The Evolution of Paternal Identity versus Maternal Identity in Adult Development

The evolution of adult development

NOTE: This is a psychoanalytic working through of the theory behind the Paternal Identity versus the Maternal Identity with regard to the traditional gender roles they fill within the role of parenthood and their continuing adult development. Part of this theory was written by Calvin Colarusso based on fears pertaining to men who still have dependent children and to which I assume extreme wealth does not belong.

For the most part, I had studied psychic female development from a feminist’s perspective. I had not explored many papers on male psychic development, other than Freud’s theories on the Oedipus complex and his paper on Little Hans. But in studying a few papers written by Calvin A. Colarusso it appears to me that the psychoanalytic state of late adulthood, one which may be embroiled with a considerable source of intrapsychic conflict and narcissistic injury resulting in envy, hostility, and distorted relationships with younger males in the aging patriarch’s family, for the most part, maybe the same for narcissistic women in middle adulthood. I also find it interesting, Calvin A. Colarusso’s ethnicity is Italian and so it’s intriguing to find out how his ethnic heritage may have influenced his theories and opinions. Richard D. Chessick, M.D., has suggested in his paper Archaic Sadism, “We must ask why different psychoanalytic orientations tend to prevail in different countries, and to what extent these ideological orientations illustrate the effect of history and culture on the formation of one’s psychoanalytic self.” There tends to be a very high degree of narcissism found in ethnic Italian families, at least in Northeast America, and I am a descendent to a second-generation Italian immigrant. Even still, one can most certainly understand the anger and hostility at the aging body when previous feelings surrounding it were full of feelings of competence, strength, and vitality.

According to Calvin A. Colarusso, in normal male psychological development the narcissistic fear of the aging body, as it pertains to fatherhood in late parental adulthood age 60 to 80 and beyond, is rooted in the fear of the paternal identity’s inability to no longer be a PROVIDER for his family and we can make a connection to this paternal gender role and the psychology found in Freud’s Oedipus complex as being part of the “idealized father.” This fear may manifest envies, hostilities, and distorted relationships with younger males in the patriarch’s family surrounding his loss of ability and the fact these young me are still quite capable of being just that, A FUNCTIONAL PROVIDER to their own family and wives.

“Throughout the life cycle, her intrapsychic life has been alive with introjects. From the original incorporation of the pre-Oedipal mother and the internalization of the Oedipal father, and continuing through the multitude of projections and fantasies of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood; the overriding theme of female development has been the internalization of and identification with objects (Holmes, 2008).”

