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LEJARRAGA, Ana Lila. On tenderness, a forgotten notion. Interações [online]. 2005, vol.10, n.19, pp. 87-102. ISSN 1413-2907.

The aim of this paper is to discuss the notion of tenderness in order to examine contemporary love relations. By demonstrating the impasse of the Freudian conception of tenderness as sexual drive on inhibited target, the study recovers the original facet of tenderness pointed by Freud in 1912. This other dimension of tenderness - which refers to the necessity of children to be loved, cared for and esteemed - is analyzed through the theories of Ferenczi, Balint and Winnicott. I suggest that tenderness is a way of identification, which may be called a tender identification, in which one part of the self is identified with the helpless and dependent condition of the other. Finally, this paper articulates the need for tenderness during childhood with the condition of abandonment. It interprets the human need to be loved, due to helplessness, as a need for tenderness, that is, of being recognized and esteemed by another.

Keywords : Tenderness; Drive; Love; Romantic love; Helplessness; Identification.

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