"I hope you die and I hope it's soon." Unconscious parental death wishes and the infanticidal attachment? with Professor Brett Kahr
Do parental death wishes actually exist? And if so, what impact might such unconscious hatred have upon the long-term development of the child? In this presentation, Professor Brett Kahr will examine the toxic, even nuclear, impact of infanticidal wishes across the life cycle.
Although Sigmund Freud wrote extensively about death wishes in the family, he devoted far more attention to the child’s desire to kill the parent of the same sex, rather than upon the parent’s desire to murder the child. Donald Winnicott elaborated upon parental death wishes, especially in his classic essay “Hate in the Counter-Transference”, albeit rather briskly.
Building upon these foundational contributions, Brett Kahr will draw upon his work with psychotic and forensic patients and, also, with normal-neurotic individuals, to explore the many ways in which maternal and paternal death wishes and death threats towards babies and children become internalised over time and, ultimately, contribute to the development of severe psychopathology.
Kahr will explore the concept of the “infanticidal attachment”, examining how early death threats can damage the very foundations of the ego structure, resulting in psychosis, suicidality, criminality, severe eating problems, life-threatening addictions, and a host of other extreme psychological states. Drawing upon extensive case material, he will consider how intensive, long-term psychoanalytically orientated treatment can contribute to the neutralisation of such toxic “infanticidal introjects”.