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Envy

ENVY

Envy is a primitive force in the personality that is opposed to, and therefore mounts destructive attacks upon, parts of the object felt to be good. It attacks aspects of the libidolove, constructiveness, integrationsimply because of their life-giving characteristics. This notion first appears in Envy and Gratitude (Klein, 1957).

Freud was uncertain about the clinical usefulness of the concept of the death instinct. Klein found ways of showing its clinical relevance, especially in her work with children. The primary destructive force, the death instinct, aims at destroying the ego. Freud (1926) recognized that the ego needs to escape this very early experience of threat, and that it can do so by projecting the death instinct outwards. Thus the ego contrives to see the danger to itself as coming from external objects. This danger may then coincide, he thought, with some real external threat. As Klein (1932) added, the external object may be a harsh critical parent (then internalized as a persecuting superego). Then the external enemy can be attacked, as can other aspects of the death instinct turned against an external object. In both these processes of establishing outwardly directed impulses, the libido may fuse to some degree with the death instinct.

Later and in contrast with the above, Klein described a very different manifestation of death instinct: primary envy. In this instance the destructive force is directed against an external object that is not a threat but a good object, typically the mother's breast, which feeds and comforts. To the external good object is attributed a wish for life and a wish to preserve life in the ego. In this case, the good object represents a part of the libido projected into an external object. And it is attacked there by impulses derived from the death instinct now turned away from the ego itself. The death instinct, directed against those (libidinal) parts of the ego concerned with the wish to live, remains a destructive force against them when they are projected. Klein's view is a generalization and extension of Freud's notion of penis envy.

Klein developed the idea of the death instinct in terms of relations to the object and to the self. Rosenfeld (1971) described states in which the ego is dominated by aspects of the death instinct. Since Freud's theory of the death instinct was never fully accepted, Klein's idea of envy was also contentious (Joffe, 1969). Envy represents a primary kind of evil, and it is difficult often to accept such a state in an innocent infant.

Others have attributed aggression in infancy and childhood to frustration of libidinal impulses. Wilfred Bion described paroxysms of aggression arising in infants when an infant's insistent projection meets an uncontaining mother frightened by the infant's fear of death. Here the anger of frustration can appear much like envy.

Robert D. Hinshelwood

See also: Envy and Gratitude ; Links, attacks on; Logic(s); Narcissistic neurosis; Oral-sadistic stage; Primary object.

Bibliography

Freud, Sigmund. (1926). Inhibitions, symptoms and anxiety. SE, 20: 75-172.

Joffe, Walter. (1969). A critical review of the envy concept. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50, 533-545.

Klein, Melanie. (1932). The psycho-analysis of children. London: Hogarth.

. (1957). Envy and gratitude: A study of unconscious forces. London: Hogarth Press.

Rosenfeld, Herbert. (1971). A clinical approach to the psycho-analytic theory of the life and death instincts: An investigation into the aggressive aspects of narcissism. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 52, 169-178.

Segal, Hanna. (1993). Review of A dictionary of Kleinian thought. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74, 417-419.

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Envy

220. Envy (See also Jealousy.)

  1. Amneris envious of Aida. [Ital. Opera: Verdi, Aida, Westerman, 325]
  2. Cinderellas sisters envious of their sisters beauty. [Folklore: Barnhart, 246]
  3. green symbol of envy; the green-eyed monster. [Color Symbolism: Jobes, 357; Br. Lit.: Othello ]
  4. Iago Othellos ensign who, from malevolence and envy, persuades Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful. [Br. Lit.: Othello ]
  5. Josephs brothers resented him for Jacobs love and gift. [O.T.: Genesis 37:4]
  6. Lensky envy of Onegin leads to his death in a duel. [Russ. Opera: Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin, Westerman, 395397]
  7. Lisa envious of Amina; tries unsuccessful stratagems. [Ital. Opera: Bellini, The Sleepwalker, Westerman, 128130]
  8. Snow Whites stepmother envious of her beauty, queen orders Snow Whites death. [Ger. Fairy Tale: Grimm, 184]

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envy

en·vy / ˈenvē/ • n. (pl. -vies) a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck: she felt a twinge of envy for the people on board. ∎  (the envy of) a person or thing that inspires such a feeling: their national health service is the envy of many in Europe. • v. (-vies, -vied) [tr.] desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else): he envied people who did not have to work on weekends. ∎  desire for oneself (something possessed or enjoyed by another): a lifestyle that most of us would envy. DERIVATIVES: en·vi·er / ˈenvēər/ n.

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envy

envy †malice; feeling of ill will at another's well-being. XIII. — (O)F. envie, semi-pop. — L. invidia malice, ill will, f. invidēre look maliciously upon, grudge, envy, f. in upon, against + vidēre see; see EN-1, VISION.
So envy vb. XIV.

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"envy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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envy

envynavvy, savvy •ave, Garvey, Harvey, larvae, Mojave •bevvy, bevy, Chevy, heavy, levee, Levi, levy, top-heavy •envy •cavy, Davy, Devi, gravy, navy, slavey, venae cavae, wavy •bivvy, chivvy, civvy, divvy, Livy, privy, skivvy, spivvy •Sylvie • ivy • grovy •groovy, movie •covey, lovey, lovey-dovey, luvvy •anchovy • Muscovy • Pahlavi •curvy, Nervi, nervy, scurvy, topsy-turvy

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"envy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/envy