Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To access PEP-Web support…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you click on the banner at the top of the website, you will be brought to the page for PEP-Web support.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Ghent, E. (1990). Masochism, Submission, Surrender—Masochism as a Perversion of Surrender. Contemp. Psychoanal., 26:108-136.

(1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 26:108-136

Masochism, Submission, Surrender—Masochism as a Perversion of Surrender

Emmanuel Ghent, M.D.

SURRENDER, IN STRIKING CONTRAST TO masochism, is a word that is seldom encountered in the psychoanalytic literature, and even then it often bears an ambiguous meaning. My goal in this paper is to give the term a certain clarity of definition and to study its relation to submission and masochism, which I regard as antitheses to surrender. In order to span the full compass of the meaning I give to surrender, my plan is to broaden the scope implied by the title and touch on some other issues that are related to surrender: object usage (Winnicott, 1969) and its perversion in the form of sadism, creativity, and the apperception of threatening meaning.

Let me say at the outset that by masochism I mean all that is customarily intended by the term including both its sexual and characterological meanings. By perversion I mean something akin to distortion, corruption, diversion, misconstruction. The meaning I will give to the term "surrender" has nothing to do with hoisting a white flag; in fact, rather than carrying a connotation of defeat, the term will convey a quality of liberation and expansion of the self as a corollary to the letting down of defensive barriers. I hope the meaning of surrender, in its most inclusive sense, will gradually reveal itself as we encounter it in a variety of contexts. Nor am I convinced that "surrender" is the right word for what I would like to convey. Alternative words will crop up from time to time and perhaps help give form to the conception.


[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.