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(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: Humiliation in Masochism. Ludwig Eidelberg. Pp. 274-283.. Psychoanal Q., 29:592.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: Humiliation in Masochism. Ludwig Eidelberg. Pp. 274-283.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:592

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: Humiliation in Masochism. Ludwig Eidelberg. Pp. 274-283.

Eidelberg restates his concept of 'narcissistic mortification' as 'a sudden loss of control over internal or external reality caused by the force of internal or external "enemies"'. Punishment and humiliation are important components of this mortification, and it is important to distinguish between these entities. Mortification derives from any defeat or failure, whereas punishment is a withholding of pleasure or inflicting of unpleasure in retaliation for wrongdoing. Humiliation is a form of punishment specifically involving exposure to ridicule by others. This is the final aim of the masochist. Society tends to combine punishment with humiliation so as to re-enforce the deterring power of the punishment. If punishment is to achieve its societal aims of providing deterrence, expiation, and reintegration, it is necessary that there be agreement between society's standards and those of the culprit's superego. Otherwise rebellion, defiance, and counterretaliatory aggression can be released by 'unfair' punishment. The masochist actively seeks humiliating punishment that he may deem unfair, thereby gaining him the right to a discharge of aggression. The punishment and humiliation endured also provide oblique gratification of aggressive and exhibitionistic wishes by way of identification with the sadism of the punisher. Lastly, through the fact of his actively provoking humiliation, the masochist persists in the belief in his omnipotence and denies the fact of his earlier, passively experienced, narcissistic mortifications.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959. Psychoanal. Q., 29:592

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