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Order a subscription today. Bion In previous papers 3 I have had occasion, in talking of the psychotic part of the personality, to speak of the destructive attacks which the patient makes on anything which is felt to have the function of linking one object with another. It is my intention in this paper to show the significance of this form of destructive attack in the production of some symptoms met with in borderline psychosis.
The prototype for all the links of which I wish to speak is the primitive breast or penis. I shall discuss phantasied attacks on the breast as the prototype of all attacks on objects that serve as a link and projective identification as the mechanism employed by the psyche to dispose of the ego fragments produced by its destructiveness. I shall first describe clinical manifestations in an order dictated not by the chronology of their appearance in the consulting room, but by the need for making the exposition of my thesis as clear as I can.
I shall follow this by material selected to demonstrate the order which these mechanisms assume when their relationship to each other is determined by the dynamics of the analytic situation. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.
The war of nerves. In Miller and Crichton-Miller Eds. London: Macmillan, Bion, W. Leaderless group project, Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic,
Linking, Attacks on
Attacks on linking are destructive attacks from the psychotic part of the personality directed against all links between objects. An internalization of an "ego-destructive super-ego," as Bion called the figure which attacks links of emotion and reason between objects, occurs when the relationship between mother and infant lacks the normal links of primary communication by projective identification. Bion showed the theoretical importance of the concept of "attacks on linking" for understanding some symptoms in borderline patients. Lacking a state of mind capable of making links for growth, the patient feels that his mind is an ongoing disaster which he fears is incapable of resolution. Moreover, since there is a deficiency of curiosity in his psyche, any development which depends on enquiry is impossible, and the links in his mind remain perverse, cruel, and sterile. Attacks on linking manifest themselves in the attempted destruction of the inner mental functioning of patient and analyst, and on the verbal and nonverbal communication which is the link between them.