On denial, acting out contempt and revenge

Jul 14 2020

Mankind has yet to explore its frequent almost reflexively use of denial, acting out contempt, revenge and revenge-transference.

Denial is a psychological activity similar to acting out contempt. These activities may be seen even when humans are children, but they are not confined to young humans.

The purpose

Acting out contempt makes the actor feel or to actually become in superior to whom or what is acted out contempt on. Denying is about putting the actor in a better position than reality informs.

Inner acting out contempt

Individuals of the human species are also capable of acting out contempt toward themselves – to deny living aspects of themselves – to treat themselves more as objects than subjects. This is possible from a position inside but superior toward what’s inside denied/acted out contempt on.

Humans inside us

Denied living humans and other living species are both in the outer and the inner worlds of humans psychologically treated as less living subjects – here with the same meaning as less intentional subjects. Denied living humans and other living species are both in the outer and the inner worlds of humans psychologically treated as objects.

Will, responsibility and guilt

Acting out contempt is closely related to human will and responsibility. Responsibility, in turn, is linked to guilt. Acting out contempt for to gain oneself puts the individual in an, at the same time, inferior position as being guilty of doing something unfair.

Since inner use of acting out contempt – ie denial – also can be utilized to deny guilt, we see the possibility of accelerating acting out of contempt to defend an increasingly inferior position due to actual accumulated guilt.

Rationalizing the use of revenge

Acting out contempt and denial are often utilized for revenge, both within the individual and between individuals. The purpose of revenge is to try reestablish the equilibrium within the person, and to put the individual in a similar or better position than the other.

Revenge, as well as denial and acting out contempt, is most often rationalized. Most grown up humans know that revenge, denial and acting out contempt aren’t long term solutions, and therefore tries to righteous what they do.


When humans are too slow to react in time to something wrong done to them, or don’t dare to constructively address the unsolved conflict, they will be prone to transfer their revenge to other humans or other animals. The purpose of revenge-transference is also to try to reestablish the individuals inner equilibrium.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis and the inventor of the important concept of transference (der Übertragung), used the term revenge-transference (Die Racheübertragung) only one time in his extensive written production . The word revenge (Die Rache) is in Sigmund Freud’s writings found at least 60 times, and he also used several other compositions with the word revenge .

Taking responsibility

The independent human living is characterized by taking responsibility. This includes afterthought as opposite to reflexively rationalized use of denial, acting out contempt, revenge and revenge-transference. The independent individual accepts own actual guilt when this is part of reality. Practice improves responsibility-taking.

Frequent use of rationalized acting out contempt, denial, revenge, and revenge-transference is the sign of the non­independent individual. The non­independent individual leans against others decisions for most of life’s decisions. The non­independent individual is in line with this using less courage than the independent ones. Practice improves courage.

Often being rationalized means that revenge, revenge-transference, denial and acting out contempt also are tools available in personal corruption.

Children and some disabled humans are by definition not capable of independence. The main cause of their dependency is other than we here talk about, but they may of course as many other be prone to use denial, acting out contempt and revenge – not knowing better.

The human brain

It seems like current advances in neuroscience is tricking us to believe that the main solution for Man lies in comprehending that we living humans aren’t will and responsibility-controlled creators of our own lives – that we are only marionettes to our own brains.

Beware, the human brain is responsible for many human functions, but it takes no responsibility! Only a living human can take responsibility.

The denial of the obvious

It is here postulated that the psychological activities denial, acting out contempt, revenge and revenge-transference most often are either conscious or preconscious and only rarely totally unconscious.

Humans can deny the obvious, but can then be reminded that they are in a similar psychological activity as when they are acting out contempt.

Unsolved conflicts in dynamic intentional systems

Dynamic systems differ from static systems in that they are equipped with memory. Living humans with intact memory are dynamic systems acting in the partially dynamic system of their surroundings.

Dynamic systems will behave like static systems if only fed with already known content. Since the healthy human not only is a dynamic system, but also a intentional system, will too much already know content generate a response to search for new content.

Unsolved human problems are unsolved humans conflicts. Disease is an unsolved conflict, but all unsolved conflicts are not labeled as disease.

A question of survival

Independent dynamic systems have a greater survival capacity than non­independent ones. Independent humans have a greater survival capacity than non­independent humans.

Independent humans are characterized by taking responsibility. Mankind and its Earth benefits of responsibility-taking humans.

Psychoanalysis of the conscious and preconscious

Psychoanalysis and with it close related psychoanalytic therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy have this far been prone to treat every unsolved human problem as unconscious, thereby denying the now out of this actually totally unknown importance of solving conscious and preconscious conflicts .

The signs of the denial of conscious and preconscious conflicts are psychoanalysis’, psychoanalytic therapy’s and psychodynamic psychotherapy’s still unreflected use of too complicated verbal interpretations for almost all human unsolved conflicts, and that you most rarely see the word preconscious in in the enormous psychodynamic and psychoanalytic literature that has accumulated since Sigmund Freud’s first use of it in 1899.

Preconscious and conscious unsolved human conflicts are mainly related to will and responsibility and also have to be interpreted, but here interpretation means holding, clarification and when necessary confrontation .

