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Extra resources for The Search for the Self, Volume 2: Selected Writings of Heinz Kohut: 1950-1978

Sample text

But to suppress human drives can also be dangerous. The capacity of our biological and psychological equipment to adapt to change is limited, and the tension imposed on us by the extensive suppression of our drives becomes intolerable before long. "' Man feels himself imprisoned by the demands of civilized existence and strives to escape. T o let himself go in orgies of lust and aggression leads to disaster. Yet, the suppression of his drives- the meek acceptance of an ascetic existence-is a feat apparently also beyond his capacity, despite the efforts of Christianity for two thousand years.

The arguments I have been presenting up to this point are on the whole in harmony with the enlightened attitude that psychic disturbances are neither a sin nor a disgrace, but are illnesses that ought to be cured. That this view is accepted by the professional psychotherapist goes without saying. I believe that nowadays it is even held rather widely by broad, nonprofessional layers of the population-at least by the educated. I might be too sanguine in this judgment; the old prejudices are possibly still stronger than I think.

The case of Mr. H. ) Narcissism as a Driving Force in Psychoanalysis We are speaking here about that large number of patients whose psychopathology I have defined as narcissistic personality disorders. In the center of the illness in classical transference neuroses are structural conflicts which relate to infantile drive demands concerning the great objects of childhood. These objects form the nucleus of the spontaneously developing transference. In the center of the illness in narcissistic personality disorders is the disordered self.

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