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Tip: To sort articles by source…

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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

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(1950). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: Narcissistic Equilibrium. Henry Harper Hart. Pp. 106–114.. Psychoanal Q., 19:127.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: Narcissistic Equilibrium. Henry Harper Hart. Pp. 106–114.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:127

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: Narcissistic Equilibrium. Henry Harper Hart. Pp. 106–114.

Psychoanalytic literature refers to many seemingly divergent phenomena as 'narcissistic'. Hart attempts to clarify this ambiguity by correlating the contributions of many writers as follows: The primary narcissism of the child gives place to secondary narcissism as the superego develops and the child renounces instincts, sublimates and develops object love via identification with the parents. Narcissistic equilibrium is a state of harmony between ego and superego, or ego security based on realistic mastery and self-appraisal. Narcissistic imbalance from superego condemnation evokes a compensatory inflation of the ego—commonly but unspecifically referred to as 'narcissistic'. The basis of this narcissistic equilibrium is a reciprocal relationship between object love and self love determined by that between child and parent, and later between ego and superego. Narcissistic imbalance is reflected in overestimation of the love object—falling in love as a habit, falling in love with the projection of an earlier introjected object—and jealousy. Narcissism is differentiated as to whether it is regressive or progressive, that is whether it leads away from reality mastery or toward it. Psychotic narcissism is regressive; healthy narcissism, creativity, and ambition are progressive. Psychotic narcissism is compensatory narcissism which follows the pleasure principle of the id, disregarding reality. In schizophrenia there is a return to fetal narcissism and an absence of the sublimation of compensatory narcissism. In homosexuality the absence of identification with the father shows itself in superego weakness and consequent narcissistic imbalance. Passivity, with its oral dependence, also shows narcissistic imbalance. Narcissistic imbalance in the presence of intoxicants such as alcohol, morphine, etc., also stimulates compensatory narcissism while it impairs the ego's efficiency. Compensatory self-esteem in feminine narcissism need not be regressive but may lead to achievement in reality through motherhood. Narcissism, however compensatory, is in itself not a source of anxiety but a signal of inadequate control of the ego over its instinctive drive. Complete loss of narcissistic equilibrium is illustrated in suicide: the ego kills the cruel superego which in turn demands the death of the ego.

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Article Citation

(1950). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947. Psychoanal. Q., 19:127

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