fate neurosis

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In psychoanalysis, a syndrome of repeating patterns of unpleasant life events, the recurrences appearing to be misfortunes but bearing an uncanny similarity to one another. It was discussed by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) in 1920 in his book Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Standard Edition, XVIII, 7–64, at pp. 21–2), where he gave examples of people whose good deeds are constantly repaid by ingratitude or bad luck, people who are repeatedly betrayed by friends, and similar cases, and he explained it as a manifestation of a repetition compulsion. The word that Freud coined was Schicksalzwang (fate compulsion) rather than Schicksalneurose (fate neurosis), but the latter term became conventional in both German and English. Compare failure neurosis.

Subjects: Psychology.

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