Mourning and Melancholia – Freud, 1917

 

field-thunderstorm-rainy-meadow.jpgEnglish Translation, 1957, Standard Edition, 14, 237-58.

“An object-choice, an attachment of the libido to a particular person, had at one time existed; then, owing to a real slight or disappointment coming from this loved person, the object-relationship was shattered.  The result was not the normal one of a withdrawal of the libido from this object and a displacement of it on to a new one, but something different, for whose coming-about various conditions seem to be necessary.  The object-cathexis proved to have little power of resistance and was brought to an end but the free libido was not displaced on to another object; it was withdrawn into the ego.  There, however, it was not employed in any unspecified way, but served to establish an identification of the ego with the abandoned object.  Thus the shadow of the object fell upon the ego, and the latter could henceforth be judged by a special agency, as though it were an object, the forsaken object.  In this way object-loss was transformed into an ego-loss and the conflict between the ego and the loved person into a cleavage between the critical activity of the ego and the ego as altered by identification.”

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