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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

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(1973). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 42:321.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:321

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society


After examining self-pity and self-comforting in both normal and pathological situations, the author drew attention to these affective states as a resistance which is often formidable, and may account for some analyses ending in failure. Self-pity is described by Milrod as a state in which there is a combination of pain and pleasure, in which the self-representation is hypercathected with libidinal energy. When a patient's self-esteem is diminished, when he is wounded, and when he does not live up to his moral demands, he often withdraws into a state of self-comforting in which he mulls over his pain and savors the gratifications of comforting and consolation that he lavishes on himself. The gratification of the self-comforting often surpasses the experience of the pain itself: 'this unique bitter-sweet gratification can become so important that it may appear as a rigid pattern of behavior not unlike an addiction'. Such patients act both as the injured child and as the loving, comforting parent. Narcissism is a prominent feature of this behavior pattern.

Several clinical cases were cited by the author. A young woman who consciously found her states of sadness pleasurable, would try to re-create the mood; a happy event might be unwelcome as she hated to give up the sadness. Even after she married and had less occasion to feel lonely, she missed the periods of self-pity. Another patient, a lonely woman, spent many of her analytic sessions complaining about the terrible burdens that had been placed upon her; each structural arrangement in the analysis was felt to be a burden.

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