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(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: The Masochistic Character: Genesis and Treatment. Charles Brenner. Pp. 197-226.. Psychoanal Q., 29:590-591.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: The Masochistic Character: Genesis and Treatment. Charles Brenner. Pp. 197-226.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:590-591

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: The Masochistic Character: Genesis and Treatment. Charles Brenner. Pp. 197-226.

Brenner endorses Reik's proposition that masochistic phenomena are a normal part of psychic functioning, an inevitable accompaniment of superego pressures. Their manifestation as perversion or character distortion is a quantitative matter. Factors contributing in infancy and childhood to the ubiquity of the masochistic bent are: 1, the psychic state of the neonate in which both destructive and erotic drives are self-directed; 2, the inevitable patterning of frustration and gratification furnished by the environment. The author surveys the apparently contradictory formulations in the literature concerning the purpose and function of masochistic behavior, and synthesizes them through Waelder's concept of multiple function and intrapsychic compromise. All components of the psychic apparatus contribute to the masochistic act. Every such act inevitably carries out a sadistic intent, along with a passive submissive wish; it enacts punishment and atonement, wards off greater dangers through acceptance of lesser ones, and preserves an object relationship in the face of profound ambivalence. Such multiple determination underlies the author's concluding point that the analysis of the masochist is a lengthy and many-sided matter demanding the broad focus of any other character analysis, plus special attention to the handling

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of the negative therapeutic reaction. The author endorses adherence to the classical analytic position modeled upon 'that of an understanding adult who has the task of dealing reasonably with a sulky, stubborn, provocative child'.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959. Psychoanal. Q., 29:590-591

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