It has been theorized by Nancy J. Chodorow, traditionally speaking, that little boys do not introject their mothers in the same way as little girls introject their mothers. However, in normal female psychological adult development, there is far less a fear pertaining to the female’s ability to be a PROVIDER because that is not the traditional role women are expected to fill, although there may be some fear surrounding this issue if they have lost a spouse. However, for our discussion, let’s assume, for the most part, it is the male that is usually the “breadwinner.” The narcissistic fear for the middle-aged woman is found in her inability to NO LONGER BEAR CHILDREN. That is to say, the woman finds herself post-menopausal and barren. This fear surrounds feelings of no longer being the fruitful womb that could be the extension of a man’s manifest ‘masculine narcissism,’ of being the female Object that has attracted the male’s gaze and his sense to ‘conqueror’ her sexuality through the act of intercourse and impregnation. For pregnancy is the source of female power, just as the phallus is the source of dominant male power and both are rooted in one’s gendered sexuality respectively. A female’s loss of fertility could be equated to male castration of the penis and testicles. NOTE: I need to distinguish here between the fantasy of conquering a person due to direct feelings of envy and hatred which differs from this psychoanalytic theory because of the absence of the element of fantasy, that is the fantasized harming of an Object as this discussion is strictly entertained based on feelings of envy and anger which differ from fantasy and is something to which the phenomenon of the Targeted Individual with electronic targeting, electronic harassment, electronic torture, and abuse belongs; that is to the realm of fantasy and the fantasized harming of Objects. So, back to our discussion. Combined here are two intertwined female’s fears; one, the aging body through menopause with the cessation of her period, and two, the fear of her loss of beauty and her inability to sexually attract the male’s gaze because of her aging body. The loss of aesthetic beauty is part of the aesthetic involved in satisfying her male counterpart's desire and to which outcomes of childbirth and family are connected; i.e., HER POWER. These two psychoanalytic theories based on sexuality contribute to the difference between the sexes with regard to the continuous separation and loss of identity during the aging process and in adult human development which is a continuous and lifelong process. The basic difference between the genders with regard to aging adult development arrives first at the cost of the female’s denial of a penis and her acceptance as a “second class sex” subjugated by a dominant male patriarch, and where the little boy retains his penis (I.e., phallic power) and makes a move towards identifying with the idealized father as the dominant sex in the power structure. The second betrayal arrives as the denial of fertility through the on-set of aging, the female’s inability to procreate during post-menopause, something retained by all fertile men throughout their life. And this denial of “pro-creative power” will arrive at some future time when she will be either forced into retirement by her employer, her children, or her spouse or willingly surrender to it herself. Either way, the arrival of her inability to produce work and provide any real income may also come as a narcissistic blow to her ego. However, the loss of fertility arrives much early for females than do males, as men’s ability to continually be fertile is never lost. So, this fundamental, yet very important difference between women and men arrives at three important psychic milestones for women. First during Oedipus as the female realizes she has been denied a penis and is a castrated being, and then, it arrives a second time well before the fifth stage of separation-individuation, when she loses her fertility during post-menopause, and the third arrival is reached during retirement in late adult development when she can no longer be as effective as a provider in terms of her earner POWER in producing the work and income she has always known. Although some retired women work part-time, the income usually awarded them is menial. In female development, a woman has had to navigate many different narcissistic losses, pregnancy and childbirth being one, but the above three narcissistic losses are the ones I chose to discuss here which cause women to introject castration and mourn the loss of her “power.” Women, for the most part, by the fifth and final stage of separation-individuation in adult development, are well versed in acceptance of her body, with all of its betrayals during Oedipus, pregnancy, and childbirth, and with the onset of age and loss of her fertility, leading up to the final and ultimate loss, the loss of life itself. In my opinion, these gender differences are something that contributes to lower rates of violence perpetrated by women, as perhaps women are better suited for working through and mourning loss because of their subjugated role as caregivers, for the most part! (Fox and Fridel, 2017)

The Catholic Church has prophesied that “The Impostor” will come and lead men astray. This impostor is known as the anti-christ or the Devil, the enemy of all that is good; a malevolent figure. In Islam the Impostor Messiah is called “Al-Masih ad-Dajjal”; the false messiah, the liar, the deceiver, the devil. It makes for an interesting connection that fits nicely with Colarusso’s comment,

“In late adulthood, a normal dissonance develops between the sense of self and the body image. As a colleague expressed it after looking in the mirror on reaching age seventy, “Who is that impostor staring back at me?”

This feeling is evidence of a discrepancy between the sentient self and the body image. This is something that happens to both men and women, but it seems to me, this dissonance may arrive much earlier for women, starting between the age of 40 to 60. It seems to me this psychoanalytic theory on the “evil in man” and the aging impostor has its connection to malevolent introjects as being something rooted in “inactivity,” “disease,” and the “aging body” and its connection to the castrated and weak “little girl,” (femininity). That is, these malevolent introjects revolve around notions of phallic power and not around notions of being the castrated female. For me, the connection to the notion of “Al-Masih ad-Dajjal” and the arrival of the aging body is the paranoid fear surrounding the loss of mobility and in turn a loss of a person’s sense of identity, and this is connected with the person’s sexuality simply because sexuality is power and is associated with phallic dominance and not castration. The narcissistic insult of late adult development arrives with the onset of disease, altered physical appearance, and diminution of function, paranoid fears surrounding one’s self-identity, abilities, and sexuality virility, all become questioned. [THIS IS THE PURPOSE FOR THE ELECTRONIC TARGETING TORTURE, AT LEAST AS I HAVE EXPERIENCED IT!] This theory becomes intriguing because in studying abnormal psychic development, I believe the phenomenon known as the Targeted Individual receiving electronic targeting, electronic torture, and the physical abuse associated with this type of electronic harassment to be rooted in malevolent introjects based in the paranoid-schizoid position which manifests delusions surrounding the “Al-Masih ad-Dajjal” but now not only do I realize that my perpetrator may most likely be MALE, but that there exist a slim possibility that my perpetrator may also be a WOMAN, and not just any woman but AN AGING WOMAN. I know of several aging women in my neighborhood including a new neighbor who built a house right next door to ours on an empty lot and who is in real estate, but I’ll save that for another discussion. But let’s continue the discussion surrounding the fear of the aging body.

