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Kasper, A.M. (1965). The Narcissistic Self in a Masochistic Character. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:474-486.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:474-486

The Narcissistic Self in a Masochistic Character

August M. Kasper

In his paper on 'Castrophilia as a Character Neurosis', Lindon (1958) describes a patient whose 'entire life was dominated by his castrophilia … as a character defence against anxiety.' In partial summary, Lindon says,

He gave up his masculinity and masochistically identified with his debased, suffering, depressed mother. By this identification, he hoped to accomplish what he felt mother had done; by letting father 'screw her', she captured and retained the penis. … He sublimated his passive homosexuality into more socially acceptable submissive attitudes towards men. … In this, he saw not only punishment for his own sadistic wishes and incestuous desires, but, as the man who possessed what other men wished to steal, in his fantasies he became the father and reduced the other men to boys.

I have italicized the above words that point to the aspect of character structure emphasized in the case to be presented here. This patient, too, was eager to portray himself as castrated, weak, impotent, sick, etc., and he acted out in ways which did not seriously hurt him, but which often earned a kind of respect. The pseudo-castration and concomitant pseudo-homosexuality (Ovesey, 1955) proved to be defences against the anxiety of the prototypical castration of preoedipal periods. Freud (1918) sees this demonstrated in the handing over of faeces for another's sake. Alexander (1923) says, 'The expectation of castration is only one manifestation of an expectation of a general narcissistic wound.

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