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Contemporary Freudian Society

Envy of the Feminine: A Case Presentation with Discussion

One Session Program (2 Contact Hours)

Presenters: Presenter: Marie Murphy, MSW, BCD and Discussants: Justine Kalas Reeves, DPsych and Michael Krass, PhD
Date: Friday, April 3, 2020
Location: School of International Service, American University, Founders' Room
Time: 7:00-9:00pm

Gerald Fogel wrote that, “deprived of his feminine parts, a man is castrated, compromised, less than whole” (1998, p. 695). This program will investigate the ways destructive envy of the containing function motivates what John Steiner (2019) refers to as the ‘denigration and repudiation of the feminine’ as embodied in sexual and psychological violence by males toward females. That is, the assault of a female’s mind by way of sexual invasion is a type of projective identification, a hateful impingement on the containing function of the feminine other in order to cannibalize it and leave it damaged or decimated.

The analytic treatment of a misogynistic man whose mind is organized around fantasies of testicular damage will be discussed from this perspective. From this case, the speakers will seek to draw conclusions about some of the psychic underpinnings of male sexual and psychological violence towards females.

Despite recently heightened awareness of sexual intrusions into the bodies and minds of girls and women, the role of envy of the containing function in motivating sexual and psychological violence by males toward females remains under-appreciated.  This program will seek to address this gap in thinking about this issue.  In addition, this patient’s assaults on other people’s minds serves to protect him from his terrible conflict of wanting warmth and attunement yet fearing such contact could cause him further helplessness and shame.

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