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Fayek, A. (1981). Narcissism and the Death Instinct. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 62:309-322.

(1981). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 62:309-322

Narcissism and the Death Instinct

A. Fayek


The myth of Narcissus is a myth of death resulting from the absence of desire in a love relationship, and a metaphor of the symbolic and imaginary death of the narcissistic person. Four of Freud's dreams are analysed in terms of their

narcissistic structure. They reveal some important features in the implicit relationship between the feminine nature of the narcissistic body and the counterpart. They lead to a better formulation of the narcissistic state in terms of the relationship between the self and the counterpart.

The narcissistic relationship is based on wishes and not desires. The object of the wish is not essential for the wish to emerge or to be sustained. As a result, the narcissistic relation is characterized by the absence of its aim and the impossibility of its satisfaction; and consequently it symbolizes death of the world or the self and is an imaginary death of both.

In that sense, Freud's introduction of the concept of narcissism and his concept of the death instinct should be seen as connected, as they constitute a stage in psychoanalytic knowledge. It is difficult to understand narcissism detached from the concept of the death instinct without rendering the issues of meaning and interpretation irrelevant to the psychoanalytic act.

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