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Federn, P. (1928). Narcissism in the Structure of the Ego. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:401-419.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:401-419

Narcissism in the Structure of the Ego

Paul Federn

Although the disturbances which I propose to consider are experienced in a mild transient form even by healthy people from time to time, disturbances which you yourselves have all shared, I fancy that you have not paid them much attention. For they are not striking, and it was only a particular reason that led me to take that path of enquiry along which I am asking you to accompany me. You will probably feel an inner resistance against this, for we would all rather leave untouched our own undisturbed ego-feeling, that pre-condition of all happiness. Because of this resistance the observation of the components of the ego has been ignored by those authors who would see in the ego only an abstraction of the distinction between subject and object, and also by those who have attributed to the ego a 'homogeneous wholeness', so that for them the term 'ego' was almost synonymous with the old term 'the soul'.

Consequently psycho-analysis must disown both these conceptions. The structure of the ego, i.e. its division into institutions, the dynamics of these, their relation to the instincts, to the unconscious, even to the body, occupies us all.

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