Possessed by a cruel God: The damaging effect of an omnipotent internal object

Tamm Lessa de Sá, Carlos (2022) Possessed by a cruel God: The damaging effect of an omnipotent internal object. In: The Omnipotent State of Mind: Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 135-143. ISBN 97810031851

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Abstract

In most religious belief systems, omnipotence is God’s most important attribute. Mr L’s sense of inadequacy seemed to be strongly connected with the kind of relationship he had developed with his internal objects. His parents divorced when he was a pre-adolescent, but despite that, his father maintained a strong presence in both the nuclear and the extended family while his mother was both more distant and self-effacing. The effect of the introjection of a critical and superior container seemed to have been crippling in terms of Mr L’s development and his oedipal struggles, leading to the formation of an omnipotent and persecutory internal object. A huge part of the personality then capitulates to the control and domination of this infallible and intimidating superego. Thinking independently and critically is prohibited, and the patient protects himself from even more damaging punishments by belittling himself first, before this god-like figure does it.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalysis
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Visiting Lecturer
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2677

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