Friends in Old Age
- First Online:
- 449 Downloads
Psychoanalysis has long recognized the vital role that relationships between people play in human development and in the maintenance of sense of well being throughout life. While the internalization of representations of significant others and their interactions with each other, the achievement of object constancy, makes it possible to gain support from the realization that we live in the minds of others and they in ours’, it is “not enough.” We need people “in the flesh” from “cradle to grave.” Unfortunately, this need is more difficult to meet in our later years. Parents, siblings, mates, love partners die. Children move away. No longer do we have daily contact with our work colleagues. Old friends are lost, never to be replaced, making the ability to form and maintain additional friendships as well as the opportunity to do so critical in the life of the elderly. This paper considers the roles that friends play in old age, the developmental achievements that contribute to the capacity for friendship, some of the factors that may impede doing so, and finally the ways in which psychoanalytic treatment may foster an individual’s ability to be a friend and make friends.
KeywordsAging Relationships Object constancy
- Aristotle. (1893). Book VIII: Friendship and Love. In The nicomachean ethics of aristotle, (trans: F. H. Peters, M.A., 5th ed.). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Truebner & Co. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/903. Accessed 26 Mar 2015.
- Benedek, T. (1938). Adaptation to reality in early infancy. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 7, 200–214.Google Scholar
- Bergler, E. (1961). Curable and incurable neurosis: Problems of neurotic versus malignant masochism. New York: Liveright.Google Scholar
- Berzoff, J. (1985). Valued female friendships: Their functions in female adult development. Ph.D. Dissertation. Boston University.Google Scholar
- Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss I: Attachment. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Collins, W., & Sroufe, A. (1999). Capacity for intimate relationships: A developmental construction. In W. Furman, C. Feiring, & B. Brown (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on adolescent romantic relationship. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Ephron, N. (2006). I feel bad about my neck and other thoughts on being a woman. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
- Erickson, E. (1950). Childhood and Society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
- Fonagy, P. (2003). The interpersonal interpretive mechanism: the confluence of genetics and attachment theory in development. In V. Green (Ed.), Emotional development in psychoanalysis, attachment theory and neuroscience (pp. 107–126). New York: Brunner-Routledge.Google Scholar
- Gormly, K. (2013). Childless by choice: Statistics show more are opting out of parenthood. http://triblive.com/lifestyles/morelifestyles/3706951-74/sayswalters-kids#axzz2wJwFP6yv. Accessed 26 Mar 2015.
- Kalish-Weiss, B. (2011). Interview with Leo Rangell. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/us/05rangell.html.
- Mahler, M., Pine, F., & Bergman, A. (1975). The psychological birth of the human infant: Symbiosis and individuation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, H. S. (1953). The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: The William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation.Google Scholar
- Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together why we expect more from technology and less from each other. Philadelphia: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Turrini, P. (2012). Is object constancy enough? In: Paper delivered at the American Association for psychoanalysis in clinical social work conference. Marina del Ray, CA, March 2011Google Scholar
- Wolf, E. S. (1994). Self object experiences and self object transferences. In S. Kramer & S. Akhtar (Eds.), Mahler and Kohut. Northside, NJ: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar