Commentary on “Bereavement and the Meaning of Profound Feelings of Emptiness: An Existential-Phenomenological Analysis” : Relearning the Self among Intimate Others

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In Køster’s persuasive analysis of the distributed self intertwined with intimate others, bereavement of an intimate other is described as a loss of self-familiarity. “I don’t know who I am without you” is the paradigmatic statement; as a result, bereavement requires a relearning of the self. Along these lines, Køster suggests that the experiences of emptiness involved in bereavement relate to the ‘existential texture’ of the self here and now and to its dyadic futurity, both of which are literally experienced as empty without the intimate other. Køster connects ideas of a distributed sense of self with the notion of being as always being-with, arguing that emptiness necessarily follows the loss of a partner, and it makes we wonder if this applies equally well to other kind of losses? In this commentary, I will reflect upon this question. In the first part, I explore if and how it matters who the intimate other is who has been lost, and I conclude that a factor in the prevalence of experiences of emptiness is whether the dynamics of the relationship are mainly dyadic or triadic. I then illustrate this point with examples from an empirical study of adolescents who have lost a parent.
TitelTime and Body : Phenomenological and Psychopathogical Approaches
RedaktørerChristian Tewes, Giovanni Stanghellini
ForlagCambridge University Press
Udgivelsesårnov. 2020
ISBN (trykt)9781108489355, 9781108702355
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2020

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