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Hubback, J. (1972). Envy and the Shadow. J. Anal. Psychol., 17(2):152-165.

(1972). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 17(2):152-165

Envy and the Shadow

Judith Hubback, M.A.


The theme of this paper is that the emotion of envy manifests itself in two major forms: the genetically earlier, hungry, wanting form and the later or shadow form. These manifestations are observed, not necessarily in that order, in a wide variety of individual patients. They are experienced in the transference, where they can come within reach of the analyst and of his possible therapeutic re-direction of them into more positive and ego-developing channels. The theme is really a simple one, although substantiating and illustrating it involves drawing on material from work which is likely to appear more subtle in the telling than it was in the all-round actuality, the tones of voice, the body movements, the whole emotional atmosphere, the interplay between patient and analyst.

The intention is to see whether an acceptable link can be made between on the one hand the work which has already been done on the theory of envy and on the other the specific contribution to the nature of psychic functioning which the theory of the archetypes provides. While Klein's work on envy has been valuable in a direct way to many analysts, it can also serve as a stimulus for further research. There is always room and time for reassessment of accepted, or partially accepted, theories and for seeing whether they can be worked in with other and different approaches.

I have been finding increasingly that Klein's theory of envy does not always fit patients quite closely enough, and that it is only by being just as aware of the shadow as of the emotion of envy that we can satisfactorily extricate the nature and meaning of the anxieties which are at work in both envy and shadow experiences. I am attempting to study the nature and working of unconscious envy from the specific point of view of analytical psychology, and particularly the characteristics of the shadow, both personal and collective, and to select from what I have been experiencing of them both, noticing and thinking about them, for some years.


Klein writes (1957, p.

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