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Orgel, S. (1974). Fusion with the Victim and Suicide. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:531-538.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:531-538

Fusion with the Victim and Suicide Related Papers

Shelley Orgel


Anna Freud (1936) describes how a little girl conquered her fear of coming across ghosts in the dark hall. She made all sorts of peculiar gestures as she walked, saying, 'There is no need to be afraid in the hall, you just have to pretend that you are the ghost who might meet you.' The warding off by externalization of the danger of being overwhelmed by the returned dead serves as a beautiful introduction to a paper relating a vicissitude of identification with the aggressor, suicide, and creativity.

Miss Freud describes identification with the aggressor as a 'by no means uncommon stage' in the normal development of the superego. The internalized aggression or criticism, not as yet immediately transformed into self-criticism, is dissociated from the child's own reprehensible activity (Beres, 1958). In other terms, identification with the aggressor implies a defensive ability to separate self and object images by projection of the less neutralized aggressive drives on to external objects at the same time as a sample, as it were, is temporarily taken into the self. It therefore finds a place analogous to 'negation' as a partial denial of unpleasurable reality in the service of protecting the immature ego (Freud, 1925). Externalization of the offence partially spares the immature ego the destructive effects of insufficiently neutralized aggression. True morality begins when the internalized criticism, now embodied in the standards exacted by the superego (whose contents include aggression of varying degrees of neutralization compatible with the ego's ability to mediate discharge or countercathexis), coincides with the ego's perception of its own fault.

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