chapter  8
6 Pages

Inherent contradictions

Before starting out on the discussion of this puzzling problem, we ought to remind ourselves that psychoanalysis, faithfully following Freud, uses the term narcissism to describe two similar but far from identical states. One of them-called by Freud primary or absolute narcissism-is a hypothesis, not a clinical observation; we assume that in the beginning all libido is stored up in the ego-or in the id. The other, as a rule called simply narcissism, although it should properly be called secondary narcissism, can be observed clinically; it denotes a state in which some, or even a very large part, of the libido that has previously cathected external objects, is withdrawn from them and cathects now the ego -definitely not the id. This distinction will prove of great importance in the subsequent chapters of Part II.