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Sohn, L. (1985). Narcissistic Organization, Projective Identification, and the Formation of the Identificate. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:201-213.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:201-213

Narcissistic Organization, Projective Identification, and the Formation of the Identificate

Leslie Sohn

In the paper, 'The dissection of the psychical personality', which is presented as lecture XXXI in 1933, the editors of the Standard Edition direct our attention to the fact that the lecture is largely derived from at least four chapters in 'The ego and the id'. Despite this, Freud predicts that the response to the lecture will be a furthering of the reserve and caution of his audience towards his material. Freud says in his preface, written in the Summer of 1932, that this is a lecture only by an artifice of the imagination, in which he critically revises previous expositions, but in the lecture, with almost a jaunty musicality, he says,

We wish to make the ego the matter of our enquiry, our very own ego. But is that possible? After all, the ego is in its very essence a subject; how can it be made into an object? Well, there is no doubt that it can be. The ego can take itself as an object, can treat itself like other objects, can observe itself, criticize itself, and do Heaven knows what with itself. In this, one part of the ego is setting itself over against the rest. So the ego can be split; it splits itself during a number of its functions—temporarily at least. Its parts can come together again afterwards. That is not exactly a novelty, though it may perhaps be putting an unusual emphasis on what is generally known. On the other hand, we are familiar with the notion that pathology, by making things larger and coarser, can draw our attention to normal conditions which would otherwise have escaped us.

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