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Goldblatt, M.J. Herbstman, B. Maltsberger, J.T. (2014). Superego distortions and self-attack. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 37(1):15-23.

(2014). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 37(1):15-23

Superego distortions and self-attack

Mark J. Goldblatt, Benjamin Herbstman and John T. Maltsberger

Some people demand an unachievable level of self-perfection, and experience extremely harsh self-criticism when they inevitably fall short of this impossibly high standard. As a result of early trauma or neglect, patients who have internalized part-objects that are particularly responsive to aggression also appear to lack supportive introjects which could normally serve to counterbalance innate aggressivity. The resultant superego malformations are overly harsh and charged with self-destructive intent. Self-attack may range from guilt-ridden self-loathing to physical assault on the body. Suicide is viewed as restorative and survivable. Treatment interventions include superego analysis as a way to identify internalized self-attack, disentangle organized self-destructive elements and support counter-balancing forces for affect tolerance.

[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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