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López-Corvo, R.E. (1992). About Interpretation of Self-Envy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:719-728.

(1992). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73:719-728

About Interpretation of Self-Envy

Rafael E. López-Corvo

As a dog was crossing a river with a piece of meat in his mouth, he saw, as he thought, another dog under the water upon the very same adventure. He never considered that the one was only the image of the other; but, out of greediness to get the two, he jumped at the shadow and lost both. One because it had not existed, so he could not get it, the other because the current took it away.
Aesop: The Dog and his Shadow

There are some patients who present a certain kind of narcissistic or borderline mental organization, constituted by several self-objects internally disposed in a particular manner, where one component continuously attacks and destroys another idealized component out of pure envy. Transferentially, these patients very often display an attitude compatible with a negative therapeutic reaction. Such inner elements appear to be organized around a powerful childhood desire for revenge against idealized parental objects, also internal, but incessantly projected and regarded as the unique and absolute solution to counteract internal suffering. Such revenge, believed to be the only hope, or 'absolute hope' as I called it elsewhere (López 1991), hinged on an 'all or nothing' type of shibboleth, resembling Meltzer's concept of 'perverse transference' (1973).

The envy appears as a desperate need for destruction from an excluded self-object part, directed against inner states of goodness, love, friendship, creativity, harmony, and above all against any kind of idealized relationship, such as self-object representations of incorporated images of 'parental couple', 'parent-child' or the 'idealized family' interaction, as they might have been experienced during childhood.

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