Caroline Garland on Grievance

Caroline Garland presented a psychoanalytic view of grievance, a hatred directed at that which came between the child and the gratifying, ideal maternal object. This obstacle may be the individual Oedipal rival or the parental couple, engaged in intercourse from which the child is excluded.  This hatred for the parental couple is then displaced onto the analytic couple because it is not the gratifying couple of fantasy based on longing to engage in the primal scene.  The hatred may be directed at the patient and the analyst in the form of a masochistic attack on the patient’s capacity to benefit from analysis and a sadistic attack on the analyst’s capacity to be effective. Revenge for Oedipal betrayal may lead to loss of hope and a suicidal act that attacks the patient’s  capacity to benefit and the analyst’s capacity to be effective, and fills the analyst with shockingly intense grief.  Annihilation of the self can be preferred over life in the name of revenge.

—Jill Savege Scharff

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