Bizarre object

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Bizarre object in object relations theory is the name given to external objects which, by way of projective identification, are imbued with characteristics of the subject's own personality.

Bion's formulations[edit]

W. R. Bion saw psychotic attacks on the normal linking between objects as producing a fractured world, where the patient felt themselves surrounded by hostile bizarre objects—the by-products of the broken linkages.[1] Such objects, with their superego components,[2] blur the boundary of internal and external, and impose a kind of externalised moralism on their victims.[3] They can also contain ego-functions that have been evacuated from the self as part of the defence against thinking, sensing, and coming to terms with reality: thus a man may feel watched by his telephone,[4] or that the music player being listened to is in fact listening to him in turn.[5]

Later developments[edit]

Hanna Segal considered bizarre objects more difficult to re-internalise than either good or bad objects due to their splintered state: grouped together in a mass or psychic gang, their threatening properties may contribute to agoraphobia.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The legacy of Wifrid Bion
  2. ^ J. Abram, The Language of Winnicott (2007) p. 88-9
  3. ^ Robert Caper, A Mind of One's Own (2005) p. 7 and p. 139
  4. ^ N. Symington, Narcissism (1993) p. 110
  5. ^ R. Anderson ed., Clinical Lectures on Klein and Bion (1992) p. 93
  6. ^ H. Segal, Dream, Phantasy and Art (2006) p. 38

External links[edit]