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Lichtenberg, J.D. Shapard, B. (2000). Hatred and Its Rewards: A Motivational Systems View. Psychoanal. Inq., 20(3):374-388.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 20(3):374-388

Hatred and Its Rewards: A Motivational Systems View

Joseph D. Lichtenberg, M.D. and Barbara Shapard, LCSW

The delights of gratified hatred are among the fiercest and most ardent that the heart can feel.

Balzac, Cousin Bette

FOR A CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY of hatred to emerge, we must clarify the distinction between hatred and aggressive drive and between hatred and narcissistic rage. Stated differently, we must reconsider whether hatred is largely a derivative of aggressive drive or a discharge product of it as ego psychology often implies. Or is hatred best conceptualized through the viewpoint of object relationalists as a result of projective identification? Or is hatred a fragmentation product resulting from empathic failures that threaten self-cohesion leading to narcissistic rage as self psychologists have maintained? Basing the attempt to reconceptualize hatred on a motivational systems theory, we look to the “rewards” of hatred to identify the powerful ubiquitous place hating takes in human existence and to distinguish “hating” in common usage from “hatred.”

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