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Hyatt-Williams, A. (1989). Choice of Victim: Further Ideas. Free Associations, 1R(17):113-114.

(1989). Free Associations, 1R(17):113-114

Choice of Victim: Further Ideas

Arthur Hyatt-Williams

There is a heightened importance attached to the person who is identified with the cruel, murderous superego of the potential murderer when he/she has reached a state near to the depressive position.

At that time the pain becomes so great that sometimes it cannot be tolerated. The internal image of the murderous superego may then be projected into the person who most closely resembles it or the one from whom it was largely derived in the first place.

The person into whom the projective identification of the murderous superego has taken place is then attacked and killed. The relief to the murderer is brief.

It can be seen that murderousness at its core is largely derived from the experience of having had in infancy a projective-identification-blocking (refusing) objectmother or her surrogate.

The massive anxiety described by Bion as the ‘No breast — I am dying’ constellation is especially aetiological of a state which follows: namely, ‘I am going to force this psychic state into you and annihilate it in you.’ Thus murder is a very arrogant thing to do. It is also very stupid, as it is irremediable as far as the victim is concerned and any relief as far as the killer is concerned is of very short duration. Just as curiosity is an intrusion into the business of another person, projective identification followed by a murderous attack is an outrageous intrusion into someone else. It is a kind of parasitization of the victim with a lethal part of the self of the killer.

The deed, for both victim and killer, is a catastrophe.

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