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Coen, S.J. (1987). Pathological Jealousy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:99-108.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:99-108

Pathological Jealousy

Stanley J. Coen


The behavioural enactment in pathological jealousy is a substitute for and defence against full, loving and sexual, intimacy with a single, live person. It is a masturbatory equivalent, sometimes a masturbatory prelude, a perverse form of sexual relatedness. The cast of characters includes at least four roles: male and female sexual protagonists, an observer, and an audience witnessing the interaction between the three. The need for concrete evidence relates to denial, mistrust, and guilt, especially about feared destructiveness, as well as masochistic and narcissistic enhancement. The object choice in pathological jealousy involves a fantasied protector, and is basically homosexual, narcissistic. These defend against the dangers of passive needs of another person different from oneself, as well as of aggressive destruction.

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