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Weintrobe, S. (2004). Links between grievance, complaint and different forms of entitlement. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):83-96.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):83-96

Links between grievance, complaint and different forms of entitlement

Sally Weintrobe

The author argues that different kinds of object relationships underlie the phenomena of grievance and complaint. Grievance is addressed to an object held responsible for a failure of idealisation, and the object is scolded or punished for this failure. Nursing grievance can restore the ideal object in phantasy and block mourning the ideal. With pathological grievance the self is seen as ideal and awareness of dependence on the libidinal other is denied, as are the passage of time and the transience of experience. An attitude of narcissistic entitlement to be special and exempt from ordinary reality is seen as intrinsic to the more persistent and pathological forms of grievance, and this narcissistic entitlement fuels grievance. Turning to complaint, the author argues that complaint is addressed to an object that is less idealised; there is more open acknowledgement of the need for and dependence on the other to realise liveliness. Complaint is the voice of the authentic lively self and intrinsic to complaint is a sense of lively entitlement. The author presents clinical material to illustrate these themes, and to show movement between complaint and grievance. Some technical difficulties in working with grievance are discussed

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