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Freudian Dictionary

Illness, Advantage Gained by

Illness may be used as a protection-to palliate incapacity at work or among competitors, or in family life as a means to force sacrifices and demonstrations of affection from others, or impose one's will upon them. All this is comparatively on the surface, and we put It all together under the heading "advantage gained by illness"; tlIe only remarkable thing is that the patient-his Ego - knows nothing of the whole connection of such motives with his resulting behavior.[1]

Illness as Self-PunishMent

It is very important for mental health that the Super-Ego should develop normally-that is, that it should become sufficiently depersonalized. It is precisely this that does not happen in the case of a neurotic, because his ffidipus complex does not undergo the right transformation. His Super-Ego deals with his Ego like a strict father with a child, and his idea of morality displays itself in primitive ways by making the Ego to submit to punishment by the Super-Ego. Illness is employed as a means for this "self-punishment." The neurotic has to behave as though he were mastered by guilt, which the illness serves to punish, and so to relieve him.[2]