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Lemma, A. (2005). The many faces of lying. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(3):737-753.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(3):737-753

The many faces of lying Language Translation

Alessandra Lemma

In this paper the author explores the psychic functions of lying and draws on Glasser's (1979) notions of self-preservative and sadistic violence to identify three selfobject configurations. Each of these is associated with specific anxieties to which the lie offers an apparent solution. The first configuration is sadistic lying. Here the intent is to attack and triumph over the duped other. The lie allows the object to be controlled and humiliated. This gratifies the self by reversing an earlier humiliation. The second and third configurations are both forms of self-preservative lying, where the lie may be best conceived as a ‘symptom of hope’ (Winnicott, 1985). In the second configuration, the object is felt to be unavailable or inscrutable. The lie may be used to create an attractive self that will elicit the object's love, admiration and concern. In this way, the lie serves to eliminate doubt about the object's intentions towards the self. In the third configuration, the object is felt to be intrusive, and the dyadic relationship is overpowering. Here the lie can represent an attempt to insert a third into the relationship.

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