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Roth, N. (1975). Compassion and Self-Hate. An Alternative to Despair: Theodore I. Rubin, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1975, 306 pp., $9.95.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 3(4):449-450.

(1975). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 3(4):449-450

Compassion and Self-Hate. An Alternative to Despair: Theodore I. Rubin, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1975, 306 pp., $9.95.

Review by:
Nathan Roth

In this volume Dr. Rubin undertakes to present a unified theory of all neurosogenesis and psychotherapy.

The basic process in symptom formation, as seen by the author, results from the patient's efforts to overcome the effects of emotional traumata. He sets for himself goals which are intended to correct his dissatisfaction, humiliation, and impaired self-esteem. However, the objectives are invariably too lofty and quite impossible to attain. As a consequence, the individual suffers a further round of deflation of self-esteem, becoming scornful and angry toward himself. These strictures upon the ego, which originate in the superego although it is not designated as such in the book, are subsumed by the author under the rubric of self-hate. All neurotic processes are said to arise in this manner: All neurotic manifestations are in fact incarnations of self-hate (p. 133). The author is very ingenious, indeed, in relating diverse neurotic impairments to his thesis of hatred of self.

The remedial procedure recommended is that the patient must learn to be compassionate with himself, so that he will not rage against himself for the disappointment he has unwittingly brought down upon his head. It is therefore a little surprising to read about enemies of the self-hatred system and the destruction of the latter. Psychoanalysis more often talks of disassembling neurotic symptoms and reconstituting the components in new ways, always handling them gently, so as to salvage what is valuable in the symptom.

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