Tuesday, July 12, 2011

GW Psychiatric Treatment: Letter to Dr. Pitts -- 11/30/93

November 30, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Suzanne M. Pitts, MD
Dept. of Psychiatry
GW Univ. Medical Ctr.
2150 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Dr. Pitts:

I want to direct your attention to the enclosed discussion of the issue of jealousy, excerpted from Harry Stack Sullivan's The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry.

The dynamic set forth by Sullivan relates to a recurring feature of my interpersonal difficulties, namely, my serving as a "link" in a thee-party situation characterized by jealousy.

The Sullivan excerpt provides a theoretical basis for a letter I submitted to Dr. Cuenco at the time of the initial assessment regarding my interpersonal difficulties in "three-party" situations.


Gary Freedman

My interpersonal relations feature numerous instances of peer jealousy in the form of malicious rumors, invidious sexual innuendo, or other acts. See Sullivan, H.S. The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry at 348-48 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1953) (discussing situations in which an innocent victim of jealousy serves as an absolutely fantasied figure for a group of persons).

It was years later, in 1998, that Ideology, Conflict, and Leadership in Groups and Organizations by Otto Kernberg, M.D. was published.  According to Dr. Kernberg an individual can become the target of envy by members of a cohesive group  -- envy that is a reaction to the victim's thinking, his individuality, and his rationality. Kernberg at 5.

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

See Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D., The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry (New York: Norton, 1968) at 348.

Jealousy, on the other hand, never concerns a two-group situation. It is invariably a very complex, painful process involving a group of three or more persons, one or more of whom may be absolutely fantasized. Jealousy is much more poignant and devastating than envy; in contrast with envy, it does not concern itself with an attribute or an attachment, but, rather, involves a great complex field of interpersonal relations. While data are hard to get, apparently jealousy occurs frequently in adolescence, and frequently with real or fancied lustful involvement with someone else. In such cases, the jealous person has a peep conviction of his own inadequacy and unworthiness in participation in lustful involvement, along with the conviction that his partner and the third person could do much better.

Jealousy in malevolent situations often assumes delusional proportions, in which the person tends more less insidiously to become inaccessible to remedial experience by being secretive, and, later, by supplementary processes which make any factual data ineffective. Jealousy becomes properly termed paranoid when the sufferer “sees” that the second person in the threesome--the link--is doing things to make him jealous out of pure malice.