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Shabad, P. (2019). Who Suffered More? Rivalry for the Right to Be Loved: Discussion of “Who Has the Right to Mourn?: Relational Deference and Rankings of Grief”. Psychoanal. Dial., 29(4):507-513.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29(4):507-513

Who Suffered More? Rivalry for the Right to Be Loved: Discussion of “Who Has the Right to Mourn?: Relational Deference and Rankings of Grief”

Peter Shabad, Ph.D.

In this discussion of Peskin’s paper on who has the right to mourn (this issue), I explore what it means to “have a right.” When others reject our offerings, we may lose a sense of right to express ourselves and to be loved. Hierarchical rankings of grief, based on the image of limited good, help guarantee the restoration of this forfeited right to express our sorrows and be received by a caring witness. The vignette from Alice Kaplan’s memoir depicts not only how a young girl was prevented from mourning her father’s death by her mother, but also how a mother’s envy of her daughter may become its own source of loss and grief. The rivalry of Alice’s mother with her daughter for a “tragic childhood,” paralleling the rivalry underlying the rankings of grief, reflect a more widespread desperation for the precious right to openly express sorrow and receive the consoling reassurances of loving solace.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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