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Dufresne, R. (1996). Listening To Narcissus: (When Words Alone Do Not Suffice … ). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:497-508.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:497-508

Listening To Narcissus: (When Words Alone Do Not Suffice … )

Roger Dufresne

In the myth of Narcissus on which it is based, the author argues, narcissism is not a mere infatuation with one's self-image, but at once the fear of and the withdrawal from the apprehended power, possession and desire of the other. In the analysis of a survivor of the Holocaust, after a very long period of unspoken transference, an archaic and violent transference ultimately emerges in which the absolute fright before the risks of passivity and enslavement hinders the desperate search for the object. In order to avoid an impasse, the analyst must engage in more active listening and interpretations by anticipation. The analysis of narcissistic pain requires not that the narcissistic and the object relations perspectives stand in isolation from each other either in time or in theory, but that their intertwining be perceived and interpreted.

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