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Bak, R.C. (1973). Being in Love and Object Loss. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:1-8.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:1-8

Being in Love and Object Loss

Robert C. Bak

The subject of this paper may seem antiquated to some and more literary than scientific to others. Yet it is not without precedent. You may already have been reminded of a similar title by Freud: 'Being in Love and Hypnosis', the eighth chapter of 'Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego' (1921). After his 'Contributions to the Psychology of Love' (1910), (1912), which focused on types of object choice, Freud turned, in the 'Group Psychology', to the study of the vicissitudes of libido and the processes of identification that take place in the two exceptional emotional states of being in love and hypnosis. In his paper 'On Narcissism' (1914) Freud stated his basic view of love:

The highest form of development that object libido is capable of when the subject seems to yield up his whole personality in favour of the object.

The course and topography of identification, in relation to object loss, had already preoccupied Freud in his study on 'Mourning and Melancholia' (1917). There, in connection with the puzzle of suicide, we come face to face with a surprising statement:

In the two most opposed situations of being most intensely in love and of suicide, the ego is overwhelmed by the object, though in totally different ways.

The two states are opposites—although, as we know, they are not necessarily so in the id—but the overwhelming of the ego is identical in both; however, the way in which this occurs is supposedly totally different.

Freud did not pursue further this, at least for me, significant idea of the partial connection between being in love and suicide.

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