Bad Feelings: Selected Psychoanalytic Essays

Overview

Bad feelings are ubiquitous to human experience. Everyone deals with grief, envy, disappointment, dejection, humiliation, mortification, and anxiety. However, when we consciously push troubling feelings aside and then avoid them, we should be under no illusions that such repression empowers us to lead untroubled lives. The price that we pay, simply, is feeling less alive.

Our attempts to avoid feeling pain manifest themselves in feelings of disconnection and numbness. To make ...

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Overview

Bad feelings are ubiquitous to human experience. Everyone deals with grief, envy, disappointment, dejection, humiliation, mortification, and anxiety. However, when we consciously push troubling feelings aside and then avoid them, we should be under no illusions that such repression empowers us to lead untroubled lives. The price that we pay, simply, is feeling less alive.

Our attempts to avoid feeling pain manifest themselves in feelings of disconnection and numbness. To make matters worse, bad feelings often bring moralistic self-condemnation that arises unconsciously or even consciously: "It is bad of you to feel that way!" "You're being a nuisance to worry about that!"

Many families even elevate mental health to the status of an Eleventh Commandment. They believe that when they have negative feelings and express them, this constitutes behavioral problems. When they begin to feel anxious, glum, or ashamed, they are stricken with guilt or fears of punishment. Their goal is perfect adjustment, and their taboo is the secret forbidden pleasure hidden by pain.

This book demonstrates how psychoanalytic understanding can reduce the painfulness of negative feelings and increase our tolerance for emotional pain. This work can enable freedom from frightening, vengeful, and guilt-ridden fantasies, decrease reliance on passive and masochistic ways of being, and increase our ability to take pleasure in the body, to enjoy relations with others, the use of one's assets, and to take pride in one's achievements. These changes outweigh the emotional pains that we inevitably suffer by living, and they help us feel that it is worth our while to enjoy a lively existence.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590510469
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Roy Schafer, Ph.D.

Roy Schafer, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in New York City. He has written nearly a dozen books on psychoanalysis, among them the noteworthy Aspects of Internalization, A New Language for Psychoanalysis, and Language and Insight: The Sigmund Freud Lectures at University College, London. Dr. Schafer has taught and lectured all over the U.S. and abroad. He lives in New York.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Ch. 1 A Joyless Life 1
Ch. 2 Disappointment and Disappointedness 13
Ch. 3 Forms of Extreme Shame: Humiliation and Mortification 37
Ch. 4 Envy: Revisiting Melanie Klein's "Envy and Gratitude" 55
Ch. 5 The Psychotherapist's Absence 69
Ch. 6 Defenses against Goodness 91
Ch. 7 Experiencing Termination: Authentic and False Depressive Positions 109
Ch. 8 Painful Progress: The Negative Therapeutic Reaction Reconceived 133
Afterword 149
References 151
Index 157
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