A Bout of Delusional Jealousy

In his 1921 article focusing on the psychoanalytic examination of the psychic mechanisms of jealousy, Freud distinguishes between three “layers or grades of jealousy [that] may be described as
(1) competitive or normal, (2) projected, and (3) delusional jealousy.” [39][39]Freud, S. (1922). Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy,… In delusional jealousy, the subject and his object are of the same sex, its development requires a strong homosexual impulse, against which the subject defends himself by contradicting the fantasmatic statement that “may, in a man, be described in the formula: ‘I do not love him, she loves him!’.” [40][40]Ibid., p. 224. In this perspective, Freud presents the case of a young man suffering from attacks of delusional jealousy, which

32[…] regularly appeared on the day after he had had sexual intercourse with his wife, which was, incidentally, satisfying to both of them. The inference is justified that after every satiation of the heterosexual libido, the homosexual component, likewise stimulated by the act, forced an outlet for itself in the attack of jealousy. [41][41]Ibid., p. 224.

33Hence, for the subject, a crisis of delusional jealousy constitutes clinical incidence of sexual satisfaction. Freud then adds that the subject “had made no friendships and developed no social interests; one had the impression that only the delusion had carried forward the development of his relations with men, as if it had taken over some of the arrears that had been neglected.” [42][42]Ibid., p. 226.
Freud attributes to the delusion the function of allowing the subject to assume what initially was missing. But what was it precisely? On the one hand, Freud speaks about the absence of the father and a strong attachment to the mother – an attachment he had already underlined in the 1915 case of the young professional woman – and, on the other hand, about the existence of a homosexual trauma dating from the subject’s childhood, a traumatic nodal element in his doctrine of the psychoses. The new observation corroborates Freud’s theorization, insofar as the persecutor would be the subject’s most loved object of the same sex.


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