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Concluding Remarks: Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Impact of Separation and Divorce
The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child  (IF0.089),  Pub Date : 2019-01-01, DOI: 10.1080/00797308.2019.1557474
Linda Gunsberg

ABSTRACT The experience of separation and divorce comes alive in this panel through film, case material from child and adult analyses, and from observational data of infants and toddlers and research interviews of adult children of divorce. Important questions are raised regarding how these separation and divorce processes and associated fantasies are intertwined with developmental progression and its variations. We have had the opportunity to view two analyses, one child and one adult, up close, to see how separation and divorce issues play themselves out in treatment and how they are skillfully addressed. We have also become more aware of how unsettling transitions back and forth between two homes remain prominent in the memory of children of separation and divorce. They never feel on solid ground, and their sense of “home” is adversely altered. Parenting declines as parents become preoccupied and frightened. Loss, intermittent decathexis, interparent hatred, pathological envy, and parental alienation distract these parents and they actually harm their children. Furthermore, the toll of separation and divorce on the now adult child of divorce is addressed. Fear and dread of marrying, having children, and then divorcing, are unbearable in anticipation of these steps. It is at this moment when we realize the scars of separation and divorce that have remained in the background until now come to the forefront in visible and dramatic ways.