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Self-love, or sexual gratification obtained by contemplating oneself. In psychoanalysis, cathexis of the ego by sexual instincts, as occurs in homosexuality, according to Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) in his book Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905, Standard Edition, VII, pp. 130–243, at p. 145n). Freud later formed the view that it is a normal psychosexual stage of development, between stages of auto-erotism and object libido, and in 1914 he published an entire article entitled ‘On Narcissism: An Introduction’ (Standard Edition, XIV, pp. 73–102) in which he expounded at length his theory at that time. The Austrian-born US psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut (1913–81) viewed narcissism as a natural part of development, but the British-based Austrian psychoanalyst Melanie Klein (1882–1960) and her followers questioned Freud's theory, arguing that object-relationships are evident from the earliest stages of sucking. The concept of narcissism was originally introduced in 1898 by the English sexologist Havelock Ellis (1859–1939) in an article entitled ‘Auto-erotism: A Psychological Study’. See also ego libido, grandiose self, narcissistic neurosis, narcissistic object-choice, narcissistic personality disorder, primary narcissism, secondary narcissism. Compare object relations. narcissistic adj. [Named after Narkissos, a beautiful youth in Greek mythology who pined away for love of his own reflection in a pool and was punished by being transformed into the flower that bears his name]

Subjects: Psychology.

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