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Richards, A.K. (1998). Narcissistic Influence on Erotic Love: Chaired by Donald Campbell, London. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:162-163.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:162-163

Narcissistic Influence on Erotic Love: Chaired by Donald Campbell, London

Arlene Kramer Richards

The panel on ‘Narcissism and Erotic Love’ had a new format. The first two papers were written by individual authors, but the third paper was a combined effort by three analysts from Madrid.

The first paper was Henry Smith's ‘Narcissistic Resistances to Erotic Love’. In it, Smith differentiated between a form of narcissistic resistance illustrated by Shakespeare's Richard III and another form along the lines suggested by Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. Smith used clinical material derived from work with two of his patients. Both patients elicited boredom in the analyst by their removal from him in the transference. The first patient was the sort who seemed more pathological inasmuch as hatred of the other induced destruction of the object. In the second kind of patient, surrender to the object's needs became a way of altruistically fulfilling desire by idealising the other at the expense of the self. Both patients used narcissism as a defence against object relations.

For both, it was a secondary structure, determined largely by conflict caused by fear and hatred towards love objects. For both of Smith's patients, attempts to win the love of the mother were foiled by her negative response to the patient's body. His female patient experienced her mother's loathing only when the daughter underwent early menarche at 10 years of age. His male patient experienced his mother's intrusive and unwanted seductiveness as well as her rejection of his body.

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