Secondary narcissism according to Freud (Psychoanalysis)

Secondary narcissism corresponds to the return of the libido removed from objects to the ego . Freud described secondary narcissism for the first time (1914c) in relation to a state he called “paraphrenia”, which corresponds to Kraepelin’s early dementia or Bleuler’s schizophrenia. The withdrawal of libidinal investment in objects, followed by reinvestment in the ego, was considered responsible for two characteristic manifestations: lack of interest in the outside world and delusions of grandeur .

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Another approach to narcissism was indicated in the last section of ” About narcissism: an introduction “, based on the original narcissism. The construction of an ego ideal played a central role in the psychology of repression , conceived as a result of the conflict between instinctual impulses and cultural representations . This is the narcissistic aspect of a surveillance structure, of which Freud completes the description in 1923, with The ego and the Id (1923b). Freud in 1914, moreover, attributed the critical voices of the illusion of being watched, of paranoia , rising out of regression, to this surveillance mechanism.

Finally, Leonardo da Vinci’s interpretation of homosexuality (1910c) constitutes the descriptive model of an identification process, by replacing an investment in an object (the mother), and by the introjection of the qualities of this object (identification). This identification process was resumed in “ Mourning and melancholy ” (1917e), where Freud discussed narcissistic identification. He returned to it again in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921c) and finally in The Ego and the Id (1923b).


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