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Fenichel, O. (1943). On the 'Longing to Die': Kate Friedlander. Int. J. Psa., XXI, 1940, pp. 416–426.. Psychoanal Q., 12:434.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: On the 'Longing to Die': Kate Friedlander. Int. J. Psa., XXI, 1940, pp. 416–426.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:434

On the 'Longing to Die': Kate Friedlander. Int. J. Psa., XXI, 1940, pp. 416–426.

Otto Fenichel

Several papers about the psychology of suicide have shown that the dynamics of suicide are not always the same as that of melancholia, in which aggression against the ego means aggression against an introjected object or aggression by an introjected object, but are often the expression of libidinal strivings. The important thing to understand is the patient's unconscious conception of 'death'.

Kate Friedlander confirms this with the case history of an infantile young man of twenty-nine who made repeated serious suicidal attempts with gas and veronal. He was driven by the wish to sleep through a time during which he experienced a loss of love in the hope that after his awakening the loving mother would be present again. The suicidal impulses also represented the idea of punishing his mother and his brother and of compelling them to love him again. (Friedlander quite rightly remarks that this is the psychology of Tom Sawyer's and other children's suicidal attempts. 'At least when I'll be dead, they'll feel sorry.') The patient demanded love of an oral nature and the details of his suicidal attempts were attempts to satisfy oral instincts. 'To sum up, the factors involved in this suicidal mechanism are revenge, satisfaction of his strong oral desires, and the fantasy of being saved by his loving mother.' The fact that libidinal tendencies of this kind brought about objectively dangerous, self-destructive actions was due to a disturbance in his reality testing and to the persistence of his narcissistic belief in omnipotence.

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Article Citation

Fenichel, O. (1943). On the 'Longing to Die'. Psychoanal. Q., 12:434

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