The author argues that, according to their degree of omnipotence and their degree of ego identification, manic defences (Klein, 1934) can either open or close access to bisexuality that is harmonious enough to preside over one’s passage through psychical puberty. This study starts off with historical and metapsychological references relating to the fundamental concepts of melancholy, mania and manic defences. Afterwards, the author links the title concept of manic defences to Œdipal conflicts and conflicts over dependence and separation, all of which are inherent to psychical puberty. In so doing, he differentiates, insofar as these conflicts are concerned, their pathological stumbling blocks from the turbulences they ordinarily stir up. In the course of the article, there is a specification of the bonds of interdependence that psychical puberty and manic defences conjointly maintain with the notion of dependencies – normal, mixed, or negative – and the feeling of sexual identity, of belonging to one sex or the other.
Adolescence, 2008, T. 26, n°1, pp. 221-236.