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Friedman, J.A. (1988). The Idea of Narcissism in Freud's Psychoanalysis. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 15:499-514.

(1988). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 15:499-514

The Idea of Narcissism in Freud's Psychoanalysis

John A. Friedman


The primary nature of narcissism is crucial, serving as the essential and necessary origin for the entire course of sexual desire, including and most especially the oedipal structure. The narcissistic wish involves the overcoming of 'sexual difference'. The castration idea creates the possibility of phallic primacy, with the phallus itself a representation of the missing penis. The phallus is then characterized as providing a relation to the world, as providing the basis for the recovery of lost or missing objects as understood by Freud's idea of reality-testing. The 'ego ideal' is shown to be nothing else than another instance of phallic primacy. Femininity too is a variant of phallic primacy and is a form of secondary narcissism. With phallic primacy and primary narcissism, Freud can, using the oedipal structure and the castration complex, account for the partial renunciation of narcissism, the turn of desire towards the world and the valuation of others.

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