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Spillius, E.B. (1997). Self-Envy: Therapy and the Divided Inner World. : By Rafael E. López-Corvo Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. 1995. Pp. 211.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:1254-1257.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:1254-1257

Self-Envy: Therapy and the Divided Inner World. : By Rafael E. López-Corvo Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. 1995. Pp. 211.

Review by:
Elizabeth Bott Spillius

Rafael López-Corvo advances his interesting concept of self-envy to explain, at least in part, some of the self-destructive behaviour, acting out, negative therapeutic reactions, addictive behaviour and perverse transference of certain borderline and narcissistic personalities. He defines self-envy as ‘produced between an excluded part and a creative part of the self’ (p. 10) or, in more complex fashion, as

the envious attack by a part of the self, usually related to childhood self-objects, against another part of the self identified as a creative and harmonious mother-father or parent-sibling relationship, also within the self, which is now transferentially projected as a means of avoiding superego accusations (p. 24; quoting from his own article on self-envy in the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1992).

López-Corvo’s approach is basically Kleinian, though with many additions, alterations and terminological changes of his own. He bases his idea of self-envy on Scott’s 1975 paper, ‘Self-envy and envy of dreams and dreaming’. He also uses Rosenfeld’s idea of conflict between parts of the self in destructive narcissism (Rosenfeld, 1971), Meltzer’s ideas about tyranny (1973) and John Steiner’s work on perversion of the transference (1982).

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