Success and succession

Irwin H. Marill, Everett R. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The etymology of the word success and its relationship to succession is elucidated. Linkage is made to the consequences of unconscious "legitimate" and "illicit" fulfillments in life. This is explored in the writings of Freud and others. Emphasis is placed on guilt, a major factor blocking the attainment of success. This guilt derives from unconscious parricide, which permeates and contaminates themes of succession. How early objects, particularly oedipal ones, are "killed off" in the process of gaining autonomy and achievement without literally invoking unconscious murder is explored. The retaliatory aspects of failure are also addressed. Illustrations employing case material are used to highlight these theoretical constructs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-688
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology


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