the term ‘paranoid-schizoid position’ refers to a constellation of anxieties, defences and internal and external object relations that klein considers to be characteristic of the earliest months of an infant’s life and to continue to a greater or lesser extent into childhood and adulthood. the chief characteristic of the paranoid-schizoid position is the splitting of both self and object into good and bad, with at first little or no integration between them. klein has the view that infants suffer a great deal of anxiety and that this is caused by the death instinct within, by the trauma experienced at birth and by experiences of hunger and frustration. both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ objects are then introjected and a cycle of re-projection and re-introjection ensues. this ‘binary splitting’ is essential for healthy development as it enables the infant to take in and hold on to sufficient good experience to provide a central core around which to begin to integrate the contrasting aspects of the self.
a different kind of splitting, ‘fragmentation’, in which the object and/or the self are split into many and smaller pieces is also a feature of the paranoid-schizoid position. klein considers that both constitutional and environmental factors affect the course of the paranoid-schizoid position. the central constitutional factor is the balance of life and death instincts in the infant. if development proceeds normally, extreme paranoid anxieties and schizoid defences are largely given up during the early infantile paranoid-schizoid position and during the working through of the depressive position. the paranoid-schizoid position can be thought of as the phase of development preceding the depressive position as a defence against it and also as a regression from it.
 in object relations theory, the paranoid-schizoid position is a state of mind of children, from birth to four or six months of age. in this position before the secure internalisation of a good object to protect the ego, the immature ego deals with its anxiety by splitting off bad feelings and projecting them out. the bad object is then hated and attacked in phantasies. this enables a more realistic view of the self and object as possessing both good and bad attributes, leading to the greater integration and maturity of the depressive position.
it is only in the depressive position that polar qualities can be seen as different aspects of the same object.”: 37 increasing nearness of good and bad brings a corresponding integration of ego. with the awareness of the primal split, a space is created in which the symbol, the symbolized, and the experiencing subject coexist. omnipotence is lessened, which corresponds to a decrease in guilt and the fear of loss. psychic reality is allowed to evolve as a place separate from the literalness of the physical world. the guilt is there because of a lack of differentiation between phantasy and reality.
in development psychology, melanie klein proposed a ” position theory” instead of a ” stage theory”. the term ‘paranoid-schizoid position’ refers to a constellation of anxieties, defences and internal and external object relations that klein considers to be paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions in development psychology, melanie klein proposed a “(psychic) position theory” instead of a “(psychic) stage klein called this the “depressive position,” in which aggression is more inhibited from being projected outwards and the child’s fragmented, schizoid defense mechanisms, schizoid defense mechanisms, klein anxiety, working through the depressive position, paranoid position.
in the paranoid-schizoid position, first described by melanie klein in 1946, the earliest experiences of the infant are split between wholly good the paranoid-schizoid position is a lifelong possibility, manifested in later life by an inability to accept that anyone can be both bad and good and patients in the paranoid position have a rather “…fragile hold on an idealized, intrapsychic object that they crave union with, for safety and emotional, notes on some schizoid mechanisms, paranoid schizophrenia, schizoid states, schizoid meaning.
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