“Have we been unwittingly “sleeping with the enemy,” inducing trauma even as we try to heal it?”
In Consumerism and Identity: Some Psychoanalytic Considerations, we learn:
In On Narcissism (1914), Freud described the ego-ideal as the heir of infantile narcissism and as a psychic agency (an ego) capable of conscious self-observation…The Freudian concept of the ego-ideal is an amalgam of idealized images, fantasies and wishes against which an individual measures their experience. It represents an attempt in later life to recreate the condition of primary narcissism, the period of infancy when a child imagined itself to be the centre of a loving admiring world.
In this process, often referred to as the ‘ego project’, the ego-ideal can be built on cultural and professional achievements, on nostalgic recreations of a golden past, or utopian visions of a glorious future. (Lasch, 1980; Gabriel & Lang, 1995; Schwartz, 1990) The project involves a fashioning of an image in which an individual can admire their self and through which he/she can gain the respect of others.
Some of the favorite tricks of the narcissist/sociopath are:
Creating Scapegoat and Golden Children
Playing the Martyr for Pity
What is “Gaslighting”?
Are you being Gaslighted?
In The Sociopath Next Door, author Martha Stout reveals that:
We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.
A disciple of Freud, Ferenczi, who was drafted into the Hungarian military as a medic, wrote to Freud in 1915 of an early analytic effort to help a fellow soldier. He describes a patient suffering from partial paralysis after suffering,
“shock from a grenade hit, which is considered organic by all the doctors. Since I opt for hysteria . . . I consider it possible — according to insight gained up to now — that this case (perhaps all such cases) are penal paralyses for small (especially sadistic) misdeeds of childhood; actually, they represent the death penalty.”
He goes on to explain that,
“as a child, the patient liked to shoot animals, especially crows; his grandmother told him they would avenge themselves on him. He went blissfully to war and eagerly shot at the Russians; just as he was taking aim, the shocking explosion came.”
THE CORRESPONDENCE OF SIGMUND FREUD AND SANDOR FERENCZI