Jalousie Amoureuse, La

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The two volumes of this work correspond to Daniel Lagache's PhD thesis, presented in 1947. The subheading (Descriptive Psychology and Psychoanalysis ) clearly states Lagache's intention of producing a study at the intersection of his experience and multidisciplinary training as a philosopher, psychiatrist, psychologist, and psychoanalyst.

Lagache conducted an exhaustive study of the different authors who dealt with the question of jealousy. His work was based on fifty essentially personal clinical cases, most of them in institutions, and a few cases of analytic treatment for which he presents an ample amount of material. In the first volume he sets out to describe and classify states of jealousy; the second deals with jealousy as it is actually experienced.

"Amorous jealousy derives from a conflict between jealous (possessive) love and reality, jealous love constituting a demand for total and exclusive possession of the partner."

But jealousy extends beyond the context of the love relationship and becomes a manner of existing (an essential part of which is devoted to passionate and instinctual life), so in fact the distinction between normal and pathological jealousy is a matter of degree and not of essence. The onset of jealousy may be exacerbated by concomitant factors creating a situation of insecurity and frustration that strikes an echo with situations of frustration in childhood, with hyperemotive and impulsive reactions that Lagache considers to be predisposing factors for jealousy. Jealousy may occupy a subordinate position in all clinical cases, but seems to have an elective affinity for the paranoid mode of psychic organization characterizing a relatively primitive level of functioning of the person and of their relations with others.

In the second volume he studies how greed, linked with covetousness in envy and possession in jealousy, can blend with the feeling of love because jealousy is distinct from envy in that we are "jealous of what we possess and envious of what others possess." He distinguishes three types of love relations: communion-love, oblative love and captative love. Captative love implies jealousy and the desire for total, physical and moral possession of the partner, who is then compared to the ideal object and totally ignored in their otherness (sexuality, violence). Jealousy avoids the internal conflict by displacing it to a conflict with the exterior, which is experienced as a demand for atonement based on an impression of injustice. This can go as far as homicidal jealousy in which, over and above the reality of the victim, the whole of interhuman reality is denied.

RÉgine Prat

See also: Castration complex; Lagache, Daniel; Neutrality/benevolent neutrality; Oedipus complex; Paranoia; Passion; Psychoses, chronic and delusional; "Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides)".

Source Citation

Daniel, Lagache. (1947). La Jalousie amoureuse. Psychologie descriptive et psychanalyse. Paris, Presses Universitaires de France.