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Maltsberger, J.T. Buie, D.H. (1980). The Devices of Suicide—Revenge, Riddance, and Rebirth. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 7:61-72.

(1980). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 7:61-72

The Devices of Suicide—Revenge, Riddance, and Rebirth

John T. Maltsberger and Dan H. Buie


Since Freud, suicide has been commonly understood as an attack intended to destroy an inner presence. While this is usually so, suicide may often serve the purposes of revenge, punishment, flight from a persecutor, reunion with the mother of early infancy, and is often accompanied by fantasies of escape and rebirth. The inter-relationships of such fantasies with common religious and mythical ideas is discussed, as well as the fragmentation of the self representation and the psychotic merging of its parts with the representations of objects.

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