Sunday, March 15, 2015

An interesting idea from Bergler

It's sometimes nice to read Edmund Bergler because he's one of the last heroic analysts. To be more precise, he's a bit of a showboat, like Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic. The systematic thought in his writing always seems a little absurd, but from some of his examples, one can't doubt that he found something. It may not be the jaguar shark that he thinks it is, but it is something...

I was really bowled over by his idea of malignant masochism coming from a "schizoid" defense against anxiety.  (Schizoid, narcissism, and sexuality- are there any more overused words in psychoanalysis?) A person may get off on castration anxiety, like being caught in an affair, being laughed at by others, falling while climbing mountains, losing a loved one, etc. but not have the feared injury or death take place. Bergler adds that a schizoid defense that blocks the anxiety signal may be what results in the game of getting off actually turning into the injuries and death occurring. He cites those who commit suicide as examples. I'll have to think more about this... It might be a crayon ponyfish but it's the most interesting thing I've read lately.

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