• Howard Wishnie


In this book I have described various symptoms of impulsive behavior as responses to a common underlying character defect. This defect develops in childhood when maternal support is removed by death, physical illness, or emotional withdrawal. Without adequate recognition of and substitution for this loss, the individual continues to develop in some areas but remains arrested in others. A sense of panic and self-devaluation develops. This is reexperienced throughout the individual’s life and leads to self-destructive, meaningless violence. In the process of treatment, this loss is identified and validated, but the child’s early interpretations of responsibility and inherent lack of lov-ability are questioned. Such questions can be explored only in another human relationship that pays attention to these early losses and does not attempt to minimize them. It becomes an experience in relearning about the self.


Physical Illness Impulsive Behavior Human Relationship Shared Responsibility Realistic Sense 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Wishnie
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolCambridge HospitalUSA

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