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I Wish the Hour Were Over: Elements of a Moral Dilemma

I Wish the Hour Were Over: Elements of a Moral Dilemma

(p.72) Chapter Seven I Wish the Hour Were Over: Elements of a Moral Dilemma
Moral Stealth
University of Chicago Press

A patient in psychoanalysis, shortly after contemplating and then voicing agreement with an interpretation that had been offered, announced an intense urge to get up and leave—that is, wishing the not-yet-terminated analytic hour were at an end. Yet no sooner had this thought been uttered than there followed another wish of possibly equal intensity: that the hour not soon end. One might readily say that this patient was ambivalent about staying versus leaving, and surely it could also be said that he was in conflict about these two impulses or feelings. In “Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety,” Sigmund Freud presents his prototypical version of a conflict due to ambivalence. The significance of his presentation was to underscore the presence of opposition in the form of love versus hate. This chapter examines a form of moral dilemma represented by the narcissistic behavior disorders, which range from cross-dressing to thievery to all manner of substance abuse, and discusses the connection between psychoanalysis and morality, as well as the contribution of disavowal to superego explanations.

Keywords:   moral dilemma, moral conflict, morality, superego, disavowal, patient, psychoanalysis, ambivalence, Sigmund Freud, narcissistic behavior disorders

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