The concept, bad object, derives mainly from Melanie Klein’s ideas about early development and the experience of unpleasant body sensations (e.g. pain, discomfort, hunger) which are interpreted as coming from an external, hostile environment; persecutory anxieties, first registered in bodily states and from frustration of needs by those in the external world; together these may overwhelm and cause the infant to resort to what Klein and others call primitive defences (see entry, defence mechanisms): denial, projection, intro-jection, withdrawal and splitting. In an effort to understand and evaluate the psychological, social and physical surround, the child divides experience into categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
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