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Shave, D. (1975). The Guilt of Schizophrenia as a Universal “Guilt”. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(2):183-185.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(2):183-185

Brief Communications

The Guilt of Schizophrenia as a Universal “Guilt”

Review by:
David Shave, M.D.

This paper calls attention to the theory of unconscious guilt as being a universal core emotional problem, and to the theory of unconscious part-object interrelating. The psychodynamics this author had previously attempted to delineate as those unique to the “schizophrenic” are now felt to be the basic emotional problems of mankind.

Oral incorporative guilt develops in the ambivalent stage of orality from marked frustration and subsequent sadistic incorporative fantasies. It has been described as “oral,” “nonsexual,” “primal,” “antedating the super ego,” and “pathologic.” Supposedly indicative of severe emotional rejection and deprivation at the earliest formation of object relations, oral incorporative guilt has been previously presented, along with unmet oral dependency needs, as the core psychodynamic problem in the nucleus of “schizophrenia.” This guilt is also characterized by a fear that if oral dependency needs were met, destruction and violence would ensue, created by an innate sense of contaminating badness and an all-pervasive irrational guiltiness.

The symptoms of “schizophrenia” in part manifest this oral incorporative guilt, with the hebephrenic denying guilt, the paranoid projecting guilt, and the catatonic fearing to move because of guilt, or else losing all control and expressing the rage behind the guilt. Noting that there had been a recent statistical shift in the classification of the “schizophrenias” from the classical subtypes to the chronic undifferentiated and a shift to more usage of terms such as “latent,” “ambulatory,” “borderline,” and “pseudoneurotic,” this author presented the concept that the nebulous oral dependency needs—the need to feel wanted, needed, desired, and of worth and importance — along with the nebulous “guilt” - that which tended to make an individual feel inferior, unimportant, unacceptable, worthless, “bad,” “wrong,” or “guilty “- were the basic emotional problems in anyone emotionally uncomfortable.

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