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Bach, S. (1977). On Narcissitic Fantasies. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 4:281-293.

(1977). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 4:281-293

On Narcissitic Fantasies

Sheldon Bach

When I had pulled myself together, I was able to draw the right conclusions from my discovery: namely, that the neurotic symptoms were not related directly to actual events but to wishful phantasies, and that as far as the neurosis was concerned psychical reality was of more importance than material reality (Freud, 1925p. 34).

To begin with, I had only distinguished, first the phase of auto-erotism, during which the subject's component instincts, each on its own account, seek for the satisfaction of their desires in his own body, and then the combination of all the component instincts for the choice of an object, under the primacy of the genitals acting on behalf of reproduction. The analysis of the paraphrenias has, as we know, necessitated the insertion between them of a stage of narcissism, during which the choice of an object has already taken place but that object coincides with the subject's own ego (Freud, 1913pp. 320–21).

Psychoanalysis has been deeply concerned with fantasy since the time when Freud first realized that his patient's memories of events were often 'merely' memories of fantasies; that is, since the time when Freud first discovered the terra incognita of psychical reality. Those fantasies with which psychoanalysis most concerned itself were the fantasies which emerged from this historical situation: fantasies of seduction and castration, and primal scene and intrauterine fantasies. We may note that these 'primal' fantasies all have to do with the origins and vicissitudes of object-related drives and desires.

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