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Archaic Relation Patterns as Triggers of Conflict between Groups and Nations
Journal Title: FORUM 
Author/s: Raymond Battegay (Switzerland) 
Year:  2007 Issue: Language: Italian 
Pages:  16 Pg. 79-94 FullText PDF:  402 KB

As a result of my experience with groups, I have found that the sense of responsibility for one another following narcissistic injury may be buried by the group’s amplifying effect on emotions. The larger the group, the greater the danger that such a process will occur. In economic crises or after a defeat in war, regression to archaic levels of object relations is likely to make it no longer possible for a whole people to operate with mature ego-performance or make free decisions. People who don’t belong to the major ethnic or religious group(s) are experienced as strangers with growing feelings of aggression toward them. Whereas one´s own group develops a strong cohesion (an archaic narcissistic-fuisonal relationship between the members), the ‘others’ are seen as enemies. A group, or national, trauma that may have occurred even hundreds of years ago is likely to become a main marker of a people through ideological indoctrination, especially of the youth, by a dominating leader and can lead to a revival of old ethnic, religious or national conflicts. The current wave of widespread terror may also have its origins in such regression. To prevent such developments, the United Nations should at least attempt to bring together youth from different cultural backgrounds. In this way, probably more than by other political means, we have the hope of preventing prejudice and with that, negative processes of projective identification against other groups and nations.

Raymond Battegay (Switzerland), in "FORUM" 2/2007, pp. 79-94, DOI:


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