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Riviere, J. (1932). Jealousy as a Mechanism of Defence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 13:414-424.

(1932). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 13:414-424

Jealousy as a Mechanism of Defence

Joan Riviere

A type of jealousy which is not referred to in psycho-analytic literature first came under my observation in a marked form in one individual; when it had been elucidated by analysis the now familiar mechanism could be seen, to a minor and hence less noticeable extent, at work in other cases, suggesting some conclusions of general validity.

This morbid jealousy first manifested itself after a period of analysis and might be called a transitory symptom. The patient was a young married woman who came for analysis on account of frigidity in intercourse and certain inhibitions, but hardly of her own accord, though a tendency towards homosexuality perturbed her. There were otherwise no clinical symptoms. The jealousy, when it appeared, related to her husband and his supposed affairs with other women. On grounds of discretion I shall not be able to go into much detail in my material; a discussion of the relation of this affective attitude of hers to external reality would, moreover, be a study in itself and take me too far afield here. I will merely say that at certain times and in certain ways she had grounds for jealous suspicions. The jealousy was also manifested in a transference-relation to myself; e.g. she would fancy hidden in my writing-table letters to me from her husband or some other man she desired.

The patient asserted that she had never felt jealous in her life before these feelings arose during the course of the analysis. It was true that she had not had much grounds for it before marriage, but in relation to her husband she had had as much reason to feel it before the analysis began as later.

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