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Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (1974). Perversion, Idealization and Sublimation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:349-357.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:349-357

Perversion, Idealization and Sublimation Related Papers

Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel

Freud (1914) introduced the ego-ideal along with narcissism into psychoanalytic theory and thereby made it the heir to primary narcissism. Man, unable to give up a satisfaction he has once enjoyed, 'is not willing to forgo the narcissistic perfection of his childhood' and 'seeks to recover it in the new form of an ego-ideal. What he projects before him as his ideal is the substitute for the lost narcissism of his childhood in which he was his own ideal'.

In fact, as Freud indicated in a footnote to 'Instincts and their Vicissitudes' (1915), the rupture of the primal narcissistic state is tied to the subject's being powerless to help himself, a helplessness that forces him to recognize the non-self, the object, after a period of hallucinatory gratification of desire. The object becomes cathected with the lost omnipotence of the subject. We know that the narcissism which man 'projected before him' is precisely the formation of the ego ideal, and will subsequently cathect other objects and will, in the case of the boy, direct itself toward the father-figure during the oedipal phase. Without going into the details of this development, we can state that it is a long journey from the moment when the subject is his own ideal to the moment when he gives over his narcissism to his homosexual object, the father, who becomes his model, in other words his projected itinerary for identification.

To my mind, the stumbling-blocks to this development of the ego-ideal help to illuminate the relationship between the ego-ideal and the overall development of the individual.

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