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Mentioned in Kleinian Theory, Fairbairn's endopsychic structural theory, Jacob Arlow


Klein discusses splitting throughout per papers.


In W.R.D. Fairbairn's 1944 paper, splitting is used to describe etiology his endopsychic structure.

His 1954 paper explains an "ambivalent", "unsatisfying" internal object splitting into exciting object and rejecting object. These objects being repressed "the substance of the (central) ego" whilst being cathected to it, it simultaneously creates two repressed ego-structures, the libidinal ego and antilibidinal ego.


Arlow (1980) gives his own take on splitting:

It is not necessarily the re-emergence of an earlier structure, but rather the reactivation of memory traces of a bad object representation that is distinct from the good object representation as described above.


  • Arlow, Jacob A. (1980) Object Concept and Object Choice, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 49:1, 109-133, DOI: 10.1080/21674086.1980.11926908
  • Fairbairn, W. R. D. (1944). Endopsychic structure considered in terms of object-relationships. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 25, 70–93.
  • Fairbairn, W. R. D. (1954). Observations on the nature of hysterical states. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 27, 105–125. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8341.1954.tb00855.x