Rom J Psychoanal 2020, 13(2):93-116
DOI: 10.2478/rjp-2020-0018

Abstract: Envy has always been a frequent topic in religious scriptures and literature. Freud formulated penis envy as a central element in female psychology. Nowadays this theory has been largely abandoned. Envy, however, continues to keep its position as a central psychoanalytic concept in the form of oral envy. Melanie Klein conceptualized it as a direct derivative of the death instinct. This paper starts with demonstrating examples of envy in literature. The author continues with searching his own life for traces of envy. He then draws on his own clinical practice and on case studies of other analysts. He concludes that a theory, describing envy as directly deriving from the death drive does not do justice to the multiple aspects of the complex emotional state of envy. Anne-Marie and Joseph Sandler’s work on the present and past unconscious as well as Mark Solms’ neuropsychoanalytic research on the unconscious and the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis corroborate this conclusion.

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