The personal identity does not exist, we are our relationships and the self is manifested in an interpersonal field. Psychoanalysis has also shifted from the early concept of a “one person psychology” towards an intersubjective “two person psychology”. What Freud assumed was a basic conflict between “the id”, “the ego” and “the super-ego” was viewed as a contradiction with a development within the human being.
During the post-war era, the object relations theory emerged which emphasized the importance of studying the human psyche as a social phenomenon. This meant that psychological suffering was no longer a result of an inherent conflict but rather of the child’s adaptation to its environment and its upholding of crucial ties to the parental objects. According to Stephan Mitchell, this was a dividing line in the history of psychoanalysis. His idea was that we are enclosed in relational fields or intersubjective matrixes. We don’t search relationships, as human beings we are constructed for relationships and cannot exist without them.
The human psyche thereby has a contextual nature and is affected in the constantly ongoing process of our current relationships. Even loneliness stands in relation to the context. Loneliness is experienced in relation to self image and the image of the surrounding world and it reflects both previous relationships and present interactions with others.
In other words, we are our own experiences manifested in psychological structures. We are rhizomatic and fleeting, in constant movement. We affect and are affected, encounters and relationships spill over into others and into each other. Small things, trivial matters and decisive moments are mirrored and reflected within and without our own selves.
Linus Elmés, August 2009