Stage 3: Psychic Masochism

...But whether the aggression is directed outwards (stage 1), or inwards (as above), it is very unpleasant for the infant. So what does the child do?


"[The infant] is a genius: he solved an unsolvable problem, and at the age of four to eighteen months...we have to add a fourth point to our previous enumeration:

(4) libidinization (arrow from libido) of the boomerang aggression by making of it an unconscious pleasure.

Nobody can go through the protracted helplessness of childhood without acquiring some traces of this psychic poison. Psychic masochism: the turning of displeasure into pleasure is a universal human trait..."

In the illustration we see this libidinization of the aggression which has been turned inward against the child in stage 2. Unfortunately, the infant's problems are not over! nnnnnnnBACK: Stage 2nnnnNEXT: Stage 4a