RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE PUNISHER
AbstractThe author discusses ways in which one's style of defending against fantasies of punishment predisposes one to a preponderance of depressive or anxious affect. In the former case, the patient's extensive employment of identification with the aggressor results in a pejorative self-representation, leading to punishment depressive affect at the moment of defensive failure (with the threat of forbidden desires entering into consciousness). In the latter case, punishment anxiety is largely externalized, yielding an object representation that threatens disaster. Clearly, all people employ both methods of relating to one's internal punisher, although one or the other is generally more prominent. In our culture the depressive relationship is more typical of women, whereas the anxious relationship is more typical of men. Illustrative case studies are presented.