Fantasies

One of Klein's basic assumptions is that the infant, even at birth, possesses an active fantasy life. These fantasies are psychic representations of unconscious id instincts; they should not be confused with the conscious fantasies of older children and adults. When Klein (1932) wrote of the dynamic fantasy life of infants, she did not suggest that neonates could put thoughts into words. She simply meant that they possess unconscious images of "good" and "bad." For example, a full stomach is good; an empty one is bad. Thus, Klein would say that infants who fall asleep while sucking on their fingers are fantasizing about having then mother's good breast mside themselves. Similarly, hungry infants who cry and kick then legs are fantasizing that they are kickmg or destroying the bad breast. This idea of a good breast and a bad breast is comparable to Sullivan's notion of a good mother and a bad mother (see Chapter 8 for Sullivan's theory).

As the infant matures, unconscious fantasies connected with the breast continue to exert an hnpact on psychic life, but newer ones emerge as well. These later unconscious fantasies are shaped by both reality and by inherited predispositions. One of these fantasies involves the Oedipus complex, or the child's wish to destroy one parent and sexually possess the other. (Klein's notion of the Oedipus complex is discussed more fully hi the sections titled Internalizations.) Because these fantasies are unconscious, they can be contradictory. For example, a little boy can fantasize

140 Part II Psychodynamic Theories both beating his mother and having babies with her. Such fantasies spring partly from the boys experiences with his mother and partly from universal predispositions to destroy the bad breast and to incorporate the good one.

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