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Naso, R.C. (2007). Beneath the Mask: Hypocrisy and the Pathology of Shame. Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(1):113-125.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(1):113-125

Beneath the Mask: Hypocrisy and the Pathology of Shame

Ronald C. Naso, Ph.D.

With the exception of Rangell's seminal work, hypocrisy is conceptualized exclusively in terms of pathological narcissism and/or compromised superego formation. Recent psychoanalytic investigations of shame offer an alternative to this view, elucidating the motives of so-called moral hypocrites (Batson, Ko-brynowicz, Dinnerstein, Kampf, & Wilson, 1997) who meet the diagnostic criteria for neither antisocial nor narcissistic personality disorder and whose behavior deviates from the ethical standards they otherwise hold. Although the shame-vulnerable individual and hypocrite ultimately are distinguished, the former offers a deeper understanding of the latter. Specifically, this analysis illuminates why and for whom the mask is worn, suggesting that shame avoidance plays a critical role in the etiology and furtherance of hypocrisy.

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