The Darling Essay

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In the following essay, Sperber considers Olenka as an "as if" personality, one with "a defective ability to invest emotional interest in others."

Helene Deutsch, in 1942, called attention to a form of emotional disturbance in which the "individual's whole relationship to life has something about it which is lacking in genuineness and yet outwardly runs along 'as if' it were complete." Those with this condition were designated "as if" personalities. Since Deutsch's paper, the condition has been described by others, and Ross has reviewed the literature concerning the concept, and discussed certain of its theoretical implications.

These "as if" individuals exhibit a defective capacity for love. They develop pseudoaffective relationships through identification with others. Their adaptation to reality depends on the ability to mimic others without appreciation for their real emotions. The relationships of the "as if" personality are often precipitously broken off by the partner, who senses...

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This section contains 2,300 words
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