In the analysis of Felix, Klein explored pathological inhibitions that hampered the thought processes of this adolescent. She discovered that thinking is born from sufficiently creative bonds between the internal parents. The concepts of internal object and unconscious fantasy constitute, in this sense, one of the most innovative aspects of this analysis. Klein argues that revisiting the early Œdipus complex in puberty is an indispensable preliminary to the joint development of psychical bisexuality and “ psychical puberty ”.
Having studied the case of “ Felix ” and the Kleinian concepts of internal objects and of unconscious fantasy illustrated by the case of this adolescent boy, the author uses the case of “ Ilse ” to explore Kleinian conceptions of female sexual identity.
Klein centered her analysis of Ilse on this adolescent girl’s envious sadism towards an internal mother who was, in fantasy, the owner of the father, and on the omnipotent guilt which mirrored these fantasies. This guilt robbed Ilse of her passage through “ psychical puberty ” and, consequently, of all the rest of her development. While the first part of the analysis sets Ilse in the latency phase, the attenuation of her guilt in analysis will improve her feeling of identity, of personal responsibility : Ilse becomes more genuine, more free.
The author argues that, according to their degree of omnipotence and their degree of ego identification, manic defences (Klein, 1934) can either open or close access to bisexuality that is harmonious enough to preside over one’s passage through psychical puberty. This study starts off with historical and metapsychological references relating to the fundamental concepts of melancholy, mania and manic defences. Afterwards, the author links the title concept of manic defences to Œdipal conflicts and conflicts over dependence and separation, all of which are inherent to psychical puberty. In so doing, he differentiates, insofar as these conflicts are concerned, their pathological stumbling blocks from the turbulences they ordinarily stir up. In the course of the article, there is a specification of the bonds of interdependence that psychical puberty and manic defences conjointly maintain with the notion of dependencies – normal, mixed, or negative – and the feeling of sexual identity, of belonging to one sex or the other.
Adolescence, 2008, T. 26, n°1, pp. 221-236.