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Kluzer, G. Kluzer, A.U. (1991). Guilt Gone Missing: Thoughts about a Footnote to The Ego and the Id. Rivista Psicoanal., 37(4):920-952.

(1991). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 37(4):920-952

Guilt Gone Missing: Thoughts about a Footnote to The Ego and the Id Language Translation

Giampaolo Kluzer and Almatea Usuelli Kluzer

The final chapter of The Ego and the Id contains a lengthy and rather enigmatic footnote which has already attracted a deal of attention from other commentators (J. Cournut 1983; F. Roustang 1980). In it, Freud attempts to explain the resistance to treatment in terms of the unconscious sense of guilt: “The battle with the obstacle of an unconscious sense of guilt is not made easy for the analyst. Nothing can be done against it directly, and nothing indirectly but the slow procedure of unmasking its unconscious repressed roots, and of thus gradually changing it into a conscious sense of guilt. One has a special opportunity for influencing it when this unconscious sense of guilt is a ‘borrowed’ one — when it is the product of an identification with some other person who was once the object of an erotic cathexis. A sense of guilt that has been adopted in this way is often the sole remaining trace of the abandoned love relation and not at all easy to recognize as such. The likeness between this process and what happens in melancholia is unmistakeable.

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