Points of order in psychotherapy

Patients’ and therapists’ denial and acting out contempt in psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy contradicts these therapies’ very purpose of understanding. Being points of order, these conflicts have to be given the highest priority.

Neutral interventions for the conscious and the preconscious

Denial and acting out contempt have to be clarified, and when necessary confronted. Clarification and confrontation are neutral interventions in the conflict domain of will and responsibility.

Denial and acting out contempt are most often meaningless and thus can not be understood in a better way than explicit identifying them as meaningless and by just putting an end to them – this is here the therapist’s “interpretation in the form of action” . Too much talking and use of too complicated verbal interpretations and similar misfitted interventions for conflicts in the domain of will and responsibility means letting go. Letting go here equals to revenge.

Retaliation in treatment

To repeatedly meet denial and acting out contempt with for them non-neutral interventions here equals to meet denial and acting out contempt with denial and acting out contempt. This is revenge. This is retaliation. This is utilization of the Talion principle or Qisas in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy – easily confirmed in patients’ actions, derivative talking and dream content when utilizing non-neutral interventions in will and responsibility-conflicts.

Confrontation requires acceptance for possible loss

An extra dose of courage and thus the readiness for loss is necessary for to meet conflicts related to will and responsibility. We have to be prepared to lose our patients when confronting their use of denial and acting out contempt. If not prepared for loss, then we aren’t actually confronting.

Anger in confrontation

Note that the affect anger is active in confrontation, but that disproportionate intense anger equals to acting out contempt.

An disproportionate intense anger might also be due to the therapist’s fear but it will by the patient be perceived as acting out contempt if not paired with the therapist’s honest verbalization of fear.

Anger in confrontation can pass almost unnoticeable, but if totally unnoticeable then the patient will perceive the intervention as indifference – a non-neutral intervention.

Both the therapist’s too intense and too weak eligible anger will frighten the patient.

Conflict avoidance

Except of rationalizing the use of too complicated verbal interpretations for all kinds of unsolved conflicts, even when the use of that kind of interpretations is a non-neutral intervention, the other strategy used by psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, for to avoid unsolved conflicts related to will and responsibility, is to avoid limits and borders.

There is much talk in our circles about the importance of what we here most often name frames, but the actual use of these frames is many times halfhearted. The halfhearted use of frames in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis is due to denial of unsolved conflicts related to will and responsibility.

When we avoid establishing the borders of explicit, clear and meaningful psychotherapeutic contracts with our patients, and/or avoid guarding them, then we have found out the second of the two most often used solutions for avoid unsolved conflicts related to will and responsibility. We are then also more or less systematically avoiding points of order.

Psychotherapists’ and psychoanalysts’ well-thought-out and well-maintained frames, balanced with warmth and a dose of humor, are the signs of the relation that makes the difference for their patients. Dynamic systems do not change without adding new content. Insight will not come without addition of something that wasn’t there before.

Unsolved conflicts’ prioritization order

It has been postulated that unsolved human conflicts must be taken in prioritization order from the conscious, to the preconscious to the unconscious ones . If this is so then the only way for psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy to actually reach what possible might be unconscious is to first address conscious and preconscious conflicts.

Conscious and preconscious conflicts have until now been neglected by mainstream psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy , as earlier said.

The lack of a therapeutic stance

Cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT, now similar to psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy lacks a therapeutic stance for conflicts between human will and responsibility, and closely related to this similarly lacks tools other than denial to address unsolved problems with actual guilt.

CBT’s current avoidance of the words conflict, dynamic and interpretation might make us think that CBT does something completely different to psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy. CBT also works with Man’s unsolved conflicts – dynamics focused around the two words cognition and behavior.

For the moment CBT possible better than psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy handles some of patients’ conscious and preconscious conflicts. This might be due to better use of psychotherapeutic contracts.

On courage

More courage is needed to stand on your own than to cling to others. Responding someone with silence requires less courage than acknowledging him in front of others. Less courage is required to be the follower.

Man’s future

Constructive conflict solution is a longer lasting alternative compared to the reflexive activities revenge, denial, acting out contempt and revenge-transference.

Conflict solutions doesn’t always mean happy end-solutions. This is the meaning of the word dilemma. Actually, all unsolved conflicts are unsolved dilemmas, since all conflict solutions mean loss of that what we don’t choose. This way conflict solution always means both rejoice and grief.

Continuous adaptive use of the best available conflict analysis and solutions puts humans in best tune with reality. Psychoanalysis worthy of the name understands Man’s conflict with reality. Mankind benefits of being in tune with reality.

Further reading: Personal corruption


Jacobs M. Chapter six. Interpreting in the form of action. In: Akhtar S, editor. Unusual interventions: alterations of the frame, method, and relationship in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. 1 edition. Karnac; 2011. p. 113–37.
Freud S. Bruchstück einer Hysterie-Analyse. Monatschrift für Psychiatrie und Neurologie. 1905;XVIII, no. 4:285–467.
Worm K. Freud im Kontext [Internet]. Berlin: InfoSoftWare; 2010. Available from: https://www.infosoftware.de/freud.htm
Davidson C. The problem of the preconscious [Internet]. Dr Claes Davidson. 1986 [cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.claesdavidson.se/downloads/davidson_problem_preconscious.pdf