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Kaplan, S.M. Whitman, R.M. (1965). The Negative Ego-Ideal. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:183-187.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:183-187

The Negative Ego-Ideal

Stanley M. Kaplan and Roy M. Whitman


Shame has been described as occurring when an individual fails to live up to a certain standard of behaviour, the positive ego-ideal. The ego-ideal's development and ultimate form reflect the adoption of the aspirations and goals of the parents and the culture particularly during childhood.

We suggest there may be value, additionally, in delineating another intrapsychic structure, which also deals with shame but of the intensity described by the terms humiliation and mortification. This structure, the negative ego-ideal, can be described as the internalized negative standards of the parents and the culture. Intense shame, humiliation and mortification occur when the individual behaves or feels about himself in a way which approximates the negative ego-ideal.

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