chapter  8
15 Pages

Who’s who? Notes on pathological identifi cations

Freud’s (1917) discovery, in ‘Mourning and melancholia’, of the process through which the ego unconsciously identifi es with the introjected bad object (the rejecting loved object) thus becoming a victim of its own superego, was one of the most important breakthroughs in psychoanalysis: perhaps as important as the discovery of the meaning of dreams and of the Oedipus complex. The idea that when individuals feel ‘I am the worst person in the world’, they may in fact be unconsciously accusing somebody else whose victim they feel they are, but who, through a pathological process of introjection and identifi cation, they have ‘become’, was indeed a revolutionary one, and one which is still of tremendous clinical importance for us today.