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Introjective Identification

 

Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Introjective Identification

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Where a person finds another person attractive in some way, then they will often take a part of that other person and introject that part into their own ego.

In this way, they become more like the admired person. Also, having a part of that person in them, they feel closer to them and usually like to be physically and emotionally closer to them, perhaps for fear of distance leading to the introjected part (particularly if it is not fully internalized) being lost.

Discussion

Introjection by followers may occur as a response to projection by would-be leaders. If the part being projected is acceptable, then the projection-introjection bond is completed.

In some sense, it is form of 'psychic theft', although the other person does not lose anything (and may gain our friendship).

Introjective identification is an opposite of projective identification, where unwanted parts of the ego are projected into another person.

Freud used introjective identification to describe how Christians introject Christ into themselves in order to be more like Him. This is made viscerally explicit through the process of Mass or Communion, where they symbolically eat Christ's body and drink his blood.

Within groups, introjective identification with the leader also allows group members to more easily identify with one another (perhaps as 'identification by proxy').

See also

Freud, Projective identification, Projection and Introjection

 

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