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Twemlow, S.W. (2005). Response. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(4):969-973.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(4):969-973

Response Related Papers

Stuart W. Twemlow

I have given much thought about how to respond to Larry Friedman in a way that might tease out some debatable substance. The lack of references, pervasive idiosyncratic overstatement and ad hominem argument without being personally offensive has made it difficult to do so. For example, surely Friedman does not mean that analysts should ‘coldly and unsentimentally (as befits Freud's heirs)’ consider humiliation to be simply the ‘other side of pride’. I certainly would not want to be considered one of those heirs, although this oversimplification and others in his commentary might be merely provocative invitations to debate. I am not going to rise to the bait on this one because I know Friedman is aware of the comprehensive literature on the complex relationship between shame, pride and narcissistic rage, which speaks clearly for itself. Thus, I am simply going to state what I think Friedman means and then respond to that formulation:

1.   Friedman criticizes my definition of terrorism as whatever a group or epoch chooses to call terrorism. However, this use of the term is widely accepted in the literature, including the idea that terrorists, depending on social influences and the machinations of history, can become heroes. I am not saying that terrorism is a pejorative term, only to be employed in reference to one's enemies. Perhaps what would have made my position less confusing and would also have added a potentially important contribution of psychoanalysis to an understanding of the terrorist mind is to have made clear that terror, whether real or in fantasy, often creates a victim/ victimizer mindset that alters cognition, traumatizes the individual and can lead to a variety of forms of misjudgment.

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