Censoring the Lover in her

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The notion of "censoring the lover in her" was first introduced by Michel Fain, then reworked by Fain and Denise Braunschweig in order to highlight the way in which the mother may modulate her presence for the infant while looking after their bodily needs.

When, in the course of caring for the baby, the mother daydreams about her love life with the father of the child, this other experienced as independent of the child induces a relative distance in the relation with the child. This leads the child to create an early (primary) state of triangulation which will be the basis for the future oedipal organization.

Censoring the lover in her is therefore the effect of the internal events in the mother, leading the developing child to make room for a third party within the framework of their "real" two-person relationship. For the mother it is also this that enables her to countercathect the erotic feelings caused by the contact with the infant's body. Her life as a lover thus takes on the value of a protective shield for the psyche of the child, but also for her own psyche because it "censors" a part of the erotic feelings aroused by maternal care.

Michel Ody and Laurent Danon-Boileau

See also: Fatherhood; Maternal object; Object, change of/choice of; Parenthood; Protective shield.


Braunschweig, Denise, and Fain, Michel. (1975). La nuit, le jour. Essai psychanalytique sur le fonctionnement mental. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Fain, Michel. (1971). Préludeà la vie fantasmatique. Revue française de psychanalyse, 35 (2-3), 291-364.