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Gunther, M.S. (1976). The Endangered Self: A Contribution to the Understanding of Narcissistic Determinants of Countertransference. Ann. Psychoanal., 4:201-224.

(1976). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 4:201-224

The Endangered Self: A Contribution to the Understanding of Narcissistic Determinants of Countertransference

Meyer S Gunther, M.D.

The problems of concern to this inquiry can be illustrated by a clinical vignette taken from the analysis of a cultured young woman in her early thirties. She came for analysis because of an inhibition in the realization of her full adult sexuality and the episodic occurrence of debilitating weekend depressions relieved in part by overeating and drinking. She suffered a profound lack of confidence in herself, even in the area of her acknowledged professional competence. She was a sophisticated, incisive trial lawyer, a profession that seemed grossly out of keeping with her sweetly soft, gentle, and feminine manner and appearance. Her utter lack of phallic-intrusive or hostile-competitive character qualities was most striking.

The precipitating events bringing the patient to analysis were twofold: the death of her father two years previously, a loss that had not been resolved through adequate mourning, and the breakup of a long-standing, homosexual affair. She had been deeply involved but became disappointed to discover her masochistic submissiveness in that affair, behavior that she suspected was evidence of underlying emotional disturbance.

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