Author(s): Akhtar S, Varma A
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Abstract Noting that the topic of sacrifice has remained largely unaddressed in psychoanalytic literature, the authors offer a discussion of it. Their elucidation of sacrifice opens with the definition and etymology of the word and moves on to the place of sacrifice in various religious traditions. They then summarize Freud's views on the topic and suggest that the subsequent analytic contributions have gone in three directions: the first extends and modifies Freud's proposal of triadic-hostile origins of sacrifice, the second locates such origins in dyadic and loving relations, and the third seeks to synthesize the foregoing trends. The authors then delineate the triad of altruism, masochism, and narcissism that underlie sacrifice. They propose that a spectrum of phenomena, ranging from healthy to pathological, is subsumed under the rubric of sacrifice. They also discuss the significance of such ideas to the conduct of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.
This article was published in Am J Psychoanal
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics