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December 1972

The Remembered Mother and the Fantasized Mother: A Crisis of Middle Age

Author Affiliations

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(6):791-794. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750300057009

Some aspects of those men who conduct ongoing searches for women to love are considered. An explanation is given based on certain aspects of memory and perception as they are especially influenced by the mid-life crisis. The explanation involves a denial of the aging process and an attempt to find a woman who more closely resembles the vaguely remembered fantasized mother of youth. The image of the wife is split in these situations: she becomes both a degraded, ugly object and an idealized woman. There is an accompanying idealization and hypersexualization of the self. A further factor may be a third reawakening of the oedipal conflict in middle age. Middle age is reviewed as a period with its own stages of psychological development and its own particular crises.

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