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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

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Berliner, B. (1952). Psychiatric Quarterly. XXV, 1951: Neurotic Helplessness in the 'Masochistic Situation in Reverse'. Edmund Bergler. Pp. 418–423.. Psychoanal Q., 21:276-277.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychiatric Quarterly. XXV, 1951: Neurotic Helplessness in the 'Masochistic Situation in Reverse'. Edmund Bergler. Pp. 418–423.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 21:276-277

Psychiatric Quarterly. XXV, 1951: Neurotic Helplessness in the 'Masochistic Situation in Reverse'. Edmund Bergler. Pp. 418–423.

Bernhard Berliner

This is a description of the interplay between masochistic suffering and masochistic pseudo-aggression in a marriage situation. There are neurotics who spend their emotional life in constant unconscious repetitions of the masochistic fantasy 'bad mother mistreats me'. They unconsciously choose wives who represent the mistreating mother or a caricature of her and consciously consider themselves innocent victims of unhappy marriages. There is, however, one form which Bergler calls 'the masochistic situation in reverse', an arrangement in which the husband, in pursuit of his pseudoaggressive rebellion, is confronted with the expression of the wife's martyrdom which

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renders him completely helpless. Then the wife invites the husband to identify her unconsciously with the fantasy of the mistreated child, which in turn leaves the husband in the situation of the cruel mother. After first being the mistreated child, the husband is then pushed into the situation of the tormentor. It is a double identification with the suffering child as well as with the refusing mother.

The simultaneous acting out by the masochist of the roles of the unhappy child as well as of the tormenting parent has been previously described by this reviewer. Bergler is right in his comment that without the analyst's familiarity with this mechanism the treatment may fail.

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Article Citation

Berliner, B. (1952). Psychiatric Quarterly. XXV, 1951. Psychoanal. Q., 21:276-277

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