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Hárnik, J. (1924). The Various Developments Undergone by Narcissism in Men and in Women. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:66-83.

(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:66-83

The Various Developments Undergone by Narcissism in Men and in Women

J. Hárnik

The following paper is based on the main principles laid down by Freud and Ferenczi in their works on this subject, and in it I propose to examine certain transformations to which (primary) narcissism is subject, i.e. the transformations connected with sex differences or with their development. We shall scarcely find relevant material in the period of infantile sexuality, for, as we have learnt from Freud, in that period the differences of sex are of no very decisive importance. More light is thrown on the connections between these differences and the later modifications of narcissism by a study of the second period of sexual ripening, namely, the time of puberty, at which indeed the actual physical differentiation between man and woman manifests itself in its ultimate forms. These alterations, so significant for the mental development of human beings, will be taken as the point of departure for our examination of the problem of 'Narcissism and Sex Differences'.


It will be advisable first of all to consider the striking changes which take place in the young maturing woman at the time of puberty. A comparison of the principal lines along which change occurs leads to important assumptions and inferences. The results of analytic research on the subject of the puberty-period in women are summed up by Freud in the following words: 'Puberty, which gives so powerful an impetus to the libido in boys, in girls is marked by a fresh wave of repression, which relates especially to the sexuality associated with the clitoris. The side of their sexual life which then succumbs to repression is the masculine one.'

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