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(1961). Bernard E. Zuger, M.D., New York. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):130-131.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):130-131

Bernard E. Zuger, M.D., New York

Dr. Schachtel has shown how prevalent is the search for an alienated identity. It extends from what can be considered normal for our culture to that which is frankly pathological. But what makes it alienated is that it is predetermined, and as such it can be nothing but an illusion. It precludes organic development, and when attained it leaves the individual still a stranger to himself.

For in the search for a personality that already has bounds, the individual has immediately performed a separation between himself and what he seeks. He has jeopardized his development as a whole person. In many areas the individual remains the same, no matter how intricate the structure he builds for himself and no matter how authentic it appears on the surface. And when attained, it becomes a great burden. Thence the cry so often heard from our patients: “If only I weren't so self-conscious … if only I could forget myself for a little while….”

All areas of the personality suffer. Work, for instance, is not motivated by immediate satisfaction, as much as that can be attained in our society, but by how it sets up the individual in comparison with others. There are always others to compare oneself with, and there is no rest. The individual cannot entrust himself to the world.

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