others in


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