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(p. 149) The Antisocial Tendency 

(p. 149) The Antisocial Tendency
(p. 149) The Antisocial Tendency

Donald W. Winnicott

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date: 30 October 2020

For Winnicott the antisocial tendency in the human being is different from delinquency. He considers that the antisocial tendency may be found at all ages and stages in childhood. A child may become a deprived child when deprived of essential features of home life. Lack of hope is then a basic feature, but the antisocial act is an expression of that hope, and needs to be thought of in this way in treatment. The child who steals, for example, is not looking for the object stolen but the mother over whom he or she has rights. These rights derive from the fact that (from the child’s point of view) the mother was created by the child. It is therefore a picture of the child’s unconscious omnipotence and control over the mother that has led to the stealing of the object. The child’s greediness, manifest in stealing, is part of the early infant self’s compulsion to seek for a cure from the mother who caused the initial deprivation. At the basis of the antisocial tendency is a good early experience that has been lost.

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