Perverse and Narcissistic Strategies in the Link to the Object

Feature Section “Perversions”
Proustian Love, or A Dream of Possession
By Isée Bernateau

Drawing on the example of Proustian love as it manifests itself in Remembrance of Things Past, the author sets out to show how separation anxiety may cause the subject to secure a perverse and narcissistic ascendancy over the object so as to avoid losing him or her. Inasmuch as it implies potential abandonment and recognition of the object’s otherness, love comes up against the catastrophic independence of the latter. Through identification with the aggressor, the perverse and narcissistic ascendancy reenacts the mother’s own ascendancy over the narrator. Jealousy holds a central role within these perverse and narcissistic strategies: although it stirs a relentless fear of being “let go” and drives the subject to self-inflicted torment, it also represents a final attempt at putting the narcissistic and perverse binary relationship with the maternal object into a third party perspective.


  • perverse ascendancy
  • narcissism
  • Proust
  • separation anxiety
  • object love
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