The adolescent construction from the point of view of psychoanalysis
In the mid-1970s, psychoanalysis was to take a closer look at adolescent construction, because at that time the origin of narcissistic disorders, more and more prevalent within the patient population, was anchored there. The difficulties encountered by these patients relate to the ability to construct a positive representation of themselves. More precisely: "The conflict is around being: how to manage to maintain a feeling of being, a cohesion of the self-image, while recognizing oneself subject of desire, bearer of one's own desires and object of desires of the desired object. "
A crucial issue in adolescent construction is concerned here: the ability to desire while loving yourself enough..
It is a question of finding a happy medium between the identificatory rearrangements and the own identity. Ladame and Perret-Catipovic present adolescence as "a psychic process which allows one to integrate the changes induced by puberty. " "This process begins when puberty is over, sometimes even before it is experienced in the body. " The upheaval of adolescence is induced both by bodily changes, but also by the awakening of the oedipal desires that will have been put on hold during the latent period.
The impulses then find their goal during the “pubertaire”. "Now a new sexual goal is given and all the partial impulses act jointly to reach it, while the erogenous zones are subordinate to the primate of the genital zone. »Writes S. Freud. The adult sexuality with which the adolescent finds himself is a source of anxiety, because sexual arousal will create a state of tension and requires a drive discharge which will then lead to pleasure. The investment of new objects of love will then be essential and should be part of an empowerment of thought in order to avoid the establishment of romantic relationships of the order of emotional dependence, reminiscent of that of the small child to his mother . In fact, the adolescent leaves the world of childhood to enter adulthood. "Renouncing, says Annie Birraux, the body of a child and its privileges can appear in certain subjects as an operation too fraught with risk to be attempted. " The transition from the child body to an adult body is a real "narcissistic challenge" which must lead to libidinal satisfaction, narcissistic enrichment as well as a cohesion of the self-image.
It appears to J. Lampl-De Groot that his patients presently have difficulties in reliving the psychic processes of adolescence, manifested by narcissistic flaws. The adolescent process requires a distancing of parental objects, but the superego is precisely the set of parental and moral prohibitions internalized by the child. The adolescent finds himself caught in a conflict where these internalized prohibitions were part of himself, and by renouncing love for parents, the adolescent abandons part of himself. "The adolescent must not only endure the pain associated with the loss of the object of love, cope with the work of mourning and review of infantile prohibitions and limitations, but in addition he must endure the injury caused by the shock if not the loss of its narcissistic foundations. " It is therefore necessary to understand how the adolescent will overcome this narcissistic wound, to build his own Self, an Overself and Ideal of the self that is not failing, and does not cause psychopathological deviations.
P. Blos highlighted "a second process of individualization" in adolescence. It is based on the work of Mr. Malher who had demonstrated a "first process of individualization" during which the child becomes more and more independent thanks to a process of internalization of the presence of the mother. In adolescence, it is by disengaging from parental object investment that the maturation of the Ego will be possible. "The individualization of adolescence is a reflection of the structural transformations that accompany the emotional disengagements of internalized infantile objects. " Without this divestment, it is impossible for the adolescent to invest in new objects and a fixation will turn out to be pathological. For P. Blos, when the construction of the Ego is faulty, in particular by difficulties of disengagement from parental ties, we observe the failure of the process of individuation which will manifest itself in particular by acting out, or on the side of depression with a loss of motivation.
The "teenage crisis": from normal to pathological
Adolescence is marked by upheavals and changes, which will be conceptualized in crisis or in process, as we have seen previously with the work of P. Blos. Whether we are talking about a crisis or a process, we identify three major changes: the disinvestment of parental ties, access to adult sexuality marked by the "orgasmic potentiality" which will lead the adolescent to new objects of love, and the work of identifications which will lead to subjectivation.
Some authors, like E. Kestemberg, will consider adolescence as a crisis, which would be normal, and it is precisely the absence of crisis, which would be pathological. One of the challenges of adolescence for Kestemberg is “to conquer oneself”, and for that, the adolescent will face the loss of previous identifications, and the loss of part of himself, because by confronting reality he realizes that it is not or will not be what he could have fantasized about. The instinctual discharge then passes into the act and marks in the adolescent the disillusionment and the impossibility of putting his projects on hold. According to Mr. Gross, "taking action during adolescence seems most of the time to be understood as a defensive modality in the face of various conflictual situations brought on by, in particular, puberty upheavals. "
P. Jeammet explains the adolescent act as a way to regain control over his feeling of "pathogenic" dependence on the environment. So "The violent act brutally establishes a process of separation and differentiation with the other. " The act, the behaviors of acting, will allow the adolescent to reclaim the Self, a Self whose narcissistic foundations are unstable, probably due to "the absence of a feeling of sufficient internal security which allows these subjects […] to call upon their internal psychic resources to be able to postpone their response to their emotions […] ”. To benefit from an internal feeling of security, the entourage had to sufficiently respond to the needs of the small child, while allowing the child to open up to the other and not to lock himself in a relationship of influence and dependence on one of the parents. One of the challenges of adolescence concerns the integration of symbolic law, directly linked to the development of the Superego in adolescence. "The Superego is defined as the heir to the Oedipus complex, it is constituted by internalization of parental requirements and prohibitions. " At the time of adolescence, which marks the abandonment of parental love and the investment of new objects, the superego finds itself confronted with a conflict which can be a source of anxiety. One of the remedies to combat this anxiety will be the adoption of transgressive behavior, endangerment or even taking action.
J. Lacan, on the other hand, differentiates acting out from acting out as addressing another, while acting out would not be directed. "Acting out is essentially something, in the conduct of the subject that shows itself. The demonstrative emphasis of any acting out, its orientation towards the other must be noted. " J. Lacan compares the acting out to the symptom in what they have similar - it is to see themselves - however according to him "the acting out calls for interpretation", whereas it would not be the case for the symptom. Acting out is addressed directly to another; "This is the beginning of the transfer". J-M Forget presents adolescent acting out as a staging: "By acting out, the adolescent stages a trait of his identity that he wants to know nothing about. "
In "the teenage crisis", the adolescent shows what is impossible for him to say that it is a particular suffering, a difficulty in finding his place within the group, an identity problem, or even questions around his sexuality. So many changes and upheavals that may seem impossible to say and will then be expressed through the rebellion and the adolescent crisis.
- Caroline Morin