The fantasy relationship: Repetition’s antidote and an explanation for resilience.

Resilient patients from pathological backgrounds can manifest an ability to defy unacceptable relational experience and replace it with a wished-for way of relating: the “fantasy relationship.” Through the negation of each bad interaction, the fantasy of a potential good interaction is necessarily created, contributing to the evolving construction of an idealized parent–child dyad in the imagination. Attempts to actualize a fantasy relationship in reality involve occupying either of the 2 roles in the dyadic fantasy—that of the ideally loved child or the ideally loving parent—a phenomenon described as “role exchangeability.” The fantasy relationship is an improvement on the repetition of maladaptive relational patterns, but because fantasy involves more flawless idealization than pragmatic experience, applying it leaves one vulnerable to rage reactions if others refuse to correctly occupy the accompanying role. Through a successful therapeutic process, an alternative form of relating can develop, one that is sufficiently idealizable, yet flexible, forgiving, and pragmatically attainable. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)