A psychoanalytic view of the psychopath

Meloy, J Reid and Yakeley, Jessica (2020) A psychoanalytic view of the psychopath. In: The Wiley International Handbook on Psychopathic Disorders and the Law. Wiley, Chichester, pp. 449-463. ISBN 9781119159285

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The “house of psychopath” is constructed on a foundation of no attachment, underarousal, and minimal anxiety. These appear to be necessary, related, but insufficient characteristics that provide certain biological predispositions for the development of the psychopathic character. In psychopathy, incorporative failures predict subsequent problems with two kinds of internalizations: identifications and introjections. Central to psychopathy is a variation of the grandiose self‐structure which has three condensed components: a real self, an ideal self, and an ideal object. The only vestiges of conscience in the psychopathic character were best described by Jacobson as sadistic superego precursors, which she defined as projected aspects of early persecutory objects, attributed to others to deny aggression in the midst of frustration. Psychopathic individuals do not struggle with tensions of ego‐dystonic aggression, because the impulse to aggress is either immediately acted out, or remains a source of aggressive fueling of the grandiose self‐structure without conflict or ambivalence.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Criminology > Forensic Psychotherapy
Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Mental Disorders
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2346

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