With In this work of 1943, Fairbairn sets out his conception of a theory of personality, based on object relations, from which derives the innovative vision of a psychopathology focused on the study of the relations of the ego with its internalized objects. Starting from the observation of child victims of sexual and aggressive attacks, Fairbairn describes how, through processes of incorporation, interiorization and identification, the child taks on himself the weight of the wickedness suffered, trying to restore a sense of external security with the consequent pathological presence of internalized bad objects. The author shows us how the need to deal with this internal insecurity will result in the child using costly defenses to cope with the resulting sense of persecution. Fairbairn finds confirmation of his assertions through a rereading of Freud's essay A Seventeenth Century Demonological Neurosis (1923). He therefore reviews phenomena, such as the negative therapeutic reaction, the, the repetition compulsion and the trauma itself, in the light of his innovative theoretical considerations, using the clinical and psychotherapeutic observations drawn from his experience as a medical officer with patients suffering from post-traumatic psychic disorders, in the course of the Second World War.
Keywords: object relations, interiorization, bad objects, war neurosis, trauma, negative therapeutic reaction, the repetition compulsion.