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Self-envy is a psychoanalytic term coined by Rafael López-Corvo who sustains that it is crucial for the understanding of disorders of the self that are manifested in addictions, acting out, and inhibition of creativity. This concept is based on the use of object relations theory, that many psychoanalysts view as a fundamental instrument for examining the architecture of the internal world that describes behavior as influenced by the multiple interactions of early representations of self and other that operate in our inner selves.
Self-envy is produced by 'child part self-objects', self representations from early development that remain split off from the self and harbor destructive and envious feelings toward the creative aspects of the self and results from direct aggressive attacks by these childhood self-objects against the part of the self identified with a harmonious mother-father or parent-sibling relationship.
The internal dynamics of self-envy cause intense unconscious conflict, dissociation, and disturbances of the self, all of which underlie severe psychopathologies, such as repetitive destructive behavior, and even the living of seemingly normal but constricted lives. López-Corvo believes that the psychoanalytic interpretation of such patients, for whom one part of the self is ruthlessly pitted against another, should address directly the phenomenon of a war within the internal self.
W.C.M. Scott first used this word in 1975 in his article Remembering sleep and dreaming: self-envy and envy of dreams and dreaming. "Int. Rev. Psychoanal., 2:333-354
Rafael Lopez-Corvo did credit Scott in his paper About Interpretation of Self-Envy: Int. J Psycho-Anal: (1992) 73, 719
Articles and books
- Berman A (1999). "Self-envy and the concealment of inner resources". Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci 36 (3): 203–14; discussion 215–22. PMID 10593059.
- Spillius EB (1997). "Self-Envy: Therapy and the Divided Inner World (Review)". Int J Psychoanal 78: 1254–7.
- López-Corvo RE (1992). "About Interpretation of Self-Envy". Int J Psychoanal 73: 719–728. PMID 1483850.
- Rafael E. López-Corvo Self-Envy, Therapy and the Divided Inner World, Jason Aronson, New York, 1994
- López-Corvo RE (1999). "Self-Envy and Intrapsychic Interpretation". Psychoanal Q 68 (2).