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Hendrick, I. (1964). Narcissism and the Prepuberty Ego Ideal. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 12:522-528.

(1964). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 12:522-528

Narcissism and the Prepuberty Ego Ideal

Ives Hendrick, M.D.

IN HIS classic paper, "On Narcissism" (5), Sigmund Freud proposed a new theory, that the object of libido is originally the self, or partial representations of the self, that this is the original libidinal investment in infancy, and that recognition of this has important relevance to the understanding of schizophrenia, hypochondria, and other important mental problems. At this time Freud went so far as to distinguish primary narcissism, the original state of "autoerotic" sensory pleasure without object representations, from secondary narcissism, the libidinal cathexis of later mental representations of the body and the self. This was a beginning, a very important beginning, a hint from the master, which Freud did not himself pursue a great deal further, nor did he fully reveal how important the understanding of the details of the development of narcissism would eventually become. During the intervening fifty years, since Freud's classic paper in 1914, it has become self-evident that a theory of narcissism is an indispensable intellectual tool for the dynamic and economic psychoanalysis of many problems.

Yet only in quite recent years have several extensive studies based on details of clinical experience supplied a long-needed example of the complex and varied phenomena which the theory of narcissism can clarify (14), (15).

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