Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see the German word that Freud used to refer to a concept…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Want to know the exact German word that Freud used to refer to a psychoanalytic concept? Move your mouse over a paragraph while reading The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud and a window will emerge displaying the text in its original German version.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Parkin, A. (1980). On Masochistic Enthralment a Contribution to the Study of Moral Masochism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:307-314.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:307-314

On Masochistic Enthralment a Contribution to the Study of Moral Masochism

Alan Parkin


Freud rested his final understanding of moral masochism (the masochistic character) upon the concept of the death-instinct. Those analysts who have been unable to accept this concept have continued to define and enrich the understanding of the masochistic character. Out of their work has emerged the picture of a character structured in three discernible layers: an upper one of 'nobility in adversity'; a middle one of hate toward the mother; and the deepest one of primary union with the mother to which a later return is made.

An abbreviated account of an analysis is given to exemplify this structure.

An understanding of the relation between the deepest layers is essential to a comprehension of the total structure. Out of a primary maternal union accompanied by experiences of omnipotence and grandiosity emerges an ambivalent relationship to the omnipotent mother characterized primarily by hate. The relationship to the mother is one of masochistic enthralment. The lost omnipotence is then recaptured by a unio mystica (primary identification) with the hating

and hated mother now internalized as an aggressive self-ideal in which phallic characteristics become prominent. The unio mystica may be momentary and orgasmic as in the masochistic perversion or more or less enduring and characterological as in the masochistic character to which it contributes traits of haughtiness and disdain.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.