For many, the passage from youth to old age is marked by a shift from the pursuit of wealth to the maintenance of health. For women, at this fourth developmental stage aged 40 to 60, a more focused effort on diet and exercise may take place as the onset of early diseases and interest in its prevention may become a concern for well-being, health, and extended life expectancy. Diseases like breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease are major concerns for many Americans. The onset of type 2 diabetes was one event that occurred in my personal life as I have a family history of diabetes. Even though I exercised and dieted most of my life to maintain health and lower body weight, I had always been a borderline diabetic. A genetic condition, in my opinion, and genetics are much more influential over outcomes especially when it is in combination with electronic targeting, electronic harassment, and electronic torture and abuse. It is also at this age, when women who were previously active and fairly productive providers may begin to “slow down” and start doubting their own body image against younger objects in their relational world, similar to Colarusso’s comment regarding the evolution of paternal identity in late adulthood. Women at this stage may ask Who is this impostor staring back at me?Of course, cosmetics, hair dye, focus on clothing that flatters the aging body can counter-act these doubts but, of course, financial means are a factor, and poverty is not kind in helping the aging female in this regard. As Colarusso stated, “In late adulthood, that is age 60 to 80, a normal dissonance develops between the sense of self and the body image.” In studying female development, I believe this may occur for women at a much earlier stage, and they may experience higher degrees of narcissistic injury with this psychic dissonance. In normal development, as the aging body begins to replace the former midlife preoccupations of career and relationships as central intrapsychic concern envy, hostility, and distorted relationships with the younger males in the aging patriarch’s family may occur (Colarusso, 2005). “This is so because of altered physical appearance, normal diminution in function, and increased incidence of physical illness. However, the body in late adulthood can remain a source of pleasure and feelings of competence if attention is paid to a healthy diet, regular exercise, and preventive medical care (Colarusso, 2005).”

But let’s return to Freud who has shed enormous insight on the psychologically dangerous aspects, especially for the immature boy, regarding the boy’s relationship with his father as formulated in Freud’s Oedipus complex. Freud returned repeatedly to the consideration of violence and competitiveness underlying the relationship between fathers and their sons through the concept of the “primal horde.”

“From the beginning of time, sons have coveted what their father’s had — although always fearful of his power and ability to castrate and kill — and were willing to band together to take, through violence if necessary, the progenitor’s power and possessions (Colarusso, 2005).”

So, here it becomes interesting because one might begin to understand the targeting of female individuals and how electronic torture may play into masculine narcissism in the thwarting of the “progenitor’s power” and “the taking or destroying of possessions” and this hints towards obstructing another man’s sense of power if the female object is “destroyed” and yet some how is allowed to survive as Winnicott theorized (Winnicott, 1971). If sons have always coveted their father’s possessions then, and I as a female Object could be considered a possession, then this might explain the act of electronic targeting. Another aspect of hate, humiliation, and masculinity is the sense of defeat in being humiliated by another male.


Balsam, Rosemary. (2012). Women’s Bodies in Psychoanalysis. East Essex, Canada. Routledge.

Chodorow, Nancy. (2012). Hate, Humiliation, and Masculinity. In Individualizing Sexuality and Gender: Theory and Practice. New York. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. (pp. 121 –136).

Chasseguet-Smirgel, Janine. (1984) A Re-Reading of Little Hans. In Creativity and Perversions. London. Free Association Books. (pp. 35 –43).

Colarusso, Calvin A. (2005). The Evolution of Paternal Identity in Late Adulthood. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 53(1), 51–81.

Fox, James Alan and Fridel, Emma E., Ph.D. (2017). Gender Differences in Patterns and Trends in U.S. Homicide, 1976 0 2015. Violence and Gender. Vol. 4, №2.

Freud, Sigmund. (1905). “Three essays on the theory of sexuality.” Standard Edition, Volume 7. London. Hogarth Press.

Freud, Sigmund. (1924). “The dissolution of the Oedipus complex.” Standard Edition. Volume 19. London. Hogarth Press.

Holmes, Lucy. (2008). The Internal Triangle: New Theories of Female Development. New York. Jason Aronson.

Winnicott, D.W. (1971). “The use of the Object and relating through identifications.” In Playing and Reality. Harmondsworth. Penguin, 1980.




Victim of gang stalking & electronic torture. I write about feminism and gender difference. Email:

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Karen Barna

Karen Barna

Victim of gang stalking & electronic torture. I write about feminism and gender difference. Email:

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