Father, Murdered and Father, Dead

Perelberg has suggested that the distinction between the murdered father and the dead father is a tool for understanding different types of psychopathologies, myths, and literature. The former—the murdered father—is present within an anal-sadistic structure where the father has no symbolic place. In murdered father configurations, patients find it difficult, if not impossible, to make sense of the father’s role in the family structure. Examples of this configuration are shown by patients who commit actual violence against men in a real attempt to eliminate them. These patients have little or no ability to mobilize their aggression in a way that would enable them to develop their capacity to work and to love. The dead father configuration indicates the internal constitution of the symbolic father, the father who prohibits murder and incest.

Key Publications:

Perelberg, R.J. (2009). Murdered Father; Dead father: Revisiting the Oedipus Complex. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90:713-732.

Perelberg, R.J. (2013). Paternal Function and Thirdness in Psychoanalysis and Legend: Has the Future Been Foretold?. Psychoanal Q., 82:557-585.

Perelberg, R.J. (2015). Murdered Father, Dead Father: Revisiting the Oedipus Complex. London: Routledge and The Institute of Psychoanalysis.