The ‘Choice’ between Illusory Life and Acceptance of the Death of One’s Love Object

Ofrit Shapira-Berman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to remain alive psychically often requires that we let go of a lost love object. When separation is unbearable, a form of adjustment may develop in which the patient’s attachment to their lost love object may staunch the desire to live his or her own life. In such instances, the patient may prefer to deaden major aspects of mental and emotional life in the effort not to leave the beloved object. Reality is then experienced as being at odds with the patient’s survival, so they may fight, vigorously to avoid the apprehension of external reality. The author presents an analysis of a young woman who lost her mother at the young age of seven.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)562-585
Number of pages24
JournalContemporary Psychoanalysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©, William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology and the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society.


  • illusory-life
  • mourning
  • object-loss
  • object-relation
  • psychic-holes
  • trauma


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